Gym Rat’s Notebook #22 – Sobering Thoughts and a Dash of Culture
by Elijah Kyle, 8/9/04
the recent addition of Robert Krabbendam to the Virginia Tech men’s basketball
program, Seth Greenberg has proven that it is never too late to stop recruiting,
and when you add players to your program isn’t as important as adding
Now the big question for Hokie Nation becomes whether the 6-11 Dutch treat
can play basketball at all. An affirmative answer would surely help traverse the
dangerous first year waters of the ACC, but it would still leave the program in
need of additional depth inside, a fact not lost on Greenberg, who has recently
said that he might not be finished recruiting for the 2004-05 season. The
possible addition though of another late signee becomes more and more unlikely
with each passing day, but the Krabbendam addition, should he pass NCAA muster,
could prove to be a shot in the arm of a program still looking to construct its
components in the manner that Greenberg desires.
As with any foreign player, the NCAA will look closely at every issue
concerning Krabbendam’s immediate eligibility. Not only will he have to be
cleared academically by the NCAA clearinghouse, but you would surely think there
will be very acute scrutiny of the relationship of Krabbendam and his Dutch
professional team. The 6-11, 205-pound forward played with the Demon Astronauts
last season as an amateur, and an NCAA inquiry into his academics and
professional standing is routine for foreign players looking to make the move
abroad and play collegiate ball in the United States.
As long as there are no hiccups with the NCAA, Krabbendam can be a most
useful player for a program very much in need of size. While Krabbendam isn’t
the space-eater that most everyone has on their wish list, he is 6-11 and that
is an area of need for the 2004-05 team. And, if the advance talk concerning
Krabbendam’s skill level is accurate and not embellished, he comes at a most
opportune time. Krabbendam is reputed to be a very good shooter out to the three
point line, and while he doesn’t have the body mass to punish people or bang
inside, he will find minutes at both the forward and center positions.
Hopefully, he will also be a solid rebounder as well, because that looks like a
problem area, now that last season’s leading rebounder, Bryant Matthews, has
In addition, it is hoped that Krabbendam will be the first in a succession of
foreign talent that will find its way to play for Virginia Tech. Getting a foot
in the door of the talented Euro market can be nothing but good, so the
auxiliary benefits of Krabbendam’s addition might be important hopefully as
While it is far too early to be speculating on a lineup and playing time for
next year, this addition does provide Greenberg some additional possibilities
that he did not have before. 6-9 sophomore Coleman Collins and Krabbendam can
play together on the court at the same time, with Allen Calloway to back them
up, a scenario that Greenberg could not previously consider prior to Krabbendam’s
selection of the Hokies. Collins might now have the opportunity to play more at
a forward position than it appeared earlier prior to the arrival of Krabbendam.
Or Greenberg can go small and use Calloway, Collins and Krabbendam inside and
not be as concerned with foul trouble, now that he has some additional help at
the forward and center positions.
In any event, Krabbendam fills partly at least the prescription for size that
is still lacking in the program. Finding additional players with some tonnage
won’t be all bad, and it is thought that is something that Greenberg is trying
to find out on the recruiting trail.
Is Newest Addition To Staff
With Eric Skeeters having left the basketball staff in June, just prior to
the July recruiting period, Greenberg had to fill that position in time for the
new assistant to be able to go out on the road in July and recruit. The newest
addition to the Hokie family is Stacy Palmore, who just completed his first
season as an assistant at the College of Charleston. Palmore was hired just
prior to the first evaluation period in July, and he is notable at least, for
the fact that he was a former head coach at Warwick High School in Virginia,
which just happens to be the former high school of Michael Vick. In fact, Vick
played under Palmore at Warwick.
It remains to be seen how this staff change will affect the recruiting of the
entire staff. Skeeters was thought to be strong and have his best contacts in
the Baltimore Maryland area, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., along with
Ohio, where he served as an assistant at Youngstown State. Incidentally,
Skeeters was also the former high school coach of a prominent professional
athlete as well. Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets played his high school
basketball under Skeeters at one time, in the Baltimore area.
Conversely, Palmore’s perceived recruiting areas of strength are Virginia,
North Carolina and South Carolina, which just happen to match up better with
Tech’s new home, the ACC. Skeeters was a more natural presence in the
northeastern corridor, where many of the Big East schools are located, while
Palmore leans southward into the Mason-Dixon states, where the ACC rules.
That subtle change is probably an important one. While Virginia Tech is
thought to be considering a philosophy that will take it anywhere to unearth
players, a distinction that is quite different than the previous staff of Ricky
Stokes, still the majority of schools within the ACC are located in North and
South Carolina and Virginia. Those three states appear to be the area of
greatest strength for the newest assistant, who will add balance to the foreign
connections that Assistant Ryan Odom brings to the table. Assistant coach Brad
Greenberg, also Seth Greenberg’s brother, has some foreign connections of his
own that date back to his time as a scout and Pro Personnel Director in the NBA.
Finally, Seth Greenberg is a strong recruiter most anywhere, given his energetic
and abundant personality. He is particularly strong in New York and California,
due to his contacts in New York from attending college there, and in California
from his time spent as head coach at Long Beach State.
Recruiting Picks Up
As mentioned earlier in this column, recruiting and player evaluation started
in earnest for the basketball staff in the month of July. August is generally
reserved for the time that staffs will prioritize their lists of players that
they evaluated in July, and contact players about official and unofficial
visits. Before getting into some names that have been linked with Virginia Tech
recently in the frontcourt, it might be best to cover some names that have made
their college decisions recently.
Two players from the state of California, and the 2004 class, have recently
selected schools and Virginia Tech was thought to be involved with each of them,
prior to their announcements. Chris Berry, a 6-6 forward from Compton
(CA) has selected Fresno State and will apparently be eligible immediately.
Berry chose Fresno over Bowling Green, Virginia Tech, Gonzaga and DePaul. The
second player to select a school was 6-6 forward Nick Young, from Reseda
(CA), who had committed last season to USC. After re-opening his commitment,
Young decided to stay with his original commitment to the Trojans. UCLA,
Pittsburgh, DePaul, Louisville and Virginia Tech were schools that Young
considered as well.
A name that might be partially familiar to followers of the Tech program, and
another player who has cast his lot with a college, is 6-8 center/forward Jimmy
Graham of Wilson (NC). Graham unofficially visited the Tech campus last
February and selected Miami recently. Graham has also re-classified and will now
be a junior, having two more seasons of eligibility before arriving to play ball
in the ACC. Graham reportedly had a fine summer and considered the Hokies, Wake
Forest, Notre Dame and Clemson.
Recently, Jamal Boykin, one of the better front court prospects in the
2005 Class, and a 6-7 forward from Los Angeles (CA), selected Duke over
Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Boston College and Virginia Tech.
Moving on to the frontcourt class of 2005, Virginia Tech has been mentioned
by a couple of players in the state of California again, with the Hokies hoping
the results will be different than those of the aforementioned Berry and Young. Sylvester
Seay is a 6-9, 210-pound F/C who has Arizona State leading Virginia Tech,
Colorado, Texas A&M and UNLV. Jeff Pendergraph is a 6-8, 205-pound
athlete who most scouts have indicated has made great progress during the spring
and summer. Pendergraph likes Oregon State, Arizona State, Virginia Tech,
Pepperdine and UCLA.
6-8 forward/center Matthew Dotson of Tennessee has indicated that he
likes Virginia Tech, Stanford, Oklahoma, James Madison and Middle Tennessee. 6-7
forward Josh Dollard, from South Carolina, has a list that includes
Oklahoma, Miami, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Depaul, Maryland and
Tulsa. 6-9, 230-pound post prospect John Garcia of New York recently gave
a list that included St. John’s, Villanova, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh,
Connecticut, Richmond and Virginia Tech. Kenny Tribbett is a 6-8,
225-pound frontcourter from Pennsylvania who stated that he prefers Navy,
Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Miami and Villanova. Finally, 6-9
forward/center Quentin Thornton of Florida has a rather lengthy
list of schools that he recently gave. Thornton’s list includes South
Carolina, Purdue, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Clemson, St.
Joseph’s, Rutgers, South Florida and Minnesota.
Other Gym Rat Notebooks:
Ryan Odom, Paging Coach Ryan Odom - 6/18/04
#20: Ch-Ch-Ch Changes - 6/18/04
Recruiting Rankings - 5/25/04
#18: Adding Another Piece - 5/19/04
#17: Recruiting Hits Final Stretch - 5/11/04
#16: The 5-8 Rule -- It's Finally Gone - 5/5/04
#15: Help Could Be Looming on the Horizon - 4/23/04
#14: A Look Ahead: The Backcourt - 4/16/04
#13: A Look Ahead: The Frontcourt - 4/8/04
#12: There's No Place Like Home, Toto - 4/1/04
#11: About the Over/Under? - 3/26/04
#10: Did You Say Four, or Forty? - 3/17/04
#9: Big Game, Big Year, and Big Hopes - 3/10/04
#8: Home, Sweet, Home - 3/1/04
#7: On or Off Broadway? - 2/24/04
#6: Trolling for Additions - 2/18/04
#5: Georgetown a Must Win? - 2/11/04
#4: Defense in Numbers - 1/28/04
#3: Chemistry Class and Hitting It Early - 1/21/04
#2: Subtraction and Addition - 1/13/04
#1: Hey, Brother, Can You Spare a Big Man? - 1/6/04
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