Following the decision of McDonald’s All-American Tony Parker to sign with UCLA over UGA and Ohio State, the University of Georgia men’s basketball team still added a fourth in-state member to the 2012 signing class this week, with a legacy post player signing his letter of intent Wednesday night and submitting it Thursday morning.
According to Landmark Christian boys’ basketball coach Chip McAllister, Houston Kessler has been on the Bulldogs’ radar for over two years now.
“They had been watching him since his sophomore year, and they really liked the way he shot the ball,” McAllister said. “He had a really good season for us this year, and about two weeks ago they said if you can wait it out you have an offer.”
Kessler is the son of former Georgia basketball player Chad Kessler, and nephew of the late Alec Kessler, a two-time National Academic All-American of the Year selection, second on Georgia's all-time scoring list, and the 12th pick in the 1990 NBA Draft.
McAllister said Kessler, the salutatorian at Landmark Christian, had several other offers, including Mississippi State, Furman, William & Mary, and UNC-Ashville, but his coach said he waited it out because his heart was at Georgia. As Parker announced his intentions on Monday, the 6-foot-9, 210-pound power forward knew his dreams were about to come true. Two years ago, VCU head coach Shaka Smart, then an assistant at Florida, realized Kessler’s heart was with the Bulldogs.
“Smart came in to meet Kessler, and it was dress up day at the school, and he was decked out in Georgia gear,” McAllister said. “He looked at me and said ‘I think I am wasting my time.’ Houston wears Georgia stuff around all of the time and loves going to the football games in Athens.”
Like Alec Kessler coming out of high school, McAllister thinks Houston’s best basketball has yet to be played.
“He is just starting to scratch the surface of the type of player he can be,” McAllister said. “His uncle redshirted, then grew three inches, and the rest was history. Houston is going to be that same type of kid, that in two years; schools are going to ask themselves why they did not offer him. He is still growing into his body, and he can shoot the ball tremendously with very underrated athleticism.”
Kessler joins forward Brandon Morris (Lithonia, Ga./Miller Grove), point guard Charles Mann (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) and shooting guard Kenny Gaines (Mableton, Ga./Whitfield Academy) to complete the 2012 class for Mark Fox and his staff.