Ever since his hiring it was rumored that the Virginia Tech Hokies were getting a heck of a recruiter in head coach Buzz Williams. In the wake of the hiring's announcement we learned that Trevor Thompson would transfer and seek opportunities elsewhere. With that the Hokies' roster is thin and needs some meat on its bones to become a deep team that can depend highly on its bench players to step up when their name is called. In turn, Buzz Williams extended offers to two recruits this past week on March 22.
Recruit: Jeff Garrett (#153 nationally)
High School: Oldsmar Christian School (Oldsmar, Florida)
AAU: Alabama Challenge
Position: Small Forward
Chief Competition: Oregon State, Louisiana Tech, Murray State, South Alabama, Alabama
First, let's start with Oldsmar, Florida product and three star recruit Jeff Garrett. 247Sports.com has Garrett as the 251st best recruit and 63rd on its list of power forwards. Standing at six-foot-seven and weighing 210 pounds, Garrett looks to be a pretty versatile small forward who could probably play some power forward. I think one thing that stands out is something Buzz Williams said at the pep rally/press conference which was to the extent that he wants players who can switch around a play different roles given different opponents. I think Garrett is a good example of a player who can take on different roles. He's a fairly big guy with good speed and has a nice jumper. If one thing is for certain it's that this kid likes to get to the rim. I think the main question that has to be asked is what type of player does Garrett want to be? Honestly, from the looks of it he could be a shifty slashing type small forward who drives the lane constantly, or if he bulks up he could develop purely into a post player. There's not really enough on him right now to make a concrete assumption. Defensively, Garrett looks pretty sound as well. He's got a nose for the ball and can get blocks, crash the boards, and force turnovers. But hey, this is just based on one film review. Currently, Alabama is said to be the top dog on Garrett's list, but only time will tell and Buzz might work his magic to bring him to Blacksburg. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any statistics on Garrett, but YouTube highlights will have to suffice for now.
As it stands, maybe Alabama can push VT in terms of the opportunity it offers Garrett to play at a high level, with the SEC showing well in this year's tournament. But the rest of the schools don't have the credibility or the budget of an ACC school like VT. Oregon State is way across the country, and likely a higher chance of attrition there. If Buzz has the pull that he's rumored to have, we should have an easy time convincing Garrett we have a home for him.
This looks to be film from his AAU team:
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Oldsmar Christian 2014 6'7 WG Jeff Garrett (via Jordan Fair)
Recruit: Willie Atwood (Top 5 JUCO nationally)
Junior College: Connors State College (Warner, Oklahoma)
Position: Power Forward
Chief Competition: Iowa, Florida State
Right now, Joey Van Zegeren needs help down low and after watching Willie Atwood's highlights and going over statistics, I'm pretty impressed. At six-foot-eight and 215 pounds, Atwood is a hefty load and has a very physical style of play. He's not scared to drive to the basket, he can rely on his jump shot to score efficiently, and has a fantastic baseline jumper. He can also be a monster on the boards. 247sports.com grades him at a 91 with a four star rating and he's dubbed the best JUCO player available by some on the internet. Honestly his statistics speak for themselves, folks. In 30 games this past season he averaged 20.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor and 77.4 percent from the free throw line. I came away impressed after my review of Atwood. He ranked first in his JUCO conference in free throw attempts, rebounds, and rebounds per game, second in points scored, and points per game, and fourth in field goal percentage. Currently, Atwood is ranked by 247Sports.com as the sixth best JUCO player available and the third best power forward. Florida State, Iowa, Arkansas, Auburn, and Virginia Tech are all in the running for the big man. I think Atwood would bring a level of toughness and physicality and add an extra element to that of Joey van Zegeren and Maurice Kirby.
Iowa looks to be all over him, and with Roy Devyn Marble finished there, it looks as though he might fit right in as a featured option. VT hasn't taken a JUCO in a long while, and in fact I would have to comb rosters to be sure. With the admissions policies, and coaches being control freaks, you just don't see the JUCO circuit utilized like it once was in the Wild Wild West days of Jerry Tarkanian (UNLV) and Billy Tubbs (Oklahoma).
Anyhow here are some highlights so you can draw your own conclusions:
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Willie Atwood vs. Redlands (via Highlight Reels)
With the offers to these two recruits, I believe that coach Buzz Williams is going to do what he does best, and that's recruit good players that will succeed in college basketball. He knows what kind of players and what type of teams win basketball games and ultimately make in deep into the NCAA tournament. Things are changing in the Hokies' men's basketball program from the ground up. A new coach means a new attitude and style of play, and with that comes new players to fit that mold. This is just the beginning.
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- VT Basketball: Where Will Trevor Thompson Transfer To?