Well, James Johnson has done it. He has at the very least proven his worth as a legitimate recruiter, as the Hokies have landed Donte Clark, a four-star (by most services) shooting guard out of Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. He played at Queen's Grant High School in Charlotte, Nc.
Clark is part of the 2013 recruiting class that also includes center commit Trevor Thompson, who committed to the Hokies earlier this month, and the first guard to commit to the Hokies since Marquis Rankin on April 2, 2010.
For more on Clark's commitment, including a deeper look at his recruiting information, a breakdown of his highlight tape and what this means for the Hokies, continue reading after the jump.
We'll start out by looking at Clark's recruiting profiles and some of his recruiting information. First off, Clark has at least 18 confirmed offers, nine of which came from power conference schools or Memphis according to Rivals (it's relevant to throw them into that group given their recent basketball pedigree). Secondly, there is apparently some debate about what position Clark will play. Rivals, 247 Sports and Scout all have him listed as a guard, while ESPN lists him as a small forward. I think at 6'4" (or 6'3 according to 247 Sports), that might be a stretch, but you can see from his recruiting video that he's a long 6'4" by looking at his arms. There is also some consternation over his weight. 247 Sports has him listed at 170 while ESPN and Rivals have him at 180. Regardless of the number, it appears he needs to add some muscle to be successful at the next level, as he is a little slight of frame. There has also been some chatter about him running the point eventually, particularly from his own mouth. But to me he has the look more of a natural 2 instead of a pure 1.
Clark was ranked as highly as No. 82 nationally by ESPN, and the No. 13 small forward in the 2013 class. Rivals also rated him as a four-star player, ranking him No. 101 nationally. Scout and 247 Sports rated him as a three-star player. 247 Sports also ranked him the No. 112 player and the No. 27 shooting guard nationally.
Looking at the Rivals player profile, they list his strengths as his shooting and his handle, both categorized as good. They list his passing and strength as developing. I think that's a fair analysis, although I cannot accurately say after only watching a nearly two-minute video that does not show him handling the ball in any large part how well he does so. He does have the look of a knockdown shooter, and I especially like his release. It looks a lot like current Virginia Tech shooting guard Robert Brown. As for his strength and passing, the strength concern is addressed above, and although passes rarely show up on high school players' highlight tapes, most high school two or combo guards have to work on that, so it wouldn't be unfathomable for that to be one of his weaknesses.
Looking at his highlight tape, there is a lot to like about Clark. He seems to run the floor well. As I mentioned above he has a wonderful shooting stroke. When a player ran at him as he was about to take the 3, he made him pay by penetrating (although I still think he was open enough to take it, it's nice to see a high school player willing to make that play). Let's hope he continues that as a Hokie, as our current (and recent) crop of players have officially eliminated that section from the book of possibilities of basketball moves. One concern I saw is that he seemed to struggle to elevate enough to really throw the ball down rather than just guide it in by grazing the rim. At 6'4" that shouldn't really be a problem...or that's a problem.
For the Hokies, Clark's commitment helps them three-fold. One, the basketball team has only eight scholarship players as of now, and assuming no further defections, will only have 11 a year from now. 11 scholarship players is workable. Eight is not. Two, the addition of Clark is huge considering the lack of guard depth. The Hokies are paper thin at guard with only three scholarship guards eligible for 2012. With the addition of transfer Adam Smith in the offseason, Clark's commitment ensures the Hokies will field at least four scholarship guards in 2013 (again, provided no attrition or injury). Three, Clark's commitment helps to infuse the program with some much needed talent, as both the school's top recruit in school history (by recruiting ranking) Dorian Finney-Smith transferred after the firing of Seth Greenberg, and the Hokies' top incoming 2013 recruit, Montrezl Harrell de-committed and committed elsewhere.
For more basketball coverage including several feature posts leading up to the 2012-2013 season, you've found your home for Hokie basketball at Gobbler Country.