Wednesday, May 8, 2013

the recruit: B.J. Stith

Name: B.J. Stith
Position: SG
Hometown: Lawrenceville
School: Oak Hill
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 175

24/7: 94, four stars; #12 SG, VA #2, US #44
ESPN: 80, four stars; #19 SG, VA #2, Atl #14
Rivals: four stars; US #36
Scout: four stars; #19 SG

Other offers: none

For those of you just getting back from your five-year tour in Antarctica, B.J. Stith is the son - the second son, he has an older brother Brandan who'll play his college ball at East Carolina - of UVA legend Bryant Stith.  Naturally, therefore, his every move has been watched by recruitophiles for a long time now, and much of what I'm going to say is already well-known.

I normally write the basketball profiles within the week after the commitment, but in Stith's case that didn't make much sense.  It's been almost two years since he verbaled up, which is to say that he did so before his sophomore year even began.  September of 2011, specifically.  There wasn't hardly anything to go on, so I made the executive decision to file it for the summer of 2013.  Close enough.  This is about the time for Stith's classmates of 2014 to get with the committing business, and we'd be doing this around now if Stith had followed the usual protocol instead of jumping two years early.

A lot has happened since then.  Eldest brother Brandan went to ECU, as mentioned; UVA wanted him to prep a year, largely to see if he'd grow, because he's something of a tweener.  He decided not to.  Old UVA coach Jeff Jones got hired at ODU, and got the gang back together in a way by hiring his former pupil: Bryant Stith.  Dad Bryant had been B.J.'s coach at Brunswick HS, where B.J. played his first three years.  That sort of gave an extra push to something that was long in the works already: a transfer to Oak Hill, where the competition will be better than what he'd have had at Brunswick.  Also helping to precipitate the move: Brunswick is dropping a division.

Stith's arrival in the fall of 2014 will be a welcome sight, because the Hoos are woefully short of true shooting guards, particularly now that Paul Jesperson has announced his departure.  Malcolm Brogdon is being counted on for a return, but this is UVA and we can't have nice things and Brogdon isn't totally assured of coming back.  Joe Harris will have graduated by the time Stith arrives.  If we have Brogdon like we should, great; if not, Taylor Barnette will be the only real two on the team.  Justin Anderson is kind of a two, but not really.

Anderson happens to be a good comparison for Stith's game.  Harris as well.  Stith is more athletic than Harris, less so than Anderson; he'll likely bring a better perimeter shot than Anderson but might be hard-pressed to match Harris in that department.  He's got good court vision and the playmaking skills that Harris and Anderson bring, and is about their size if a little bit skinnier.  (Lest you need reminding, though, he's still in high school.)  He's got the creation-for-self skills that this team lacked so greatly last season, and he can do that with both hands, adding a little extra dimension of danger to his game.  Bryant calls his game very perimeter-oriented, which makes him a great fit.  You've got a star player who just happens to in love with the school where he's a legacy, at a position and time where that school needs him the most.  Couldn't draw it up any better if you tried.

B.J. is very well-liked by the scouting services, with four stars all around, and generally considered one of the top 50 players in his class.  The lack of offers is because of the early commitment and the blatantly obvious blue and orange blood.  It's too bad we don't have a list of competitive offers to compare ourselves against (Ohio State came sniffing around, but neither they nor anyone else had a prayer), but I'll trade that for the kind of loyalty B.J. has for UVA in an instant.  Lest you think his was a hasty call, Bryant tried like hell to talk him out of such an early decision.  Wasn't happening.  B.J. asked his dad for three good reasons why he shouldn't commit early.  Bryant's best efforts couldn't sway him into holding off.  And he seems to be perfectly happy not having gone through the typical whirlwind of hoops recruiting.  Take that whole package, add the great head that B.J. carries on his shoulders (did we mention the 4.0 grade point?) and it's hard to imagine how any recruit could ever fit UVA better than this one.


Adam said...

I know BJ is about as solid a recruit as a team can have...but is there any hint of an inkling that he'd like to play for his dad (again) at ODU? I mean, ODU stinks right now, but still...

pezhoo said...

This kid sounds like a perfect fit at UVa, talented, well-mannered and probably well-coached and fundamentally sound. Add in the good grades and wow! I'm looking forward to seeing him play. I really hope he is a good player, if he underperforms that will be uncomfortable for everyone.

Brendan said...

I think BJ already sees himself as following in his dad's footsteps and doesn't need to literally be there in front of him to do so. UVA is surely a much better place to do that than ODU, regardless of where Bryant happens to be at the moment.

If anyone needs to worry, it's ECU. I am not.