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Breaking Down Buzz: The Recruiter

Buzz Williams proved to be a fantastic recruiter at marquette (though it helps that marquette is a storied program in a big city in what was the best conference at that time).  But still, there is lots to get excited about in terms of what Buzz might bring to the ‘Burg from a recruit standpoint given that he’s in the ACC.

Buzz took over the marquette gig in April 2008, so well after the signing periods had opened that year and most classes were set.  So I’m counting 2009 as his first class at marquette.  Here is analysis of his recruits from 2009-2014 at marquette.  [Note: all star rankings below are based on]

There are three main points I’d like to emphasize that excite me:

  1. Buzz recruited his school’s state, Wisconsin, very, very well.
  2. Buzz has pulled a couple of recruits from Virginia before.
  3. Buzz can land star power.

Recruiting Your State:

There were rumors that JJ/his staff had burned bridges with some VA and Carolina programs on the HS/AAU level.  That’s never a good thing, especially when you are at a school with a historically limited recruiting budget.  You have to lock up your own territory, and Buzz did that while at marquette.  Check out what Buzz was able to do in his own state of Wisconsin…

  • 2009: One 4-star
  • 2010: One 5-star
  • 2011: No in-state signees
  • 2012: No in-state signees
  • 2013: Two 4-stars
  • 2014: One 4-star

In six classes, that four 4-stars and a 5-star, almost an average of one per season.  We’d take that from the Commonwealth over the next six years thank you very much.  And considering (and this is just an educated guess on my part) Virginia is more fertile in terms of basketball recruits than Wisconsin, that bodes well for our chances.  marquette also had nearby Chicago, but Tech has nearby DC which is very rich in talent, so that hopefully will be a wash.

Also, for comparison, here’s what the university of wisconsin hauled in from their home state over that six year span:

  • 1 Five-Star
  • 1 Four-Star
  • 2 Three-Stars
  • 1 Unranked

So Buzz clearly beat his in-state rivals on the recruiting front.  Now it is time to eclipse Mr. Bennett (who obviously had ties to wisconsin from his father who was the head coach there in the late 90s, ironically enough).

The Commonwealth:

Buzz has inked two players from the state of Virginia, so our territory won’t be completely foreign to him.

  • 3-star Jamal Ferguson from Maury in Norfolk in 2012
  • 3-star Davante Gardner from Kings Fork in Suffolk in 2010

Star Power:

Buzz was pulling in solid classes practically ever year at marquette.  The most marquee recruit he inked was point guard Vander Blue, a 5-star recruit in the 2010 class (ranked #24 overall in that class).  But it goes well beyond my boy Blue…

  • 2009: Signed three 4-stars (out of 4 signed/6 verbals — other three players were 3-stars)
  • 2010: Signed one 5-star (Vander Blue) and one 4-star (from the same school Justin Bibbs is at) (other three signees were 3-stars)
  • 2011: Signed one 4-star (other two recruits were 3-stars)
  • 2012: All three signees were 3-stars
  • 2013: Signed four 4-stars out of five signees (other was a 3-star)
  • 2014: Signed three 4-stars out of five (other two were 3-stars)

In six seasons, he got John Hancocks from:

  • 12 Four-Stars
  • 14 Three-Stars

That’s an average of two 4-stars per year.

Average star ranking per recruit by year:

  • 2009: 3.5
  • 2010: 3.6
  • 2011: 3.3
  • 2012: 3.0
  • 2013: 3.8
  • 2014: 3.6

Like I said earlier, sign me up for those classes, I’ll take that over the next six years.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1276 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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10 Responses to “Breaking Down Buzz: The Recruiter”

  1. Juan Cobos says:

    If there’s a blue chipper in Virginia, both UVA and us are far behinda Carolina or Duke.

    That doesnt happen in Wisconsin…

    • harry colby says:

      Let the Buz do what he does best recruit and coach
      and you just donate, donate, donate !

    • Rich Roberts says:

      Unfortunately I have to agree with this. Plus you can’t really discount VCU, Richmond or ODU either. It’s going to take time to build up some legit BBall cred. I’ll give Buzz the benefit of the doubt that he can do this. I never felt JJ could.

    • RKinRoanoke says:

      However, there are Mich St., Mich, Indiana and Notre Dame very close by. As storied as Marquette is, the others are more so. And Marquette and ND traditionally recruit the same kids.

    • Pat Leonard says:

      Wish I’d seen this earlier… that absolutely happens in Wisconsin, if they have a blue chipper (and they rarely do). UNC/Duke get the best recruits from all over the country, not just VA and NC. Duke has two top-five recruits for 2014 and they come from Chicago, IL and Apple Valley, MN. They have another top-25 guy from Houston, TX. UNC has top-25 recruits from TX and FL.

      • Juan Cobos says:

        Cannot agree.

        Of course Duke or Carolina recruit everywhere in the country (including Alaska given the case: see Trajan Langdon, Carlos Boozer).

        Thing is many players want to play close to home. So there are more chances a top prospect from VA considers Duke or UNC as their main optiones than a kid from CA.

        • Pat Leonard says:

          I mean, it doesn’t really matter. UNC, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, etc… they gobble up the top-25 guys regardless of where they’re from. They won’t look over a blue chip guy simply because he’s from Wisconsin.

  2. King says:

    Malek Harris apparently following Buzz to Blacksburg next year

  3. King says:

    Buzz is filling in for Kenny Smith all night in the CBS March Madness studios. Fantastic exposure for the program. So pumped for Tech basketball right now.

  4. To further put into perspective how Buzz did in his home state:
    In his time at Marquette, he signed 1 out of 3 five stars during this time. He signed 4 out of 9 four stars. He didn’t sign any of the 28 three stars in Wisconsin. James Johnson and Bennett each signed one three star from Wisconsin, Trevor Thompson, the now departed being the Tech three star.
    Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame did not sign any of the top players from Wisconsin during this period. UCLA signed the one five star that didn’t go to Marq or Wisc. UNC, Oregon, Indiana, and Iowa State signed the 4 four stars that went out of state.
    The three stars were recruited by Texas Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Georgia, Buffalo, Vanderbilt, Creighton, Nebraska, BYU, UConn, Seton Hall, Cleveland State, Loyola, Milwaukee, Green Bay, UVA and us.


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