As I believe I’ve written before, college basketball recruiting used to be huge in these parts – much bigger than football recruiting during the 1980s.
Maybe it’s because players are committing much earlier nowadays, although I expect at places like Duke, websites were on overload in advance of the announcements that came down today from several of the nation’s top prospects.
(As I wrap things up, I see where Duke signed the Nos. 1 and 4 prospects in the country, frontcourt player Jahlil Okafor from Chicago and point guard from Apple Valley, Minn. Can’t say I’m surprised).
On national signing day Wednesday, Virginia Tech announced the names of three signees. Virginia released the names of its three signings, with the delay probably resulting from communications with New Zealand post player Jack Salt.
One of the players who signed with Virginia, 6-foot-5 B.J. Stith from Brunswick County and Oak Hill Academy, had been committed since Sept. 1, but not Sept. 1, 2013. Stith, younger son of all-time UVa scoring leader Bryant Stith, had been committed since Sept. 1, 2011.
Salt, the last of the players to commit to UVa, had been on the books since Sept. 18. Jalen Hudson, the last of three players to commit to Virginia Tech, came on board Oct. 4.
So, ho hum.
SCROLLING THROUGH the various websites, I did come across a few things that I didn’t know..
UVa fans may remember Payton Dastrup, a 6-9 frontcourt player from Mesa, Arizona, who took a visit to Virginia in anticipation that he would begin his college career after going on a two-year Mormon mission.
Dastrup subsequently picked Ohio State, only to change his mind on national signing day and sign with Brigham Young.
I also noticed that 6-8 Deon Robinson from Christchurch School on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula (hope I have it right this time) signed with Florida. Robinson is rated the top prospect in Virginia by rivals.com and is ranked 20th among the 24 seniors to whom rivals.com has awarded five stars.
It’s interesting that Notre Dame is the only ACC school among the four that Robinson visited. The others were Florida, Indiana and Oklahoma State.
In rivals.com rankings last updated Sept. 4, Maryland signee Romelo Trimble from Bishop O’Connell was the No. 2-rated Virginia prospect at No. 36, followed by Robert Johnson (Indiana) at No. 42 and Stith at No. 48.
Stith will join four other four-star players on UVa’s roster: Justin Anderson, Evan Nolte, Mike Tobey and Malcolm Brogdon. First-team All-ACC choice Joe Harris was a three-star, for what that’s worth.
(Virginia Tech’s Erick Green was a three-star, too, and all he did was lead the country in scoring and win ACC Player of the Year honors for 2012-2013).
ACCORDING TO rivals.com rankings, Virginia has not had a five-star signee, but the listings only go back to 2002. However, of the 16 four-star players UVa has signed in the past 13 classes, nine did not complete their eligibility.
Included in that group were Derrick Byars, Gary Forbes, Jamil Tucker, Will Harris, Jeff Jones, Sylvan Landesberg, John Brandenburg, Tristan Spurlock and KT Harrell. Seven transferred, Landesberg went pro after being declared academically ineligible and Tucker flunked out on the eve of his senior year.
The Hokies had eight four-star signees during that time, including three in the same 2011 recruiting class – Dorian Finney Smith, Robert Brown and C.J. Barksdale, with Barksdale the only one who remains.
Jarrell Eddie was a four-star signee in the previous class and he’s still around. Four-stars Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney had successful careers for the Hokies, but Lewis Witcher contributed on an inconsistent basis and Marquie Cooke was gone almost before we knew it.
On the other hand, you had A.D. Vassallo, who had no stars but was a Hokies’ fixture, and Ben Emelogu from the current freshman group. Emelogu didn’t have any stars either and all he did was make captain as a Hokies’ freshman and score 22 points the other day.
SO, WHAT DOES it all mean.? Maybe, if I checked out another site, it would be more accurate. Rivals.com made its name in football recruiting, but how many two- and three-star football players from Virginia and Virginia Tech have outperformed more heralded teammates?
That happens all the time.