Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
The basketball team's returning players plus the new recruits bolster the team's aggressive style, coach James Johnson said.
Associated Press | File March
Virginia Tech head coach James Johnson will have to replace graduating All-American guard Erick Green.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Coach James Johnson doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge the contributions of Will Johnston and Christian Beyer, non-scholarship players who combined to play more than 500 minutes for the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team in 2012-13.
This coming season, it appears Johnson will have a few more options.
Six scholarship players will return, not counting Adam Smith, a transfer from UNC Wilmington who becomes eligible this season. Johnson and his staff also signed six players, although one of them won’t be a Hokie after all.
“It was my intention to get to 13,” said Johnson, referring to the scholarship limit for Division I men’s basketball. “After experiencing what I experienced last year with short numbers, I wanted to fill all the scholarships.
“Injuries happen. Foul trouble happens. [The increased numbers] allows us to play any way we want to play. We’re going to be aggressive.”
The Hokies already have lost one recruit with the news earlier this week that guard Donte Clark from Hargrave Military Academy had not met Tech academic requirements.
When it was announced shortly after the season that sophomore guard Robert Brown, who started 25 of Tech’s 31 games, would be transferring, Johnson’s staff was quick to spring into action, taking a commitment from 6-foot-4 Devin Wilson, a football and basketball standout from McKees Rock, Pa.
“We’d known that Robert Brown was thinking about leaving and waffling a little bit,” Johnson said.
Wilson was virtually a local recruit for the Hokies, whose signing class includes players from Arizona (6-foot-9 Maurice Kirby), Texas (6-5 Ben Emelogu), Indiana (6-9 Trevor Thompson) and Germany (point guard Malik Mueller).
Johnson personally visited all of those destinations except Germany — a trip taken by assistant Kirk Kanaskie— but Johnson saw Mueller play in the Arby’s Classic in Bristol, Tenn.
Tech’s far-flung recruiting this year was not part of a master plan and won’t occur on a regular basis.
“We want to control our state and our region, our geographical footprint,” Johnson said. “We want to go from the Maryland-D.C. area down into the Carolinas.
“Those are very fertile recruiting areas, and everybody comes into those areas. But with Virginia Tech’s name and the ACC [affiliation], we feel like we can go anywhere. I feel like Texas is a state we can go into. With Arizona, maybe not so much, but the foreign market has been good to a lot of schools.”
After discussing several of his other signees, Johnson was eager to bring up Thompson.
“I’m really high on him,” Johnson said. “At 6-11 and as long and athletic as he is, with the way he wants to play — he can run like a deer. He weighs 220 pounds and will have to get stronger, but he’s got an unbelievable upside.”
Before heading to prep school, Thompson went to school in the Herndon district of Fairfax.
“His mom still lives in Northern Virginia,” Johnson said. “I believe he moved out to Indianapolis with his dad.”
Thompson is older than most of his fellow recruits, which could be a bonus.
“But, as I look at the [NBA] Draft, only two seniors went in the first round,” said Johnson, whose 2012-13 star Erick Green slipped to the second round. “It looks like the older you get, the more you can’t play now.”
Three of Tech’s incoming freshmen are guards, no coincidence considering that Green and Brown are no longer available.
“That’s why we ended up going after Wilson and he’s going to be a really good player,” Johnson said. “You take Duke. They had [Quin] Cook and [Seth] Curry and [Rasheed] Sulaimon out there together, but Sulaimon’s really a two-guard. I can play any three of our [guards] at the same time.”
And, of course, he’s got Beyer and Johnston, both with two years of remaining eligibility.
“I’ll have some options and that will go for practice, too,” Johnson said. “I’ll have some ACC bodies to go against and some ACC athleticism, not to take anything from our walk-ons.
“Beyer helped us win the Bradley game in Las Vegas and, early on, Johnston helped us win some games with his 3-point shooting.”
Still, Johnson marvels at his team’s youth.
“To put it in perspective, how many scholarship players does Frank [Beamer] have on his football team, 85?” Johnson said. “What if 40 of those players were freshmen, about the same percentage as we have.
“That would really be unreal, wouldn’t it?”
Weather JournalComplexities of ice accretion