Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Virginia Tech basketball coach James Johnson has said all along that he wanted to bring in the maximum number of scholarship players (5) in the 2013 recruiting class to fill the Hokies' void created by the timing of the firing of Seth Greenberg and the ensuing scramble by recruits and Hokie players to find other homes.
Saturday night, the Hokies went a long way towards achieving that goal, adding their fourth commitment of the 2013 class and their second commitment in the last two days in South Grand Prairie High School shooting guard Ben Emelogu out of Grand Prairie, Tx. Emelogu committed just one day after his visit to Tech.
You won't find much about Emelogu on recruiting sites. Out of the four major sites, only two (Rivals and 247 Sports), and neither of those two sites had rated or ranked Emelogu. He had achieved a 3.33 fan rating on Rivals, but prospects are usually rated too high by this rating as anyone can do it, including family members and friends. 247 Sports had Emelogu with only one offer, coming from the Hokies, but Rivals listed at least eight offers including the Hokies, and four power conference offers including Tech. That two sites didn't even have him as a prospect would appear to suggest he's a late bloomer. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything. In fact it's possible that it's simply a case of not being seen by many recruiting experts. After all, Jarrett Boykin was unranked/rated as a prospect before some of the last rankings put out his senior year. What does that say? TexasHoops.com however, did rank Emelogu the No. 32 player in the state of Texas for the 2013 class.
The good news is that despite his relative unknown status amongst the recruiting sites and casual readers, Emelogu has some of the most and best quality tape I have seen out of a high school kid. Bravo to whoever is responsible for that. Not only does Emelogu have one tape, he has tape from every (or almost every) game he has played in over the last two years, highlighting his good plays in each, all played on a loop here.
So naturally, I watched all of his tape. All 34 games available. And I was pretty excited about the player I saw. First off, he's long and pretty athletic. He projects as a 2 or a shooting guard in my opinion, but could possibly play up to the 3. The first visible facet of his game is 3-point shooting, which the Hokies (and any team for that matter) could always use more of. In almost every one of his games, he is hitting 3-pointers. He has a controlled elevation that is consistent, a beautiful release and nice arc on his shot, three things that typically determine a good or great three-point shooter.
Defensively, I like his knack for playing the passing lanes. He often intercepts lazy passes by jumping the lane and picking the ball off, starting a fast break the other way. While this is a risk, it's also an art based on good instincts. From his tape, it looks like Emelogu chooses the right times to try to intercept these passes, as I didn't see any ill-advised steal attempts where he was lucky not to have been burned.
One thing I would like to see is for Emelogu to become more explosive of a finisher in transition. At 6'5" when he leaves the floor, he should be dunking. Laying it up is cool and all, but there's more room for error in a layup than a dunk, and at the next level, altering his shots so that they're more like trick shots at the point of release, is going to cost him points, both of the And-1 variety and missed shots that will not be called fouls because of his altered release.
I like his knack for finding open players as a passer, and he did have some pretty nice dimes in his highlights, but I don't think he is a natural 1 or point guard. His ability to handle the ball and run an offense was not really displayed in the highlights. Improving on his ball-handling will also be of importance as in college, players will try to run him off the 3-point line knowing that he's a dead-eye 3-point shooter. That's when being able to put the ball on the floor to get to the hole is pivotal. He did display a good mid-range jumper, but that's not a surprise, as most players who are good shooters at one area of the floor are good shooters at every area of the floor. Emelogu will need to gain some weight/add muscle before he gets to Tech, but that is the case with almost every high school player.
So what does Emelogu's commitment mean for the Hokies? Well, they are now one scholarship away from being full up for the 2013 season provided no further attrition occurs, meaning the Hokies should jump from eight to 12 scholarship bodies with Emelogu in 2013. Tech could go several ways with that scholarship. They could look for another guard, a position of need because of recent transfers out of the program by three scholarship guards in the last two seasons. They could use it on another big if they wanted to have greater depth in the post, something that despite having in the last few years, has been erased due to injuries. I wouldn't think they would use it on another wing, as Tech would then have six or seven wings (more than half of their scholarship players) devoted to those two positions. So that leaves the third option of sitting on a scholarship to try and get better talent in a future class, something that Johnson has vowed he wouldn't do.
For more coverage of Hokies basketball, including the upcoming season and the 2013 recruiting class, Gobbler Country is your Virginia Tech basketball authority.