Who’s Got Next? Justin Bibbs Raising the Talent Level at Virginia Tech and Aaron Jordan to IllinoisPosted by Sean Moran on January 6th, 2014
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Foul dedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin Bibbs: Ready for the ACC
After an NCAA appearance in 2007 and four consecutive NIT appearances from 2008-11, it has been a rough two-plus year stretch for Virginia Tech. Back-to-back four-win ACC seasons, a controversial coaching change, and the transfer of several talented players have conspired to rank the Hokies at No. 124 in Ken Pomeroy’s latest ratings. Head coach James Johnson is doing the best he can with what he has available, but Virginia Tech should start to see an uptick in its performance next year whensenior guard Justin Bibbs arrives in Blacksburg. The four-star shooting guard is currently ranked as the No. 23 player at his position and sits just outside of the top 100 in the class of 2014.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Bibbs transferred to Florida basketball powerhouse Montverde Academy after his sophomore year at Chaminade-Julienne High. As a junior he came off the bench for the top team in the country and gained experience playing with talented seniors such as Florida’s Kasey Hill and Kentucky’s Dakari Johnson. Now a senior himself, Bibbs has shined in national tournaments over the past few weeks. He was recently named to the All-Tournament team at the City of Palms Classic, where he led Montverde to the championship. This past weekend in West Virginia at the Cancer Research Classic he earned additional recognition for his high level of play. Bibbs is a tall, strong wing who stands at 6’5” and is possesses an extremely versatile skill set. The lefty is comfortable knocking down threes from the perimeter but also has the requisite speed and quickness to attack the rim off the dribble. On the defensive end, Bibbs’ uses his long wingspan to disrupt opponents on the perimeter and frustrates them with his physicality.
When the Hokies made the switch from Seth Greenberg to Johnson, they lost out on some talented players when five-star wing Dorian Finney-Smith transferred to Florida, and Montrezl Harrell, now a projected NBA lottery pick, backed out of his commitment to instead inked with Louisville. Now that Johnson has settled into his role as head coach it appears that the Hokies are slowly bringing back the talent they need to compete with the top of the ACC. Justin Bibbs is not currently a top 100 player, but when the rankings are updated his name will certainly be listed as one of the biggest stock risers. Johnson and his assistant coaches have traveled to Florida and West Virginia over the past few weeks to watch the talented wing and stress how important Bibbs is to the program’s rebuilding process.
Illinois Keeps Rolling in 2015
While Illinois was busy rolling to a 2-0 start in Big Ten play with a 75-55 win over Penn State on Saturday, the Illini also happened to lock up their second recruit from the class of 2015. Four-star shooting guard Aaron Jordan committed to John Groce’s program over the weekend. The 6’4” guard is known for his outside shooting ability and is currently ranked as the No. 20 shooting guard in the 2015 class and No. 77 player overall. As a sophomore at Plainfield East (IL), Jordan averaged just under 15 points per game and then had a strong spring and summer that turned him from a mid-major prospect into a Big Ten caliber player. Highly coveted by schools such as Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue, Jordan went with his home state school. While Groce missed out on five-star prospect Cliff Alexander in this year’s senior class, he has certainly honed in on some of the younger in-state prospects. In November, he landed a commitment from four-star junior small forward D.J. Williams (#35 overall, #7 SF), who hails from Chicago. When Jordan begins his career in Champaign he will be looking to offset the departures of current junior guards Rayvonte Rice and Joseph Bertrand, and will join forces with Illinois natives Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill as the next wave of players passing through Champaign. With the majority of players in the senior class already committed, the Illinois head coach has done an excellent job in landing early commitments from two four-star prospects in Illinois.