BYU coach Mark Pope adds JUCO product Gideon George to 2020 recruiting class

BYU coach Mark Pope adds JUCO product Gideon George to 2020 recruiting class

(Steve Griffin, KSL, File)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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PROVO — BYU added some international size and length on the second day of the NCAA signing period.

Gideon George, a 6-foot-6 forward from Minna, Nigeria, finalized his national letter of intent Thursday to join the Cougars, making him the fourth member of head coach Mark Pope’s second signing class.

George played two seasons at New Mexico Junior College under coach Luke Adams, where he was an NJCAA All-Region V and All-Western Junior College Athletic Conference first-team selection in 2019-20. He averaged 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game for the Thunderbirds, who went 23-9 with a 12-4 record in conference play.

“Gideon is one of the most genuine, sincere, dedicated, hardworking athletes that I’ve ever had the opportunity to recruit,” Pope said. “Growing up in Nigeria, he learned a work ethic and lives with a level of gratitude that is inspiring. He is an extraordinarily gifted athlete, a great teammate and we have high expectations for his growth and what he’ll contribute here at BYU. He’s going to be a fan favorite.”

George’s older brother Samson played at Pittsburgh from 2017-20, and the duo recently completed a project to send more than 100 pairs of shoes to their hometown through the Time Out 4 Africa Foundation. He has three years to play two seasons for the Cougars.

George joins Fremont High star Dallin Hall, who became the Cougars’ first player to sign during the current period Wednesday. Hall will serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines before enrolling at BYU, as will early signee Richie Saunders. The Wasatch Academy wing has already received his mission call to Madagascar.

Spencer Johnson will enroll at BYU next year after spending time at Weber State, Utah Valley and most recently Salt Lake Community College following a two-year church mission.

The quartet will fill the roles of a talented senior class, seven players that include standout power forward Yoeli Childs, point guard TJ Haws, wing shooter Jake Toolson, flex forward Zac Seljaas, jack-of-all-trades forward Dalton Nixon and walk-on reserves Taylor Maughan and Evan Troy.

Walk-on point guard Blaze Nield also left the program, and has signed to play across town at Utah Valley.

They’ll have the help of a returning group that includes Alex Barcello, the Arizona transfer guard who is currently the only senior-to-be on BYU’s roster; as well as rising juniors Gavin Baxter, Connor Harding and Kolby Lee. UVU transfers Richard Harward and Wyatt Lowell will also be eligible to play in 2020-21 after sitting out the past year due to NCAA transfer rules. In addition to that group, the Cougars will add Idaho sharpshooter Townsend Tripple as a walk-on next year. The 6-foot-8 wing from Rocky Mountain High will join the program as a walk-on, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Tripple, who originally received his two-year mission call to Argentina prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, shot 42 percent from 3-point range while averaging 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks per game en route to first-team all-Idaho honors for the same program that produced Lee.

Part of that 25-2 season included 28 points against future teammate Saunders and Wasatch Academy in an epic game in the Great Western Shootout in Orem last November.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.


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