Angelo Brizzi's summer has been red hot. And we’re not talking about the lengthy span of sultry temperatures.
Some of the nation's top college men’s basketball programs have flooded the rising senior point guard from Highland School with scholarship offers, making him the most highly recruited boys player in Fauquier County history.
Brizzi, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound left-handed shooter, currently holds 32 Division I offers, encompassing 16 states and the District of Columbia.
By early April, he had 21 offers, mostly mid-major caliber. On April 9, his world changed when Villanova coach Jay Wright, whose Wildcats won the 2016 and 2018 NCAA championship, made an offer. More heavyweight schools followed.
"It was crazy for sure. It came out of nowhere," Brizzi said of the conversation with Wright.
Georgetown also made an overture the same day, with a small avalanche of offers following over the next 47 days. Brizzi gained nine total scholarship tenders from Power 6 conference schools plus a pair of mid majors. "It was a wild period of time," he laughed.
Two weeks ago, Brizzi trimmed his list to his top eight. In alphabetical order, they are Arizona, California (Berkeley), Colorado, Dartmouth, Davidson, Michigan, Northwestern and Villanova.
Now there is speculation on social media he will select Villanova. He has said he will announce Monday at 6 p.m.
Brizzi hoped to take all five official recruiting visits before deciding, but the worsening pandemic has changed the dynamic, with the NCAA has forbidding visits until Sept. 1. "I think that is going to get postponed," he predicted.
Now Brizzi apparently wants to chose earlier.
"What's going to happen with recruiting? And what's going to be allowed due to the pandemic?" he said. "I was completely open-ended even through April because I thought things might pick up in June or July. Everyone was hopeful at that time, so there was no reason to make any moves and start to plan things out because nothing had happened."
Brizzi, who played his freshman year for his uncle, Fauquier High coach Wayne Brizzi, has SAT scores over 1,400 and is interested in studying environmental science.
His summer has been memorable for his brushes with coaching royalty. He has had two recent phone calls from University of North Carolina coach Roy Williams.
"The first time was 'Whoa, this is Coach Williams.' Obviously, I was excited. It was an honor to get a phone call from him," said Brizzi.
He’s also in regular contact with staff at reigning national champion Virginia.
Schools he's apparently eliminated include Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, LSU, Georgetown, Bucknell, UNC-Wilmington, St. Joseph's, Furman, Stetson, William & Mary, George Washington, Old Dominion, Yale, Navy, Lehigh, Fairfield, Drexel, Iona, LaSalle, Loyola (Md.), Brown, Columbia, Pepperdine and Howard.
All of his suitors have praised his long-range shooting, he said, but many also noted other facets of his game. Those comments range from "hustle plays," passing and defense. Brizzi also prides himself for doing "the dirty work."
Brizzi’s selection criteria include a team’s recent success, his relationships with a coaching staff and how they use players, particularly point guards. Staying close to home is not a necessity, nor is immediate playing time.
Playing time is also a consideration. "I think anybody would want to be able to go in and have an early impact," Brizzi admitted. "It's nice to look and see if [early] playing time is available, but it's not the [bottom line]," he said.
With a decision made, he’ll concentrate on his third season and final season at Highland. Under coach Brian Hooker, Highland went 23-3 and reached the VISAA Division II semifinals for the first time in school history last season.
In response to a question, Brizzi said he has no plans to transfer to a larger school that may face a tougher schedule. Instead, he stressed Highland lost only one player, whetting the team's appetite for a 2020-21 state title.
Brizzi was Delaney Athletic Conference MVP in 2019 and 2020. He also earned first-team VISAA all-state honors last winter after averaging 20.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 steals.