Coming off an ACC Tournament championship winning season, the Virginia Tech Hokies will look to reload the roster with a talented recruiting class heading into the 2022-23 season. Currently, Virginia Tech is ranked 29th nationally and 8th in the ACC in terms of the 2022 high school class rankings. This is certainly a rebound from last year’s class which mainly featured Sean Pedulla and was ranked 13rd in the ACC.
One of the key members of this restocked class is big man Patrick Wessler. He has towering 7’0 size with a 7’0 wingspan at 255 pounds. Wessler is from Charlotte, North Carolina and most recently played at Combine Academy for Lincolnton, North Carolina. Wessler has also had a bit of experience in the new Overtime Elite program which gave him valuable experience against elevated competition.
Wessler is a three-star prospect coming out of high school. He’s the 206th ranked high school prospect in America and the 31st ranked center prospect. Wessler is a top ten prospect in the state of North Carolina as he comes in at number 7 in the state according to 24/7 Sports recruiting composites. Wessler will be one of the Hokies' only big men and is slated to be the tallest player on the team in 2023.
With his massive frame and long arms, Wessler will be able to impose his will as a rim protector on the defensive end of the floor. He uses his natural gifts well to close off rim finishes by opposing guards by swatting their shots out of bounds.
In both of these clips, we can see Wessler’s ability to slide his feet and rotate over to block a shot at the rim. We can see in the first one, Wessler charges in from the weak side of the floor and is able to erase the fact that his teammate was beaten off the dribble. He uses perfect timing combined with his length for the stupendous swat.
In the second clip, Wessler is backpedaling in transition. He slows down his speed to match that of the ball handler which results in him forcefully sending his shot attempts a few feet behind him.
It remains to be seen how impactful Wessler can be in this area from the start. He’ll need to work on not fouling when contesting shots vertically but in time, his rim protection could be a valuable asset to the Hokies defense.
The most polished part of Wessler’s offensive skill set is his ability to score in the post. Here we see Wessler get the ball on the block with a lot of traffic around him. He does a good job of waiting for the other hands to clear then going into his post move. The move is a spin to his left followed by a step through while keeping his pivot foot in place. This flurry of fancy footwork is enough to get his defender to bite which results in the easy finish.
Wessler frequently receives his post touches on the right low block so he can set up a move going to his dominant left hand. However, in this clip Wessler takes one dribble to the left then turns the opposite direction towards the baseline. This keeps his defender guessing and adds versatility to his post scoring package. Wessler also makes this finish look easier than it is since he’s on the right side of the court and is still able to finish with his left hand.
Patience is an underrated trait that Wessler possesses on these post entry plays. He does a good job of high point the ball in traffic. Once he catches and brings it in, Wessler allows the other defenders to sag off which sets up the one on one matchup in the post. Then, he uses his strong body and powers through his defender for the finish through contact. Have to love the flex he gives at the end too.
More fancy footwork from Wessler can be seen in this clip where he fakes out two defenders. Wessler fakes out the help defender, then spins back to his right. When he rises up, he goes to that step through move again. The poise, balance, and footwork Wessler displays in the post should be skills that translate to the college level right away.
An undiscussed part of Wessler’s toolbelt on offense is his hook shot. This is by far the shot he relies on the most, and it’s his go to move in the post. Wessler can shoot it going left or right and the move seems to be one of the more polished parts of his game.
Here, we see Wessler’s comfortability backing down his man one-on-one in the post. He puts his left shoulder into his man and fakes like he’s going to spin to the side he just bumped. However, in both of the plays, Wessler ends up spinning to his right side which is towards the baseline. He finishes the move off with that classic, left-handed hook shot over the outstretched arms on his defender.
In the first clip, Wessler gets the ball on the low right block and goes to work to set up his hook shot. Instead of throwing fakes or jabs of any kind. He immediately turns to the side he will shoot on by dribbling into the chest of his defender. Then, he calmly hits the hook shot even though it was heavily contested.
In the second clip, Wessler shows he’s not just a one trick pony. When receiving the entry pass, he turns to the left and sets up the hook with his non-dominant right hand. The confidence and comfortability to do this signals how important the post hook shot is to his overall game.
Even though his shooting form may not look the part, Wessler is capable of hitting threes in key offensive situations. The bread and butter to his skills as a shooter comes from pick and pop opportunities. Wessler does a good job of slipping the screens and then popping out to the three point line. There he sets up a funky looking but effective shot. He’ll have to adjust some of his shot mechanics but it’s still good to see he’s capable of stretching the floor in pick-and-roll plays as a popper.
Despite this being the only good passing clip I've seen so far, it’s still one worth highlighting. Wessler will be tasked as a roll man often in Virginia Tech’s offense. Here we see he can make plays for his teammates out of the short roll. Wessler slips and rolls to the rim. When he catches the pass, he immediately sees the cutter and punishes the defense for sending two men his way. Capitalizing off these advantages created with connective short roll playmaking will be a major bonus if Wessler can apply this in his time as a Hokie.
Check out Will's scouting report on Virginia Tech SG/PG signee Rodney Rice here.