First year Virginia Tech head men’s basketball coach James Johnson has gotten on a bit of a roll in recruiting for the class of 2013, building a four man class all within the last 50 days. The most recent commitment came this past weekend in the form of 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard Ben Emelogu from Grand Prairie (Texas) South Grand Prairie High School.
Ben Emelogu is excited about playing at Cassell Coliseum against ACC foes for the Hokies.
Emelogu was on his official visit when he gave his pledge. Not only was it his first visit to Virginia Tech, it was his first time in the state of Virginia in general. He fell in love.
“I got there around noon on Friday,” Emelogu said. “I committed sometime on Saturday afternoon. I went to the (football) game and I enjoyed it. That visit was my first time ever being at Virginia Tech or in Virginia actually, and I loved it. I loved it.”
Johnson was pumped to hear the news that Emelogu would be making his way to Virginia Tech.
“When I committed, he was very excited. We all had very big smiles on our faces. It was just a great moment. Basically, it is a dream school. The conference, the people … the people are great. They care about you, they’ll embrace you, they love to give you support. The scene and support at the football game … I’ve never seen anything like that. It was great.”
Emelogu, who had taken a previous official visit to TCU on the weekend of Sept. 28, also had offers from the likes of Marquette, Washington, SMU, Texas Tech and others, along with the Horned Frogs. This past weekend really sold him on Virginia Tech, something that no other school was able to do.
“They’re going to have a very nice system, they’re in the ACC and the student body is amazing. All of those things along with the coaches really sold me (on Tech).”
Emelogu is currently unrated by 247Sports. Compared to some other guys, he really slid under the radar, at least publicly, nationally. A lot of that can be attributed to the fact that he had to sit out the whole summer on the AAU circuit due to an injury. Once he was fully healthy and started having individual workouts, the offers began pouring in.
“Yeah, I broke two fingers, my pinky and my middle finger, so I was out the whole summer. It was really tough watching other kids play, wishing that I could play. I saw my recruiting go down so I really wanted to be out there. It hurt me bad. At the same time, it really made me hungry for the game.”
Emelogu was a part of the Dallas Mustangs AAU program, known as one of the best in the nation. The proof is in the pudding. It seems as if every player in the class of 2013 that was a part of the Mustangs program is committed to play basketball at the division 1 level, and if they haven’t committed already, have options from some of the top programs in the country. Marcus Foster is going to Kansas State. Leyton Hammonds and Jeffery Carroll are going to Oklahoma State. Nathan Hawkins is going to Nebraska. Nathan Bowser is going to The Citadel. Zach Coleman is going to UMASS. Soma Edo and others have multiple options and just haven’t decided yet. Now Emelogu joins the list of committed Mustang prospects.
How much does he think having played for an organization like the Mustangs will benefit him in college and possibly beyond?
“Oh, it will help me a lot,” Emelogu said. “Playing with that program is great. You get great exposure, there is outstanding success and, you know, at practice we always had great competition. Most of the kids on our team are going to top programs and the coaches … the coaches love the kids. They are all about the kids. They pushed you to get better every day but they helped get me where I wanted to be. They did that with all of us.”
Emelogu said he sees himself as a combo guard; someone who can bring the ball down some and relieve pressure from the point guard, but that can also put the ball in the basket and likes to shoot. He said that Virginia Tech has told him right now they see him as a “three”, at least to start.
What would he say are his biggest strengths on the court?
“I would say my shooting. I have very good range in my shot, I can pull up off the dribble, mid-range, I have a wide variety of shots.”
On the flip side of that, what would Emelogu say he needs to improve upon the most heading into his senior season of high school and eventually the ACC?
“I would say the mental part of the game. College is going to be a much different level from high school, so I need to be mentally ready. Other than that, my defense, ball handling, all of that stuff. I’m always looking to improve.”
As previously mentioned, with Emelogu’s commitment, he joins Trevor Thompson, Donte Clark and Maurice Kirby in a four person class, James Johnson’s first ever class as a head coach at Virginia Tech. While Tech may be looking to add one more prospect, the core of the class seems to be solidified in place. Has Emelogu been able to get in contact with any of his future teammates yet?
“I communicated with Trevor Thompson. He congratulated me when I committed. It was the same with the rest of the guys. You know, these guys are my future teammates. The way Coach Johnson talked about them, they are great guys like me and they can play. I’m looking forward to getting with the guys and having some great teams together.”
What are some goals of his, not only once he gets to Blacksburg, but for his upcoming high school season as well?
“I want to get my high school a state championship,” he said. “We came close last year. We lost to Marcus High School by one point in the regional semifinals. We were one game away from making it to states. So this year, I’m trying to get that state ring.
“Then my goals for Virginia Tech, I want to come in, win a conference championship, bring that conference championship back to Tech. I want to make the tournament and have some great seasons. Be with a great group of guys and do it for the fans. We gotta do it for the fans. They are our biggest supporters … I don’t want to let them down.”
Emelogu was originally scheduled to take an official visit to Washington sometime later this fall. With his commitment behind him, that trip will no longer be taking place. He is done with the recruiting process for good and will be signing in the upcoming fall signing period.
“Yes I am signing in the fall signing period; I am completely done with visits. I found my home. When I got to Virginia Tech, I fell in love, and I’m excited to be there.”
Any last words for the Hokienation?
“Let’s do it. Hokienation. We’re ready.”