Categorized | 2009-10 Season, Game Previews

Preview | VT (2-0) @ campbell (3-0) | Mon., 7 PM


The Hokies and the camels go toe-to-toe on Monday as Tech heads to Buies Creek, NC for their first road game of the season.  Tech will need to show improvement on offense after having one of their worst offensive performances not involving VT @ duke since the ricky stokes days.  Although it is hard to believe the Hokie O could be any worse.  The Hokies hit just two jump shots from outside the paint the entire game against unc greensboro in a 59-46 win in their last outing.  Both shots came in a two minute span midway through the second half when the Hokies blew open a tie game thanks to Malcolm Delaney’s efforts.  Tech was just 1 of 13 on three-pointers in that game.  VT hit just 38% of their shots for the game. 

Tech is clearly still adjusting to the new motion offense Coach Seth Greenberg installed for this season.  Here are Seth’s thoughts on the offense from a Notebook article:

“This isn’t exactly a Bobby Knight motion offense. This is a work in progress. We’re force-feeding it to them at this point. It’s a continual work in progress. It’s not easy to understand, but it gives them more freedom. With more freedom, there are some spacing issues. You’ve got to make sure you meet the pass, you’ve got to make sure you’re waiting on screens, and you’ve got to get people the ball when they’re posting up. There’s a lot to it. To simplify, it comes down to spacing and setting good screens and waiting on screens. If we’re patient and wait on screens, eventually it’ll be good.

“I’m doing it to move Malcolm [Delaney] to different spots so people can’t mark him as easily. That’s the main thing. We want to be less predictable because people are going to add at least an extra half of a defender on him.

“I’m doing it, too, because I think it will make our defense better. If your offense gets better and you work against it every day, then your defense is going to get better.”

But the Hokies dealt with a lot of injury issues in the preseason that have cost the guys practice time and continuity.  JT Thompson had a high ankle sprain, Victor Davila had the flu, Cadarian Raines had his injury that has kept him out, and Jeff Allen has wrist, knee, and thumb issues.  The Hokies soft early schedule will hopefully allow them time to progress with the offense.

That doesn’t explain Tech’s free throw shooting woes, though.  The Hokies have hit just 56% from the charity stripe, and if you remove Delaney’s 10 of 12, the rest of the team is just 10/24.


The good news is the Hokies managed 44 points in the paint and dominated the smaller spartans last time out.  Tech should have a huge advantage inside against the small and thin campbell camels.  campbell has just two players over 6’6″ (a 6’7″ and a 6’8″ player) and those two guys play less than 20 minutes combined.  No one on this squad is over 210 lbs.  The Hokies need to get Jeff Allen involved early – he plays his best when he gets early touches – and not forget about Allen as they seem to do for long stretches of time.  Keep pounding it inside.  Victor Davila who has good low post moves should also be able to add 8-12 points down low.


campbell is the best team the Hokies will have faced so far this season, which isn’t saying much.  But Tech will need a better effort than they’ve had in the first two outings to win this game, especially on the road.  This is campbell’s biggest home game of the year so their fans will be juiced.  campbell beat east carolina in their second game, so the camels have some power in their humps.  They beat the pirates 74-68 at home thanks in part to 11 steals and forcing 20 pirate turnovers. 

campbell has shot the ball well so far this season, hitting 45% of their shots.  Tech has held their first two opponents to just under 40% shooting with their reinvigorated defense and will need to play well again this game.  When the camels toe the free throw line, they shoot a solid 70%.

The campbell camels are led by their stud Puerto Rican senior forward, Jonathan Rodriguez.  He has scored over 1600 points in his career.  Jonathan averaged a double-double his sophomore year and has had one in all three games this year.  He does turn the ball over a good bit, though.  Expect Jeff Allen to aggressively go after him on defense.

The camels second leading scorer is sophomore guard Lorne Merthie.  Lorne is the camels’ only three point shooting threat, having hit 8 of 20 (40%).  In fact, only one other camel has hit more than one three-pointer (Kyle Vejraska), and he’s hit only three.  So the Hokies do not have to worry just about guarding the perimeter other than Merthie.

Junior forward Preston Dodson has been a pleasant surprise for the camels, scoring 11.7 points per game this year after averaging just four per game his first two years.  He does all his damage inside and is averaging three offensive rebounds per game despite being just 6’5″.  Tech must get a body on him and box him out.

campbell’s KEY:

Get steals and create easy buckets.  campbell is fantastic on defense.  They have averaging an astonishing 12.3 steals per game, led by Junard Hartley who gets 3.7 per game.  That is a LOT.  Hartley also commits a lot of fouls so the Hokies will hope the refs are whistle happy.  Tech, by comparison, has 15 steals total through two games.  Guard Lorne Merthie averages 2.3 steals per game, so their starting back court gets six per game so far.  That has to remind Hokie fans of the days of Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell.  Tech has to protect the ball well in this game.  

That said, the Hokies have outscored opponents 48-12 in points off turnovers through two games so this will be an interesting match-up.


Numbers campbell Virginia Tech
2009-10 W-L 3-0 2-0
2008-09 W-L 14-16 19-15
Conference Atlantic Sun ACC
PPG 78.3 64
Pts Against 62 50.5
FG % 45% 42%
3-Pt % 32% 27%
FT % 71% 56%
Leading …    
Scorer Rodriguez – 15.7 Delaney – 19.0
Rebounder Rodriguez – 10.7 Allen – 8.0
Assists Hartley – 5.3 Delaney – 4.5
Steals Hartley – 3.7 Allen – 4.0
Blocks Vejraska – 1.3 Allen – 2.5



Position campbell Virginia Tech
Guard 12 Hartley – 6’3″ 23 Delaney – 6’3″
Guard 25 Merthie – 6’1″ 5 Hudson – 6’5″
Forward 51 Dodson – 6’5″ 1 Bell – 6’6″
Forward 3 Rodriguez – 6’5″ 0 Allen – 6’7″
Forward 10 Kossangue – 6’6″ 14 Davila – 6’8″



  • Founded in 1887
  • Located in Buies Creek, NC (just south of Raleigh)
  • Private school
  • 10,000 total students with 7k on their main campus
  • Name for minister James Archibald Campbell who founded the school and was the first president
  • Mascot: Gaylord the camel (named for Gaylord Perry, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer)
  • Arena: The newly completed John W. Pope Convocation Center
  • Conference: Atlantic Sun although they will re-join the Big South Conference in 2011-12. 
  • Famous Alums: Gaylord Perry and his brother, Jim – haven’t heard of any else although they had a Pulitzer Prize winner

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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