2013 Class Adds Much Needed Depth

With only one current senior on the basketball team, the Hokies will return a lot of experience next season. How will the current signees fit in?

Virginia Tech signed four players on Wednesday, and will likely try to add a fifth player in the spring. That would bring them up to 13 scholarship players to begin the 2013-14 season, assuming there is no attrition.

Let’s take a quick look at what the Hokies will have next year, and how the new players could potentially fit in. To make sure there is no confusion, we aren’t going to discuss walk-ons in this article. Depending on how he does the remainder of this year, Will Johnston could factor in for playing time next year as well. But to avoid confusion, we are only going to discuss scholarship players today.

Perimeter

Here’s what we know: barring injury, Robert Brown and Jarell Eddie will start on the wing for Virginia Tech, at shooting guard and small forward respectively. Eddie will be heading into his third year as a starter, and Brown will be a very experienced junior. Those guys will be viewed as the foundation of the team, and Tech’s top scoring threats. Eddie is an outstanding shooter, and Brown is a very good all around scorer who should be coming into his own next season.

The top question is who will start at point guard. Marquis Rankin will be the oldest player, but whether he starts or not is a big question mark. He always seems to have nagging injuries, and that goes all the way back to his high school career. He’s missed so much time this preseason (with injuries, and with a family situation) that true freshman walk-on Marcus Patrick got the backup point guard minutes in last night’s game with VMI.

Unless Rankin turns into a durable player between now and then, I can’t really see him as the full-time starting point guard. Adam Smith will be eligible next year, but despite his size (6-1, 170) he isn’t really a true point guard.  From what I hear, he is regarded as a pure shooting guard, and they aren’t looking at him as a possibility to run the point.

Donte Clark (6-4, 185) will be a true freshman, and he’s expected to be a point guard for the Hokies. However, will he be ready to play that position as a freshman at the ACC level? He will likely contribute at both guard spots, but it’s very hard to see him starting at point guard next season. As a side note, do a Google Image search on Donte Clark . He bears a strike resemblance to Zabian Dowdell. Hopefully his game is similar as well.

Ben Emelogu (6-5, 190) is a freshman wing who will contribute right away. He missed this summer’s AAU circuit with an injury, but scouts really liked what they saw of him in September. By that point, many schools had already taken commitments from players at his position. Emelogu ultimately received offers from Virginia Tech, Marquette, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Washington.  He should see minutes on the wing next season.

With one remaining scholarship, it’s all but guaranteed that the Hokies will take a perimeter player in the spring. On one hand, Tech could elect to take a true small forward. Once Jarell Eddie leaves, the Hokies won’t have a true small forward. Or, because of the question marks at point guard, they could choose to take another point guard or a combo guard. Right now, we hear they are leaning towards point guard.  I think that’s the right decision.  Otherwise they will have to pin all their hopes on either a guy who has never been able to stay healthy, or a true freshman who isn’t a true point yet.  It would be wise to create some more competition at that spot.

I don’t know any potential names right now, but the Hokies will continue to evaluate prospects. There will also be a possibility to pick up a decommit from another school, once coaches begin to be fired in the month of March.

Inside

Virginia Tech should have very solid post depth for the 2013-14 season. Besides having six scholarship players, the Hokies could also move Jarell Eddie to the 4-spot if they had a rash of injuries. Right now, Tech is expected to return their entire two-deep at both inside positions, as well as add two more scholarship players for depth.

Cadarian Raines will return as Virginia Tech’s starting center, and Joey van Zegeren will be a year older.

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