Saturday, May 23, 2015

Welcome, Steve Lepore!

Word is now out that coach Dan Earl has hired assistant Steve Lepore to his staff. Lepore comes to VMI from Hargrave Military Academy located in Chatham, Virginia. Lepore was with the Tigers for two seasons, the most recent of which saw Hargrave go 14–11 overall and 8–4 in region play. Previously, they were 14–9 (9–3). The hire was originally reported by and "unofficially officially" confirmed last Tuesday.

Lepore played basketball at Wake Forest and graduated in 2003. Actually he played his freshman and sophomore year at Northwestern before transferring to the Demon Deacons. As a freshman Lepore 10.5 PPG and played in 28 contests. The next season, he averaged 9.2 PPG and started all 30 games for the Wildcats before sitting out the next season due to NCAA transfer rules. In his junior year Lepore averaged just 4.5 points per contest in thirteen minutes/game on a much more competitive Wake Forest team. Injuries derailed his senior season and he saw action in just 18 games, starting none.

Lepore attended St. Edward High School in North Olmsted, Ohio. As a senior he was honorable mention All-American on the team that won the Ohio state championship (in a state filled with elite basketball talent, no less).

No official statement has been made by VMI but I would anticipate one coming soon (wonder what's taking so long?) In any case, Coach Earl has now filled the void of two assistant coaches, with Ben Thompson the only leftover from Duggar's tenure, and now has one more to find. No word on who it might be. As far as the hire goes, I would've preferred we get a guy with some collegiate coaching experience (as a head or assistant), but his credentials seem to fit VMI quite nicely. We will see how it plays out in six months.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Around the Block: May 15

May 6

  • First and foremost, a welcome to the newest member of the VMI basketball family, Adrian Rich. Adrian comes to us from Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, though he attends Fishburne Military Academy in nearby Waynesboro. Previously he attended Village Christian Academy in Fayetteville. He's listed as a point guard and stands at 6'2 (I can't find his weight), though with his freshman counterpart D'Andre Mahaffey competing for playing time, along with Eleby, and the return of QJ (which is confirmed, by the way), I doubt he'll see too much playing time. Though he could prove me wrong - never forget that Julian started the year deep on the bench early in the year, but was a starter by the season's end. Watching whatever film I can muster, he appears very lean but is quick, finishes at the rim well, and has a soft three-point stroke. This is, as far as we can tell, Coach Dan Earl's first recruit in this "modified" fast-paced system, so we'll see how it works out. But I like that we addressed early the dire need for a point guard that Duggar robbed us of. Here are Adrian's highlights:
May 14
  • Unfortunately, a recruit we failed to pick up was Dominic Robb, who yesterday announced his intent to play for Niagara next season. Robb is a 6'8, 215 lb. forward from Pittsburgh with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. He noted in the article that Niagara and VMI were his final two choices, and received interest from some other. Certainly we could've used his size and physicality, something we lacked this season (though Anglade possesses the latter, he does not have the former). Still, have faith that Coach Earl knows what he's doing and is as good as a recruiter as his predecessor.
May 12
  • According to the always-reliable Jeff Hartsell, ex-Winthrop guard Derrick Henry will be transferring to The Citadel next season to play for Duggar. Henry averaged 11.4 PPG in 2012-13 before tearing his ACL late in the year. Although he wasn't quite as athletic this season than before the tear, he managed to average 4.4 PPG in limited minutes. He's a good defender and has played against Duggar a couple of times back in the days of the Big South, so they know each other at least moderately well. The Bulldogs' rotation next year will look drastically different from last season's.
  • Though I'm getting tired of mentioning The Citadel, it should be noted that freshman guard Brandon Thompson will be transferring from the team, according to the latest transfer list. Thompson hardly played at all (just ten games and 36 total minutes), so this isn't much of a loss.