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You have to hand it to Mike Young and the Hokies: They sure are good at keeping their interest in a player close to the vest.
Virginia Tech sort of surprised everyone late this afternoon when they announced the signing of incoming freshman Jalen Haynes. He’s 6-8, 215 pounds, from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL and comes to the Hokies after playing a post-scholastic year at Montverde Academy last season. He’s been reclassified as a class of 2021 recruit, so he will be a freshman this fall.
"Jalen possesses the type of skill and size we are looking for in our program," Young said in a press release. "He reminds me of a lot of good players I have had the privilege of coaching in the past and we are excited to bring him to Virginia Tech. Jalen comes from a very good high school program and he has a great understanding of the game of basketball. We are excited for his future as a Hokie."
The signing continues Young’s remarkable string of signing players that seem to be exactly what the Hokies need to take the next step. Needing more scoring at the point, Young got Storm Murphy to transfer from Wofford and provide just that; needing a true center, the Hokies also picked up 7-foot transfer Michael Durr.
With two scholarships left, the Hokies probably needed to worry about spacing in the lineup, as too many transfers might leave the team with great talent, but deplete the roster if they all leave or graduate at the same time. Haynes will be a true freshman in the fall, and at only 215 pounds, he looks like a player who could benefit from a red-shirt year in the weight room, much like Keve Aluma did when he had to sit out a year after transferring from Wofford.
Haynes is considered a 3-star by 247Sports, and chose the Hokies over Mississippi State, Boston College and UCF. He appears to be more of a forward-center kind of player like Aluma than a wing, but knows how to score. averaging 20.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game at Montverde, and 18 points and 10 rebounds his senior year at Dillard.