Georgia's basketball program hosted its first official visitor from the 2011 class this past weekend and it was none other than 2011 power forward Julian Royal.
Royal has been to Athens several times in the past but this weekend was another chance for the Bulldogs to make a strong impression on the forward from Milton High School in Alpharetta
"It went great," said Julian's father Charles Royal. "We had a great time. Mark Fox and the staff were extremely cordial. It was a great game. Julian got a chance to hang out with several of the players and you know, it was a good visit."
While on his visit, Royal got an opportunity to spend time with a lot of the people that would be important to him if he were to sign with Georgia in November.
"We went to dinner one night. Coach Fox had us over to his house for dinner on Saturday night. We went to the football game. We met with the academic advisors, the president of the college, and the athletic director. We went downtown for a little bit. It was a great trip," Mr. Royal said.
One part of the trip really helped to give Royal an idea of what life would be like as a student-athlete in college.
"He got sit in on one of the freshman classes," Mr. Royal revealed. "I'm not sure which class it was but he got a chance to get a first-hand experience of what it's like to be in a college class so he thought that was pretty cool."
When recruits take their official visits to see a program, they are usually assigned a host from the team and Royal is very familiar with one of the UGA players that hosted him this weekend.
"Yeah it was Marcus Thornton as well as Connor Nolte. He's a Milton grad and we know the family. Between the two of them, I would say he had a good time. He said had a really good time hanging out with all the guys," said the father of the 6'8 225-pounder.
Most of the time on official visits the coaches from the school sit down and meet with the recruit. The Royal's met all of the UGA coaches this weekend and spent a lot of quality time getting to know them but didn't really get to have a face-to-face meeting with Coach Fox and his staff. But don't worry; they will have their big opportunity to do so later this week.
"We got to meet with his whole staff. We didn't get a chance to sit down with just Coach Fox alone but we'll get a chance to do a lot of that this Friday when he comes by the house for the in-home visit," the elder Royal said. "I thought that would be a better opportunity to ask more questions. He and Coach (Stacy) Palmore are coming over Friday and I'm sure a lot of the tougher questions will be asked then."
One factor the Bulldogs have working in their favor to sign Royal is that they lose a few of their post players after this season meaning that there is an opportunity to play right away.
"They have mentioned that all their big men will pretty much be graduating after this year so there is going to be a prime opportunity for him to get plenty of playing time, if not start when he gets there but that's not something I'm looking for an ironclad commitment on. I just want the boy to go to a good school and have a good time. Sure, I want him to go somewhere he can play but that's not something I'm trying to hold a gun over anybody's about."
With his first official visit out of the way, Royal has a couple more coming up early on in October.
"The official visit for Georgia Tech is the first weekend in October and then the very next weekend we go up to Wake Forest for an official visit and then that should be it for us."
Like Georgia, both Georgia Tech and Wake Forest will have the opportunity to conduct an in-home visit with Royal in the near future.
"Tech is going to be here Thursday, Georgia is going to be here on Friday, and Wake is going to be here Friday of next week."
The last time UGASports caught up with Royal's father, we learned that the four-star power forward had narrowed his list down to Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest. Is Alabama still in the picture or have they been cut from his list?
"Kinda sorta, yeah they are out. It's not like it's anything they did wrong because they are really great guys. But at the end of the day, he can only pick one school," he said.
After his last two visits in early October, it shouldn't be long before he knows where he will be signing in November.
"He will probably make his decision within the next week after those visits. I doubt he makes a decision before then but you never say never," Royal Sr. said. One thing we definitely don't want him to do is make the decision an emotional one."
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