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Hokie Men's Basketball Recruiting Ranked Last in the ACC
by Chris James,

When Virginia Tech joined the ACC, it was generally expected that the menís basketball team would benefit greatly in recruiting by being a member of such a prestigious league. Early indications pointed in that direction when Seth Greenberg inked the Rivals #23 recruiting class in the nation in 2004. The class featured highly touted players like Marquie Cooke and Justin Holt, and also promising players Deron Washington and Wynton Witherspoon. Robert Krabbendam rounded out a very nice class for the Hokies.

Of course, Cooke and Holt are gone, Holt without ever suiting up for the Hokies. And Techís recruiting didnít get better from 2004 to 2005. In fact, if you believe the recruiting rankings, it took a giant leap back. Check out the ratings of both classes in the following table.

Comparison of VT's 2004 and 2005 Recruiting Classes

2004 Class

National Rank

2005 Class

National Rank

Marquie Cooke


Hyman Taylor


Justin Holt

Top 10 JUCO

Terrance Vinson


Wynton Witherspoon


A.D. Vassallo


Deron Washington


Cheick Diakate


*Robert Krabbendam was from Europe, thus he was not ranked.

The only thing that needs to be said about these rankings is that according to Prep Stars, Techís worst recruit of the 2004 class is supposed to be better than the best recruit of the 2005 class. Of course, that may or may not be true. Deron Washington has turned out to be the best (so far) of the 2004 class, despite his ranking.

A total of 44 players signed with ACC schools as members of the Class of 2005. Of those players, the four that signed with Tech are ranked among the bottom eight in the ACC, according to Prep Stars. One of them, Cheick Diakate, is ranked last in the league.

The following table shows the average recruit ranking for each school in the ACC, both on the ACC level and nationally.

Average Ranking of 2005 ACC Basketball Recruits
in the ACC and in the Nation


ACC Average
(of 44 recruits)

National Average

North Carolina






NC State



Georgia Tech






Florida State*



Wake Forest












Boston College



Virginia Tech



*Florida States national average does not include JUCO Jerel Allen,
who is not ranked with high school players.

The Hokies were dead last in the ACC in recruiting, with their national average a full 51 points behind 11th place Boston College. The Hokies signed only one player ranked in the Top 200 by Prep Stars, Hyman Taylor, but he is still considered a project.

Meanwhile, look at the top of the standings. Every single player that Duke and UNC signed was ranked in the Top 45 nationally. Talk about some major star power. NC State also slipped in and signed three players ranked in the Top 75. Overall, five teams in the ACC signed classes with a national average of below 100. And a sixth team, Florida State, hovered around that mark with a 105.33 average.

Meanwhile, the Hokies were forced to go out and sign projects that might become good players down the road, if things go right. Hyman Taylor, Terrance Vinson and Cheick Diakate are all players who fit the same mold. They lack an advanced offensive game, but attack the glass hard and find most of their points coming from dunks and tip-ins. Sometimes these types of players develop an offensive game in college, and sometimes they donít. If things donít go right, then Tech could find itself with some depth problems in the front court in a few years.

The other player that Tech signed, and who in my opinion is ranked way too low by Prep Stars, is A.D. Vassallo. Vassallo originally committed to Richmond, but was not admitted due to increasingly difficult academic requirements. Vassallo was forced to find a different home, and that home will be in Blacksburg. Vassallo ended up choosing Tech over NC State and West Virginia, who came in with offers when it became apparent that he would not be admitted to Richmond.

Vassallo is a big time three-point shooter, and an all-around smart basketball player. His national rank of #235 is much lower than it should be. Some people seem to think that he is a Top 100 type player who has an excellent chance to play early at Tech. So letís experiment with Vassalloís ranking, by changing it to #100 instead of #235. With this new ranking, Virginia Techís national average still only comes out to 193, which is still 18 points behind next-to-last Boston College.

The good news is that if you donít look at recruiting rankings, Tech definitely filled some major needs. They needed big guys on the inside that can establish a physical presence. They got that. Hyman Taylor stands somewhere between 6-8 and 6-9 and weighs 235. He could potentially be the biggest player on the team, as far as weight goes, when he comes in this fall, depending on the development of Coleman Collins and Robert Krabbendam in the weight room. Cheick Diakite also goes 6-8 225, so the Hokies have added some bulk.

With the departure of Carlos Dixon, the Hokies needed another reliable outside shooter to complement Zabian Dowdell. With A.D. Vassallo, they got just that, and perhaps even improved themselves a little. Take a look at the other schools that offered Vassallo. NC State and West Virginia are both perimeter oriented teams that rely on the three pointer to be successful. West Virginia rode it all the way to the Elite 8 this year. If they want Vassallo, that means he can probably shoot.

Still, this isnít the type of recruiting class that you would expect from an ACC team that can offer playing time to front court players. However, if the 2006 recruiting class is any indication, 2005 was only a one-year slip. The Hokies have already filled their two spots in the 2006 class by accepting commitments from Nigel Munson, a point guard from DeMatha High in Maryland, and Lewis Witcher, a power forward from Rocky Mount, VA. Both are considered very good players, with Witcher turning down scholarship offers to Wake Forest and Maryland to come to Tech.

If the Hokies can follow-up in 2007 with another strong recruiting effort, then the ranking of the 2005 class will be just a blip on the radar screen. And if the 2005 recruits progress and develop into players better than expected, then it will be icing on the cake. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Football Schedules, Hoops Attendance, and More
by Chris James,, 6/2/05, 12:10 pm
Today's News and Notes update brings a smorgasbord of info: Pittsburgh will replace Illinois on future VT football schedules, the Hokies recorded the largest average attendance increase in the NCAA in men's basketball, and the NCAA's updated Academic Progress Report (APR) figures are mostly good news for Virginia Tech athletics.
in News and Notes

Football Recruiting - A Different Perspective, Part 1: Head-to-Head Recruiting
by Phil Martin, 6/1/05, 2:15 pm
Football recruiting Ė the one topic that can lead to endless debate since no true winners or losers exist when looking at the signings on the first Wednesday in February. Players that signed elsewhere suddenly become ďoverratedĒ and sleepers are bountiful in every schoolís recruiting class. Every fan has his or her favorite players and each class seemingly will have the answers for the teamís current weaknesses. Many signees will have an immediate chance for helping in the eyes of fans, no matter how unrealistic those expectations may actually be. Rankings of players will be mulled over and the ďastrologyĒ buffs will be counting stars in an attempt to see the recruiting class in the brightest light possible.
in TSL Pass

Tallying Up Tech's First Year in the ACC
by Chris James,, 5/31/05, 11:40 am
2004-05 has been a banner year for Virginia Tech athletics. The Hokies moved to the ACC and won the conference in football and the regular season title in wrestling. The menís basketball team pulled out a miraculous fourth place finish and knocked off the likes of Duke, Maryland and Georgia Tech. The men's soccer team beat #1 Duke and #2 Virginia, and the softball team played for the ACC championship and made the NCAA Tournament. In the eyes of many, the Hokies sports programs showed that they could compete with and defeat some of the best programs in the country. Thatís true for some sports, but on the whole, the Hokies have a lot of catching up to do.
in TSL Columnists

Hokie Football Image Gallery: The 2004 Season, Part 1
by, 5/29/05, 4:10 pm
The 2004 season was a roller coaster ride at first, but by the end it was all good, and Bryan Randall, shown here being mobbed by fans after Tech's win over #7 WVU, was named ACC Player of the Year. presents a photo gallery of five of Tech's early 2004 football games, including the BCA Classic, the 63-0 win over WMU, the first-ever ACC game against Duke, the heartbreaker against NC State, and the big win over the Mountaineers.
in TSL Pass

Theodore Miller Arrested
by Will Stewart,, 5/28/05, 10:10 am
A second Virginia Tech cornerback, Theodore Miller, has been arrested in connection with a gun-brandishing incident that occurred on Virginia Tech's campus Thursday. Miller is accused of being the passenger who pointed a pellet gun at a Virginia Tech student from the window of Brandon Flowers' SUV, and Miller has been charged with brandishing a weapon, a misdemeanor.
in News and Notes

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