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College Notebook: Recruiting, The Portal and More

You had to wonder why more ACC men's basketball programs didn't jump after Jay Heath before he signed with Boston College out of Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C.

There should be more action now with word that Heath has entered the transfer portal.

Heath, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, averaged a team-leading 14.5 points and had a team-high 42 made 3-pointers for the Eagles, who finished 4-16 and ended the season without six-year head coach Jim Christian.

The Eagles completed the season with Christian assistant Scott Spinelli at the helm and ultimately selected Earl Grant as their new head coach.

Grant, most recently the head coach at the College of Charleston, was an assistant at Winthrop and Wichita State . He has an ACC background after years as an assistant at Clemson.

One of his coaching mentors was Gregg Marshall, who resigned under pressure as Wichita State head coach prior to the 2020-21 season.

After eight straight seasons of 20 wins or more, Wichita State finished 16-6 under Isaac Brown, who was promoted to interim coach following Marshall's resignation and later elevated to head coach.

The Portal and More

Playing time wasn't an issue for Au'Diese Toney, the University of Pittsburgh junior who entered the NCAA Transfer portal earlier this week.

Toney, a 6-6 swingman out of Huntsville, Ala., averaged a team-high 34.9 minutes per game for the Panthers and led the team in scoring with 14.4 points per game.

Toney spent his final year of high school at Trinity Christian in Greeville, N.C., where he was a three-star recruit according to rivals.com and is listed by rivals as having received offers from Virginia and Virginia Tech among others.

Toney isn't only player in the portal for the Panthers (10-12). Xavier Johnson, originally from Bishop O'Connell in Arlington, has averaged double figures in both of his years at Pitt. He was third on the team in scoring this year at 14.2 and had a team-leading 103 assists for a team that started 8-2.

‣‣‣ GONZAGA is being mentioned as a possible destination for Walker Kessler, the 7-foot-1 North Carolina freshman who has revealed that he is leaving the Tar Heels' program after one season.

Kessler played in all 29 games for the Tar Heels (18-11) but played fewer than nine minutes per game, averaging 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. Kessler's father played at Georgia and the younger Kessler had offers from Duke, Virginia, Georgia and four other Southeastern Conference schools.

Other ACC players who have entered the transfer portal include Boston College's 6-7 CJ Felder, who averaged 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds while playing 27.7 minutes per game, which was third on the team. Felder is from Sumter, S.C.

‣‣‣ LATE TODAY, UVa's Casey Morsell announced he is entering the transfer portal. He had a season-high 15 points, going 3-of-3 from 3-point range, with four rebounds against Notre Dame in January. He finished the season averaging 14.83 minutes and 4.39 points per game. 

Recruiting

The top-rated football prospect among the state of Virginia's top seniors, 6-foot-6, 282-pound offensive lineman  Zach Rice from Liberty Christian in Lynchburg, has narrowed his choices to five schools -- Virginia and North Carolina from the ACC, as well as Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State.

UVa is seen as a longshot in the Rice recruiting, although his grandfather, Maynard, played at UVa, where he was a letterman in 1958.

The Cavaliers took a 2022 commitment this week from Trey McDonald, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker from the Baylor School in  Chattanooga. Karson Gay, a 6-7 tight end from Boys Buchanan in Chattanooga, had committed to UVa earlier in the process.

Rankings

 In the latest Rivals.com rankings of the 2022 football class, Virginia Tech's class is rated 34th and Virginia's is 38th. That is fifth and sixth among ACC teams.

If there is a surprise, it's that Boston College is ranked 10th in the country at this point. That seems to be a result of the 10 commitments the Eagles have taken and not necessarily their rankings (all 10 are rated as 3-stars).

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Comments 2

Dave Fulton on Thursday, 25 March 2021 12:20
Education?

I don't suspect any of these various folks floating around the transfer portals have put much emphasis on getting an education.

I don't suspect any of these various folks floating around the transfer portals have put much emphasis on getting an education.:(
Dave Scarangella on Thursday, 25 March 2021 12:28
I don't think you can paint everyone with the same brush

There are probably some just looking for more playing time and don't care as much about school. But I know the 6-9 young man from UMass we've written about is an honors student. And this is an unusual year in that everyone gets an extra year of eligibility and you don't have to be a grad transfer to avoid sitting out a year due to COVID. This kind of freedom to move about has never been seen in college sports...

There are probably some just looking for more playing time and don't care as much about school. But I know the 6-9 young man from UMass we've written about is an honors student. And this is an unusual year in that everyone gets an extra year of eligibility and you don't have to be a grad transfer to avoid sitting out a year due to COVID. This kind of freedom to move about has never been seen in college sports...
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