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April 21, 2014

Starting Five: Buzz starting strong for Hokies

THE RIVALS150: Class of 2014 - Class of 2015

After a big weekend, Buzz Williams is off and running at Virginia Tech. Vanderbilt landed another shooter, and Alabama picked up a wing. Those are among the discussions as we use this week's Starting Five to catch up on some big weekend commitments.

Williams off to good start

One of the assurances made to Virginia Tech fans by talking heads when Buzz Williams was hired was that he would recruit well. So far, so good, after a big recruiting weekend for Williams and the Hokies.

Saturday, Williams got four-star shooting guard Ahmed Hill and three-star big man Satchel Pierce to make their decisions to play for him in college. The duo had initially signed with Williams while at Marquette, but getting them to follow him to Blacksburg was no slam dunk. Williams and assistant Isaac Chew moved quickly to get the duo on campus and earned their pledges before any other programs could get into the mix and make things difficult for them.

Currently ranked No. 69 in the class of 2014, Hill is a dangerous wing scorer from Augusta (Ga.) Aquinas. He has plenty of athleticism, can create off the dribble and has the tools to develop into a high-end wing in the ACC. In Pierce, the Hokies are landing a three-star big man who has tremendous size, can eat space in the lane and he has good hands. He is a solid rebounder and tries to finish everything around the rim strong.

In addition to their two big commitments over the weekend, the Hokies got affirmation from both Rivals150 wing Justin Bibbs and shooter Jalen Hudson that they will honor the commitments they made while James Johnson was coach. Next up, Tech will bring four-star forward Malek Harris in on a visit early next week.

Justice for Commodores

For the second time, Camron Justice is off the board. For the second time, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Hindman (Kent.) Knott County Central has committed to an SEC program in the state of Tennessee. Late Sunday night, Justice announced that he has committed to Vanderbilt. He had committed to Tennessee last fall before opening things back up during the winter.

The No. 133 player in the class of 2015, Justice is a dangerous shooter who can also put the ball on the floor a bit. He plays with a bit of an edge to his game and is a tough guard who makes smart plays with the ball in his hands.

With Justice in the fold, the Commodores are really loading up on shooters over the past few classes. In 2014's class, both Matthew Fisher-Davis and Riley LaChance are high-end shooters, while shooting guard Wade Baldwin can get hot as well. By adding Justice, Vanderbilt looks to have lined up plenty of guys who can bomb away from downtown for future teams.

Garrett goes with 'Bama

A native of Alabama, Jeff Garrett decided to spend his senior year at Oldmsar (Fla.) Christian. Now, the 6-foot-6 utility wing player is headed home.

Sunday afternoon, Oldsmar coach Jordan Fair informed Rivals.com that the three-star prospect had committed to play for Anthony Grant and Alabama during his weekend visit.

With good size for the wing, a nice mid-range jump shot and a nose for the ball, Garrett is the type of versatile and tough wing who can help out in many ways. In a small lineup he has enough size and length to be used as a four-man capable of spreading the floor a bit, and he is a very good wing defender. He doesn't get caught up in trying to dribble too much, takes good care of the ball and is a team player all the way.

Garrett joins a perimeter-heavy recruiting class for the Crimson Tide. Already signed are four-star point guard Justin Coleman, Rivals150 small forward Riley Norris and Rivals150 shooting guard Devin Mitchell.

UNLV gets combo guard

The Running Rebels of UNLV locked up one of the class of 2014's top uncommitted guards in Patrick McCaw. A St. Louis (Mo.) native playing his senior season at Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian, McCaw brings a lot to the table.

First of all, you have to like McCaw's 6-foot-5 frame. To go along with his size, you have to like McCaw's versatility. Capable of bombing away from deep or handling the ball some, McCaw is a combination guard who never seems to get too high or too low with his play. If he isn't hitting jumpers from deep, he doesn't press and simply uses his ball handling and passing to get others more involved. He doesn't project as a full-time point guard, but he can be a very good secondary ball handler and help with breaking pressure.

McCaw joins what is a really strong recruiting effort for the Rebels, joining five-star shooting guard Rashad Vaughn, five-star forward Dwayne Morgan and high four-star center Goodluck Okonoboh.

April showers

Finally, Tom Crean and Indiana went a bit off-the-radar to land three-star big man Jeremiah April.

A native of Arizona who just finished a prep year at Westwind Prep in Phoenix, April is a player who Rivals.com saw early promise from as far back as the summer of 2012. April intrigued with his size, soft hands, touch to 10 feet and his ability to run the floor. After that however, April pretty much fell off of the radar until the Hoosiers moved in to land a commitment.

Each spring, schools do what they can to fill out rosters, and time will tell whether or not April is a roster filler or somebody capable of contributing at the Big Ten level. He certainly has enough size, and promise shown in the past suggests that he could ultimately help out down the road. Early on, though, April looks to be more of a role player and a bit of a project.

By adding April, the Hoosiers recruiting class currently stands at four. He joins highly ranked shooting guards James Blackmon and Robert Johnson, who signed in the early signing period, along with three-star combo forward and stretch shooter Max Hoetzel.

Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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