Monday, August 8, 2011

Hoops notes (VTech, Radford, ODU etc.)

VIRGINIA TECH: Among the things we wondered about upon learning of last week's report of a man carrying a gun on the Virginia Tech campus was how much this kind of story would hurt the Hokies' recruiting. Well, in at least one case, it hurt quite a bit. The Baltimore Sun reports that football offensive line prospect Greg Pyke postponed a trip to Tech upon hearing the news and visited Georgia instead - and wound up committing to the Bulldogs on the spot.

"We were on the way down, and we heard on the radio that there was a guy with a gun," Pyke said. "We called the [Virginia Tech] coaches, and they told us that the school was on lockdown. Obviously they take that very seriously because of what happened four years ago. So we told them it was probably best if we just rescheduled, and we just kept on going down to Georgia."

Don't know if any women's basketball recruits were similarly scared off. But we're sure it didn't help.

RADFORD: OK, so the youthful Virgin Islands team led by Highlanders head coach Tajama Ngongba didn't exactly set Nassau on fire last week as the team finished fourth out of six teams at the CBC Championships in the Bahamas. But we bet those players know a whole lot more about defense than they did a few weeks ago...Hanka Musa, the 6-4 center we thought would make a huge impact for the Highlanders a year ago as a junior-college transfer, has quietly transferred to Division II Lincoln Memorial in Tennessee. Formerly of Liberty Christian Academy, Musa played only 10 minutes over five games in her lone season at Radford. At least now she gets to play with her sister Edina, who transferred to Lincoln Memorial from Gardner-Webb. Also, she goes from one cool nickname - the Highlanders - to another: the Lady Railsplitters.

OLD DOMINION: Did you catch Deion Sanders' shout-out to Nancy Lieberman during his doo-rag Hall of Fame speech Saturday? Lieberman sure did - she was in Canton, Ohio for the ceremony. Seems like she's been just about everywhere over the past few months, from Israel to San Antonio for the WNBA All-Star Game to Chicago to sign copies of her book "Playbook For Success." Next month, she'll be running hoops clinics in Hawaii. And just think: if she'd gotten the Old Dominion job, she could have spent most of that time sitting on wooden bleachers watching teenage hotshots. I mean, it was cool of Lieberman to throw her star-studded hat in the ring for the Lady Monarchs' head-coaching job. But even had it been offered, we could never picture her giving up everything she has going on - and leaving her beloved Dallas - to actually take it. Speaking of Lieberman, in this Q&A with ESPNW, "Lady Magic" reveals, among other things, that her big-picture goal is to own a professional team...Old Dominion star forward Tia Lewis leads all scorers (13.3 ppg) in the 7 Cities Pro-Am Summer League, which will wrap up with playoffs Saturday and Sunday at Maury High School in Norfolk. Click here for the postseason schedule.

NCAA: In "It's About Time" news, the NCAA Division I Leadership Council appears to be moving towards eliminating its text-messaging ban as part of a series of adjustments to men's basketball recruiting. In other words, instead of vainly trying to stuff the text genie back in the bottle, coaches may soon be able to use the most effective means of communicating with today's teenagers.

Again, this is a men's basketball proposal. But we have to believe the women's basketball folks will follow suit as soon as their next meeting. And if there's no meeting on the horizon soon, they ought to schedule one just to get this change in motion.

DELAWARE: Nice story from USA Basketball on Delaware star (and honorary LadySwish hoopster) Elena Delle Donne, who left for Shenzhen, China Monday as part of the United States team that will compete in next week's World University Games. Of course, the big question with Delle Donne - and it's one we're not sure even she knows the answer to yet - is whether or not she'll leave Delaware after this season. The WNBA allows players to join its league if they are four years removed from high school, which Delle Donne will be after the 2011-12 season. While this will be just her third season playing basketball at Delaware, Delle Donne spent her first year with the Blue Hens as a Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie team performer on the school's volleyball team after famously leaving UConn in the summer of 2008.

Now, as huge fans of Delle Donne's hoops skills, we're hoping she stays an extra year in Newark. And we get the sense it'll be hard for her to leave, as Delle Donne speaks extensively about how much she loves being close to home and family. Were she to depart, as a sure-to-be high-lottery WNBA draft pick Delle Donne could easily find herself toiling in Tulsa this time next year (no offense, Shock fans).

So we think ultimately, hanging with the fam will be too tough for Elena to pass up. Having said that, we're fully aware that, as Delle Donne's shown us in the past, a girl's entitled to change her mind.

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