While word of former team captain Ben Emelogu's transfer blindsided the public, it's clear that Buzz Williams was starting to expect to be without the rising sophomore.
A week before that announcement, Williams offered JUCO freshman shooting guard Maurice O'Field a scholarship on the heels of an unofficial visit to Blacksburg.
Maurice O'Field (6'6/G/2015) of Midland College took an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech today.— Brad Winton (@JucoRecruiting) June 27, 2014
2015 Midland College (TX) G Maurice O'Field has received an offer from Virginia Tech. (HT @JucoRecruiting) @Mr_Ofield http://t.co/YAxWwsJhWN— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) June 27, 2014
This is easily the most interesting prospect Buzz has zeroed in on to this point for a number of reasons.
O'Field was a two star recruit according to ESPN but had a number of offers including Cincinnati and West Virginia. The trouble with Maurice out of high school was grades. He committed to East Tennessee State but didn't qualify so he never played at ETSU. He did attend classes but earlier this spring decided to transfer to Midland College in Texas.
Maurice is essentially the prototypical Buzz Williams player. He's a 6'6", 190-pound wing player with great athleticism. There are question marks because not only is O'Field a JUCO recruit with potential grade issues but he comes from a tough background in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. This is the type of kid Buzz likes to take chances on and help mold into a successful student-athlete. It might be questionable to some, but Buzz has a strong track record with similar players.
As you can see from the video up top, O'Field has a knack for being around the basket and is comfortable finishing in just about any fashion. He sticks with plays and is patient without the ball. He shows a good shooting stroke and definitely looks like someone that could help the Tech program sooner rather than later.
Another example of his athleticism is shown in this clip that appeared on ESPN's SportsNation a few years ago.
Since Maurice is currently enrolled at a junior college he could be eligible in the fall if his grades are in order. That's assuming that the NCAA doesn't raise academic red flags like they did for Malik Mueller last summer.
A transfer would provide a quick fix for the unexpected midsummer roster shift brought on by Ben Emelogu's decision. Given his size and skill set, I envision Maurice as a small forward teaming up with Justin Bibbs at that spot. That would allow Jalen Hudson and Ahmed Hill to both focus on shooting guard which I think is a more natural position for both.
Stick with Gobbler Country as O'Field's recruitment continues.