Name: Devon Hall
Hometown: Virginia Beach
School: Cape Henry Collegiate
24/7: 95; four stars; #9 PG; VA #3; US #48
ESPN: 81; four stars; #22 PG; VA #4; Atlantic #21; US #99
Rivals: four stars; US #58
Scout: four stars; #13 PG
Other offers: Marquette, Florida, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Memphis, Miami, Iowa, Wake Forest, Georgia, several others
Game over. We win. Finally. After watching James Robinson head to Pitt; L.J. Rose, Javan Felix, and Mike Gesell head out elsewhere as well; TJ McConnell go to Arizona; Marcus Paige get his UNC offer and commit instantly; Jaren Sina enter, leave, and enter the picture; and Big Cat Barber drop the Hoos from consideration; finally Tony Bennett has the high-caliber pure point guard he's been seeking basically since he took over.
You probably know this: Devon Hall is the younger brother of Mark Hall, who'll make his first appearance in the V-sabres this fall as a freshman linebacker. This commitment from Devon has been eagerly anticipated by Hoo fans ever since Mark was the first verbal in the football class of 2012, some 17 months ago. They didn't attend the same high school (Mark went to the local public school, Green Run) but Mark's presence at UVA and the fact that the family is a UVA family were long thought to be Tony Bennett's "in" in Devon's recruitment. They were right, and it didn't hurt that Hall looked at the PG situation and saw himself as the missing puzzle piece. ("The missing piece" is the new "one big family" when it comes to recruiting pitches that work.)
As a bonus, Hall re-reclassified back to the 2013 class; he'd been a '13, moved to '14, and then back to '13 upon his commitment, owing to the need to replace Jontel Evans after this season. It solves a lot of problems - primarily among them, obviously, the question of where the hell we gonna find a point guard, but also the need to "manage" 2013 recruiting so as to make sure we have room for all the '14 guys. Bennett can now take one more guy in 2013 if he wants, or save it for 2014 and get two more then to go with B.J. Stith. Hall won't have any problems with the transition, by the way; he was already on track to graduate early.
The first thing that pops off the page on any scouting report is Hall's size; he's probably bigger than the listed 6'4", 180, and if he's not 6'5" and 200+ now he probably will be when he gets here. Big for a point guard. Getting close to small-forward size. It raises obvious questions about whether he'll be able to get to the rim or defend quicker point guards, but Hall wouldn't be such a high-major recruit if that was gonna be a big deal.
His strength is his passing: Rivals calls it "outstanding" and ESPN lauds his "ability to see the court and make precision passes." The usual comparison is Kendall Marshall, which could be the scouts' way of saying he's a big-time distributor who'll really bring out the talents of guys like Justin Anderson and Malcolm Brogdon. Or it could be their way of saying "get used to not seeing him score very much." It's probably a little bit of both: Hall's shooting and handle come out of the scouting reports as basically okay, although that should be read as "okay for a guy that half the ACC, SEC, and Big East tried to recruit."
No doubt, of course, that Hall will be thrown into the fire right away, and could very well start every game he plays at UVA. How much that turns out to be true probably depends on what Teven Jones shows this season. I have a lot of trouble trying to guess how the 2013 minutes will be divided between guys like Joe Harris, Evan Nolte, Justin Anderson, Anthony Gill, and so on, but the only question about Hall's minutes is whether it'll be 25, 30, or 35.
Here's the really important thing, though. The bottom line. After this next season, we're looking at a nice long stretch of time where (barring a disaster of some kind) we can use actual, real point guards at point guard. This is not to knock the efforts of Sammy Zeglinski, who I liked quite a bit as a player as he could do a lot of the little things very well. But Hall and Jones will form a proper 40-minute point guard combo that lets everyone else do what they do best, and Hall has a great shot at some all-ACC honors at some point, if those Kendall Marshall comparisons come out right. After a lot of hand-wringing, that's all we could ever really ask for.