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Let the 2021 Recruiting Train Begin: Vermont Extends Two Offers

UVM Men’s Head Coach John Becker

Let the 2021 Recruiting Train Begin: Vermont Extends Two Offers

On Monday April 13th, Coach John Becker and his staff reached out and extended scholarship offers to both Sean Durugordon (SG/SF) and Garrett Johnson (SG/SF) per Verbal Commits. Both Durugordon and Johnson look to fit the mold of exactly what the coaching staff has been searching for with their recent recruitment efforts. Both players have one more season left of high school ball before making the leap to the collegiate level and both are projected to pick up quite a few more offers before it’s all said and done, making for a very interesting road ahead. Taking a brief look into both Durugordon and Johnson here’s some initial thoughts:

Sean Durugordon hails from Queens, NY and has most recently been playing for Putnam Science Academy in Putnam, CT. Verbal Commits has Durugordon listed as a 6’6, 203lb SG, though he definitely looks to be built more for a SF type role moving forward, a hole that UVM will desperately be trying to address this year as their top two wingers (Bernie Andre and Bailey Patella) will both be entering their final year for the upcoming 20/21 season. Verbal Commits currently has Durugordon as a 3 star recruit, with 12 listed offers including the likes of Marist, UMass, Fairfield, and most recently DePaul. While none of those schools might not immediately jump out at you, Durugordon looks all the part of a talented, highly-athletic wing player who appears to have been overlooked early on in the recruiting process and will no doubt be on plenty of teams radars as he continues to improve his stock during his senior season at Putnam Science Academy.

What Does the Tape Say?

Finding quality footage of mid-major level high school athletes can be a bit tricky and definitely limited to say the least. Even if you find a solid highlight reel, it could be outdated or worse, against a way lower class of competition. Side note, if your highlight mix is just you dunking and running past a team of 5’8 kids with a three inch vertical – sorry, not interested. Luckily for us, Durugordon has some fairly recent and good looking tape available that showcases his versatile skills against some other top academies in the New England area.

Even against solid competition, it’s easy to tell Durugordon has the athletic abilities to project well at the next level. One area that really stands out is his defense, as he has the ability to seamlessly defend the 1-4 positions, which no doubt has Coach Becker absolutely giddy. Likewise, Durugordon has a smooth looking jumper and has shown the ability to hit the three-point shot at a highly consistent level (Hey Coach Becker? I think we found our guy here).

2021 SG/SF Sean Durugordon

Is UVM Able to Land Their SF of the Future Here?

My heart says yes, but my head says unlikely. Would I like to see Durugordon suit up in the green and gold for the next four years? Absolutely, as just from first glance he would fill an immediate hole in the lineup and could potentially be a force to reckon with in the America East for years to come. Durugordon would form an excellent young core with the likes of Aaron Deloney, Eric Beckett and Georges Lefebvre as the new face of UVM basketball. However, as I mentioned earlier, Durugordon should be seeing an influx of offers in the coming months as his talent and upside seem to be just outside UVM’s range.

Looking at the other side of the coin now, UVM also extended an offer to 2021 SG Garrett Johnson out of Vienna, VA. Similar to Durugordon, Johnson is another tall (6’7, 190lb), athletic SG who should transition better as a SF or possibly even small-ball PF, though he might not have the frame for it just yet. Verbal Commits ranks Johnson as a two star recruit with nine officially listed offers, including George Mason, Brown and Quinnipiac among others. Much like Durugordon, Johnson should also be expecting an uptick in offers from teams in the coming months, as he was another guy who appears to have been short-sighted early on in his recruitment process.

What Does the Tape Say?

Taking a fine comb through the available videos of Johnson, it’s easy to see why the UVM staff would think so highly of this kid. Another athletic, bouncy and lengthy wing who plays above the rim and can shoot the rock with ease. Johnson might not have as high of a ceiling in terms of potential at the next level when compared to Durugordon, but should no doubt be able to contribute with his pesky defense and three-point shooting. A good comparison for Johnson might be fairly recent graduate Kurt Stiedl, as he should hope to carve out a similar type role for himself with his shooting touch and defensive versatility.

2021 SG/SF Garrett Johnson

Is UVM Able to Land Their SF of the Future Here?

Johnson feels more likely to land with UVM than Durugordon, but again, there’s going to be a significant uptick of offers in this kids future. Who knows, maybe Johnson balls out his senior year and is able to ride that wave into a scholarship offer from a high-end D1 program. Both Johnson and Durugordon pass the intintail eye test and should be able to make the transition from high-school to D1 basketball without too many hiccups along the way. Both players would fill an immediate need for UVM, as well as fit perfectly from a schematic standpoint with Coach Becker’s philosophy.

A Few Other Notes That Might Impact These Offers

The whole recruitment process is essentially in purgatory for the time being. Teams can still make future recruitment offers to players, as we’ve already seen with UVM, but it’s going to be a little strange and unpredictable moving forward. Due to the global pandemic caused by coronavirus, it’s more than likely there won’t be any type of AAU basketball circuits this summer and if there is, it’s doubtful that these venues would be allowed to be filled with coaches and scouts who are elvatuting and conversing with potential recruits.

In theory this could bode well for mid-major schools like UVM who might have already identified an undervalued player whose stock hasn’t reached its peak yet and won’t have these summer leagues to improve upon it further. Likewise, this challenge could also negatively affect the Cats, as Coach Becker and his staff could have used the summer window to scout further, as well as talk face-to-face with potential recruits. Without these opportunities, UVM could lose out at finding a potential diamond in the rough, something they’ve had tremendous success with in previous years.

One last bit about Durugordon and Johnson – if you look at where these two players are from Queens, NY (Durugordon) and Vienna, VA (Johnson) you’ll notice that two of Vermont’s most memorable games from last year’s campaign came in those locations. The elbow jumper buzzer beater from Lamb at St. Johns (LAMB! STRAIGHT CASH! *Jake Marsh voice*) and the absolute back and forth battle with defending NCAA Champions Virginia. Do either of those games serve as a selling point with where UVM is scouting for players? Knowing the coaching staff I would have to assume so.

It will be interesting to keep an eye out for any scheduling rumors with UVM for the 20/21 season, as I would imagine they’ll be aiming to find a game or two back in Virginia (Johnson), as well as Connecticut (Durugordon). Vermont has plenty of selling points they could pitch to young recruits, but the one in particular they should emphasize is the winning tradition that’s been established by the coaching staff at UVM and there’s no better way of doing so than by going on the road and showing these recruits first-hand what UVM basketball truly looks like. #InBeckerWeTrust

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