Atlanta's Pasha Commits to Georgia Bulldogs
by Colette Lewis
, 27 August 2010
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It wasn't the program's storied history of tennis excellence, or a conversation with former Bulldog John Isner, currently in the ATP Top 20, that led to blue chip Nathan Pasha's verbal commitment to the University of Georgia. Instead, it was the opportunity to be close to his family while working toward a professional tennis career that had the rising senior from Atlanta deciding to head to nearby Athens.
"I kind of knew I would be going to Georgia, because I've known those guys for a long time," says Pasha, who verbally committed to coach Manny Diaz at the USTA Team Championships
earlier this month.
"Seeing my family was big, because I've been at the USTA for the past three years. I've barely been home, been on the road or down there working, so staying near home was a big priority."
Pasha, who turned 18 last month, also considered the University of Tennessee and the University of North Carolina. Had his mother Delmarie Payton and twin sister Natasha lived near either of those campuses instead, his choice may have been different.
"I feel those guys would be great fits just as much as Georgia, and if I was from North Carolina or Tennessee, I'd be there," says Pasha, who will enter school in the fall of 2011. "But I'm from Georgia and I'm going to Georgia. I feel all three colleges could have gotten me where I wanted to go."
That destination is professional tennis, and Pasha realized that Isner could provide insight into college tennis's role in reaching that goal.
"I called him a month and a half ago," says Pasha, who met Isner at Saddlebrook during a USTA-arranged hitting session. "I talked to him about what he liked, what he didn't like, why he decided to go to Georgia rather than UNC (Isner is from Greensboro, NC)."
"He gave me his opinion, and I took all that stuff into consideration. (USTA National Coach) Mike Sell also went to Georgia, so those guys didn't help me make my decision, but they did give me insight into the coaching staff and other things."