What hit me the hardest last night after the game wasn’t the fact our season was over. It was the fact I’d never see Malcolm, Jeff, or Terrell play in the burnt orange and Chicago maroon ever again. And I wouldn’t get to see Paul ham it up on the sidelines ever again. That stung the most.
I raised a glass last night to our senior class. What a great four years it has been. It pains me to know they never were rewarded with a trip to that other tournament for their hard work and great success. But I am amazed at what they did accomplish. Let’s look at some of the things they did achieve:
- 87 total wins - this tied the ‘Dell Curry Era’ for most wins in a 4-year span. That says it all about how successful this team was.
- 35-29 ACC regular season record.
- Finished in 4th place in the ACC (tied or outright) 3 of 4 years.
- Made ACC Semi-Final Saturday twice.
- Beat #1… twice (and came really close two other times).
And then there’s the gaudy numbers Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen put up.
- 3rd in scoring at VT: 2,255 points.
- 2nd in assists: 543 – just 4 behind Bimbo Coles for the top spot… another game and he’d have had it.
- 175 steals: just 8 away from making the top 10 there.
- Two time All-ACC First Team; also made the Third Team as a sophomore.
- Led the conference in scoring his junior year.
- Best I can tell, he is 14th on the ACC’s all-time scoring list (5th most in the last 10 years)… that’s pretty good company.
- 264 career 3-pointers: just 3 away from tying A.D. Vassallo for VT’s all time record.
- VT’s all time leader in made FTs… by a mile and a half… he made 721 free throws (next closest is Bimbo Coles at 593).
Jeff Allen (The Big Donut):
- 11th in scoring at VT: 1702 points (just 4 points away from 10th place… ugh, again, just one more game)
- 4th in rebounds: 1111
- 4th in steals: 233
- 5th in blocks: 150
- Became the first ACC player ever with 1700 points, 1000 rebounds, 200 steals, and 150 blocks.
- Made ACC All-Freshman team and All-ACC Second Team (senior year).
Let me say one final time — THANK YOU SENIORS! Thank you for four great years. You will be missed everywhere except in the VT record books where your place is secured as evidenced above.
It was great seeing Paul Debnam get meaningful minutes yesterday. It reminded me of a game my freshman year (in HS) where I was third string PG and the first two went down to injury. All of sudden I had to play the entire final half and all of OT. We lost, too, in a heartbreaker but I’ll always remember that moment. I’m sure Paul, although sad to see us lose, will carry that memory forever. And what a great job he did. Paul brought the high energy we knew he would and snagged a couple of key rebounds.
Terrell Bell became VT’s stopper on defense, and hit 38% of his 3-pointers his final two seasons. He gave the Hokies a much needed second option from behind the arc. And on a team that had no quality on-ball defenders at the guard position (at least when Zo went down), his defense was a must in man-to-man.
What a great effort yesterday. Those final minutes of regulation and OT really summed up our season. Just when we found a way to keep our heads above water, they’d add another 5 feet to the tank. Allen’s 5th foul and Davila having to leave the game with the shoulder injury put us at 5 scholarship players. Yet the Hokies battled back from 6 down and nearly won the game. Even in OT Tech hung in there despite the fact wsu’s 7-footer had about 5-9 inches on anyone guarding him. I couldn’t have been more proud of the guys and how they battled.
Speaking of Jeff’s 5th foul, that made me sick. Not the call, but the fact the shockers player ran right at him, right into him, and then flopped. Some would call it smart basketball, I call in European soccer. Or another word that starts with a ‘p’ comes to mind. I know this is the pot calling the kettle black because of Delaney’s history, but he’s taken crap for that from our fans, too (me included). And he never targeted a guy and went right at him. So that wsu player lost all my respect. Smart, maybe. But not what a real man would do.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, for the 19th straight VT game the team that shot for a higher percentage from 3-point range won (wsu 50% — 10/20 to VT’s 44% — 8/18). What a wild stat that turned in to. Also, the Hokies never lost in those final 19 games when they made more 3-pointers than their opponent.
Props to Seth for keeping the ship above water, too. This season was in many ways similar to the 2005-06 season except that year the distractions were more about family and personal tragedies, and not just injuries. That season the wheels completely came off and what looked like a promising season became an agonizing journey to the offseason. The difference is most of those guys had another year. MD and JA and TB don’t. But Seth and the staff found a way to overcome all those injuries and finish 4th in the ACC, while coming within an eyelash of the ncaa tournament. Amazing coaching job — as much for the mental side of it and keeping the team focused — as it was for the results on the court which I think were fantastic all considered.
Here’s one more toast to the entire squad (getting buzzed yet?). And here’s to a great offseason, which hopefully we’ll see some key cogs get back to 100%. Tech will also welcome four stud recruits that we wish will launch the Hokies into that next echelon of teams.