campbell fighting camels – Game #1
The most anticipated Virginia Tech basketball season ever is about to tip-off on Friday night when the #21 Hokies take on the fightin’ camels of campbell in the Cassell at 7:30. Can Tech’s four seniors finally get over the hump and make the NCAA Tournament? This game likely won’t be a good test of that as Tech should trounce the camels, but it will start to show whether or not the Hokies can thrive with almost no front court (more on that below)…
SIX PACK ATTACK:
- Virginia Tech is ranked in the preseason for the first time since the 1995-96 season. That’s the second to last time the Hokies made the Big Dance.
- Two Hokies will likely make their debuts for Tech on Friday – freshman wing player JARELL EDDIE and freshman guard TYRONE GARLAND
- The Hokies are 3-0 all time against the fighting camels, including a hard fought 71-60 (RECAP) win last year in the first game ever at campbell’s new arena. JT Thompson (injured, out for season) helped VT overcome horrible shooting nights from Malcolm Delaney (3/13) and Dorenzo Hudson (3/9). JT had 17 points on 8/12 shooting in the win. Jeff Allen battled foul trouble and played just 19 minutes. VT did hit seven three-pointers in the game, tied for the fourth most makes on the season last year. Probably the oddest note of the game is Coach Greenberg burned four timeouts in the first half – including three in a two minute span.
- With his second assist on Friday, Malcolm Delaney will surpass Dell Curry and move into 4th place on the all time Hokies’ assist list. He has 406 currently and has a real shot at reaching #2 by the end of the year (514).
- Tech returns all five starters from a year ago (Allen, Davila, Bell, Hudson, and Delaney) and 10 of the 12 guys that scored a point last season. Just graduate Lewis Witcher and redshirt (injury) JT Thompson are not playing this year.
- Try ‘Ri’ Kentucky straight rye whiskey. Pricey for whiskey but very good. Oh, and get the McRib before it is gone! The greatest sandwich of all time!
STARTERS (returning starters in BOLD):
|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||TBD||0 Allen – 6’7″|
|Forward||TBD||14 Davila – 6’8″|
Note: Cadarian Raines is OUT for Friday’s game. Coach Greenberg said his broken left foot has not completely healed but that it is showing progress. He wants Raines at full before he starts practicing and playing. Raines has not been ruled out for kansas state but I would venture to guess that he is unlikely to play.
With Raines out, VT has ZERO low post backups. That makes Jeff Allen’s propensity to foul all the more critical. Terrell Bell and Jarell Eddie, both wings, will have to play some in the low post. Bell is a great rebounder and has long arms to block shots, so that is a plus. But is he strong enough to battle inside? Probably won’t see in this game, but sure as heck will next Tuesday in Manhattan, KS.
HO-KEYS TO THE GAME:
Hey, it’s the first game. This is an easy win based on what campbell lost from last year… on paper. But first games tend to be very sloppy. Tech needs to treat this game like a tune up for kansas state next Tuesday. Get your legs in game shape, get used to playing hard defense, and work on your offense in game situations. The key is to really sellout on defense even if it is easy to snuff out the camels. VT needs to get that defensive intensity ready for the highly ranked wildcats.
Last year Tech would struggle in a game like this against a lesser opponent (and did struggle with campbell though they were better then and it was on the road). The Hokies need to come out and show why they are ranked, picked 2nd in the ACC, and a “lock” for the Big Dance. Come out and smack the camels silly.
What I’m watching: How will Bell and Eddie handle playing inside? campbell is inexperienced inside so this is a good icebreaker, especially for Jarell in his first college game.
#31 Jarell Eddie
SMOKE’EM IF YOU GOT’EM (The Opponent):
It is hard to know much about this campbell team. They return three starters, including their backcourt mates – Hartley and Merthie. But they have just five total players back from last year and only four of those guys (the starters and Celestin) averaged more than five minutes per game. Gone is their all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Jonathan Rodriguez, who averaged over 17 ppg and 8 rpg. They also lost their #3 and #4 leading scorers. The have no one left from the low post.
Top Player: #25 Lorne Merthie was the A-Sun Freshman of the Year two years ago and was just one of two camels to average over double digits last season (10.7 ppg). He hit 41% of his threes last year with 69 makes, by far the most on their team.
Outlook: Don’t let Merthie get hot from the outside. Stay with him and force someone else to beat you since no one else is a proven scorer (all averaged 6.4 ppg or less last year). Their PG Hartley rarely shoots – he shot just 21 threes on the entire season. He averaged almost as many assists per game (5.9) as points (6.3). He had a solid assist to turnover ratio of almost 2-to-1. Lay off him on the outside and expect him to dish on the penetration. Be wary of him driving and kicking it out to Merthie. As for the bigs, I don’t know anything about them other than they have several JUCO/regular college transfers that are in the 6’8″ to 6’10” range, which is much bigger than they had last year.
BORING FACTS (useless information about the campbell fighting camels):
- 2009-10 Season: 19-11, 14-6 in the Atlantic Sun (lost in the first round of the conference tourney and had not postseason appearance)
- 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 anyone else although they had a Pulitzer Prize winner