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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Top recruit Montrezl Harrell asks for his release from Virginia Tech

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Montrezl Harrell (

Almost three weeks after Virginia Tech unexpectedly fired coach Seth Greenberg, the collateral damage continues to pile up.

First, promising freshman Dorian Finney-Smith revealed Tuesday he intends to transfer. Then the Richmond Times Dispatch reported Thursday that incoming recruit Montrezl Harrell will ask for a release from his letter of intent.

As a result of their departures, Virginia Tech won't have the centerpieces of either of its last two recruiting classes next year, a damaging blow for a Hokies team hoping to bounce back quickly from a difficult 15-16 season. Athletic director Jim Weaver hired former Greenberg assistant James Johnson in hopes his familiarity with the roster would help stave off defections, but that strategy has proven ineffective so far.

Harrell, a consensus top 100 prospect, is a 6-foot-7 forward whose strength, athleticism and energy makes up for his lack of refined skills at this point. With Victor Davila having graduated and Finney-Smith transferring, Harrell had an opportunity to make an instant impact at Virginia Tech if he stayed.

Instead Virginia Tech appears headed for another rebuilding season and Harrell suddenly becomes one of the most coveted recruits in the nation. Kentucky, NC State, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Providence were among the schools reportedly interested in Harrell even before he'd decided for sure that he was leaving Virginia Tech.

Any of the schools could use a springy power forward who can block shots and excels in transition. Wherever Harrell winds up, he'll be missed at Virginia Tech.

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