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How Will Buzz Williams Handle Our 2019-2020 Recruiting Situation?

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With our coaching switch finally complete, it’s time to turn our eyes towards next year’s roster.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-San Jose Practice Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday was the fun part of a coaching change, as videos, interviews, and formal welcome events were scheduled basically non-stop throughout the day.

But now that the dust has settled, we’ve got an interesting recruiting situation to deal with.

Unlimited Releases

We have to start with the unpleasant news - Billy Kennedy’s firing led to the eventual release of our entire 2019 recruiting class. Chris Harris, Kobe Brown, Sahvir Wheeler, and Tyreek Smith asked for (and received) a release from their LOI when the coaching carousel started.

This appears contentious at first glance, but it’s honestly a smart move by these guys (and a smart move by us to allow it). The release does not prevent them from returning to the university, and it allows them to take honest stock in the new situation while remaining completely untethered to a specific school. I’m betting Buzz has the cache and charisma to pull a couple of ‘em back in, and FWIW only one of the four (Harris to Oklahoma State) has strongly linked with a new school.

It’s also worth noting that releases are a two way street. 4-star (and Top100) guard Anthony Harris just received a similar release from his LOI to Virginia Tech, and there are rumors (not strong rumors, but rumors) that All-ACC forward Kerry Blackshear would be open to a graduate transfer. If we don’t land him, we could still dip into the graduate transfer well pretty comfortably as we currently have an astounding six scholarships available.

Current VT signee (and four-star forward) Emanuel Miller has not formally asked for a release, but has been quoted as taking a “wait and see” attitude in regard to the new VT coaching search.

The Most Important Recruitment

Buzz’s most important pitch might be to the guy already in the building, as Admon Gilder still has one year of eligibility remaining. He’s still awaiting a clean bill of health, but should that news come in, Buzz is going to have pitch Admon against the backdrop of an overseas hoops salary.

Would he stay for one more year under a new regime? It’s a question we might never get to ask, but if his health checks out, it’s a fascinating opportunity to add a HS All-American and solid SEC veteran to an increasingly intriguing returning core.

What Does It All Mean?

In short, Buzz has some work to do. Let’s take a quick look at our returning contributors.

Guards: Wendell Mitchell (SR), TJ Starks (JR), Jay Jay Chandler (JR), Brandon Mahan (JR)

Forwards: Josh Nebo (SR), Savion Flagg (JR), John Walker (SO)

You can do some damage with that seven man rotation, but it definitely needs some support. We absolutely have to have one big body that can contribute right away, we could use some more shooting (always), and we need to start filling the pipeline on the back end. Having only one player (Walker) with more than two years of eligibility left is not ideal.

We’ll keep you posted as updates break in this space, but it’s going to be in interesting couple of weeks. Will Buzz recapture BK’s old recruits? Will he focus on the guys he inked at Virginia Tech? Will he focus on short-term fixes and load up for 2020? There are a ton of directions this one could go.

BTHO everyone