Last summer, Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph received a mammoth recruiting class — seven players who together rated as high as fourth in the country by recruiting services.
One year later, almost half of the group has left Tech. Guards Brittany Jackson and Breana McDonald will transfer after playing their freshman seasons for the Yellow Jackets. They were preceded by Je Zhe Newton, a highly touted center who left school before the season began.
All three were rated as four-star prospects by ESPN. Jackson was Tech’s second-leading scorer at 10.2 points per game and was chosen for the ACC all-freshman team. She was held out of three games late in the season for a violation of team rules, after which her minutes dropped considerably. Jackson’s AAU coach, Dean Mosley, said that Jackson had wanted to attend Tech since she was a ninth-grader.
“I’m just as shocked as everybody else,” he said.
McDonald, from Chamblee High, averaged six minutes per game. Her playing time decreased considerably in the second half of the season.
“We just had to make a decision that’s best for Bre’s career and her future, and mainly that’s it,” said Brenda McDonald, Breana’s mother.
Brenda McDonald said her daughter is considering West Virginia, Missouri, Michigan and USC as possible destinations. She declined to specify the reasons for the transfer.
Said McDonald, “I have to look for what’s in the best interest of my child.”
Joseph was on vacation and could not be reached. Last season was a trying one for the Jackets, who clearly suffered the loss of a senior class that set a school record with 95 wins over its four seasons. Tech began the season ranked, but saw its streak of consecutive seasons with NCAA tournament berths end at six, with a 14-16 record. By one loss, it was the poorest of Joseph’s 10 seasons at Tech.
With the turnover of the roster, “it’s definitely been a struggle,” Joseph said in January. “It’s been one of those years.”
Joseph’s incoming class is smaller, but includes former Buford High guard Kaela Davis, ranked the No. 1 guard in the country and the No. 2 prospect overall by ESPN. The two other members are guard Donnaizha Fountain from Cambridge, Mass., and Gabrielle Holston, a wing player from Birmingham, Ala.