Bulldogs sign two frontcourt players

Gone in 60 seconds isn’t just the title of a Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie movie.

It’s also how long it took for Yante Maten and Osahen Iduwe to scoop up the scholarships the Georgia men’s basketball had available for its signing class, coach Mark Fox said Wednesday.

The program announced the frontcourt additions on the first day of the late signing period.

“Osahen called me,” Fox said remembering back to Saturday of Final Four weekend. “When I hung up with him, I think less than 60 seconds later, Yante texted me and said he was coming, too, so we got them both within a minute.”

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Maten is a power forward who “is very ready to help us,” Fox said. “A lot of high school kids have a big physical adjustment. He’s more advanced than the typical freshman and he’s got a versatile game.”

Maten, the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year, picked Georgia over Michigan State and Indiana.

“He obviously had some great offers,” Fox said. “Not that we pay much attention to that, but it just goes to show the quality of player that he is.”

The commitments came days after Georgia announced a two-year extension for Fox, who guided Georgia to a 20-14 record and the second round of the NIT.

“I think that was key to be honest with you,” Fox said. “I think we have a team that had success. We got a lot of them back. We’ve got good young players, so I think we’ve got some momentum.”

Fox said an attraction for Maten was being able to study wildlife biology at Georgia.

“It was not just about basketball,” Fox said. “We knew he had a really good trip here, so we felt like we had a great chance for him to commit.”

Fox has helped send power forwards Trey Thompkins, Luke Babbitt, Nick Fazekis and Javale McGee to the NBA and could use that as a selling point with Maten and Iduwe.

Maten averaged 19.5 points, 15.2 rebounds, 6.9 blocks and 4.8 assists as a senior at Bloomfield Hills High in suburban Detroit.

He’ll have a chance to compete for a starting spot with the departure of senior forward Donte’ Williams and offers more on the offensive end than Williams.

Iduwe, a 6-foot-11, 225-pound center from Nigeria, was known as Fred while playing at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wis.

“He wants to go by Osahen,” Fox said. “He told us that on his visit. I went that moment to Osahen.”

Iduwe averaged 8.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

“He can run, he can jump and move laterally,” Fox said. “He’s a shot blocker.”

Fox said Georgia “missed on one kid that we targeted” during the early signing period, “but we feel very good about what these guys can do for us.”

A second scholarship opened up when center John Cannon opted to transfer.

Georgia will lose frontcourt players Nemanja Djurisc and Marcus Thornton after next season.

“We had to get size, Fox said. “There was no wiggle room in that.”

 

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