James Banks #4 of the Texas Longhorns battles for rebound with Devin Wyatt #5 of the Incarnate Word Cardinals at the Frank Erwin Center on November 11, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/)
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Former Texas center James Banks transferring to Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has dipped into the transfer market to secure Texas forward James Banks, a Decatur native who was a consensus top-100 recruit coming out of high school.

Banks announced his decision from his Twitter account Tuesday evening at the end of a three-day official visit to Tech. Banks, listed at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, played in 32 games as a freshman, recording 39 blocks, but his playing time dropped this past season. He played in 14 games, totaling 95 minutes, as he ceded playing time to two freshmen and a transfer. He announced his transfer March 28.

Banks will have to sit out next season and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

In Banks, coach Josh Pastner has the post player he has sought to replace the departing Ben Lammers. Tech’s roster also includes post players Sylvester Ogbonda, a rising junior, Abdoulaye Gueye, a rising senior, and power forwards Evan Cole and Moses Wright, both rising sophomores.

Banks was rated the No. 57 prospect in his class by ESPN. In the summer before starting at Texas, Banks played for the U.S. U18 national team. He has a reported wingspan of 7-foot-5 and is said to be agile for a player his size. His numbers at Texas would suggest a player who can rebound and protect the rim, but who has room for improvement on offense.

It would not be a surprise if part of Tech’s pitch to Banks was the opportunity to train with assistant coach Eric Reveno, who developed Lammers into the ACC defensive player of the year as a junior.

The addition of Banks puts Tech at its 13-player scholarship limit, although a spot could open up if guard Josh Okogie decides to stay in the draft.

Banks played his final high-school season at La Lumiere School in Indiana. He played his junior season at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta.

Banks follows the path of a number of players who have transferred to Tech in a return home, including current Yellow Jackets guard Shembari Phillips and former Jackets Adam Smith, Charles Mitchell and James White, among others.


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