How exciting, there aren't even tweets from Buzz or Ahmed Hill as I write this. I actually went on this morning to update everyone, in case they hadn't already heard, that we had two exciting prospects in town on official visits. And I was duly informed that just 24 minutes prior, Evan Daniels had tweeted the following:
Ahmed Hill, a top 100 shooting guard in the 2014 class, just committed to Virginia Tech, per a source.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 19, 2014
Satchel Pierce, a three-star center, just committed to Virginia Tech, according to a source.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 19, 2014
Hill is the #54 player in the country. A silky, 6'5, 195 lb shooting guard (maybe listed heavier than he is) out of Aquinas (Augusta, GA) he had 25 offers. Most notably national champion UConn and the team they toppled in the Final Four, Florida. He attracted interest from Big 12 power Kansas, and several SEC schools. Most importantly, we beat out seven other ACC schools in Clemson, Duke, UNC, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, and Louisville. Though at this point I'd have to research who still has available scholarships, to see if those offers still stood. It's not necessarily that we beat any of these schools head to head --- though getting back at Florida and Louisville is a pleasant byproduct --- it's that people take notice that we won a recruiting battle with more highly regarded competitors on a player who is probably at the far edge of VT's geographic footprint (as it's about 6-7 hours away).
Here's a little video of Hill:
He appears to be a fearless attacker, going full speed at all times. He looks pretty unstoppable in the open floor, and you can envision him drawing fouls and getting to the line with his mentality. He has good leaping ability and relishes protecting the goal on the backside. Atlanta is an AAU hotbed and he plays for Southern Stampede against some of the best prospects in the south. If you recall from my piece in November on Justin Bibbs, Jalen Hudson, and TJ Lang, Lang spent his summers playing the Atlanta AAU circuit even though he played his high school ball in Alabama, so you can bank on Hill being tested against the best players from all over the southern region.
Cool Name, But Does He Have Game?
The other commitment came from Satchel Pierce, a multi-talented big man from The Kiski School (Saltsburg, PA). He's a 7'0", 260 lb center, who looks comfortable playing either facing the basket, or more traditionally with his back to it. I'm not going to lie, he looks like a young Brad Daugherty. He's very fluid, and is very comfortable in such a large frame. He appears to be underrated as a three star. He is a member of Team Adidas Ohio AAU team, that features Justin Bibbs, who signed a NLI with Virginia Tech back in November.
Pierce had offers from a less prestigious group than Hill, but it included many national powers, and of course he too had signed with Marquette previously, and they have had a better run of late than VT. This looks like we bought cheap, and that kind of arbitrage is something the Hokies haven't been able to exact as often as we'd like.
Here's the accompanying video of Pierce flashing a wide array of skills:
Like I said, compare him to Brad Daugherty, formerly of the UNC Tar Heels, teammate of Michael Jordan, all-star center for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I guess we know that Buzz has a type, don't we? He doesn't go for skinny in the post, no innuendo intended (or maybe there was, you be the judge).
The post in Blacksburg looks like it can be a strength by 2015, if not this year. With Joey Van Zegeren growing into his body, and developing freakishly in some areas, and Pierce providing what looks to be a stabilizing presence at both ends of the floor. For the first time in memory, the Hokie frontcourt will provide a physical, athletic presence that many won't be able to contend with.
Are More On The Way?Maybe, But Probably Not Who You Think
And more might be coming. As we mentioned this week, Frank Haith relinquished his position at Missouri for the same role at Tulsa. His top recruit, Jakeenan Grant is the #1 player in Georgia, is listed as a 6'7" Power Forward, though he's slender at 195 lbs, and would likely need to add a few pounds to be effective in the ACC in that role. He plays alongside Ahmed Hill as a member of the Southern Stampede AAU team. He already knows Buzz, and had an offer from Marquette. 247 has FSU and Indiana as tops in the mix for his services. Ordinarily, I'd have high hopes for a last minute coup from Williams, but in this case I'm dubious.
His family already moved to Missouri from Georgia to be close to him. He enrolled in a Missouri school. If it's that important for the family to remain near, then it'd be hard to see them doing it twice. Very much a good rationale for not having the early signing period, because the coaching changes happen in the Spring. And that would go double for football, who has a faction of coaches trying to gain impetus for an early signing period themselves.
Why Today Is Huge
This reinforces Buzz's reputation as a communicator and connector with his players. While Seth Greenberg heightened some of the expectations in Blacksburg as to the caliber of player the Hokies were able to attract, none of them would have likely followed him from a likely winning situation to a rebuilding one, particularly in the cellar of the ACC. Buzz has replaced two players who had decent upside with two players who have higher ceilings in my opinion. Most importantly he has his own tools to work with, and he knows that he can hit the ground running teaching the players to play his way.
There is still the Marquis Rankin scholarship out there and the class can swell to five, if Buzz were to add one more. But if he uses it this year, then we won't be offering more than one in 2015. I'd like to have the flexibility, and think that we should save the scholarship for next year, so we can better stagger the classes.
What a fantastic start to the weekend. Enjoy the playoffs, and some sunshine (hopefully you have it to, wherever you are). As always mi Cassell es su Cassell.
- Miami Hurricanes Football: 2014 Spring Practice Preview, Dealing With QB Setbacks
- Hokies Basketball Adds Ahmed Hill and Satchel Pierce To 2014 Recruiting Class
- Basketball Signing Period Update: Guard Ahmed Hill Released From Marquette LOI
- VT Spring Football: Midweek Report
- April 16th Only Gets Harder With Each Passing Year