I will have a full story in tomorrow’s paper and online about next season’s Hokies, with James Johnson discussing the team, but for now here is what he told me today about the two point guards who signed today (Wednesday).
Malik Mueller (6-3, 200), who has a German mother and an American father, attends a German boarding school. He plays for a standout team in Germany, Urspring Basketball Academy. He was the most valuable player of the 2010 Jordan Brand Classic international game at Madison Square Garden. He also was the MVP of last December’s Arby’s Classic in Tenn., leading his Urspring team to the tourney title against American high school teams.
“He’s a big, strong, physical guard,” Johnson said. “He has a mature game. He’s played with some older guys and [against] very good competition — the Jordan Brand Classic, .. the Arby’s Classic. He’s a leader.”
Mueller was an Urspring teammate of Kevin Bright, who started 29 games as a Vanderbilt freshman guard this year.
“His teammate … was able to come to Vanderbilt and be a contributor as a freshman. I feel like Malik will be able to do that for us and be a contributor right away,” Johnson said.
Devin Wilson (6-4, 185), an all-state pick from Montour High School in McKees Rocks, Pa., was the player of the year in the Pittsburgh area. Johnson was able to offer him the scholarship that became available last month when Robert Brown decided to transfer. Wilson picked Tech on Monday over George Mason and St. Joe’s.
“I like his winning edge. He’s a winner on the basketball court and the football field,” Johnson said. “He has toughness. … The toughness that he’s going to bring to our team on the defensive end of the floor and his winning mentality is going to be a big for our team.”
The point guard candidates will be Mueller, Wilson, fall signee Donte Clark and Marquis Rankin.
“I want to have multiple guards out on the floor anyway, so there could be times where those guys will play together, any of those guys,” he said. “I could play any combination of those guys together.
“With us wanting to play fast and get up and down the floor, any of those guys can create shots for themselves, they can create for others. Any one of them can bring the basketball up the floor and lead the break. And with the attacking style we want to play on defense, pressure on the basketball, we’ve got a lot of depth in the backcourt — hopefully wear some other guards down.”
Tech will have six freshmen next season.
“We addressed a lot of needs with this incoming class,” Johnson said. “All six guys are going to be ready to play and contribute.”