Hokies sign two to NLI

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech head men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams has announced the signings of Wabissa Bede and Nickeil Alexander-Walker to National Letters of Intent. The duo will enroll at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2017.

“Every day is special, but when you are a part of building something, signing day is always extra special,” Williams said. ”Our staff has done a magnificent job in their consistency and togetherness to put this class together. With each passing class, I think we have continued to refine exactly what our culture is about, and who we want to add to it.”

Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a 6-6, 190 lbs. guard/forward from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He spent last season playing for Hamilton Heights Christian Academy. In the 2015-16 season, he helped Hamilton Heights to a 27-3 overall record and a National Association of Christian Athletes national championship. He averaged 14.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game. He shot 35.3 percent from three-point range and shot 89.9 percent from the free throw line.

He is ranked as a 4-star recruit by all major recruiting services. ESPN.com ranks him 29th on the ESPN 100 listings and Rivals.com have him as the 35th ranked recruit in the 2017 class. He selected Virginia Tech over Maryland, Southern Cal, Baylor and Auburn.

Alexander-Walker is in the Canadian National Basketball system. He played for the Team Canada U18 Americas team this summer in Valdivia, Chile, where Virginia Tech assistant coach Jamie McNeilly was on the coaching staff and the Canadian team finished second. He played for Canada Elite on the Under Armour Grassroots AAU circuit.

“Nickeil is deserving of all the hype and rankings he has received over the last year as a player, but despite his talent on the floor, I think his character is even greater,” Williams said.” His story is inspirational to me, and that started with his mom, and has continued to be influenced by his coaches. He fulfills a distinct need on our roster, and his versatility will allow us to use his talents in many different ways.”

Wabissa Bede (pronounced wah-BEE-sah BEE-dee) is a 6-1, 190 lbs. guard from North Andover, Massachusetts. He plays at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass. A tough, skilled and athletic player, Bede was considered to be one of the breakout stars of the July recruiting period.

Bede is ranked as a 4-star recruit by all major recruiting services. ESPN.com ranks him 87th on the ESPN 100 listings and Rivals.com have him as the 66th ranked recruit in the 2017 class. Scout.com lists him as the 73rd ranked player nationally, as well as being the top point guard in Massachusetts, seventh-best point guard on the East Coast and the 15th- best point guard in the nation. He selected Virginia Tech over Butler, La Salle, Massachusetts and Minnesota. He had other offers from Providence, Temple, Seton Hall, Boston College.

He played for Mass Rivals AAU team. Through the major recruiting month of July, the team went undefeated. Bede was part of championship teams at Adidas Finale, Peach State and the Adidas contenders. He was the MVP of the Peach State tournament.

“I am always intrigued when someone tells me, ‘This kid is your kind of guy’,” Williams said. “Like all recruits, there is always a story behind it, and this is how Wabissa’s began. The more we developed a relationship with Wabissa and his Mom, the more we watched him, the more research we did, all of it led our staff to agree with that statement. His team never lost a game this summer, won every tournament they played in, and the only conclusive way to categorize his impact, was that he did whatever his team needed on both sides of the floor to win. I adore his spirit, and have genuine respect for how his work ethic has led him to this point. He has been coached incredibly hard, and because of that, I anticipate he will gain traction quickly in our culture, and will become a fan favorite because of how he competes.”

The Hokies open the 2016-17 regular season on Friday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. against Maine in Cassell Coliseum.

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