The middle of October is just about here, and that means the start of basketball season is around the corner. Virginia Tech has a senior laden team this year, which should lead to a good season on the court. Seth Greenberg and staff have also had a good offseason on the recruiting trail, hauling in what appears to be the best recruiting class since Greenberg's arrival in Blacksburg, and perhaps the best in school history.
When the 2006-07 basketball season is over, the Hokies will lose Zabian Dowdell, Jamon Gordon, Coleman Collins, Markus Sailes and Chris Tucker, five experienced seniors. Their departure will open the door for a number of very talented players to join the team in 2007.
Currently, the following current scholarship players will be back for 2007-2008
That's seven players. The NCAA allows each team 13 scholarship players on their roster. Currently Virginia Tech has secured commitments from five players for the class of 2007, which means that as of right now, the Hokies have room to bring in one more player in the class of 2007.
Before we talk about who that player could be, or if the coaching staff will even want to sign a sixth player, let's take a look at the five players that have already made verbal pledges to Virginia Tech.
Jeff Allen, combo forward
Jeff Allen is the highest rated member of the 2007 recruiting class. He originally signed with the Hokies as part of the 2006 recruiting class, but he is prepping at Hargrave Military Academy and will enroll next year. He is the highest rated postgraduate player in the nation and a tremendous recruiting coup for Seth Greenberg and staff.
Allen is a unanimous Top 100 player, and he is approaching the top 50 on several lists. He isn't rated in the Scout.com Top 100 because he is a postgraduate player, but they do list him as the #9 power forward in the nation. Scout's #9 power forward is the #26 overall player in the nation, while the #10 power forward checks in at #35 overall. That would put Jeff Allen anywhere from #27 to #34 nationally.
Allen, 6-7, 235, is a skilled big man. He is very tough inside and shows the ability to rebound, play tough defense and score in the low post. He is also a solid three-point shooter and ball handler and was even spotted leading fast breaks for famed Oak Hill Academy last year.
Allen will probably begin his career at Virginia Tech on the inside but could easily settle at small forward before its all said and done.
Augustus Gilchrist, forward/center
Gus Gilchrist is the only prototypical inside player that Virginia Tech will bring in for the class of 2007. He is currently 6-9, 235, and has the frame to weigh 250 early in his career at Tech. Scout.com rates Gilchrist the #11 center in the nation and the #54 player overall.
The Hokies locked up a commitment from Gilchrist way back in February, before he was on the national radar. He really developed his game on the AAU circuit over the summer and jumped into the Top 100 on nearly every list.
In the AAU Nationals this past summer, he battled Patrick Patterson to a dead heat. Patterson is currently listed as the #11 player in the nation. Gilchrist is a great addition to Virginia Tech's class and the most developed big man that Seth Greenberg has recruited since he arrived in Blacksburg.
Dorenzo Hudson, shooting guard
Dorenzo Hudson, 6-4, 200, is Virginia Tech's latest basketball commitment. He is very highly thought of by many of the top programs in the nation. He is currently at Hargrave Military Academy, where he plays on the same team with Jeff Allen.
The only thing you need to know about Hudson is that he was heavily recruited by the likes of Illinois, Wake Forest, Clemson, Ohio State, Maryland, Miami, Georgia, Indiana, and many others. He blew up on the AAU circuit over the summer and quickly became one of the fastest risers in the national rankings.
In the case of Jeff Allen and Gus Gilchrist, they committed to Virginia Tech before they began to take off on the national stage. But the Hokies were able to get a commitment from Hudson after the AAU circuit, which says a lot about the recruiting ability of Seth Greenberg.
The best term used to describe Hudson is “scorer”. He can score from anywhere on the court. He is a big guard who can play down low, he has a good midrange game, and he can shoot the three-pointer. He is a great pickup for the Hokies and he has a chance to start from day one in Blacksburg.
Malcolm Delaney, combo guard
Malcolm Delaney is another important pickup for Virginia Tech. He is equally capable of playing either guard spot and will probably have to play a lot of point guard, especially early in his career. He chose the Hokies over schools such as Maryland, Iowa State, Indiana and Clemson.
One thing that Hokie fans will like about Delaney is that he can shoot the basketball. He reportedly shot over 70% from three-point range in one AAU event over the summer, and he will provide the Hokies with an outside threat that they desperately need.
Delaney is listed as a Top 125 player by The ACC Area Sports Journal and is the #89 player nationally by Rivals.com. His first chore in Blacksburg will be helping Nigel Munson handle the point guard duties in 2007-08.
Terrell Bell, guard/forward
Terrell Bell is the least heralded recruit in Virginia Tech's 2007 recruiting class, but that doesn't mean the 6-7, 190 wing can't play and that no one thinks highly of him. Van Coleman, a very respected scout at the national level, ranks Bell the #56 player in the country. Coleman ranks Bell higher than any other Tech recruit, although he does have three of the other recruits (Hudson, Allen and Gilchrist) in the Top 100.
Bell is a very unselfish player who is a good ball handler and plays well on the break, which is a very good fit for Seth Greenberg's pressure defensive system. If anything, Bell could be considered too unselfish.
Bell was recruited by schools like Cincinnati, Tennessee, Georgia, and Providence.
Hokies To Add a Sixth Player?
As mentioned above, Virginia Tech can add one more player to this class. The two players being mentioned the most are wings Alvin Mitchell and Rihards Kuksiks. Either player would be a great addition to the class.
Mitchell has a very well-developed body for a high school player. He looks like he has been in a college program for a few years. He would be physically ready to play from day one. He visited Tech on the weekend of the Cincinnati football game, and right now it appears that he is Tech's to lose if they want to add a sixth player. He is a four-star player by Scout.com and a very good outside shooter.
Not as much information is available about Rihards Kuksiks, a native of Latvia, who now plays for Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, Florida. It is known that he is a big-time shooter. A “blue chip, gold-plated shooter with incredible range”, as TSL basketball expert Rev. Zeke Vodka describes him. A 6-6 wing player with that type of shooting ability would be very welcome in Blacksburg.
Of course, the Hokies don't have to take anymore players in this class. Six players in one class is a lot, and that would limit the number of recruits Tech could sign in the coming years (Deron Washington will be the only senior in 2007-08), making it difficult to spread out classes. But at the same time, it would be very difficult to turn away players like Mitchell and Kuksiks, who both possess skills that the Hokies could desperately use.
The Early Signing Period begins on November 8, and the Hokies will likely have all of their 2007 recruiting finished by then.
Click here to see the 2007 basketball recruiting commitments
2008 Class Looking Strong
We won't get into much detail about the 2008 recruiting class, but the Hokies have already received two commitments for this class as well, both from ACC caliber players. The first commitment was from Shamarr Bowden, a 6-3 shooting guard who is currently listed as a Top 150 player by the ACC Area Sports Journal.
The other commitment is from J.T. Thompson, a forward who is the cousin of 2007 commitment Dorenzo Hudson. Thompson is currently listed as a member of the 2008 Top 100.
Click here to see the 2008 basketball recruiting commitments