Hokies Top Off 2020 Class with PF David N'Guessan

The Netherlands native fills an important void in Virginia Tech's offense.

[David N'Guessan]

Mike Young can't coach length, and the lack of it limited Virginia Tech last season. He stated as much after the Hokies' 74-63 loss to Florida State β€” an ACC program known for its notable size.

"I would love to throw the ball into a 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10 kid and have him turn and score. I can't... We don't have that facet and that hurts. When you have one you can sling the thing into and they throw it back out and force a long close, that is helpful."

Getting bigger has been the biggest recruiting focus in Young's short time in Blacksburg, and to the delight of many, results are starting to pour in. The Hokies signed freshman center John Ojiako last season (6'10") as well as Wofford transfer Keve Aluma (6'9"). The loss of 6'7" Landers Nolley to the transfer portal provided Young another scholarship spot, and an opportunity to add to the front court.

The Hokies rounded out their 2020 recruiting class with the commitment of David N'Guessan, a 6'9" power forward from Baltimore, MD.

And he put it best, "They need length."

The 247Sports Composite ranks N'Guessan as a 3-star (0.9101) power forward. By the same metric, he ranks as the No. 6 overall player in Maryland for the 2020 cycle, and the No. 39 PF nationally.

The Mt. Zion Prep big-man held offers from VCU, Washington State, and George Mason, among other programs. His commitment bumps the 2020 Hokie class to 19th in the nation, 5th in the ACC, with an average player rating of 0.9477.

What's so exciting about N'Guessan, though, is how he uses his length. N'Guessan is more of a face-up offensive player that can stretch the floor. He has guard skill and can shoot, which creates a matchup challenge for defenders.

"He can handle the basketball," said Mt. Zion head coach Rodrick Harrison. "He can pass the ball with either hand over either shoulder. He can score at all three levels."

"To me, I think he's a big guard. He can play that 4 spot but his ability to run an offense and make plays at that 4 spot is similar to what a guard can do."

That's a hunch why Young believes N'Guessan can play in the ACC. He fits the stretch 4 role that the coach loves to use along with a more traditional center at the 5.

"[Coach Young] said that I would really fit into the school's culture and that I was an ACC caliber player and I fit into their system really well," said N'Guessan. "My ability to drive and get into the lane and then make a play for myself or my teammates really impressed him."

From Harrison's perspective, Virginia Tech made a lot of sense for N'Guessan because it's not only a chance to play at the highest level, but evolve his game too.

"[Coach Young] has a track record of not only developing his guys but also winning," said Harrison. " My biggest concern always was to make sure you go somewhere where you could continue to develop. A guy your size with the skillset you got if you go to the place that's going to help you and get the best out of you, you have a chance to play as a pro one day."

Harrison knew N'Guessan had the natural talent to play high level college basketball. It was only a matter of time and experience.

"The skill level was never the problem," said Harrison. "Just the understanding of the speed of the game and understanding how to be effective at all times. He always had the skill level he could always handle the ball he could always shoot, and he could always pass. It just takes some time to get used to competing on that level a lot."

It also didn't shock Harrison that more ACC or Big East schools from the area didn't come knocking on N'Guessan's door.

"The ACC is known to have those heavy bigs," said Harrison. "So you look for those guys that are already 220lbs. True big men. A lot of school's outside of those ACC schools are starting to evolve into that stretch 4 spot; a guy that can make plays on the perimeter but also has the ability to score inside."

In Young's system, the 4 has responsibilities to defend like a big, and also at times run the offense as a big guard. For instance, the drive and kick is a key to any successful college basketball offense. Last season, it was mostly Wabissa Bede who did that. Although, Bede wasn't much of a threat to score in the paint once he got there. N'Guessan, on the other hand, can put bigger defenders in uncomfortable situations off the dribble with his ability to score and pass in the paint.

Without Bede on the floor, the offense struggled to get the ball moving and create open shots. Nolley was able to create some offense with the ball in his hand acting as a ball dominant guard, but his best offense was perimeter shooting and isolation in the mid-range. That's what N'Guessan can bring to the table that Tech didn't have last year. Length that can matchup defensively as well as create offensively. Couple that with his ability to rebound, and he fills in a major missing piece to the puzzle.

For Harrison though, one of the best parts of N'Guessan's game will never show up on film.

"The energy he brings. He's a constant supporter of the team," said Harrison.

"He constantly reiterates what the coaches are saying. He constantly tells his teammates 'hey, let's keep going'. He holds them accountable and does it in a great way. You'll sometimes watch him play and say 'man, he should've taken that shot.' But then you realize a few possessions later that he was just trying to get other guys involved and into the game. He knows he can get that shot anytime but he needs to get these other guys going if we're going to win. Those types of things don't show up in a stat sheet or you can't see on film, but he thinks like that."


thanks for the writeup, Sam. On a , mostly, unrelated note, I can't wait til youtube stops suggesting Buzz Williams videos at the end of every TKP clip...

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

CMY coming home from the recruiting trail like

Is coronavirus over yet?

N'Guessan and Bamisile both have skills/attributes that were largely absent from last year's roster.

I'm not sure 2020 is "rounded out" quite yet.

If the rumor mill is accurate and we lose Wilkins and Kabongo, I'd hope to see us land Whitt and Batcho.

Or just Whitt and save the extra scholarship for next season, giving us 3.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Can't report on rumors, but some attrition wouldn't surprise me. It'll be interesting to see with Kabongo because he's a guy that was talked about as being one of the more talented guys on the roster before getting injured. Wilkins has some of the best advanced metrics on the team and has played really well in his limited role.

Losing Nolley though, you have so many minutes to replace. And we saw with Ojiako that MY isn't too comfortable putting guys out there for extended minutes if he doesn't have to. You could see a bit of a platoon system at the 2, 3, and 4 spots this season.

I think playing time ultimately drives decisions by the players and (to beat a dead horse) PT is never going to be easier to get than it was this year. Bamisile and Maddox are coming in and they are going to play, probably a bunch. N'Guessan is going to play. Aluma is going to play a lot.

Wilkins was 8th in minutes and if he leaves (and I have no intel), it would be more than understandable. I don't know if Kabongo has fully recovered and if he is healthy, it is not obvious where his minutes would come from.

Right now, Aluma and Ojiako would get the minutes at the 5 and Horne will get the first big bite of Nolley's time at the 4. N'Guessan's development will chip away at that.

At the 2/3, Bamisile, Alleyne, Maddox, Cattoor, Radford, and Cone can more than consume all the available time.

Whether Cone (or maybe Cattoor???) can steal more minutes at the point, or if another PG comes in, remains to be seen. But right now Bede is the guy...which does Radford no favors, because you can't really play both of them at the same time in MY's system if your front court isn't lighting it up from outside.

But my very early spring 2021 forecast is another round of attrition based (imo), on PT.

I wouldn't be surprised if Radford gains a chunk of minutes at the point. Bede is huge asset to the team, but his minutes are in a tough spot with Radford being too good to keep on the bench + our offense running best with at most one non-3-shooter on the floor.

However, what we need from the 1 and 2 might change once our offense benefits from consistent paint points (via newfound size in the post or drives from the perimeter).

I don't know exactly what CMY wants in terms of the roster but in year 2, he should be able to add enough pieces to run the plays he wants to run. Of course, running them effectively would be ideal.

Tech has a surplus of guys that play the 3 or shooting guard. Kabongo being one of them. Last season I really don't think Wilkins, Catoor (who always plays at 2), or Alleyne did much to serperate themselves entirely. But that's just my opinion, Each player comes with good and bad because they're all so young. The great unknown is how Kabongo will fit in if he's healthy and/or still at Tech.

Nice work man. This team is going to be special for years to come if Young keeps it up. Maddox, Bamasile, Cone, Radford, etc. Man we are stacking up!

For reference, Tech's average player rating for the 2020 class of 0.9477 is higher than Kansas, Michigan State, and Louisville.

So you're saying we'll FINALLY beat Louisville next year?

if i were a betting man, which i am, i would not bet on the Hokies in that matchup.

We will never beat Louisville in basketball. Ever. There I said it. Our best team in 30 years couldn't beat Mack's transition/shoe scandal roster. We are never beating them.

Unless the coronavirus ends all basketball, we play them at least once a year, we'll win one of them. Also, for the record, we have beaten them before. I may have been a month and half old when it happened, and now I have a mortgage, but it has happened!

Yep, it happened at least twice in the early-1980s, and once in Cassell, when Louisville had a National Championship-caliber team pretty much each and every year under Denny Crum. They're not as dominant now as they were back then. They're beatable.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

People said the same thing about Duke, "Duke will beat us in football before we beat them in basketball"

I won a lot if free drinks taking that bet. Cassell is Duke's 2nd worst road venue behind Dean Dome.

Looks like we are 8-35 against Louisville. Our most recent win was in 1991 so we have beaten them in the last 30 years.

History of VT vs. Louisville

Edit: changed to 1991

1991 to be precise. Two wins actually in 1991

The loss of 6'7" Landers Nolley to the transfer portal

TIL I'm not TKPing hard enough.


My biggest concern always was to make sure you go somewhere where you could continue to develop.

Who knew an 18 year old could offer us all such fantastic career advice?!

Twitter me

Nah, that quote was of Mt. Zion's head coach, not N'Guessan.

Still great life advice!


Not in the article, but he told me one of his dreams is to play for the Dutch national team in the Olympics. Would be so awesome to see he and his brother potentially on a roster together! Playing against a Canadian team with NAW would be even sweeter! (Although that's a tough national team to make the roster)