After the first two weeks of his tenure as Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach were defined by two high-profile defections, James Johnson got some reinforcements Wednesday afternoon. Former UNC Wilmington guard Adam Smith has orally committed to transfer to Virginia Tech, Smith’s AAU Coach, Lee Aldridge, confirmed Thursday morning.
Smith was the top freshman scorer in the CAA, averaging 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, and earned a spot on the all-CAA rookie team last year. He chose the Hokies over suitors like Arkansas, Northwestern and Murray State, Aldridge said.
Aldridge added that Smith’s choice was due in part to the fact that new Virginia Tech assistants Mark Byington and Ramon Williams, as well as Johnson, had all recruited Smith at some point during his high school days. Smith also has interest in becoming an engineer, Aldridge said.
Smith must sit out next season because of NCAA transfer rules but will have three years of eligibility remaining when he steps onto the court at Cassell Coliseum for the 2013-14 season.
“He didn’t get as much attention from the high majors coming out of high school, but now he’s proven himself at a college that didn’t run pick-and-rolls for him, or anything like that,” said Aldridge, who coaches the Georgia Impact in Smith’s home town of Jonesboro, Ga. “He’s a guy, he doesn’t need a lot of room to get his shot. He’s a guy that can create a shot, and that’s what he did this year. He proved that he could do that, so that’s why his stock went up.”
Smith is listed at just 6 feet 1 and 161 pounds, and Aldridge described him as a “knockdown shooter” who can play both guard positions. Smith’s two best games last year came at Wake Forest and Maryland, when he scored 32 and 23 points, respectively.
But he also struggled some once conference play hit, ending the season shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, including 33.1 percent from three-point range. But Aldridge said Smith’s issues were due, in part, to the system UNC Wilmington Coach Buzz Peterson was running.
“He would’ve gone back to the school, but it just wasn’t a good fit for him because they ran nothing for him. Everything he got, he had to create,” Aldridge said. “Had they run some things for him, it may have not been such a grueling year on him.”
Smith averaged more than 26 points per game as a senior in high school and was named a second-team Parade all-American in 2011.
Montrezl Harrell Update
Virginia Tech associate athletic director Tom Gabbard confirmed Wednesday that top recruit Montrezl Harrell has yet to be officially released from his national letter-of-intent. Though it has limited Harrell’s ability to locate a new school – starting Thursday, there is a 10-day dead period for basketball recruiting – Gabbard said the Hokies are simply utilizing a 30-day waiting period entitled to them under NCAA rules.
Part of the issue is that Athletic Director Jim Weaver has been out of town attending ACC meetings and hasn’t been able to meet with Johnson about Harrell’s decision to not attend Virginia Tech. Kentucky is rumored to be the school most interested in Harrell’s services at this point.
“The NLI specifically states a change of coach is not necessarily grounds for granting a release. In fact, it’s specific about that,” Gabbard said. “Having said that, [Johnson’s] position is that if an athlete doesn’t want to be at Virginia Tech, then there’s no reason to make them come to Virginia Tech.
“But Mr. Weaver has been out of town and when he comes and meets with [Johnson] and they discuss it for the final time, I don’t anticipate it’s gonna be a problem. . . . I don’t anticipate that we won’t give him a release. It just hasn’t happened formally yet because of the process.”