Metcalfe makes the rounds

<b>Alan Metcalfe</b>, a 6-10, 235-pound power forward from Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg, Va., was on Vanderbilt's campus Wednesday for an official visit. A number of other schools remain in the mix for the versatile big man's services. Here's the inside scoop on Metcalfe's abilities and decision-making process.

Alan Metcalfe, a 6-10, 235-pound power forward from Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg, Va., was on Vanderbilt's campus Wednesday for an official visit. Originally from England, Metcalfe decided to transfer to the United States for his senior year of high school in an effort to earn a college basketball scholarship. He was accepted by Notre Dame Academy, where he contributed 12 points and 7 rebounds per game to a team that went 20-8 and won the Virginia Independent Schools state championship.

NCAA rules prohibited Metcalfe from signing in the early signing period, as he had not yet taken the SAT. He recently narrowed his short list to St. Bonaventure, William & Mary, Vanderbilt and Clemson. His visit to Vanderbilt is his third; he has already visited St. Bonaventure and William & Mary officially, and plans to visit Clemson at the end of the week. He also had offers from Georgia, Penn State, Northwestern, Marshall, Princeton, Penn, Davidson, Central Florida, Northern Iowa, American, and others.

Notre Dame Academy head coach Larry Cullinane talked Wednesday about Metcalfe's abilities and recruitment.

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Coach Larry Cullinane: "Alex is more of a finesse player than a power player-- an excellent what I'd call a 'move-4' guy. He's able to play inside defensively, and compete strong and defensive-rebound really well. But he's a big kid with great hands who's able to step out on the perimeter and shoot the basketball. He has excellent 3-point range, excellent movement-skill ability. I think that's one of the reasons that teams that play that style-- moving their big kids out to force the more athletic kids to come out and defend-- are recruiting him. All the schools that are recruiting Alan have been of that variety that run their offense through the high post area. Alan is very strong at that. He can also go down and post up a little bit inside and score-- when the shot clock gets down to 25 and 30 seconds and you need to get an inside touch, he can get down in there and do that too. He's very versatile.

"He is an excellent, excellent student. The other schools that have showed the most interest in him are also tremendous academic schools.

"He has visited St. Bonaventure and William & Mary already. He is visiting Vanderbilt this Wednesday and Thursday, and will visit Clemson Friday and Saturday. Obviously Vanderbilt is one of the top schools in the country, so he'll be giving a lot of serious consideration to Vanderbilt.

"Vanderbilt was in the picture pretty early. Jeff Jackson, the assistant coach at Vanderbilt, has done a great job recruiting Alan. I don't know exactly how he found out Alan was here, but he saw Alan about as soon as anybody did, back in the fall.

"Alan had around 15 offers. He had to make some tough choices to narrow his choices down to the four schools he will visit. He's done that. He had lots and lots of opportunity.

"He came from the national program from England. I'm fortunate to have a gentleman who's been working for the national team for two years, and prior to that he was head of a club over in England. International basketball is all club teams. Alan was playing with the Manchester Magic, which is a very fine under-20 club team in that region, a perennial upper division team. My contact called me and said, 'This young man is looking to come to the United States and hopefully go to university there.' We were able to get Alan in here for the first day of school, and it's worked out well for both parties. He's been a great kid for our school community, and he's also been a real pleasure to be around. Every coach I've talked to has been impressed with his ability to communicate.

"We won our third state championship in the past seven years this year. Alan averaged about 12 points for us a game this year and 7 rebounds, which is a very productive year for us. This is my seventh year at Notre Dame Academy, and we've had 31 scholarship players come through our school in the last seven years. Alan's average of 12 is right about what we expect. I've had kids like Todd Galloway [Florida State] and Marcus Sikes [Georgia] graduate from here in the past two or three years. Todd averaged a little over 16 points per game for us, and Marcus averaged right around 12 also. We rarely have anyone who's going to score 25 points per game. How I like to measure my kids is by how many kids on my team had a game in which they scored 22 or 23 points. Alan had a game high of 29 for us, which meant on that particular day the ball came his way, and he knocked down shots and did the things he needed to do. 12 points and 7 rebounds per game is right at what I expect all of my kids to do. We played nine kids every single night. If I get five kids in double figures, the rest getting six or seven points a game, we feel we'll be very successful.

"Alan will probably be a 4 on the next level. He can go out and guard people on the perimeter, but it's not going to be a major strength of his. His greatest strength is going to be playing the 4. Kids that are U.S-born and play instinctive basketball at the 4-spot, Alan can play those kids as long as they're not purely perimeter-oriented. He's going to be more than capable of playing guys who play around the basket. But if your traditional 3-man is a 6-5, 6-6 guy who's a slasher and/or a jump shooter, I wouldn't want to put him in that situation on a regular basis.

"Business and International Business are the two things he's talked about studying. He's excited to visit Vanderbilt, because they have one of the finest business curriculums in the country. This is a young man who has his priorities in order. He's a very pragmatic young man with a great personality. He has taken the recruiting process to heart. Alan will visit Clemson at the end of the week. I hope he will be able to make a decision early next week before the signing period starts.

"Alan's strength is his versatility. He is very intelligent, very articulate. He communicates well with his teammates both in the classroom and on the court. He's extremely coachable-- you can yell at him if you need to, or pat him on the back-- either way, it's not going to affect him a whole lot. He'll do what you ask him to do to make your team successful. He has very high skill level for a kid 6-10-- great hands, very good feet. Coaches look for hands and feet first in their big kids. He's got great, great potential."


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