Friday, November 16, 2012

Saved by the Bell: The New Class

This post's title is partly obvious and partly not so obvious.  "The New Class" is obviously in reference to the Virginia Tech basketball 2013 recruiting class.  Wednesday was Signing Day and all 4 of our verbal commits have signed a Letter Of Intent with VT.  Why "Saved by the Bell"?  Because James Johnson and his staff really had to scramble in finding some quality players with such a short amount of time since they took their new jobs.  The result is a class of players who are not very highly rated by the national recruiting services, but who could end up surprising us.

Currently, the highest rated player in the class is 6'5" combo guard Donte Clark from Charlotte, NC.  Donte was rated as a 4-star recruit by both ESPN and Rivals.  ESPN puts him as the #89 player in their top 100.  James Johnson expects to play him at both point guard and shooting guard.  He has good length and athleticism being classified more as a scorer than a shooter right now.  He has a lot of potential on the defensive end as well.  He had offers from Missouri, Miami, Georgia, Tennessee, Memphis, and Oklahoma State among others.

6'11" center Trevor Thompson is a 3-star recruit according to the major services, but his scholarship offers do not reflect that.  He had offers from USC, Purdue, Tennessee, Kansas State, Xavier, Mississippi State, and Arizona State.  So there is obviously something about this kid that the high major schools wanted and I think you'll see him shoot up to a 4-star recruit by the end of his senior season if not sooner.  The bill on him is that he's a little skinny, but is long with good bounce and good speed.  He runs the floor extremely well, he can finish with both hands, rebounds well, and blocks shots well.  He should fit right in with JJ's offensive and defensive schemes.  Thompson is from Indianapolis, IN, but originally hails from Reston, VA.

An interesting pickup for VT was Maurice Kirby, a 6'9" PF/C who decommitted from Arizona State after verbally committing to them as a sophomore.  Kirby took a big step back his junior season and supposedly put on a lot of weight that slowed him down and sapped his energy.  However from what I have read, Kirby has greatly reduced his weight for his senior season and could be primed for a big comeback.  He's a face-up player on offense with poor post moves, but he can hit the jumper out to 15 feet.  He's supposedly a good rebounder and shot-blocker.  There is a lot of talent here, but it needs to be developed.  His only other offers currently are from Loyola, Brown, and Northern Arizona.  Kirby is from Chandler, AZ.

The final member of this year's class is 6'5" shooting guard Ben Emelogu from Grand Prairie, TX.  Right now he projects more as a "3-and-D" player.  He can hit the long jumper with consistency and he's got the ability to be a defensive stopper.  He needs to work on driving to the hoop and handling the ball as well as rebounding his position, but he can be a useful player coming off the bench for the Hokies (although it's not a given that he will see court time as a freshman).  Ben chose VT over offers from Washington, Marquette, and TCU.

All in all, I think James Johnson and his assistant coaches did an excellent job recruiting for 2013 given the amount of time he was given to get these players to commit.  He went after players who weren't necessarily on the national radar, but who all have the potential for big jumps in their senior season.  I would prepare myself for the fact that we might only get 1 or 2 players out of this class that will be solid starters going forward... there's potential for better, but I think that's more of a reasonable projection.  Personally, I think it'll be Thompson and Clark who end up with the best careers at Virginia Tech.

JJ was known to be solid recruiter before he was hired as a head coach, and I am very intrigued to see what he does with the 2014 and 2015 classes.  For 2013, this really did not need to be a big class with a lot of studs.  Robert Brown has SG locked down for another 2 years.  Jarell Eddie and Cadarian Raines have both SF and C locked down for one more year, and I think Joey Van Zegeren will improve enough in 2 full seasons to be able to take over center at that point if needed.  The only position that appears to be thin is point guard, and we'll have to expect that position to be addressed either in the 2014 class or with a 5th scholarship offer in the Spring.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


You can take the title of this post from either Braveheart or George Michael, whatever fits your lifestyle.  Either way, I am sure that the VT players have been shouting/singing this word since James Johnson took over as head coach.  Let me add to that by saying that I am not a Seth Greenberg basher.  I really appreciate the tough attitude he brought to our program and I think we're all very thankful for that NCAA tournament team in 2007 with Dowdell and Gordon running the show.  Seth Greenberg's teams were hardly ever out of a game and that was his design.  Keep possessions down and keep opposing offenses uncomfortable.  Make them work hard and work the clock for every bucket.  His teams brought us some moments we will appreciate for our entire lives ("T-Bag Paulus!" and the pantsing of #1 Wake Forest both come to mind).  However, that system required a lot of rules to be successful, and frankly it couldn't have been very fun for the players.  Ultimately, I think it created an environment where players were constantly second-guessing themselves.

Since James Johnson has arrived, he has taken a lot of the restrictions off of the players.  If you shoot three-pointers well in practice, you have the green light to shoot any time in the game.  Shoot whenever you have a good look at the basket, regardless of the shot clock.  If you think you have a good chance at a steal, then go for it.  I just see a lot more trust between the coach and his players, and so far his players are rewarding him for it.  Are we seeing the middle of the pendulum swing before it flies over to the other side?  Possibly.  As players get used to this style and as new players come in who never played for Seth Greenberg, we could see situations where players get wild and out-of-control on offense, jacking up shots whenever they want.  However, I think this is where recruiting comes into play... JJ has been going for high character guys who really want to be at Virginia Tech and play for him.  He seems to be creating a sense of family where he is the father, and I think that is the coaching style that always gives the best results.  You are going to bust your ass for your brothers and you're going to work hard to get praise from your father.  That kind of unity can't be discounted, and that's the unity I feel when I watch this year's basketball team.

Through 2 games, I think we can all say that we're pleasantly surprised with our team.  I think everyone thought we would beat ETSU and URI, but I don't think we expected the team to come out playing as well as they have.  This team can SHOOT IT!  I would not be at all surprised to see Erick Green, Robert Brown, and Jarell Eddie all over 40% from the 3-pt line this year with Eddie being closer to 50%.  Even walk-on Will Johnston is looking to be a dangerous outlet at the 3-pt line.  If Marquis Rankin and Marshall Wood can shoot around 33-35%, our squad will be absolutely devastating from deep.

I would add Joey Van Zegeren to the list of pleasant surprises, but I've already touted him on here before the season started.  It was a hunch at the time and it's still an unproven theory, but when I watched videos of him and when I watched him in the first two games, I noticed a very athletic 6'10" player who absolutely has the tools of a high-major center.  At this point he is only averaging 1 block per game, but the thing I have noticed the most is that you are not going to get a cheap "and-1" when he's on the floor... JVZ is going to block it.  I have seen this happen at least 3 times so far where JVZ comes flying out of nowhere to insure the shot doesn't go in on a shooting foul attributed to a teammate.  A lot of guys stop playing after the whistle blows, but shot-blockers should not... a shot can still go in and count after the whistle.

This post could run on for a really long time if I wanted to do it, but I won't.  Instead I'm going to hit up a couple more thoughts in bullet points and then ball out.

  • Erick Green is playing like a star player.  He's doing just about everything you could ask from a senior point guard.  He's leading, he's scoring, he's passing well, he's playing great defense, and he needs to stay confident.
  • Robert Brown is on the track I expected... this guy is an explosive scorer with an array of moves.  Next year will be his breakout year.
  • Jarell Eddie has shown that he really did work on shooting off the dribble.  Not necessarily hitting jumpers after dribbling full-speed on the break (right now he's flying forward and isn't getting his feet under him), but when the 3-pt line is guarded, he's added a nice shot fake where he fakes the shot, dribbles once or twice moving forward, and nails the long 2-pointer.  Very effective.  He's also looked better driving to the basket.
  • I like Marshall Wood a lot more than I thought I wood (punny).  You can tell from his form that he's going to be a good 3-point shooter, but he's not hitting them yet.  I'm pretty sure all of his 3-point shots against URI hit the rim twice before coming off... they'll fall eventually.  The thing that has been the best surprise is his intensity.  He goes hard for rebounds, he covers distance to block shots, and he can finish with contact around the rim.  He's going to be a better player as a freshman than Dorian Finney-Smith was last year.  I have no doubts.
  • Cadarian Raines is looking to be in the same form as when he finished last season... had a bit of a stinker against ETSU and then put up a much better showing against URI.  I am still shocked at his offensive game.  He was recruited as a defender and rebounder, but it's the offensive side of the ball where he's shown some fantastic abilities.  My theory: he was out so much time redshirting for 2 years that working on post moves is about all you can do when you're by yourself.  My guess is that he spent 2 years working on that and we're seeing the fruits of his labor.
  • CJ Barksdale is supposedly playing in spite of injury.  I don't know what injury, but it seems to make sense to me.  He has shown an improved jump shot, but I haven't seen a lot of toughness out of him and he's not rebounding as well as last year.  I hope he gets some time before the ACC slate to get his body and mind in the right state.  I like him though... he can be as good as any of our post players on the right night.
Overall, watching this team has been extremely fun.  They are showing a lot of joy out on the court and their confidence is sky-high.  I am excited to see what they can do against Iowa in a couple weeks as that should be their first real test.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ready for Hokies Basketball in 2012?

Judging by the feelings from most of my Tech alumni friends, the rest of you Hokie fans are not terribly excited about Virginia Tech's prospects for having a noteworthy season.  Trust me, I completely understand the negativity.  We have a brand new coach in James Johnson (from here on known as "JJ") who has never been a head coach at the NCAA level, let alone in Division I.  We lost our most highly touted recruit for 2012, as Montrezl Harrell decided to take his talents to the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.  We also lost our most highly touted recruit for 2011, as Dorian Finney-Smith's mother decided he was too big-time to be missing shots 2 feet from the rim at Virginia Tech and opted to move him to the University of Florida.  Okay, there might be some sour grapes there, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see DFS flourish under Billy Donovan, but if he thought he was too good for VT then good riddance.

So the Hokies will enter 2012 short-handed and will employ new offensive and defensive schemes.  We have 8 players currently on scholarship... one of them, 6'10" r-freshman C Joey Van Zegeren, was red-shirted last year and was considered a project when we recruited him.  Is he ready to contribute?  Another, 6'8" freshman stretch-PF Marshall Wood, probably would be red-shirted this year in a perfect world to give him time to add some beef.  Will he be able to bang down low with the big boys in the ACC?  Here are some of my thoughts on the 2012 Hokie roster in bullet-form, which is my passion and desire.

  • James Johnson has a lot of passion for his job and that passion is infectious.  Schematically, JJ has indicated that he wants to get out and run more on offense this year.  Lots of coaches say this (Greenberg said it just about every year) because it's more fun for the players and appeals to recruits, but not a lot have the balls to do it.  So far the team has been practicing this way though.  The increase in tempo has the potential to result in more sloppy play and bad-shooting teams get burned by the fact that they are creating more possessions in the game, hence more chances to miss shots.  It also has the potential to break down and tire out our roster, which as I've said is not deep.  On paper, it seems like a bad idea for this year but it may inspire our players if they like it.
  • At his roots, JJ is a defensive coach.  He's big on mixing up defenses... full court pressure, full-court trap, 3/4-court trap, 1/2-court trap, man-to-man defense, zone defense... you name it and I'm sure we'll see it at some point this year.  Primarily you're going to see full court pressure and man-to-man defense, but JJ has said he's open to playing more zone if foul trouble is an issue.
  • PG Erick Green returns for his senior season as the undisputed leader of this team.  He had his best season as a Hokie last year, shooting well on 2s, 3s, and from the free throw line.  He will again be asked to be the scoring leader for the Hokies, and you can bet on him stepping up to that role.  Green considered going somewhere else for his senior season after Greenberg was fired, but immediately committed to coming back to VT when James Johnson was made the head coach.  The players really love him and I expect Erick Green to play hard for JJ.  Green will be in the running for first team All-ACC, especially if his assist totals increase a bit.
  • If Green is the president of the Hokies, then r-junior C Cadarian Raines is the vice-president.  Raines' voice is respected on this team, and his hard work started paying dividends on the court in the second half of last year's schedule.  Raines has struggled with foot injuries throughout his college career and was truly healthy for the first time last season.  He brought a toughness on defense, on the glass, and defending the rim that was missing when Victor Davila was in the game.  These are traits that everyone knew a healthy Cadarian Raines would bring, but to our surprise he also showed a wonderful post game on offense.  Raines has been working on a variety of moves on the block, and I'm expecting he'll contribute around 10 points per game if not more.  He will need to improve on his rebounding numbers though.
  • Junior SF Jarell Eddie had a bit of a breakout season last year showing a fantastic ability on catch-and-shoot jumpers.  He also proved to be our best free throw shooter.  He's supposedly been working in the offseason on shooting better off-the-dribble, and he has the potential to rival Erick Green as the scoring leader for our team.  Eddie is also a solid rebounder with great size for the SF position.  Last season, Greenberg was forced to play him out of position at PF because Finney-Smith wasn't big/strong enough to handle that role.  JJ has indicated Eddie will play exclusively on the perimeter as a small forward this year, which is his strength.  At the very least, Eddie is a solid 3-and-D player, but his ceiling is definitely higher than that.
  • Sophomore SG Robert Brown is the most explosive player for the Hokies.  As a freshman, he displayed an array of offensive moves that few freshmen possess.  Brown can shoot it from deep, drive and finish at the rim, terrorize in transition, shoot the pull-up jumper, or use his push-shot that he can float over tall defenders in the paint.  I think he has incredible potential as both a scorer and defender, but I'll be a bit surprised if he can reach that potential this soon... he may be a year away still.  Sometimes when you have as many abilities as he does, you get caught trying to decide how to attack the basket.  Brown also struggled mightily from the free throw line last year in spite of having good form, so it seems like he may have some mental demons to master there.
  • The final member of the starting five is sophomore PF C.J. Barksdale.  He's my pick as breakout player of the year for the Hokies, and a lot of that is because he has the opportunity for more minutes. Last year his per-minute numbers were better than Dorian Finney-Smith's, and everything I've heard indicates that he's looking like a beast in practices.  I think he will replace DFS as the rebounding leader on our team and should score about 10 points per game, showing a mid-range jumper that wasn't there last year and some scrappy play around the rim.
  • First off the bench is sophomore PG Marquis Rankin.  Rankin did a nice job with limited minutes last year and showed to be our best on-ball defender as a frosh.  Coming out of high school he was noted to be a good finisher around the rim and a so-so outside shooter.  Well he showed the exact opposite last year, proving to be a threat from deep but not really succeeding in his forays into the paint.  I'm hoping to see some steady growth from him as he'll play almost as many minutes as the starters.  Rankin is our best player at pushing the ball forward on the break, and that fits in well with the style that JJ wants to play.
  • Freshman PF Marshall Wood is an absolute gem of a find, in my opinion.  He has an inside-out game as a face-up PF who can shoot the 3-pointer.  He also rebounds very well, showing a toughness in the paint.  This season I expect him to get pushed around a little bit as he hasn't had much time to add muscle mass, but I'm predicting that he will be on NBA draft boards before leaving VT.  He also needs to improve his handle.  I think his game will ultimately remind you of former Duke Blue Devil Kyle Singler, except without the a-hole sneer on his face all of the time.
  • The final scholarship player is r-freshman C Joey Van Zegeren.  Nobody really knows what to expect from JVZ, as he's been injured during a couple of practices that have been open to the public.  Being the optimistic guy that I am, I think that we're going to get some good minutes from him this year.  I've heard him get some comparisons to fellow Dutchman Robert Krabbendam stating that he will have a similar contribution when he's in the game, which I think is absolutely absurd.  Krabbendam was a stiff.  He was the kind of player who gets a scholarship because he's 7 feet tall.  JVZ, on the other hand, showed to be a very athletic player in high school with a good-looking jump shot and the ability to block shots at a consistent rate.  What do I expect from him this year?  I expect him to play 10-12 minutes per game, giving us a good defensive presence when he is in there.  I think he'll struggle a bit offensively, but I also don't expect him to take many shots.
  • There are a number of walk-on players on our roster, and JJ may end up giving some quality minutes to one or two of them depending on how well they play in practice.  Odds are that one or two of the scholarship players will suffer a somewhat serious injury this year, so you may see Joey Racer, Will Johnston, and/or Christian Beyer a little more often than you would like.  I'm really hoping one of those guys can step up to the challenge.
So now that I've given you a sneak preview of this year's head coach and the players on the team, I'll give you my sad prediction for this season.  In the end, I just don't see our team being able to fend off injuries for an entire season and I think our schedule is too awful to put us in the running for a post-season tournament even if we finish with a good record.  Our best out-of-conference opponents are Iowa, OK State, WVU, and BYU.  Yuck... not much chance for a signature victory there.  You could potentially see the Hokies finish something like 11-2 in their out-of-conference play and still not get into either the NIT or the Big Dance.  Usually you can count on the Hokies playing in a tournament around Thanksgiving or Christmas with the chance to play one or two highly ranked opponents.  Not this year.  VT plays in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic as the only high-major team in the tournament.  The other teams include: Bradley, Colorado State, Portland, Georgia Southern, Mississippi Valley State, North Florida, and Cal State Bakersfield.  Again... yuck.  And then to top off the fun, we play a very weak ACC slate.  3 of the top 5 teams in the ACC figure to be NC State (#1), UNC (#3), and Florida State (#5)... we play each only once.

So I'm sorry to say Hokie fans, if your definition of success is making the NCAA tournament or at the very least making the NIT, then I think I have bad news for you.  It'd be an incredible story if VT were able to make that happen this year, but I just don't see it.  However, I'm still going to watch the team and root for our boys because I always keep hope for the most improbable things to happen to us.  Keep hope alive.  Go Hokies!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Greenberg Out, JJ In

Well, it finally happened.  For the past couple of years there have been offseason rumblings about the possibility of Seth Greenberg being fired at Virginia Tech.  It finally happened.  I think at this time everybody knows how it happened and why it happened.  Athletic Director Jim Weaver got a little PO'd about the fact that assistant coaches kept leaving Seth Greenberg's staff, and this time with 3 assistant coaches leaving for equivalent jobs and a director of basketball operations also bolting for a new home, Greenberg would have to replace his entire staff in one offseason.  Any traction that had been gained in recruiting was likely lost as the guys primarily responsible for doing the recruiting were no longer at VT.  Jim Weaver probably crapped a brick and after he was done doing that, he called a press conference together without informing Seth Greenberg of his firing.

Let's get something straight; you do not announce a press conference to the media and then put up a link to it on your website before you tell a guy that he's fired.  That's low class, and a poor decision by Jim Weaver and his staff.  Weaver gave some excuse about scheduling, but shoot... even a text would have been better than having reporters calling Greenberg to see if he was getting fired before he had any clue it was coming.  That was a really bad move and the national media got it right by calling out our athletic department on that one.

With that said, and it did need to be said, the local and national media also got the pulse of the situation right (except for ESPN who I think is grooming Greensberg for a full-time analyst position).  It was time.  It was not an ideal time, but it was time.  I've been hearing for a while from people in the know that Greenberg was a tough guy to work with and could be pretty abrasive.  We saw that with the way he treated the media.  After a win, he's talkative and enthusiastic and a really great interview.  After a loss, he's sullen and condescending and could snap at someone at a moment's notice.  That's his personality, for better or for worse, and this time it seemed the worse of it was too much for 4 staff members to be around.  I believe Jim Weaver when he said that 1 trip to the NCAA tournament in 9 years was not the reason that Seth Greenberg was let go.  VT football has had similar post-season failure, but Frank Beamer is not going anywhere as long as Weaver is AD.  For him, it's enough to be one of the best teams in the conference, and Beamer and Greenberg both certainly showed that Virginia Tech was and is one of the best team's in the ACC for both sports.

My opinion about Greenberg is a mixed bag, which I'm sure you find utterly shocking.  Sure, changing conferences from the A-10 to the Big East to the ACC gave Seth access to recruits that his crummy predecessor didn't have.  But as far as national scouting services were concerned, Greenberg was still working with less than his conference contemporaries.  Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon were two of the best players ever to wear the orange and maroon, and they weren't on the radars of a lot of power conference schools.  For a while, Greenberg was getting the most out of his players and it was showing in the ACC record.  The simple fact of the matter is that with Seth Greenberg's patented defense, the Hokies kept most games close and often finished in the top half of the ACC standings.  That's great... that's exactly what you want.

The negatives were also there, though.  Greenberg did not seem to be a guy who could develop players.  When I think of Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, Dorenzo Hudson, and Victor Davila, I think of 4 guys who were promising as freshmen and were basically the same players when they graduated as seniors.  Sure, there were slight improvements... Davila improved defensively in his junior year and Delaney learned in his senior season that he couldn't drive into the lane, flail around, and expect to draw a foul anymore (the referees were on to his game during his sophomore season).  But these were pretty minor improvements.  The only guy I can think of who really burst onto the scene to surprise everyone is Erick Green.  Green showed some tremendous improvement.  But for the most part, it just wasn't there under Greenberg.

Another negative was the lack of offense.  Look, I get that he was a defensive coach who preached protecting the ball and quality possessions.  But for all of Greenberg's offensive plans to score more in transition and "get out and run", the Hokies failed to ever actually do that.  Year after year we suffered through offenses with low scoring (and worse than that, poor efficiency numbers), but Greenberg refused to bring in an offensively-minded assistant to take over this role.  Personally, I think he just has too much of an ego to ever do that.  Last year VT had one of the top 15 freshman classes in the country, a feat never before achieved at my alma mater.  I'm kind of relieved that they won't have to sit through 3 more years of a Seth Greenberg offense.  If this group of guys doesn't get to the NCAA tournament at some point, it will be a massive failure in the new coaching staff.

And that leads us to the hiring of James Johnson, the prodigal assistant.  Without throwing Seth Greenberg under the bus, what we know from JJ is that he liked his chances of becoming a head coach more by being at Clemson and that was the primary reason for his move.  But the unsaid connotation is that he was also unhappy with his position at Tech and didn't think he could become a head coach in that position.  I have no qualms with Weaver going out and grabbing the guy who recently spurned VT for Clemson.  I would have done the same if I was JJ and I would have looked at hiring him if I was Weaver.  There was no conspiracy here... JJ was not Weaver's first choice.  He kicked the tires on Shaka Smart, Jay Wright, and Bobby Lutz for sure, but for all three guys I am told that there was a money problem.  They wanted too much of it and they weren't going to get it.  With those guys and others at their level out of the mix, JJ was a fantastic hire.

Why do I like the JJ hire?  For one, he is going to keep all of our current players on the roster and will probably end up keeping both of our promising young recruits, Marshall Wood and Montrezl Harrell.  Harrell is less certain, but he hasn't asked out of his letter of intent yet.  Wood re-upped with Tech as soon as he heard JJ was the hire.  Why?  Because players love JJ.  No one has a bad thing to say about him... he is beloved by players, colleagues, media members, recruits... he's a great guy who loves basketball and never says a negative word about anybody. 

So this is where we are... we have a first-time head coach who preaches defense and claims that his defense will remind you a lot of Seth Greenberg's defense.  Like Greenberg promised so many times, JJ wants to "get out and run".  Personally, I think coaches just say this because their players want to hear it.  What player doesn't want an open up and down game where they can show off their monster dunks and drop wide open transition 3-pointers?  These are the plays that get the crowd fired up and thus get the players fired up.  But you know what?  Someone has to have a real game plan that will lead to this happening.  The players have to learn when to jump passes and get better at deflecting passes in order to create the turnovers needed for fastbreaks.  Players need to learn to outlet the ball quickly after rebounds and made baskets and push the tempo the right way with guys at different levels on the court.  You don't just "get out and run" by running.  I'm hoping that JJ realizes this, and if he is in the same vein as Greenberg and doesn't have a knack for game-planning an offense, I really hope he is not too proud to bring in an offensively-minded assistant coach to help him.  I've heard that College of Charleston assitant Mark Byington is almost a done deal, and he would be an absolutely amazing hire.  Great X's and O's coach who is a solid recruiter, is well-respected by his peers, and is originally from Salem, VA.  I hope he comes home.  Former Dusquesne coach Ron Everhart is also being talked about, and he would be a guy with head-coaching experience who could really help JJ in this transitional time.  I've heard other names from Ace Custis (supposedly contact JJ about his interest), Dell Curry (sounds like BS to me), and Jerry Wainwright (would bring same kind of credentials and experience as Everhart).  I like what I'm hearing if these guys are indeed interested.

It's a new era in Virginia Tech basketball.  Seth Greenberg had 9 good years with a lot of positives for all of us VT basketball fans, and we should take some time to remember that and thank him for it.  Basketball wasn't very fun in Blacksburg before he arrived.  Now we have a brand new head coach who could take us back to the dark ages or bring us further into the light, and I can't even venture a guess as to which of the two will happen.  I want to see our guys play hard for JJ.  I want to see our players develop and improve from year to year and hopefully even month-to-month.  We know James Johnson can recruit.  What is he going to do with those guys once they walk through the doors of Cassell Coliseum?  I'm excited to find out.