Virginia Tech Basketball Recruiting: The Class Of 2012

At first I started this post as a moratorium to the class of 2012, as according to Tech Hoops, today is the last day a player for the class of 2012 can sign a national Letter Of Intent. However, I found out later in the thread that just because today is the last day a player can sign a LOI doesn't mean he can't still end up playing for a school on scholarship.

So while the cycle of the 2012 recruiting class has pretty much played itself out, new coach James Johnson is insistent he still wants to bring in some players. As Josh Parcell told us earlier in his post, the Hokies landed a transfer today. We'll dive more into this player and what his commitment means as well as look at some of the options for the Hokies as they try to add some bodies and close the class out in style. More after the jump.

First off, I found probably the most topical and thorough analysis of the Seth Greenberg firing a few days after the fact, but I didn't really have anything to include it in. So you're getting it now, just because I feel it's important to read really well-written articles and well thought-out arguments. The article happens to come from college basketball's most famous bracketologist, Joe Lunardi (though I regularly beat him at projecting the field from 2007-09...just saying). Here's Joe Lunardi's take on Seth's firing.

Additionally, in the wake of Seth's firing, several disillusioned members of the Virginia Tech blog persuasion have spoken out (seemingly out of turn given their grasp/comprehension of college basketball) on the Twitterverse as if there are no negatives to the Seth Greenberg firing. They also criticized Gobbler Country and our coverage of college basketball. I can honestly say I am proud of the product we put out on Gobbler Country, that we DO know what we're talking about and that we are among the best if not THE BEST blog out there at providing Virginia Tech basketball (and all Tech sports really, but especially basketball) coverage, and we're going to get even better. We all miss Furrer4heisman, the site's founder, but we are not going ANYWHERE and we are far from dead in the water.

As for those bloggers, I'm not going to start a holy war over whose opinion is right, but what I will say is that there are instances of incontrovertible proof that Seth's firing has had a negative impact on recruiting and recruits deciding to ask out of their LOI's. To discount this evidence or its significance by trying to play it off as inconsequential to further a personal agenda is to truly show one's ignorance towards the institution of college basketball and how it operates. Those are my two cents; love me or hate me for it, but I won't tolerate the reputation of this site being bullied by other blogs that spend half of their time tweeting nonsense and have previously asked our writers to contribute on the basketball side of their blogs.

The proof I am speaking entails recruits that have come out on the record to say that the Hokies may no longer be in consideration for them. The first of which is an obvious in Montrezl Harrell, Tech's top rated signee in their original two-man class before he asked out of his LOI. Make no mistake about it (as some bloggers already have), his potential loss is far from trivial. His loss would be devastating. There's a reason the University of Kentucky wants this kid and it's not because he's not good.

There are different reports on whether Harrell is free and clear in that department as he may still be waiting for Tech to process that request. One report I saw while writing this article (and it's certainly new to me) suggests the Hokies will NOT be granting Harrell's release. UPDATE: That report was inaccurate as today Harrell has been released from his LOI with no conditions. Whatever the timeline or circumstances, it appears Harrell will be attempting to play college basketball elsewhere. Unlike for Dorian Finney-Smith, something that you will not find anywhere on the internet is a report of Harrell having second thoughts until after Seth Greenberg's firing.

If Tech could manage to wrap Harrell back up it would be a HUGE win in restoring legitimacy to the program and in the hope of fielding a competitive basketball team in 2012-13. As of now the Hokies have eight scholarship players eligible to play next year IF our current lone recruit Marshall Wood sticks to his re-commitment and passes NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.

Another player who has cooled on the Hokies is 2013 point guard Anthony Barber. Barber is ranked among the top players in the nation for the class of 2013, but while he has received many offers from big name schools, the Hokies were firmly entrenched as a possibility for him...when Seth Greenberg was coaching. Here's his stance now. While he may not have eliminated the Hokies, he did say that they were falling to the bottom of the totem pole. He cited the familiarity with Greenberg and how hard he was being recruited as the reasons he was so high on Tech, but hinted that he's yet to hear from the current staff. That's understandable because of how quick the coaches have had to get their ducks in a row, so I don't blame them. But I am staring lasers through your head Mr. Weaver for your timing or lack thereof.

Now to today's transfer: Adam Smith. Josh did a terrific job analyzing his stats earlier, and the stats don't change if I write them up as opposed to Josh doing it, so I'll show you what Josh said:

Smith started 29 of 31 games for the Seahawks, who are a part of the Colonial Athletic Association — probably the second best mid-major league in the country last season (behind the Mountain West). He averaged 13.7 points per game, which was the 11th highest mark in the league.

In the first game of his career, Smith dropped 22 points on Maryland, including a 5-of-9 effort from three-point range. In mid-December, Smith scored 33 points against Wake Forest. He shot 7-of-12 from long range in that game. He finished the season as a 33 percent shooter from beyond the arc. In games that he attempted at least six three's, he shot better 38 percent from that range.

He's not much of a distributor, though, with only 1.6 assists per game and an assist-to-turnover ratio of almost exactly 1-to-1.

The first paragraph is heartening considering he scored as a freshman in one of the nation's best mid-major conferences. But until now, Tech hasn't really been in the market for undersized mid-major guys who shoot under 40%. While Smith is certainly a step down, he is not devoid of talent. He was in fact rated a three-star player by two other recruiting services. While this move excites many people, please remember that per NCAA rules, Adam will not be able to play until the 2013-14 season. Josh continues his analysis...

He's not much of a distributor, though, with only 1.6 assists per game and an assist-to-turnover ratio of almost exactly 1-to-1.

There remains work to be done defensively as well. Smith managed just 0.5 steals per game, a number far below expectations for a lead guard playing 30 minutes per game, no matter the level of competition.

He was a two-star recruit by ESPN.com, which scouted him as a "catch and shoot guy with range out to 22 feet...showed the ability to come off screens and knock down shots, as well as making three's in transition."

It's pretty evident that Smith is a shooting guard in a point guard's body, but his ability to score from the perimeter will certainly add value to the Hokies' bench in a few years. Think Hank Thorns, except a tad bigger but less efficient.

I think that Josh's comparison of Smith to Thorns is spot on, except I'd like to add, a better shooter than Thorns was from deep, at least initially. It's true that he won't wow us right away on the court, but maybe he'll be a productive practice player who can give us some value down the road as a combo guard like Markus Sailes did early in Greenberg's tenure. Want to see for yourself? Well here are Adam Smith's highlights, his Rivals profile and his Scout profile.

So now that we know all about Smith, here is some form of list compiling recruits potentially remaining on Tech's radar, strewn together based on my knowledge of Seth's recruiting strategy prior to his dismissal, the gaps we have in our program (both by numbers and positional depth) and the remaining players out there. One such player is Jerron Wilbut, who is listed as a three-star guard by Rivals, Scout, and ESPN. Wilbut is the player I may have mentioned before in a previous post that may not qualify. Players of his talent level usually are not available this late in the recruiting process, but there is some legitimate concern as to why he is still out there. Many schools are interested should he qualify, and some have offered him scholarships if he should qualify. But after the Greenberg firing and the addition of Smith, another guard, I don't know if the Hokies will continue to be a player for him.

Another wing (guard/forward) prospect the Hokies were high on is three-star Anton Wilson. Seth Greenberg was reportedly about to offer him at one point, but I do not know if that ever happened or if the meeting they set up ever took place. What I do know is according to Rivals he is still considering us, according to Scout he has eliminated us and ESPN doesn't know who in the world he is. So as you can see there is much debate between the major recruiting sites. I'd like to think that based on location alone (he's a North Carolinian) that we'd have a chance with him considering how hard we have recruited that state and our proximity, but with a brand new coach and staff it's a whole new ballgame and anyone's guess.

There was also a long recruiting affair with high three-star prospect (and now four-star depending on who you ask) Demetrius Henry, but he is off the market at least for the time being. Henry was dissatisfied with the interest he was receiving and decided in an attempt to build interest and potentially get better offers he would re-designate as class of 2013 and potentially prep. I believe I read somewhere that Tech was the first to offer him, but he apparently wasn't thrilled with either his offers or the level of interest they were showing him. As far as I know, Greenberg was still recruiting him but it seems like his plan worked as other schools have joined in the race for him and Tech had fallen on his list. Here are his Rivals, Scout and ESPN profiles. Here's hoping James Johnson can mend the frays in the fabric and land him in next year's class.

There is still a possibility we could land another transfer or two, but really that's of no benefit right now since without a wavier from the NCAA they would not be able to play in '12-'13. Furthermore, transfers are usually not looking to transfer to a school with MORE instability than the school they are leaving, and generally, we don't currently meet that criteria. We also don't want to be dipping our standards for the sake of FUTURE bodies if we can get them as freshmen in a year's time. Lastly, most of the good JUCO's and transfers have already been picked up. Greenberg was also hitting up transfers pretty hard. I heard rumors of him looking into the Michigan kids and also found this article in the Washington Post on how he was pursuing former blue-chip UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi. Oriakhi will be a senior, but he is being granted a waiver by the NCAA I believe because of UConn's postseason ban. Upon arriving at Tech (which as the article says, was a long shot considering his offers), Oriakhi would be the Hokies best player. Greenberg also said that he was planning on still bringing in a combo-guard and a big at the time, expanding the 2012 class to four.

I'm sorry I don't have anything more for you, but there just hasn't been that much divulged since Johnson was awarded the job and Greenberg was treading quietly (intentionally or unintentionally) before being fired. Who knows, Seth might have just been pounding the pavement and the 2012 class might have been locked up no matter what.

The realist knows that recruiting will be difficult for a while as recruits will need to get to know our new staff, the staff will likewise need to get to know the recruits and the areas they are recruiting. We will also need to re-affirm our presence as many discounted us because of the disastrous handling and timing of events. Speaking of the coaching staff, I will be doing an analysis of the new basketball staff within the week and then it's all football and football recruiting for the foreseeable future. So make sure to check back often to see what we have on tap for you here at Gobbler Country.

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