And now, to make things better, here's this (from Roanoke.com:
I'm sick and tired of the elitists at UVA boasting about the academic "standards" their players face. Just because you kick people off the team for not making grades doesn't mean you have high standards. You just have dumb players. But nonetheless, it's nice to see a Hokie athlete (or just a basketball player in general) beat the stereotype of being a rockhead.
The Hokies took an oral commitment this past week from 6-foot-5 Manny Atkins from Tucker High School in Atlanta, which has allowed them to focus even more of their attention on 6-3 guard C.J. Harris from Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Atkins is rated 89th in the entering class of 2009 by prepstars.com and is the highest-rated of the prospects who have committed to Tech. Recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons, who is affiliated with ESPN.com and Scouts, Inc. raves about him.
“Another great addition,” Gibbons said. “He’s just the epitome of the ideal student-athlete. He’s got the highest test score at his school, he’s in the honor society and he has a 3.8 GPA. His goal is to be the best student he can be. Education comes ahead of basketball and how rare is that?”
Plus, he can play a little.
Gibbons hasn’t seen Atkins play for Tucker High School, but “he was an excellent player for the Atlanta Celtics [travel team]. They won the championship of my Memorial Day Tournament. He has the versatility to play either big guard or small forward.
“He’s an outstanding player in his own right, but the most impressive thing is his academics come first. He brings your GPA up for the whole team. He’s a role model for all your kids to get the work done in the classroom. I think he’s a valuable, valuable player.”
Atkins played on a Class 4A championship team as a sophomore, when he was the most valuable player in the state final, according to Tucker coach James Hartry, who said that Atkins averaged 24.3 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots as a junior.
“He had offers from everybody,” Hartry said, “Coach [Paul] Hewitt from Georgia Tech called me as recently as yesterday, just wanting to know what he had done wrong, why he hadn’t landed the kid. He wanted to polish up on his recruiting because he had done something wrong.
“I think Manny just wanted to leave the state and, second of all, Virginia Tech was a great offer and the head coach up there came down and visited Atlanta. When the head coach takes time out to come and sits in your gym for 2 ½ hours and watch you play, that’s something special.”
Hartry had gotten to know Tech assistant coach and recruiter Stacy Palmore when Palmore was in his previous job, at the College of Charleston.
“He was always telling me, ‘Coach, you work too hard; one day you’re going to have a player,’ “ Hartry said. “He said, ‘Coach, you’ve got to help me out. One day you’re going to have a player.’ Me and this guy, Stacy, have been friends for a while.
“Manny is a student on the floor. He’s so heady, so smart. He’s always a step ahead of his opponent. He always prepares himself. He’s a workaholic. He’s the first one at practice and the last one to leave.“He’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever coached and that’s going to get better as the years come. I look for him to do big things at Virginia Tech and big things in the ACC.”
Let's hope Atkins can play to his potential at Tech!