Montrezl Harrell was a Virginia Tech Hokie

Photo: Tim Haag/
Photo: Tim Haag/

When Montrezl Harrell takes the court tonight, he will be doing so against the team he originally signed with, Virginia Tech. Coming out of high school, Harrell signed with the Hokies to play for then coach Seth Greenberg. Coach Greenberg, who now works at ESPN, was fired in April of 2012. Because of that, Harrell was able to get out of his letter of intent and go somewhere else.

The rest can be better explained in this piece from

When he committed to Virginia Tech…

“We just hit it off,” Greenberg said. “We developed a trust. He wasn’t a kid that needed to be enabled or have his rear end kissed.”

Harrell and his father were at Tech when the Hokies upset then-No. 1 Duke on Feb. 26, 2011, capping a day in which ESPN’s “College GameDay” originated from Cassell Coliseum.

Harrell — then a high school junior — verbally committed to Tech while sitting in Greenberg’s office after the game.

When Seth Greenberg was fired…

“He could have [done] so much for my game,” Harrell said. “When they fired him and didn’t really give a reason as to why they let him go, I felt I wanted to get out of that situation. … My whole reason of going to Virginia Tech was to play under Coach Greenberg.”

Then-Tech athletic director Jim Weaver replaced Greenberg with James Johnson. Harrell did not want to play for a rookie head coach, so he obtained a release from his letter-of-intent.

One of Louisville’s assistants at the time was former Hargrave coach Kevin Keatts, who brought Harrell to Louisville head coach Rick Pitino’s attention.

Harrell signed with Louisville, picking the Cardinals over fellow heavyweights Kentucky and Florida, among others.

The coach that Harrell didn’t want to play for was only there for two seasons, as Buzz Williams is now the coach with the Hokies. So Montrezl chose to play for Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino over the “rookie head coach.” I would say that it worked out pretty well for Harrell.

Regardless of how things worked out, Montrezl Harrell would have been playing basketball tonight at the KFC Yum! Center. I am just glad he will be doing so in a Louisville uniform.

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