ACC Team Previews: Virginia Tech Hokies

Posted by EMann on October 18th, 2012

Throughout the preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 teams. Today’s victim: the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Virginia Tech finally escaped the the wrong side of the bubble last year… by coming nowhere near the bubble. The Hokies’ 2011-12 season was a massive disappointment, as the squad finished below .500 and 4-12 in the ACC. However, Virginia Tech was probably a better team than their record indicated. In ACC play (including the ACC Tournament), the team was 5-9 in games decided by five points or less, so it was clear that luck was not on their side. This season, more importantly, was the final nail in the coffin for Seth Greenberg, one of the ACC’s most vocal coaches. Greenberg was fired in April, not just due to his team’s inability to make the NCAA Tournament (only once in his tenure), but also due to his inability to retain assistant coaches and retain continuity in the program.

Johnson faces many challenges in his first year as a Division I head coach. (USA Today)

Before his firing, two members of Greenberg’s staff left during this offseason, and it was the second time in three years he had to replace multiple members of his coaching staff. Greenberg’s firing, which shocked the man himself, also made it very difficult for Virginia Tech to hire the best coach available in the coaching carousel and also drastically hurt their player retention/recruiting due to the strange timing of the move. New coach James Johnson was an assistant under Greenberg for five years before taking an assistant coaching job at Clemson. Johnson had held the position at Clemson for all of 2 1/2 weeks before the Virginia Tech job became vacant. Virginia Tech hopes that Johnson can help provide the continuity (and the urge for a more difficult non-conference schedule) that eluded Greenberg, while also building on Greenberg’s positive moves towards making Virginia Tech a viable threat to perennially contend towards Tournament bids, a difficult task for a coach at a school where football is certainly prioritized.

Newcomers

This is where Virginia Tech’s suddenly thin roster is apparent. Three-star forward Marcus Wood is the only scholarship freshman on the team, following the de-commitment of Montrezl Harrell (who later chose Louisville) in the wake of Greenberg’s firing. Wood should see immediate playing time as an athletic forward who can hopefully replace the role of the transferring Dorian Finney-Smith (they have nearly the same build, 6’8” and just under 200 lbs.). Virginia Tech also added a walk-on guard, Marcus Patrick, a high school teammate of Wood, who could compete for some bench minutes on this scant roster. Adam Smith, who transferred from UNC Wilmington, will sit out the 2012-13 season. Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC M5: 10.15.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on October 15th, 2012

  1. CBS Sports: Florida State‘s next recruiting class is getting better and better by the day. Jarquez Smith, a 6’9″ forward with perimeter skills, will join Xavier Rathan-Mayes as the early crown jewels of the Seminoles’ next recruiting class. While Smith doesn’t quite have the reputation of Rathan-Mayes, as a rangy forward with serious defensive and shot-blocking chops, he is in many ways the prototypical Leonard Hamilton player. An excellent fit and an even better get for Florida State.
  2. Daily Press: Though it isn’t as splashy as the Seminoles’ move, the Hokies have quietly been putting together a solid class of their own. On Sunday, Ben Emelogu, a scoring wing with excellent size, committed to Virginia Tech. Emelogu joins Maurice Kirby, a slender center who committed on Friday. While both players don’t quite have the prestige of highly-ranked recruits, they both figure to help a Virginia Tech team that will be trying to find a new identity after the departure of former coach Seth Greenberg.
  3. Fayetteville Observer:  “Primetime With The Pack,” the appropriately titled event that marks the beginning of North Carolina State‘s basketball season, came to an abrupt close when Scott Wood‘s grandfather collapsed and had to be carried out on a stretcher. The scrimmage was cut short with a few minutes left. According to a message on Scott Wood’s Twitter account, his grandfather appears to be doing better after receiving some fluids. A strange end to an event that had an even stranger beginning with coach Mark Gottfried being somewhat inexplicably lowered from the ceiling.
  4. Washington Post: The renaming of the beginning of basketball season is surely complete when the inventors of Midnight Madness abandon the name. They are calling it Maryland Madness in the place where Lefty Driesell once invented Midnight Madness. Still, despite the change in name, the event had plenty of highlights, including some new looks by a few of the big men. Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell showed off the weight loss that will make the big men a little more agile. Of course, not to be undone, the giant bruiser Alex Len showed off his newfound range by draining a step-back three-pointer. If that wasn’t an incredible enough sight, the event also featured the team dancing to Gangnam Style. There is apparently a lot of that going around.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: At Chapel Hill, the evening practice kick-off went as it usually does, but the event had a different tone as most of the gathered fans reserved their loudest cheers for coach Roy Williams, who is still recovering from the surgical removal of a benign kidney tumor. Earlier Friday, Williams, along with George Karl and a few other North Carolina legends held a fundraising breakfast for cancer research, an annual tradition since Williams’ return to Chapel Hill.   The event, a more somber precursor to the antics that were to come later that evening, raised around $150,000 to fight this disease.
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Morning Five: 08.01.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 1st, 2012

  1. The NCAA on Tuesday hammered Central Florida with a one-year postseason ban as a result of the dreaded “lack of institutional control” violation in both its football and men’s basketball programs. The penalty is effective next season, which means that UCF’s last round in Conference USA before moving to the Big East will not contain the possibility of a league championship. For all the nitty-gritty details of the findings and what the probation means to the program, individual players and coaches, read Jeff Goodman’s piece on the matter, but the nutshell is that the athletic department allowed at least one agent to run roughshod through the program even though only one of the players involved (AJ Rompza) ever suited up at UCF. Comically, and as the Orlando Sentinel‘s Mike Bianchi writes: “The most tragically comical part of the whole ordeal is this: The Knights were cheating to get recruits, but none of those recruits ended up playing for the school. It’s one thing to be a cheater; it’s another to be an incompetent cheater.” We’re sure that this makes Ohio State, USC, and all the rest feel much better.
  2. This has been quite a transitional week for a number of college basketball media personalities, as CBS Sports, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated all announced the signing of new talent on Tuesday. The biggest mover was perhaps ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb, who signed on with CBS to serve as a college hoops studio and game analyst, host his own drive-time radio show on CBS Sports Radio and a television show on CBS Sports Network, and provide exclusive online content for CBSSports.com. Gottlieb is one of our favorites in the business because his devotion to research is impeccable and, even when we disagree with his points (which is uncommon), he cuts through all the typical pandering you see on television to make them. This announcement came on the heels of ESPN’s Monday announcement of its own new hires, with former head coaches Bruce Pearl and Seth Greenberg joining the college basketball studio as analysts, and NBA analyst Jalen Rose slotted to replace the departed Hubert Davis on College Gameday. We don’t have much of an opinion on the coaches at this point, but generally feel like Rose’s transformation from Fab Five knucklehead to a solid NBA analyst is one of the greatest we’ve ever witnessed. Others are less impressed with these hires. Finally, SI announced internally on Monday night that the New York Times‘ rabble-rouser Pete Thamel is moving over to its writing lineup. For those wondering, your RTC editors have not yet been contacted by the Times for Thamel’s open position, but we expect the call at any moment.
  3. UNLV basketball has bounced in and out of the Top 25 the last few seasons under Lon Kruger and Dave Rice, but a jump into the national consciousness like the Runnin’ Rebels enjoyed two decades ago with Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Tark the Shark and the rest has remained elusive. But, as Jeff Goodman writes about Rice’s 2012-13 Rebs, the upcoming team will be the most talented that Vegas has seen just off strip since that monstrous team some 20 years ago. With elite talent such as Mike Moser, Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch available to him on the front line, and an athletic backcourt including Anthony Marshall, Bryce Jones and Katin Reinhardt, Rice is realistically talking about pushing tempo to put the “Runnin’” back in the Rebels nickname. If the pieces all come together and UNLV gets past its road woes, this team is a group worth watching all season long.
  4. Speaking of Sin City, Seth Davis is working hard this week, with a two-part piece he calls “Summer Springs Eternal” over on SI.com. The article breaks down his July trip to Las Vegas where he no doubt wore a nice white golf shirt and pow-wowed on the bleachers with the top coaches from around the nation. In the first installment published on Monday, he relates anecdotes from Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Colorado’s Tad Boyle, Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, Illinois’ John Groce, UCLA’s Ben Howland, Memphis’ Josh Pastner, DePaul’s Oliver Purnell, and Butler’s Brad Stevens. Part two published on TuesdayVir includes stories and quotes from Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, San Diego State’s Steve Fisher, USC’s Kevin O’Neill, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Kansas’ Bill Self, and Georgetown’s John Thompson, III. Even if your team’s coach isn’t on this list, it’s well worth the read to see which guys are willing to drop hints of truth about their players and teams, and those who are completely full of coachspeak.
  5. Lists like the one that Athlon Sports just released naming the top 30 coaches in college basketball are a bit of an exercise in futility because the topic is so completely subjective that everyone has a complaint. Still, you don’t release such a list without asking for attention, so here are the top three problems we have with it: 1) It’s very hard to believe that any list of best current college coaches would have anyone other than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski at the very top. Four national titles, 11 Final Fours, countless wins and accolades… but perhaps most importantly, he saved USA Basketball from the abomination it had become. 2) Roy Williams at #7 is astonishing as well. He has his issues, but is he behind Jim Boeheim and John Calipari? 3) Even if Jim Calhoun retired today, there is no way on this earth that there are 21 better college basketball coaches than him. And definitely not Mike Montgomery, Tom Crean or Mike Brey. Get over there and leave your comments on their list.
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ACC Summer Recess: Virginia Tech Hokies

Posted by mpatton on July 17th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Virginia Tech.

Where They Stand Now

Virginia Tech surprised most people last year. The Hokies were picked in the middle of the pack by pretty much everyone. It was supposed to be a “down year” in the sense that people expected Seth Greenberg‘s perennial bubble team to not be one of the last teams out on Selection Sunday. Non-conference play went as expected: the Hokies lost all three games they played against tough competition and won the other 11. Then the ACC slate hit like a dump truck.

Virginia Tech started 1-6 in conference play with losses to league cellar dwellers Boston College and Wake Forest. Until beating Clemson by five in their final regular season match-up, the Hokies’ three wins came by a total of five points. No conference team played opponents as consistently close (Virginia Tech saw all but four of its conference games decided by single figures), but no team saw fewer conference wins either. It was the last straw for the athletic department brass, which waited until April 23 to let Greenberg go.

Erick Green

Erick Green Has First Team All-ACC Potential this Season.

In his stead is last year’s Assistant Head Coach, James Johnson. Johnson is a great choice for the job, though he failed his first assignments. Top recruit Montrezl Harrell de-committed from the program to go to Louisville, and rising star Dorian Finney-Smith transferred to Florida. Still, Johnson knows the Virginia Tech team well and he knows the program.

Who’s Leaving

Long story short: a lot of people. The Hokies lose Dorenzo Hudson and Victor Davila to graduation; they lose Allan Chaney and Finney-Smith to transfer; and they lost Harrell’s commitment along with their head coach Greenberg.

Hudson and Davila were the team’s second and fourth-leading scorers, respectively. They combined to average 18.4 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. While Finney-Smith was still very raw offensively, he contributed a lot on defense and by crashing the glass. He was highly rated coming out of high school (#18 by ESPN, #27 by Scout and #31 by Rivals), largely thanks to his potential.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Morning Five: 06.22.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 22nd, 2012

  1. Last night marked the end of another season of basketball as the NBA crowned its newest champion, the Miami Heat, and we now head into a four-month dry spell without competitive hoops (the Summer Olympics next month will provide a brief respite). While the evening definitely belonged to LeBron James’ coronation as one of the all-time greats, a pair of his role player teammates joined the short list of players to have won both a national title in college as well as a world title in the NBA. With the Heat’s victory, Kansas’ Mario Chalmers (2008) and Duke’s Shane Battier (2001) have now pulled off the twin feat, increasing the the total number of NBA champs with at least one NCAA champion in its regular rotation to an astonishing 71 percent. Battier in particular has long been considered a more valuable player than his numbers might suggest, but it’s no great secret to suggest that winning players tend to find their ways onto winning teams. Congratulations to Battier, Chalmers, James and the rest of the Miami Heat for their 2012 world championship.
  2. While on the subject of the NBA, it appears that ESPN analyst Jalen Roseis set to become the Gameday replacement for Hubert Davis next season. We’ve said this before, but the metamorphosis of Rose from Fab Five hothead to a solid ESPN analyst is nothing short of phenomenal. Unlike Davis and most of the Gameday crew, Rose isn’t afraid to mix it up a bit — Digger Phelps taking ridiculous positions for the sake of comedy notwithstanding — and could serve to enliven a group that has a tendency to act non-confrontational. From the same article, TBL suggests that former Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg will become a college basketball analyst on the WWL next season as well, with an eye toward replacing Phelps when he finally decides to retire.
  3. We expect to have another post on this topic up later today, but Matt Norlander at CBSSports.com writes that the APR rule which will keep 10 programs out of the postseason in 2012-13 could have a significant deleterious effect on the future of the game if schools don’t take it seriously. The key point is that as many as 60 schools could have been kept out of next year’s postseason if the APR floor of 930 was already in effect (as it will be in 2015). Some of those schools include names like Oklahoma State, Providence, Oregon, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU, and while none of those carry the cachet of Connecticut, the reality of it suggests that a one- or two-year drop in significant academic performance could in fact knock big-time programs such as UCLA or Michigan State out of the NCAA Tournament in some future year. The NCAA has already shown through its refusal of UConn’s appeal that it has no interest in providing exceptions, so this is something everyone involved with college basketball at the ground level will have to carefully monitor.
  4. Louisville announced on Thursday that former rising star forward Rakeem Buckleswill transfer to play for Rick Pitino’s son, Richard, at FIU for his final season. The hard-luck player has suffered a conga line of injuries after a promising freshman year in 2009-10 that ended with him going for 20/9 in an NCAA Tournament loss to California. His sophomore and junior seasons were both cut short by ACL injuries, and he is expected to miss the entire 2012-13 season recovering from his latest ligament tear. Louisville appears to be loaded at his position going into the next two seasons, so we’re sure that Buckles viewed this transfer as an opportunity to head closer to home and find some playing time in a comfortable situation to finish his career.
  5. In clearly one of the great disappointments of this offseason, West Virginia’s hirsute Deniz Kiliclihas decided to shave off his trademark mountain man beard. Citing the summer heat in Morgantown as the primary reason for his shearing, we hope that he allows for plenty of time to bring it back next fall. Right around October 15 is fine with us. Only 112 days now…

A Beardless Kilicli: The Horror, The Horror…

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ACC Weekly Five: 06.18.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on June 18th, 2012

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: In January, when Georgia Tech ended up as the landing place for former Kentucky player Stacey Poole, it was a nice get for the beleaguered Yellow Jackets, but not a game-changer. However, taking on Stacey has paid dividends in the form of a younger brother, Solomon Poole. Stacey’s little brother is a five-star point guard for the Class of 2013 and he is headed to join his older brother in Atlanta. Solomon admits that his brother’s presence was a major factor in his decision to attend Georgia Tech, and I doubt if Brian Gregory could be much happier with this turn of events.
  2. Duke Basketball Report: Though conference schedules have yet to be officially released, tidbits about the schedule have been making their ways into various reports. The good folks at DBR have taken it upon themselves to round up the reports (which are focused on Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and North Carolina). You can also see the match-ups for Florida State on the school’s athletic department website. Though it’s probably a little early to make assessments about the difficulty of a given schedule, it looks like the Tar Heels may have a rough season ahead.
  3. Durham Herald-Sun: Speaking of rough seasons for North Carolina, the troubles of  2010 and 2011 are still haunting the team, albeit in a fairly minor way. North Carolina’s streak of six years of APR Public Recognition Awards for the men’s basketball team has ended and it’s all UCLA’s fault or something like that. The APR is a simple measure of the academic status of a given collegiate athletic program. Though North Carolina has typically fared pretty well by this measure, transfers count against the school’s retention rate, and the defections of David Wear, Travis Wear, and Larry Drew to UCLA, in addition to the dismissal of Will Graves means that UNC has one really ugly looking APR season on it’s record. While complete APR scores are slated for a Wednesday release,  it bears mentioning that Duke paced the ACC with the most awards, including one for the men’s basketball team.
  4. Kansas City Star: Missouri will continue it’s reign as a landing spot for ACC coaches who enjoyed success and then moved on. Former Miami and current Missouri head coach Frank Haith has hired Dave Leitao as an assistant. Leitao, before a stint leading the Maine Red Claws of the NBDL, was of course the head coach at Virginia and the ACC Coach of the Year in 2007.  It’s a good hire for Missouri and a nice move for a guy who is good enough to be a college head coach just about anywhere.
  5. Washington Post: The situation of recently appointed Virginia Tech coach James Jones is as interesting as it is difficult . Former head coach Seth Greenberg left behind a legacy of confusion and accusations that seemed to undermine the program at every turn, nearly undoing all the building that Greenberg had accomplished during his tenure. This profile takes some time getting to know the ACC’s newest head coach and exploring the major task he faces in rebuilding a  basketball program that took some major blows in Greenberg’s wake.
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Big East Weekly Five: 06.14.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on June 14th, 2012

  1. It has been a while since we have checked in with some recent news from everybody’s favorite basketball conference that is slowly falling apart, and for that we apologize. We have real jobs (womp womp) and occasionally it can be difficult to find time to recap the week’s Big East news. That said, we recognize our recent shortcomings and will make amends starting now. Weekly Fives will come out on Tuesday morning, and barring some minor catastrophe, they will become a regular staple again. So rejoice, and enjoy some much belated news.
  2. Maybe Villanova isn’t going to lose center Markus Kennedy after all. The rising sophomore made the understandable announcement that he was transferring two weeks ago, presumably because there weren’t a lot of minutes to go around next season. Well now he appears to be reconsidering that decision, although it is still unknown whether coach Jay Wright would even take him back. Kennedy had an unremarkable freshman campaign, but did look like someone who could develop into a quality contributor down the road. The question now becomes whether he is good enough to continue to take up a scholarship Wright could give to a more talented recruit in the next year or two.
  3. The frontcourt that Rick Pitino has assembled at Louisville for next season will be very talented and very deep, but that didn’t stop the Cardinals from adding to the mix as they landed one of the last 2012 Top 100 recruits left unsigned in Montrezl Harrell. Harrell asked for his release from Virginia Tech when the Hokies fired Seth Greenberg, and now the undersized but rugged power forward — who also was recently named to the US Men’s U-18 national team — will be headed to the Bluegrass State. Considering the depth the Cardinals already boast in the paint, it will be tough for Harrell to crack the rotation and find consistent minutes as a freshman, and the addition also forces Louisville to play the always fun game of musical scholarships, but the late signing is still quite a coup.
  4. Like so many others who cover the conference, we were guilty of doubting Steve Lavin’s ability to recruit talent to St. John’s given the doubts about his long term future with the Red Storm. Well, consider us properly shamed, as not only has Lavin continued to make progress health-wise, but the program’s recruiting continues to flourish under the leadership of their charismatic coach. First, Lavin convinced Jakarr Sampson to recommit, and most recently, Top 100 big man Christopher Obekpa committed too, giving the Red Storm another talented class highlighted by big men. Given the well-publicized transfers, recruiting defeats, and early departures that marked the Red Storm’s season, this recruiting class is huge from a momentum standpoint. With Lavin’s health improving, he is set to return to the bench next season, and it looks like St. John’s has successfully avoided a catastrophe and continues to move in the right direction.
  5. Two Big East teams made news this week thanks to transfer decisions, although the teams made news for opposite reasons. First, former Providence combo guard Gerard Coleman is officially transferring to Gonzaga, where his ability to score and rebound will make a huge impact in Spokane once he sits out a year. It is never a good thing to lose a player of Coleman’s caliber, but the Friars’ backcourt is already so crowded, it at least gives coach Ed Cooley one less headache to worry about. The second transfer involves Huggy Bear and his West Virginia squad, who landed well-traveled forward Matt Humphrey. The 6-foot-5 forward has already made stops at Oregon and Boston College and will be eligible to play immediately because he earned his degree from BC last year. He will have one year of eligibility remaining and after an impact season in Chestnut Hill, Humphrey should give Huggins an experienced and multi-faceted swing player who can step out and knock down the three-pointer as well as defend multiple positions. At the very least it should help the Mountaineers recover from the loss of its Mr. Everything, Kevin Jones.
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Who’s Got Next? Domingo A Hoya, Robinson A Hoosier And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 25th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. 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 who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. 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.

Lead Story: Georgetown Reels In Top-50 Junior Wing

Domingo Is A Great Pick-up For Head Coach John Thompson III And Georgetown.

Domingo A Big Pick-up For the Hoyas. Georgetown has been working hard on local guys in the Class of 2013 such as point guard Rysheed Jordan, shooting guard Davon Reed and center BeeJay Anya, but the Hoyas went to the opposite end of the country to pick up their first commitment in the junior class as small forward Stephen Domingo, a California native, made a verbal to head coach John Thompson III. Domingo is actually the second California wing to commit to Georgetown as Hollis Thompson a Los Angeles native. Domingo also has ties to the nation’s capital since his grandparents are D.C. residents and his mom is a District native. Domingo is a great pick-up for the Hoyas since he is a great shooter with terrific range and a smooth stroke. He can knock it down off the bounce or in catch-and-shoot situations and has great height and length. Georgetown is also chasing after point guard Tyler Ennis, small forward Nick King and power forward Jermaine Lawrence in the Class of 2013 although they may be out of the race for top-100 small forward Josh Hart now.

What They’re Saying

Junior Juwan Parker on where each school stands in his recruitment: “I’m considering three schools right now: Memphis, Georgia and Stanford. I would rank them in that order.”

Memphis Leads For Junior Standout Juwan Parker. (Daryl Paunil/National Recruiting Spotlight)

Junior Stanford Robinson on why he committed to the Hoosiers: “[Indiana head] coach [Tom] Crean, we connected very, very quickly. We shared a lot of laughs, he presented his plan of where he sees me fitting in and how I could play a part in it.

Junior Stephen Domingo on choosing Georgetown: “It was really the relationship I developed with coach [John Thompson III] and the way they promote the versatility of their wings. They rely on their wings a lot and they use their wings in a way I can be productive offensively and defensively.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: James Johnson Back as Virginia Tech’s Head Coach

Posted by mpatton on May 1st, 2012

According to the Washington Post, former associate head coach “James Johnson will be named Virginia Tech’s next head men’s basketball coach, according to a person in the athletic department with direct knowledge of the situation.” Athletic director Jim Weaver would not confirm the hire, but pointed to a press conference to be scheduled early this week.

James Johnson To Be Named Virginia Tech's Next Head Coach (photo credit: Mark Dolejs, US Presswire)

When Virginia Tech fired Seth Greenberg last week, my two primary issues with the move were the timing and lack of available candidates. Since the firing, I’ve done an about-face on my opinion: Now I believe Greenberg’s staff turnover and recent stagnation left Weaver with no other options. Half of coaching college basketball is recruiting players and keeping players around — assistant coaches are absolutely critical to that process. Without consistency on the coaching staff, it’s up to the head coach to make close relationships with all potential recruits and current players. That’s just not feasible. Additionally, high level assistants like Johnson take on large coaching responsibilities like defensive scouting.

The reason I was so against dismissing Greenberg was the timing made a slim crop of candidates even slimmer, which made it more likely that the replacement coach would be a step down from Greenberg. The only real in-house candidate was Johnson, who had just departed for Clemson. Based on the timing of Greenberg’s firing, Johnson’s departure was at least the straw that broke the camel’s back. Monday’s report supports this hypothesis. If the reports are true, I love the hire. Johnson knows the area, having grown up in Virginia and coached in Blacksburg. This should have the short-term advantage in re-committing top prospect Montrezl Harrell and keeping all of the current players on the roster. Johnson is definitely a risk — as all first-time head coaches are — but I’d rather see a school take a risk than fall back on a recycled coach.

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ACC Weekly Five: 04.30.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on April 30th, 2012

  1. Orlando Sentinel:  Florida State, despite winning the regular season conference title, remains something of an enigma for the coming season. Last year’s run was largely the product of a veteran, senior-laden team. With the graduation of so many players, the Seminoles’ ability to defend their season title is in question. Fortunately for fans in Tallahassee, Leonard Hamilton and his assistants have been hitting the recruiting trail hard. With the recent recruiting coup of 7’3″ Boris Bojanovsky, FSU adds some much needed size to the roster.
  2. CBS Sports: Former Duke wing Michael Gbinije will land at Syracuse. In his single year at Duke, Gbinije was rarely utilized. At Syracuse, the talented but unproven player will get an odd opportunity. ACC bylaws prevent players from transferring to other in-conference schools. Yet, Gbinije will get plenty of chances to go against his former team because of the imminence of conference realignment. Though slated to eventually come to the ACC, Syracuse currently remains a Big East school, and because of the NCAA’s required one year waiting period for transfers, there’s a chance that Gbinije won’t play a game in any conference but the ACC.
  3. Washington Post: After Seth Greenberg’s surprising dismissal earlier this month, the Virginia Tech coaching search has been moving pretty quickly. Despite unrealistic targets like Shaka Smart and Jay Wright, the search now seems to be zeroing in on some more reasonable candidates, most notably North Carolina State associate head coach Bobby Lutz. Lutz has had previous success in a head coaching position, putting together twelve pretty successful seasons at UNC-Charlotte. Interestingly, North Carolina assistant Steve Robinson has also expressed strong interest in the job, though it’s unclear if Virginia Tech reciprocates the interest.
  4. Daily Press:  One serious consequence of Seth Greenberg’s firing is how understaffed it has left Virginia Tech in the interim. With the diaspora of disgruntled former assistants, last season’s video coordinator John Janovsky has been the only Hokie representative currently on the recruiting trail. With a school that has had a tough time landing top recruits in the past, this current lapse stands to set back the Hokies significantly. Virginia Tech needs a coaching staff sooner rather than later.
  5. The Diamondback: Maryland guard Pe’Shon Howard was arrested for disorderly conduct late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. There’s no indication that Howard did more than taunt and “instigate,” but we’re sure Mark Turgeon will be less than pleased to see one of his players making the papers for the wrong reasons.
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Who’s Got Next? Tony Parker Commits, Ripple Effect of Greenberg Firing

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 26th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. 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 who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. 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.

Lead Story: Tony Parker Joins Adams, Anderson and Muhammad at UCLA

Parker Choose UCLA Over Duke, Georgia And Ohio State. (Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Tony Parker Gives UCLA Top Recruiting Class.  Class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker committed to UCLA Monday over Duke, Georgia and Ohio State, joining point guard Kyle Anderson and small forwards Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad in head coach Ben Howland’s stellar 2012 recruiting class. Parker brings a tremendous inside presence to Westwood and is someone who will be able to rebound as soon as he steps onto campus. He is an elite big man with a great skill set in the low post and has the ability to score through a variety of moves in the paint. He can make a hook over both shoulders and is able to play facing the basket, although he’s at his best with his back to the basket. The biggest knock on Parker has always been the same — that he’s out of shape and lacks stamina. However, the Georgia native has worked hard to dispel that notion and although he can still improve his conditioning, he’s definitely gotten better at running the court and has an improved motor. Once Parker gets to UCLA, he’ll join a crowded frontcourt that already includes sophomore power forwards David and Travis Wear and sophomore center Josh Smith. Every single person in the UCLA’s 2012 recruiting class worked hard on recruiting Parker and Adams even predicted back in December that the Bruins would land him. UCLA fans should remain cautiously optimistic, though, because as we’ve pointed out at RTC, having a highly ranked recruiting class doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, borne out by UCLA’s 2008 recruiting class. Although, there are some differences between this year’s recruiting class and the one four years ago.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Marshall Wood on asking for a release from Virginia Tech: “I need to get my release so I can review all my options. If somebody gets the job at Tech that recruited me or something and I have a really good relationship with [him], I possibly could still go back. But right now I just want to get the release so I can have more options to look at.” Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Weekly Five: 04.24.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on April 24th, 2012

The ACC Microsite is back after a brief hiatus. It’s been a busy couple of weeks with NBA Draft announcements and the like. We’ll be cranking out season recaps and scouting reports over the next few weeks, but to get things started, here’s five stories from this week.

  1. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Virginia Tech got some bad news earlier when James Johnson, the Hokies’ associate head coach, resigned to take a position at Clemson. According to Johnson’s discussion with David Teel, the move wasn’t about money as much as it was about opportunity. That said, the biggest differences in Johnson’s new job at Clemson and his old job at Virginia Tech are his boss and his salary (which went up 33%).
  2. Washington Post: The biggest news came yesterday when Virginia Tech announced Seth Greenberg‘s termination. The news wasn’t hugely surprising, though it came at a horrible time and totally out of thin air. My biggest issue with the firing was the timing. The Hokies’ season was over six weeks ago — why wait this long to pull the trigger? The answer seems to lie in the above article. Jim Weaver cited staff turnover as the primary reason for letting Greenberg go, though that seems to point to Greenberg’s prickly persona — which almost certainly alienated members of his staff and the athletic department — as the culprit.
  3. Fox Sports Carolinas: CJ Leslie made a great decision to come back to NC State. Not only does his return make the Wolfpack the “on paper” team to beat in the ACC, but he wasn’t a first-round draft lock by any means. Not to say that earning a contract in summer league is something to be ashamed of, but it’s not the guaranteed money that he easily could be looking at with another strong season behind him.
  4. Washington Post: Speaking of retaining assistants, Maryland shelled out quite a bit of money to keep Mark Turgeon’s staff intact. Turgeon’s staff collectively made just shy of $860,000 last year. The assistants’ collective salary is more than the budget of seven of the eight athletic teams the Maryland athletic department decided to cut to help balance the budget this past year.
  5. MassLive.com: Former Duke star Chris Carrawell will be sitting on the bench for the New Jersey Nets during the team’s last week of regular season action. Carrawell spent the season as an assistant coach on the Nets D-League team, the Springfield Armour. It looked like Carrawell was heading towards a spot on Duke’s coaching staff until Jeff Capel rejoined about a year ago, pushing everyone back a peg.
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