BASKETBALL: Perseverance pays off for Jacob Wyatt

On hand to watch Jacob Wyatt (seated, center) sign a basketball letter of intent with Georgia Northwestern were his mother Sherry Wyatt and his sister Cricket Wyatt, along with Bexton Wyatt. On the back row was Georgia Northwestern head coach David Stephenson, Southeast Athletic Director Mark Lentych and Southeast head coach Ben Oliver. (Photo by Scott Herpst)


As a skinny, 5-foot-8 freshman, Jacob Wyatt didn’t even play basketball at Southeast Whitfield High School.

Three years later, the now 6-foot-6 recent Raider graduate is getting set to play in college.

Wyatt signed a letter of intent to continue his still-blossoming hoops career at Georgia Northwestern for head coach David Stephenson, who said he was more than happy to get another big man into the fold.

“For us to get anybody that’s 6-6, almost 6-7, is always a blessing,” the veteran coach explained. “He can run the floor well for his size and he’s a big blocked shot guy. That was something that we lacked last season and in the last couple of years. We haven’t really had that one intimidating person in the middle with the timing and the skill set to block shots, so we’re super excited to get him.”

Wyatt said he was thrilled to get to continue his playing career at the next level as he reflected on how far he had come in such a short amount of time.

“Two years ago, I never thought I’d make it anywhere,” he said. “I was smaller and skinnier than I am now. I was undersized really bad. Everyone that was bigger than me kind of pushed me around, so to be able to overcome all of that feels great. It’s amazing.”

A teenage growth spurt following his freshman year changed the future for Wyatt.

“He’s only been playing for about three years and he’s really just figuring out how good he is,” Southeast head coach Ben Oliver explained. “He’s a premier shot-blocker. He led Region (6-AAAA) in blocks this past year and he’s extremely athletic. He’s a real long and lanky kid and he’s about two or three dribbles away from being a guard.

“There were several times this year when we couldn’t even afford to take him off the floor, even if he was in foul trouble.”

Wyatt said he has already attended a couple of open gym sessions with the Bobcats on their home court in Rossville.

“I think the guys up there have taken a decent liking to me,” he added. “I think we’re going to work together pretty well. I don’t expect to start my freshman year, but feel I can help them in a support role. The people that are there now are really talented and skilled, so I’m going to have to work a lot.”

Stephenson said that Wyatt has really shown that he fits in with what the team is trying to do on the court.

“Obviously, I still think his best basketball days are ahead of him,” Stephenson said. “He needs to put on some weight, but he’s got good footwork for his size. If we can work with him and get a little weight on him, I think he can do something for us and we have other big guys already on the team that can push him in practice.”

Wyatt said he plans to study criminal justice at GNTC.

“He’s a great kid and he’ll be a great asset to the program,” Oliver added. “We loved him here.”