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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.
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.
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.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Football Recruiting - A Different Perspective, Part 1: Head-to-Head Recruiting
Up Tech's First Year in the ACC
Hokie Football Image Gallery: The 2004 Season, Part 1
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