Shawn Kemp had to make a decision. Did the 6-foot-9, 215-pound center from Canton (Ga.) Cherokee want to stay close to home or go to the other side of the country for college. On Monday evening, Kemp made his decision official.
The top 100 big man decided he will stay in the South and play at Alabama. Kemp picked the SEC school over offers from Nevada and Washington.
"They've wanted me for a long time now and I wanted to stay close to home. With them, it's not too far and not too close and it's a great situation. That was really helped me make my decision," Kemp said. "They have a great coach and a great atmosphere out there."
Alabama has been a stalwart in his recruitment, showing interest for quite some time, Kemp said.
"They've been recruiting me since last year. They started recruiting me since last high school season," Kemp said. "I like that they've been on me for a while."
Kemp visited Alabama last weekend and had a chance to get to know Mark Gottfried even better than before. The two discussed Kemp's potential role on the program and in college.
"He sees me becoming a good player for them and I think he can help me a lot with that. I think he can help me in more than just basketball, like in life and after college," Kemp said.
At the end of the day, Kemp said location was a major factor in his decision.
"It's only about a three hour drive from my house so I can come back and see my mom whenever I feel like it. That's nice. My mom can check my games out any time she wants to, too," he said.
Kemp joins Illinois point guard Cully Payne in the 2009 recruiting class for the Tide. Kemp said he hopes to help out right away when he arrives in Tuscaloosa.
"I hope to get bigger, better and help the team in any way that I can when I go there," Kemp said. "I want to do everything I can to help them win a National Championship. I have to get stronger. I have to keep working on my game. I can't be satisfied."