Buzz Williams and the Virginia Tech Hokies still have one open scholarship spot and with the addition of Tyrie Jackson along with the fact that Seth LeDay will not be able to play next season, expect the Hokies to focus on adding a big man who can play next season. However, the Hokies may look around some regarding what players they target especially with the lack of immediately-eligible big men still on the market.
With that said, here’s a look at what we think Buzz Williams’s recruiting board should possibly look like.
Top Target: Valpo PF/C Alec Peters
Correction: Alec Peters is staying at Valparaiso
Other Frontcourt Options
There aren’t many unsigned or quality transfers at this point left in terms of big men but there a couple that the Hokies may want to keep an eye on.
Three-star 2016 forward Antwan Walker will be making his college decision soon and while he profiles as more of a small forward, he could play a Chris Clarke like role as a power forward in smaller lineups. Georgetown seems to be the favorite for Walker and there hasn’t much chatter about the Hokies and their pursuit of Walker but this is one to watch over the coming weeks.
Outside of Walker, there don’t really seem to be many options in terms of JUCO, grad transfer, or Class of 2016 big men that could come in and be added to the lineup. There could be another big man or two that was a late riser that could receive an offer along with maybe a 2017 recruit that could reclassify being a possible addition, but the options aren’t clear after Walker.
Other Immediate and Non-Immediate Possibilities
The addition of Tyrie Jackson seemed to take likely-reclassified 2016 guard Markell Johnson off the board but Johnson is a talented player that the Hokies will definitely still take. With Peters being a gamble and Walker not trending towards the Hokies, taking the best available player seems like the best option.
Recently, Xavier has seemed to gain a lot of momentum in trying to get Johnson as the Hokies don’t seem to be the leader anymore but Johnson’s recruitment has had a lot of twists and turns, and there seems to be a trust between Johnson and the staff. While Johnson is far from certain, he’s definitely someone to watch still with anything being possible in his recruitment.
There are still some transfers that could be quality gets in the long run even if they can’t play next season but once again, these guys are mostly guards though that could still be plenty beneficial. One player who could receive consideration based on his former status as a five-star recruit is Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman.
After deciding to drop out of the 2016 NBA Draft, Newman also announced that he would transfer from Mississippi State after haviing 11.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 27.7 minutes per game while shooting 39.1% from the field, 37.9% from beyond the arc, and 68.7% from the free-throw line. Newman and Virginia Tech seems unlikely at this point but the addition of Seth Allen two years ago proves this type of high-profile move can’t be ruled out.
At this point, the options for Buzz Williams are quite limited, pointing the Hokies towards making a huge push for three-star SF Antwan Walker even if the odds are slim. The good news is that the Hokies still have a team that can definitely should have expectations of making next year’s NCAA Tournament with the potential to possibly breakthrough and get in the top 25 some next season.