Thursday, April 12, 2012

Signing period starts quietly for Virginia schools

Soon-to-be Old Dominion's Shae Kelley
It sure is a lot calmer in these parts than it was at this point last year.

A year ago to the day, Longwood removed the interim tag from head coach Bill Reinson. A few days before that, Virginia had announced that Joanne Boyle would succeed Debbie Ryan as the Cavaliers coach. And this was just a couple of weeks after Virginia Tech had surprised many by selecting longtime men's basketball coach Dennis Wolff to head up its women's program. Meanwhile, Old Dominion fans were still waiting for the second shoe to drop in the suddenly volatile Lady Monarchs coaching situation. That shoe landed on May 18, when Wendy Larry stepped down after 24 seasons in charge.

Fortunately, no such coaching tumult exists in this here Commonwealth a year later. Absent an unexpected twist in the coaching carousel, at this stage it appears as though everyone's going to stay in their seat. So we're free to focus on the players.

Wednesday's opening day of the signing period produced no news from the Virginia schools, but we're anticipating a fair amount of activity over the next several days. Some of the things we're looking out for:

Wilka Montout
Virginia: The website reports that the Cavaliers are poised for a visit this weekend from junior college standout Wilka "We-We" Montout, a 6-5 center from French Guiana by way of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. Montout averaged better than18 points and a shade under 8 rebounds in leading the Lady Norse to the NJCAA Division I Tournament. The fact that is keeping tabs on Montout's whereabouts lets you know that Tennessee is also in the hunt, as apparently is South Carolina and Washington, among others. One factor that may play in Virginia's favor is that academics is apparently a big deal for Montout, who is a 4.0 student.

Richmond: The Spiders are expecting a letter-of-intent from high-scoring Lauren Tolson, a 5-8 guard from Frederick High in Maryland. Tolson averaged a whopping 27 points per game and helped the Cadets advance to the Maryland 3A state tournament. Frederick won the state title in Tolson's junior year.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies will make official the addition of 6-2 forward Taijah Campbell, a veteran of junior national teams in Canada. Pickering will become the second Canadian-born player in Tech's recruiting class, joining Alex Kiss-Rusk, a 6-4 forward from Montreal who signed with the Hokies last fall.

Old Dominion: As reported previously, junior-college forward Shae Kelley is set to join the Lady Monarchs. Kelley, who began her college career at Colorado, earned third-team All-America honors last season at Northwest Florida State College. We think ODU would like to add another junior college big if they can.

George Mason: The Patriots appear set to welcome former Potomac High star Kyana Jacobs. The 5-7 guard spent her freshman year at South Carolina Upstate, then moved to Pensacola State College where she averaged 9.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.4 steals for a 29-5 team that finished third at the NJCAA Tournament. The move will reunite Jacobs with former Fairfax Stars teammate and current Patriot Cierra Strickland.

We're also expecting some signing news from Longwood, which is probably recruiting like crazy now that it has the Big South wind at its back.

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