Calera's George Drake selects Vanderbilt

George Drake, a 6-4, 205-pound shooting guard from Calera (Ala.) High School, has committed to Vanderbilt, according to Friday's <i>Birmingham News.</i> Drake, who averaged 27.4 points per game in leading the Calera Eagles to the championship game of last year's Class 2A state tournament, was widely considered the state's No. 2 prospect, behind Athens' Richard Hendrix.

George Drake, a 6-4, 205-pound shooting guard from Calera (Ala.) High School, has committed to Vanderbilt, according to Friday's Birmingham News. Drake, who averaged 27.4 points per game in leading the Calera Eagles to the championship game of last year's Class 2A state tournament, was widely considered the state's No. 2 prospect, behind Athens' Richard Hendrix.

"The more I thought about it and prayed about it, the more my decision kept coming back to Vanderbilt," the 2004 Class 2A player of the year told News on Thursday. "It's the place for me."

Drake had also received an offer from Alabama, and Auburn and UAB were also making late moves to sign Drake.

"I am very impressed with Coach (Kevin) Stallings and his staff," Drake told the News. "It is also an opportunity to get a very good education. I wanted to put this behind me early so I could concentrate on helping Calera win the state championship next season."

Though some recruiting services have listed Drake at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, his high school coach says he is closer to 6-4, 205.

"He's very, very gifted athletically-- runs the floor well, and has tremendous vertical jumping ability," said Calera coach Robert Burdette. "He's got lateral quickness that allows him to guard people on the defensive end. He's a pretty good package as far as his physical abilities are concerned.

"He's not a one-dimensional player. He doesn't just shoot it, or he doesn't just take it to the basket. He shot about 41 percent from the 3-point line. He's got an intermediate game, where he can make those 15- or 18-footers. Off the dribble he creates his own shot.

"And he's big and strong enough to get the ball all the way to the basket.

"Coach Stallings at Vanderbilt and Jeff Jackson, who's done most of the recruiting of George, really wanted to have him at Vanderbilt. He's already qualified academically, and they're in a situation where they can't go out and recruit just anyone. He fits with them. He fits with the character of their team."

Vanderbilt has three scholarships open for the class of 2005, and Drake is the first public commitment. Drake plans to sign a letter-of-intent in the early signing period in November, and coaches are prohibited from comment until that time.

Click here for a thorough scouting report on George Drake titled "Calera's Drake 'a highlight waiting to happen'" (premium subscription required).


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