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Hokies Need More Stability in Basketball Recruiting
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #407, November 13, 2009
The 2009 Virginia Tech men's basketball recruiting class has a chance to do something that no Tech basketball class has done since the 2003 class. If all four members of this class can finish their career at Tech without transferring, it will be the first time that has happened in Blacksburg since Zabian Dowdell, Jamon Gordon and Coleman Collins accomplished that feat.
Player attrition has been a major problem for the Tech basketball program, as the following table illustrates.
Greenberg's first full recruiting class, the 2004 class, turned into a major failure. The only player in that class who finished his career was Deron Washington, who eventually turned into a second round NBA Draft selection. Washington was an excellent player for the Hokies, but the rest of his classmates ... not so much.
Greenberg recruited Robert Krabbendam from Holland, who never did anything of impact and left VT after his redshirt sophomore year. The jewel of the class, Marquie Cooke, was a bust and a trouble maker. Wynton Witherspoon transferred to George Washington, and Justin Holt was dismissed before playing in a single game. Overall, this was not a successful class.
The 2005 class was better, though it didn't get off to a good start. Hyman Taylor was dismissed just after arriving on campus. Terrance Vinson was a career backup who graduated, but never used up his eligibility and barely ever played. Cheick Diakite turned into a contributor, and A.D. Vassallo developed into one of the greatest offensive players in school history. 2-for-4 was a lot better than Greenberg's 2004 class.
2006 was another rough year. Tyrone Appleton didn't qualify thanks to an administrative error (not Greenberg's fault, or Appleton's). He went the JUCO route and now plays for Kansas. Nigel Munson transferred after his freshman season, and now plays Division II for the University of the District of Columbia. Lewis Witcher will finish his career, though he's never been more than a spot starter.
The Hokies signed a huge class in 2007, and it was hit or miss. Gus Gilchrist never enrolled, instead going to Maryland before matriculating at South Florida. His story is well-known to Tech fans. Darrion Pellum never qualified and now plays at Hampton. Hank Thorns transferred to TCU following his sophomore season. Jeff Allen, Malcolm Delaney, J.T. Thompson, Terrell Bell and Dorenzo Hudson are still members of the team. Overall, this will probably turn out to be a solid class.
The 2008 class featured three players, and Kendall Durant never qualified. Gene Swindle took a redshirt year, and isn't being mentioned for playing time. Victor Davila is penciled in as a starter this year. In all likelihood, only one of these three recruits will work out for the Hokies in the long run.
That brings us to the 2009 class, the current group of freshmen. Early results are encouraging so far. Seth Greenberg has already been quoted as saying Erick Green and Ben Boggs will play. Cadarian Raines would be playing too because of his size, if he wasn't hurt. The only recruit who isn't getting much mention is Manny Atkins, the most highly touted player of the group.
If Atkins works out, then this class has a real chance to go 4-for-4. Even if one of these four recruits doesn't finish his career at Tech, then 3-for-4 is a very solid step in the right direction. The Tech program needs more stability from their recruiting classes. 2009 is the first recruiting class since 2005 that saw all of its recruits quality, so that in itself is a step in the right direction.
Keep your eye on Boggs, Green, Raines and Atkins. If these guys contribute this year, and none of them leave in the offseason, then things look good for the future of the program.
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