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June 21, 2012

News & Notes

By: Jimmy Robertson

Johnson announces staff

New Tech men’s basketball coach James Johnson has put together his coaching staff, naming three assistants, including two with local ties. Johnson hired Kurt Kanaskie, Mark Byington and Ramon Williams as assistant coaches. Byington and Williams will be returning to their southwest Virginia roots.

Byington played basketball at Salem High School before playing at UNC Wilmington, where he graduated in 1998 with a degree in physical education. He got into coaching and spent the past nine seasons at the College of Charleston, coaching on the same staff as Johnson during the 2002-03 season.

Williams played basketball at William Fleming High School in Roanoke, Va., and played collegiately at VMI. He spent nine years as an assistant at VMI before leaving to join Jerry Wainwright’s staff at Richmond. He spent three years at Richmond and then went with Wainwright to DePaul, where he coached for four years. He spent the past three seasons at Ohio University, which advanced to the Sweet 16 of this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Kanaskie, a native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., who graduated from La Salle University, comes to Tech after one season as an assistant at Navy and eight seasons as an assistant at Penn State, where he coached with Johnson from 2003-05. Prior to Penn State, Kanaskie served as the head coach at Drake for seven seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach of a pair of Division II schools – Indiana University of Pennsylvania for eight seasons and Lock Haven University for three years.

Johnson and staff land transfer

New men’s basketball coach James Johnson and his staff landed their first player, and he comes to Tech as a transfer. Adam Smith, a guard from Jonesboro, Ga., has transferred to Tech from UNC Wilmington. He will sit out the upcoming season to meet the NCAA’s residency requirements and then be eligible to play for the Hokies for the next three seasons.

Smith started 29 games for UNC Wilmington as a freshman this past season, averaging 13.7 points per game and leading the team with 58 3-pointers. He shot 33.1 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 81.2 percent from the free-throw line.

Smith, who was a second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association member, led the Seahawks in scoring on nine occasions. He played some of his best basketball against ACC opponents, scoring 32 points against Wake Forest and 23 against Maryland.

“We are extremely excited to have Adam join our program,” Johnson said in a news release by Tech’s athletics communications office. “He had his best games against the best teams. Obviously, he played well against ACC opponents. He is a guy that can score the basketball in a lot of different ways. He is an excellent student who is going to be a great asset to our team.”

Smith averaged 26.2 points game as a senior at Fayette County High School in Georgia and 25.2 points per game as a junior. Following his senior season, he was named a second-team Parade All-American.

He becomes the ninth scholarship player on the roster for the Hokies.

Women’s hoops squad adds three more

Tech women’s coach Dennis Wolff and his staff signed three more prospects in the spring to join the three prospects who signed in the fall. The list of spring signees includes Hannah Young, a 6-1 wing from New South Wales Australia; Uju Ugoka, a 6-1 junior college transfer from Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla.; and Taijah Campbell, a 6-3 forward from Ajax, Ontario, Canada.

Young averaged 9.6 points, 10 rebounds and two steals per game this past season at St. Francis Xavier College High School. Ugoka, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and 1.8 steals per game at Gulf State this past season, earning her conference’s player of the year honor and first-team All-America honors.

Campbell was a member of the Canadian National Team for the 2011 Pan-Am Games. She has also been a member of the U18 Canadian National Team and was a National Champion with U17 Team Ontario. In addition, she participated in the All-Canada Classic.

The three of them join guards Alexis Lloyd and Lauren Evans and forward Alex Kiss-Rusk, who all signed with Tech in the fall.