Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Seton Hall Lands 2017 Power Forward Sandro Mamukelashvili (UPDATED)
Sandro Mamukelashvili, a 6-foot-10, 222-pound power forward from Montverde (FL) Academy, committed to Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard on Thursday following an official visit to the school.
He signed his National Letter of Intent, the school announced Monday.
Assistant Grant Billmeier was the lead recruiter.
Mamukelashvili also considered USC, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt among others.
“We are very excited to welcome Sandro into the Seton Hall basketball family,” Willard said. “He is only 17, and yet he is a very skilled passer and ball handler, and he shoots very well for someone his size. It is clear he has been mentored by one of the more respected high school coaches in the country in Coach [Kevin] Boyle. We think he has a very high ceiling, and we are looking forward to coaching him and developing his potential.”
Mamukelashvili, a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com and Scout, played for a powerhouse Montverde Academy team that was the runner-up in the DICK’S High School National Championship tournament. Mamukelashvili was instrumental in helping the Eagles reach the final; he had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the quarterfinal win over Shadow Mountain, and he had 11 points and seven boards in the semifinal victory over Greensboro Day. Monteverde finished the season 26-5 and ranked No. 7 in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings.
Born in New York City, Mamukelashvili grew up in the country of Georgia and went to high school in Italy before moving to Florida to attend Montverde. He speaks four languages, including English, Georgian, Russian and Italian.
“The main part was the coaching staff,” he said by phone. “It feels like home. It’s like a family in the locker room. Everybody’s friends with everybody. The school loves the program and everybody likes basketball there.
“I think I will be a great addition to that team.”
The native of Tbilisi, Georgia can play the stretch four and do a variety of things offensively.
“His upside is tremendous,” Montverde Academy prep coach Kevin Boyle Jr. said. “At his size he has a rare ability to shoot from the perimeter, handle the ball in transition, locate teammates, and finish drives at full speed in traffic. Coming to the U.S. this year he hit a brief learning curve with so many athletes and so much size around him, but he is now emerging as a guy that can not only impact the game with perimeter skills, but also compete on the glass and guard inside. The good thing for him is he still isn’t even close to as good as he is capable of being.”
Said Mamukelashvili: “I can bring the perimeter game because of my size. It will be harder for guys to guard me on the perimeter. I think can do also get a lot of assists.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.