Who’s Got Next? Justin Bibbs Raising the Talent Level at Virginia Tech and Aaron Jordan to Illinois

Posted by Sean Moran on January 6th, 2014

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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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

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.

Justin Bibbs Will Help Get Virginia Tech’s Talent Level Back

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.

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Big Ten M5: 01.06.14 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on January 6th, 2014

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  1. Indiana’s center, Luke Fischer, will be transferring to Marquette – a move that will get him closer to home. “I am excited to say I will be transferring to Marquette University to play for Coach (Buzz) Williams and the Golden Eagles,” Fischer said on Twitter. Even though he only averaged 2.8 points per game this season, he will be missed over the next three years in Bloomington. It is likely that Noah Vonleh will enter the NBA Draft after his freshman season, which could have opened the door for Fischer to step into the role as the starting center for Tom Crean. Without Fischer, Hanner Perea will likely take a bigger role next season after the potential departure of Vonleh.
  2. As if Gary Harris‘ 26 points against Indiana in Bloomington wasn’t enough, Tom Izzo promises that the fans can expect more from the sophomore over the next three months. “He’s a special player, and I promise he’s not even close to where he’s going to be,” Izzo said. Harris, who has been plagued with health issues, may slowly be coming back to 100% health, but should eventually improve his game with more practice. His offensive versatility was on full display at Bloomington as he shot 5-10 from beyond the arc and was active defensively with five steals. A healthy and active Harris will be the main offensive option in March when Michigan State needs to put up points against tougher competition.
  3. Before Illinois‘ game against Penn State in Champaign on Saturday, the Flyin’ Illini were honored because it is their 25th anniversary of their Final Four run in 1989. They are, arguably, the best team in Illini history, but the 2005 squad with Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head could give them a run for their money. Mark Tupper discusses which team might be the best team in Illini history. My stance on this topic: the 2005 team was about 30 seconds (close losses to Ohio State and North Carolina) away from being the first undefeated team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers squad, so I’ll take them over the electrifying Flyin’ Illini. Regardless, it will be tough to surpass either of these teams in the history books.
  4. After disappointing decisions by Quentin Snider and Cliff Alexander, John Groce‘s recruiting took a brief hit over the last two months. However, he landed a commit from four-star guard, Aaron Jordan, for the 2015 recruiting class. The 6’4″ guard will provide much needed three-point shooting for an Illini squad that doesn’t have a designated gunner on their roster. Even though Jon Ekey is shooting 38% from beyond the arc, the Illini need at least one guard to shoot 42% from the long-range to diversify their offensive sets in the future.
  5. Jarrod Uthoff‘s transfer issues have been documented fairly well over the past year and half or so. In brief, he wanted to transfer to Iowa, but there were a few issues in getting the transfer approved by head coach Bo Ryan. Uthoff is averaging 10.9 points per game as a Hawkeye, but one has to wonder if there is any friction between Ryan and Fran McCaffery over the transfer. When asked about this topic on Big Ten Media Day, Ryan responded, “I don’t even know why that would be a question, I don’t understand the question.” Setting this topic aside, both of these teams match up fairly well and both of the games should be excellent match-ups this season. Uthoff’s entrance into the game on Sunday night in Madison didn’t really trigger many boos from the crowd.
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