Through 17 games on Virginia Tech’s 2010-2011 schedule, the Hokies’ season can be summed up in fairly simple terms: before Erick Green and after Erick Green.
The sophomore point guard from Winchester, Va., began the season on the bench behind senior starter Dorenzo Hudson. Through the first eight games of the season the Hokies were a disappointing 4-4 and Green averaged a paltry 11 minutes per game. He didn’t play at all against oklahoma state and unlv. Then it was announced that Hudson, who had been struggling, would miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.
Before becoming a starter, Green averaged 3.75 points, .6 assists and 1.1 steals per game, so it was understandable why some Tech fans might have been less than optimistic about Green replacing Hudson. Nonetheless, there was no choice, especially since Ben Boggs would eventually end up transferring to valparaiso.
And so began the “After Erick Green” chapter of the season.
Since Green took over as a starter, his confidence, stats and contribution to the team have been nothing less than astounding. The 6-4 sophomore started his first game of the season on Dec. 12, against penn state. Since that game, Green has started nine straight and has yet to score less than 10 points in a game. The Hokies are 8-1 with Green in the starting five, with the lone defeat coming on the road against unc, a game in which the Hokies led by 16 points.
Take a look at Green’s before and after stats:
|Minutes Per Game||15||31|
|Point Per Game||3.7||14|
|Assists Per Game||.6||3.2|
|Steals Per Game||1.1||2.7|
You think those numbers are impressive? Let’s take a look at how Green’s role as a starter has affected first-team All-ACC guard Malcolm Delaney.
|Minutes Per Game||39.2||36.6|
|Point Per Game||20.3||17.1|
|Assists Per Game||3.2||5.4|
|Steals Per Game||1.3||1.7|
|Turnovers Per Game||5.2||2.1|
The two big stats here are the minutes per game played and the turnovers per game. Three minutes a game may not seem like much, but it is huge. Getting Delaney off the floor and getting him rest, even if for a minute, can affect the outcome of the game.
And then there’s the turnovers for Delaney. In the first eight games, he had 42 turnovers. Forty-two. 4-2. In the nine games since Green took over as a starter, Delaney has committed only 19. That’s a tremendous stat and much of that has to do with Green running point and Malcolm not having to feel like he has do everything.
Sure, Malcolm’s points per game average is down, but would you rather be a .500 team with Delaney averaging 20 ppg, or win eight of nine games with him averaging 17.1 a game? Yeah, we figured as much.
The big question is, what is different about Green as a starter? Why wasn’t he putting up these kind of numbers earlier in the season? No one really knows, but it’s clear the kid is playing with a great deal of confidence and that stat is immeasurable.
Some guys just need the pieces to fall into place to make it click. For Green, it was unfortunately Hudson’s injury that forced the sophomore into a starting roll. He had two choices, fold under the pressure, or step up and be a leader. It’s clear after nine games that Green has the potential to be a great point guard for the Hokies.