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December 9, 2008

Hokies sign four players for 2009-10 hoops season

By: Jimmy Robertson

Seth Greenberg and his staff signed four players who not only added talent to the roster, but also took care of some needs.

Tech men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg already possesses a talented, young team, but the Hokies’ head man added an injection of youth and talent when he and his staff signed four prospects to letters-of-intent during the early-signing period in early November. The group included Manny Atkins, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound small forward from Stone Mountain, Ga.; Ben Boggs, a 6-4, 185-pound guard from Roanoke, Va.; Erick Green, a 6-2, 180-pound guard from Winchester, Va.; and Cadarian Raines, a 6-8, 210-pound power forward from Petersburg, Va.

The signing of Atkins goes a long way toward filling the vacancy to be left by A.D. Vassallo. Atkins averaged 20.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and three assists per game his junior season at Tucker High School. He averaged 13.4 points per game his sophomore season in leading Tucker to the state championship. He is ranked as the No. 26 wing forward nationally by and as the 89th-ranked senior by Prepstars. He is a member of the National Honor Society and carries a 3.8 grade-point average.

“Manny Atkins has the total package,” Greenberg said. “He is a terrific student-athlete and has tremendous leadership skills. He has a toughness about him and a tremendous work ethic. He has the potential to develop into a similar player as A.D.”

Boggs averaged 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game as a junior at Hidden Valley High. He averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists as a sophomore. ESPN ranked him the No. 26 shooting guard prospect in the nation.

“Ben Boggs is a fierce competitor and a winning player,” Greenberg said. “He has a toughness about him that sets him apart. He’s a hard-driving guard who has the ability to make shots. He is an outstanding defender and a winner in every aspect.

“I get a kick out of people that question Ben’s quickness. I’ve yet to see a player keep him out of the lane. He has a tremendous first step and changes speeds and uses his body very well.”

Green averaged 18.5 points, three points and 2.9 assists per game his junior season at Millbrook High School – leading his team to the Group AA championship. He earned Region II player of the year honors his junior season. Green averaged 14.1 points, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a sophomore. He’ll play for Paul VI High in Fairfax, Va., this season.

“Erick Green is a pure point guard. He understands how to run a team, distribute the basketball and make other players better,” Greenberg said. “He understands pace and tempo and has a great feel for the game. His length makes him, potentially, a great defender.”

Raines plays at Petersburg High, where he averaged 14.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.8 blocked shots per game as a junior. He earned co-Central District player of the year honors his junior season and first-team all-region honors. ranked him the No. 17 center prospect and the No. 62 overall prospect nationally.

“Cadarian Raines has the chance to be a world-class rebounder,” Greenberg said. “He pursues every single shot like it’s a pass off the backboard. He has a nose for the basketball and has a relentless passion to rebound. He is extremely athletic and can run the floor and he is a better offensive player than we anticipated. He has a chance to be a special frontcourt player.”
With this class, Greenberg signed one player for every position.

“I think we filled our needs in this class,” Greenberg said. “Obviously, losing A.D. Vassallo, we needed a big wing player and Atkins fills that void. With Cheick’s [Cheick Diakite] departure, we needed a frontcourt rebounder and Cadarian Raines really has a chance to be special at that position. Ben Boggs is just a very good basketball player. There isn’t an aspect of the game he doesn’t excel at. Erick Green is a pure, set-up point guard who can defend the basketball.”