For the second year in a row, Georgia Tech taps one of the Puget Sound region's most athletic and gifted basketball prospects, this time earning a commitment from Alex Montgomery of Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash.
STORY & PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
In the end, the myriad schools in competition for the services of Alex Montgomery could not match Georgia Tech's trump card - the Mom Factor. Montgomery's mother, Sabrina, is moving back to Atlanta when her daughter's career at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., is finished. And since Alex Montgomery verballed to the Yellow Jackets on Thursday night, daughter and mother will remain united, although in the opposite corner of the U.S.
One of the most athletic players in the country, Montgomery consequently was one of 2007's most hotly pursued prospects.
"It's a big relief," Montgomery told HoopGurlz.com. "There's no more stress. ... Going into my senior season, I didn't want to be worrying about where I was going to college, how I was playing as an individual because colleges were looking at me. I didn't want all of that on my back. Now I can just worry about winning games."
Though Colorado, Pepperdine, Oregon and UCLA were Montgomery's other finalists, she says she has favored the idea of being a Yellow Jacket since she was a 9th grader. She likes coach MaChelle Joseph's uptempo style and wants to study nursing at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets, which finished 14-15 last season, is considered an Atlantic Coast Conference program on the upswing under Joseph.
Montgomery will join another Washington state product, Jacqua Williams, the former Rainier Beach star, who played in 27 games as a Tech freshman, averaging 14.5 minutes. While the two Puget Sound players have similarities in speed and length, the two do not know each other. Montgomery said her decision was based on the opportunities Georgia Tech presented for her.
Montgomery's select teammate, Christina Nzekwe of Seattle's Chief Sealth High School, also is athletically gifted and one of the country's top prospects. She recently added Stanford to her list of favorites and is focusing on choosing a Pac-10 school, according to her select coach, Buck Buchanon.
In the 6-feet-1 Montgomery, Georgia Tech is getting one of the nation's most explosive open-court players and relentless workers on the boards. Montgomery is long with a huge wingspan and gets off the floor quickly, which makes her an effective shot-blocker and offensive rebounder. She has good enough handle in transition and can finish with either hand.
"Alex is one of the most versatile players I've had," said Buchanon, whose program has sent several players to major Division I schools in recent years. "She can shoot the three, post up, attack the boards and is active at the defensive end. She wanted to go someplace she can make a difference, and I think she will."
To that end, with college auditions off the her agenda, Montgomery said she plans to use the summer to improve her outside shot, offensive aggression and leadership.
Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached
the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girls basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle
Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002).