Buzz Williams wants to win some games next year, that much is apparent. His latest interest per Brad Winton, of Juco Recruiting, is ACC-ready forward Deshawn Freeman of Hutchinson Community College (Hutchinson, KS).
Virginia Tech will be in tomorrow to see Deshawn Freeman (6'7/G/2015) of Hutchinson CC. Arizona St, VCU, Nebraska, SMU will be in next week— Brad Winton (@JucoRecruiting) April 9, 2014
The 6'7", 215 lb product out of Rocky Mount, North Carolina has been described by ESPN as a smaller version of Amare Stoudemire, of the NBA's New York Knicks.
"An Amar'e Stoudemire clone, Freeman built his reputation around the violent manner in which he throws down dunks and the ferocity he uses to swat shots and rebound." --ESPN.com.
Typically I try to avoid comparisons between players who aren't the same size, and Stoudemire goes much larger than Freeman. However, they were correct in noting the ferocity with which he plays.
Not one for the perimeter (he only took 14 three-point shots this past season); Freeman likes to work inside, and gets a lot of his points doin' dirt down low. He averaged 16.4 ppg, and 6.1 rpg on 56+ percent shooting. He converted close to 70% from the free throw line.
Deshawn Freeman with the impressive dunk (via Chad Cook)
Upon looking at his body type, and watching the energy he brings, he reminds me of a young Gerald Wallace (when he was the Sacramento Kings, before he bulked up with the Charlotte Bobcats). He loves to contend shots at the goal, and against lesser competition, he succeeds blocking a lot of shots. I have a hard time believing that he'll be leading the block party on a team that already has Joey Van Zegeren protecting the goal, everything in the ACC is a size up. That said, his brand of physicality will play well immediately, and would be welcomed on a team that typically is easily overpowered by the bigger post players in the league.
Looking at his game log for this past season, there are some gaping holes, and I've been trying to see if they are in any way tied to the torn meniscus he suffered as a senior at Northern Nash High School, where he played with his brother Darius (who is also attending Hutchinson at present). The doctors at the time were not sure if he'd ever regain complete mobility in the knee.
Here's last year's game log. As you can see there are is a lot of missed time:
Coming out of Northern Nash, he was receiving interest from several of the usual regional suspects: Radford, UNC Wilmington, N.C. State, High Point, South Carolina, Elon and Georgia. But due to the tragedy of his older brother and mentor being shot to death in April 2012, and also being a late academic bloomer, it forced him to take an alternate path to his dreams.
As you can see we are not alone in our pursuit, with Shaka Smart and VCU and Larry Brown and SMU in the mix. With Nebraska and Arizona St also having made the tournament this past season, the Hokies are in a serious scrum here if they want Freeman. If I am honest with you folks, Freeman would fit VCU or SMU's hard-nosed defensive schemes right away as a long armed pressure defender in the Havoc system or defending bigger wings for Brown in that tough man to man he endorses.
The Hokies systems both offensively and defensively have been simple enough for 12 year old teams to run, and that has been a function of the player turnover and coaching transition that VT was forced to undertake after Jim Weaver's untimely firing of Seth Greenberg. As we emerge on the other side, rubbing our eyes like modern-day Rip Van Winkles wondering where the last two years went; we have to expect the Xs and Os to become more sophisticated under a coach who can breath easy knowing he has some time to implement his plan.
By looking at the recruits Buzz has targeted, he appears to be happy with Devin Wilson, Ben Emelogu, and Adam Smith as his three lead guards, and he appears intent on replacing Jarrell Eddie with a couple of talented wings. The types of bigs he is pursuing to replace Thompson are either polished scorers or really hard-nosed bangers. We can come to the conclusion that Buzz isn't a fan of rail-thin, no matter the upside. Sorry Trevor Thompson. It may be an unfair bias that Williams harbors against bigs who can be pushed around, but it's one we live with going forward.
It's interesting that under Weaver/Beamer/Greenberg that the program never sought out help from the JUCO level. Even in the direst of circumstances, such as injury and attrition, VT would shy away from taking that route. Even though the program had had such great success with players like Corey Moore and Kevin McAdam, Beamer's last high-profile splash was Big Jimmy Williams, a former five-star DL that never quite panned out. And VT hoops has pretty much always avoided going after players from the JUCO ranks. I understand the inherent risks, but sometimes these players can keep a program rolling and fill in gaps. And just as in any other walk of life, people can change. Bad students become A students, bad characters grow out of childish problems. Yes, ideally, we'd love four McDonald's All-Americans each year in our Easter basket, but when you're building something, sometimes it takes leftover materials from someone else's work site to complete the job.
Stay tuned for more on the composition of next year's basketball roster as it comes in. Until then, here's a longer mixtape on our potential recruit:
Deshawn Freeman (2012-2013) mixtape (via Shawn freeman)
Como siempre, mi Cassell es su Cassell.