The bad news: Well, you read it in the subject line. Dorenzo Hudson, who has battled a right foot injury since last season, will have surgery to repair the foot and will not return this season. Zo played through the foot injury much of last season (he missed the georgia tech game at the end of the regular season because of it), but the foot just never healed and continues to bother him. He was advised to have the surgery done and timing mandated the decision be made immediately.
Hudson has really battled injuries the last two years. In addition to the foot, he’s had issues with his knee and with his middle finger on his shooting hand. Hopefully with Zo shutting things down he will have time to fully heal, and be close to 100% for the 2011-12 season (yes, you read that right… see the good news below…). We’ll need him with such a young team. Hudson is Tech’s third leading scorer this year with 10.4 ppg. But this was a big drop-off from the 15.2 ppg he put up last year, where he looked like Tech’s best player down the stretch.
The good news: Dorenzo Hudson can apply to the NCAA for a Hardship Waiver and should receive it. I realize this isn’t great news, and puts a huge damper on this season that once looked so promising, but at least Hudson can have a shot at a healthy senior season.
Hudson qualifies for a Hardship Waiver because:
- Dorenzo would not play after the halfway point of the season — Tech plays 29 regular season games, plus at least one ACC Tournament game. So game #15 is the cutoff point. That’s the unc game (a player could play in this game, just not after that point).
- He did not play in more that 30% of VT’s games — Dorenzo has played in 9 games. Since VT will play at least 30 games, 30% is 9, so Zo is ok there.
- You must show medical documentation. Since the plan is to have surgery and doctors were advising him not to play anyway, this shouldn’t be a problem.
It is interesting to note that Hudson only qualifies for a Hardship Waiver because of a change the NCAA made three years ago. Up until 2007, the rule (14.2.4-c) said you could not have played in more than 20% of the team’s games. Dorenzo would have failed that condition under almost any scenario unless VT went deep into March (NCAA games count, NIT do not).
Dorenzo will join his cousin, JT Thompson, as a fifth year senior next season. JT tore his ACL before the start of the season and is redshirting.
This season: So, what do we do now? As for the rest of this season, this is a huge blow, obviously. The Hokies are down to nine scholarship players, but that’s counting Raines who has been battling his own injuries. That would leave just eight if Raines has to be shut down, which is just plain scary. Tech, which has been offensively challenged most of the season, just lost one of their best scorers with his deadly midrange jumper, and one of their better defenders. Fortunately, Erick Green has played so well lately that there is hope. But that’s it – just hope at this time. It is far from a sure thing and leaves VT extremely thin on their bench. It is scary, but my preseason premonition that this season just felt like the 2005-06 one, when Tech had so much adversity, continues to ring true.
Expect to see Green become the full time starter at the point, Delaney at the 2-guard, with Bell, Davila, and Allen rounding out things. We’ll see more of Garland to rest Green. Atkins and Eddie will provide minutes to rest Bell, or Bell will move down low to give Allen or Davila a break.
And will we see Marcus Davis join the team after the Orange Bowl? Looks more and more like we need him to.
Recruiting: Once again, it looks like the Hokies are out of scholarships for next year. In the summer, Tech thought they would have five scholarships to give out next year. That changed to four once JT went down for the season. It went back up to five when Ben Boggs transferred after the first semester, but drops back down to four now. The Hokies have signed four players for next year, so the numbers work out (for now).
Next Year: Next season is certainly taking on a different look. Before the season, it looked like Tech would be extremely young. Now, if Chaney, Thompson, Raines, and Hudson can all get cleared and healthy (and that’s a big if), VT will have some quality depth and with experience.
Let’s daydream about possible lineups:
Not too shabby. A good mix of youth and experience. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and focus on this season. It would be a shame if Delaney, Allen, and Bell never played in a NCAA Tournament game, which is a real possibility. So let’s support these guys like heck down the stretch.