There were some Virginia Tech basketball fans that were holding out hope that Montrezl Harrell would be staying with Virginia Tech. Despite Montrezl asking for a release from his L.O.I., those fans were hoping that new head coach James Johnson could convince Harrell to stay on board with the Hokies.
Unfortunately for those fans (and other Hokies, basketball players, and the newly assembled coaching staff) Montrezl Harrell is officially gone from Virginia Tech. What is his new destination? The University of Louisville.
This news was released yesterday by Harrell’s father and high school, and was promptly spread around the college basketball world. Montrezl’s decision to go to Louisville should only be surprising in the fact that apparently Kentucky was interested in the young forward as well.
Losing Harrell leaves Virginia Tech sitting with only eight scholarship players moving forward into the upcoming season under first-time head coach James Johnson. Every source close to the Virginia Tech basketball program has told me that had Harrell stayed with Virginia Tech he would have started immediately. That reflection by those close to the program really makes losing Harrell that much harder because it is truly a testament to how talented this kid really is.
For this season, keeping Marshall Wood turned out to be bigger than I think we all realized. Had Virginia Tech lost Wood and Harrell in the messy coaching turnover, the support for the program would have sank like a stone (hard to believe, right?). It’s not like this roster is devoid of talent either – the likes of Erick Green, Cadarian Raines, and Jarell Eddie will still make Virginia Tech a formidable opponent for many teams. However, after losing Dorian Finney-Smith during this off-season as well, having Harrell to fall back on would have almost made things OK.
Off-Topic Information Nugget
Apparently Dorian Finney-Smith is going to be taking visits to Iowa State and Georgetown before deciding where exactly he will be transferring to.
Apparently Louisville (Aka Virginia Tech Lite, if this happens), Florida, Texas, Ohio State, and Marquette are also in the mix for the soon-to-be former Hokie. We should know fairly soon where Doe-Doe ends up.
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There’s no two ways about it – Montrezl Harrell upgraded from Virginia Tech. Harrell will be going to a school coming off a Final Four run in the NCAA Tournament with a plethora of talent at the forward position. He will also be playing for one of the best coaches in college basketball, Rick Pitino.
As for Louisville, they now might have a legitimate stake as being the best team in college basketball moving into next season. The frontcourt of Louisville will include the likes of Chane Behanan, Gorgui Dieng, and Wayne Blackshear. The latter two were integral to Louisville’s run last season. If Louisville is able to bring Montrezl Harrell off the bench next season, they are truly going to be a force to be reckoned with.
You certainly can’t blame Montrezl Harrell for choosing to attend Louisville over Virginia Tech, but I don’t blame you for being upset about it. This is just another disappointment for Virginia Tech basketball in what has been a very turbulent off-season.