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Virginia Tech’s hire of Johnson pays immediate dividends


New Virginia Tech college basketball coach James Johnson smiles during a news conference in Blacksburg, Va., Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)


We always wonder how a new head coach is going to do on the recruiting trail. Often, we forget that he has another job that often need doing first: stopping the bleeding.

Coaching changes breed transfers and de-commitments. A new coach must persuade at least a few kids who have already said “yes” to say it again.

Virginia Tech’s James Johnson, hired to replace Seth Greenberg, got his first big “yes” today. The affirmative came from Marshall Wood, who had committed to Tech, then asked for his release when Greenberg was fired. Seeing Johnson return from a very brief hiatus from the Hokies, Wood got the same feeling of security and comfort he had with the old staff. Mostly because Johnson was the old staff. The Roanoke Times spills the details:

Wood signed with Tech last fall. He had been promised his release, but he met with Johnson at a Rustburg restaurant Wednesday and agreed to play for Tech as planned.

“It kind of was an easy decision,” said Wood, who averaged 24.1 points as a Rustburg senior this year. “I felt really comfortable with him and it was easy to recommit.

“I’ve known him since the fall of my junior year. ... He was always down at the school, always ... calling me, so he was definitely the most instrumental in my [original] recruitment.

“I was really excited when he got the [head coaching] job. I told my parents, ‘I think I’m going back now,’ because I really like Coach Johnson and I have a great relationship with him.”

Wood says he considered going to prep school for a season to mull over his options while working on his game. Johnson did well to take him back off the market as quickly as possible. Johnson will now look to retain super recruit Montrezl Harrell, who has not yet asked for a release.