I saw on the Bucknuts free hoops forum that Ohio State will host Hargrave Military player, originally from Virginia, Eric Wallace for a visit this upcoming weekend. He's 6-6 or so and apparently quite an athlete, so much so that Five Star Basketball Camp guru Howard Garfinkel calls him "the best athlete on the planet."
I've read reports that Eric, for sure, is athletic but his basketball ability doesn't match his athletic ability yet. Sounds like a project but one worthy of a risk.
Wallace wavers on UVa commitment
By Whitelaw Reid / Daily Progress staff writer
September 29, 2006
It looks like the Virginia men’s basketball team may not be getting “the best athlete on the planet” after all.
On Thursday, Monty Wallace, the father of UVa basketball recruit Eric Wallace, told The Daily Progress that his son has reopened his recruitment.
Wallace, a 6-foot-7 jumping jack from Kernersville, N.C., who is now attending Hargrave Military Academy, had verbally committed to Virginia in June.
“He just wanted to go on a couple more visits, just to make sure,” said Monty Wallace in a telephone interview. “Virginia is still in the mix. We’re definitely still going to consider Virginia. We just want to make sure that’s where he wants to go.”
While Wallace’s father was painting a positive picture for Wahoo Nation, the chances of him still winding up in Charlottesville don’t seem good.
One source told The Daily Progress that the Virginia coaching staff was peeved with the way Eric Wallace handled the situation. While several people surrounding Wallace had known of his decision for some time, he failed to inform UVa - which has spent several months recruiting him - until one of its coaching staff members walked into the Hargrave gym on Wednesday.
“I guess anytime you have a decommit situation, it’s never going to be pleasing,” Monty Wallace said, “but I can’t tell you whether [the Virginia coaching staff] was mad or not.”
The source said Wallace’s main reason for reopening his recruitment was because a cousin, a former college basketball player, told him that he had a better chance of making it to the NBA from another school.
“What kid doesn’t have dreams of being in the NBA, NFL or whatever?” Monty Wallace said. “When you’re a top-caliber kid, it’s always in your mind to make the NBA, but first and foremost, you have to choose the right college for you. That has to be his first thought.”
There’s certainly no doubting Wallace’s talent. The high school senior blew away spectators at Virginia’s Elite Camp in June.
“He runs and jumps like a fifth-year NBA pro,” said Five Star founder Howard Garfinkel after Wallace attended his camp. “He’s the best athlete on the planet. You can’t be a better athlete than him.”
In an interview during the summer, Wallace, who is close friends with Stromile Swift of the Memphis Grizzlies, talked about his dreams of playing in the NBA.
“I think about it every day,” he said. “You see the stuff that you want, and you’re close to somebody who has it. It creates a hunger in you that’s undeniable.”
A factor working against Wallace ever playing for coach Dave Leitao is the chance there may not be a scholarship available by the time he decides he wants in. Presently, Virginia has just one for its 2007 class, having taken verbal commitments from guards Sam Zeglinski and Jeff Jones.
“Anytime you reopen your recruitment process, you’re going to take a risk as to who still has scholarships,” Monty Wallace said. “Of course that comes into play. Right now it [is] just a chance we [have] to take. Hopefully it will work out for the best. He could definitely still wind up in Charlottesville. It’s not out of the question.”
Wallace said he was “not prepared” to release the list of other schools that his son was considering.
Before committing to Virginia, Wallace flirted with the likes of Florida, North Carolina and Connecticut.
In other recruiting news, Solomon Alabi, a 7-1 high school senior from Florida (via Nigeria), has committed to Florida State. Alabi had visited Virginia on Sept. 9 … Patrick Patterson, a much-sought-after senior forward from West Virginia, will take an official visit to UVa in late October.