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A Summer ACC Roundup

With news from Virginia, Notre Dame And Pitt

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Pittsburgh
Mar 9, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey (left) and Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jeff Capel (right) shake hands before their teams play at the Petersen Events Center. 
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Here are a few ACC summer notes.

First, Virginia-bound Isaac McKneely is making an impression. We’ve said before that one of Tony Bennett’s great strengths is that he finds players who will work in his system and it sounds like he has a good one in McKneely. We’ll see him in the ACC in 2022.

Notre Dame has had a tough couple of years and now Mike Brey has shuffled his staff.

Ryan Ayers left last year after some ugly incidents involving women and was replaced by Scott Martin. Former Virginia guard Anthony Solomon was brought in along with several other moves.

In this article, questions are raised about how much longer he might stay in South Bend. Brey is 62 now and as we’ve seen, the game is changing in so many ways. Lots of older coaches may not be willing to deal with it much longer.

When Pitt left the Big East, some thought that it would lose its traditional recruiting grounds of New York City and New Jersey.

Jeff Capel hasn’t recruited there much, true, but he has expanded Pitt’s options nationally and has done particularly well in the DMV. And honestly, it’s a better recruiting territory now than the Big Apple, which, for whatever reason, has really fallen off as a talent bed lately. Once upon a time you saw Kareem, Kenny Anderson, Pearl Washington, Albert and Bernard King.

Lately it hasn’t been that great. Who is the last great New York player you can think of?

But the DMV has pushed out Len Bias, Grant Hill, Muggsy Bogues, Reggie Lewis, Johnny Dawkins, Quinn Cook, Nolan Smith, Bonzie Colson and that’s not trying hard.

It’s a great place to build a team from. Capel got Judah Mintz out of DC’s Gonzaga High just a couple of weeks ago.

But so is North Carolina, and Capel may find his next big man in Winston-Salem, where Christ Essandoko plays for Winston Salem Christian School. A 7-1, 260 pounder, he’s getting more and more attention, including from ACC rivals NC State and Wake Forest.

As the old saying goes, you can teach a lot of things, but you can’t teach big.

Finally, bad news for Virginia Tech as Tyrece Radford has opted to transfer, stepping into the portal and off to who knows where. It’s late so there’s no replacing him but Mike Young has shown he’s a very capable coach. Virginia Tech will be okay.

It’s too bad though. Radford is one of the most unique guards in the country, able to rebound with just about anyone despite being 6-2. And when he was suspended after his DWI/weapons issues, Young reinstated him, saying he loved the kid and didn’t care what anyone thought.

It’s too bad that Radford didn’t return the loyalty, but sometimes a fresh start is the best thing.