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Niemo’s Notes | Ramblings After 13 Games

I’ll do a more complete ‘End of Semester’ report card next week after our out of conference schedule is all but complete (after the game at oklahoma state on Saturday, Tech will have just one out of conference game left — on 1/25/12 vs byu).

In the mean time, here are some things of note:

THE GOOD:

  • 3-Pt Shooting: Tech is 35th in the nation in 3-Pt %, and 4th in the ACC, at 38.8%!  Who saw that coming?  Not me.  This has been a very pleasant surprise.  Tech is even 4th in the league in makes per game at 6.5, so it isn’t just quality, it is also quantity.  The Hokies don’t have anyone that qualifies for the ACC 3-Pt % category though because they have a ridiculous rule that you have to average 2-made 3-pointers per game to qualify (which only 6 guys in all of the ACC qualify for).  That said, check out these numbers from deep:
  • Jarell Eddie: 20/38 – 53%
  • Erick Green: 18/39 – 46%
  • Dorian Finney-Smith: 12/28 – 43%
  • Robert Brown: 20/54 – 37%
  • 3-Pt Defense: The Hokies are #1 in the US of A in 3-Pt % Defense at 22.8%.  I can’t explain this one other than to say our perimeter help defenders must really be flashing out well, and our length helps, too.
  • FT Shooting: VT is also 35th in the land in FT%, and 2nd in the ACC (behind uva) at 74%. Even Victor Davila has gotten into the act.  After starting 4/13 from the line, he’s hit 12 of his last 16 FTs!
  • Bleeding Green: The ACC leaders stat sheet bleeds Green, as in Erick Green.  The Winchester Rifle is in the top 10 in the ACC in:
  • Scoring: 15.4 (7th)
  • FG%: 51.2% (8th) – this is incredible for a guard
  • Assists: 3.3 per game (7th)
  • FT%: 85.4% (5th – tied with Dorenzo Hudson — both are exactly 41/48 on the season)
  • Steals: 16 pg (5th)
  • Assist to Turnover Ratio: 2.0 (5th)
  • Book It: Speaking of Erick, he’s scored in double digits in every game he’s played in this year (12). And he’s scored exactly 12 points in 4 straight games.  The only bad thing is he’s just 1 for his last 5 from deep over those 4 games.
  • Doe Doe is not Extinct: Dorian Finney-Smith isn’t just the top freshman rebounder in the ACC, he’s the top underclassman.  At 8.1 rebounds per game, he’s 7th in the league with everyone above him a Jr or Sr.  Doe Doe is also the only freshman in the top 10 in the ACC in assists at 2.8 per game (10th).
  • Old Man River: As much crap as Dorenzo Hudson has taken so far this year, he has scored at least 7 points in all but one game this year (his goose egg vs minnesota).  Hudson’s 24% 3-Pt % isn’t far off from his 28% career %.  He is also the only Hokie to get ACC honors so far this year – being named Co-ACC PotW on 11/21.  He hasn’t looked like the 2nd Team All-ACC player of two years ago this year, but Zo has been productive, and he’s averaged 13 ppg in his last 3 games.
  • Don’t Preserve the Reserves:Tech only has 1 guy in the top 10 in the ACC in minutes per game, and that’s Green who is 9th at 32 mpg.  That’s refreshing compared to past years when VT’s starting lineup basically lived in the top 10.

THE BAD:

In all honesty, there’s nothing ‘really bad’ about the way Tech has played so far that are huge concerns.  Tech has, for the most part, fixed their issue with rebounding missed free throws and turning the ball over.  The Hokies are near the bottom of the league in both of those stats, though the turnover issue has improved greatly of late.  We’ll see if rebounding holds up in league play.

The only other disappointment for me is Possessions Per Game.  Tech averages just 64.2 per game, right around 300th in the country (out of 345).  That tells you the Hokies haven’t been pushing the ball much and getting out in transition.  But again, we have seen improvements here.  Tech has actually learned it is legal to pass the ball on a fast break, and the  full court press the Hokies have employed of late has worked into some turnovers and fast break points.  VT is averaging almost 18 fast break points per game in their last 3 games, while that number was around 9 or 10 earlier in the year.

I guess the one real bad thing you could say is the transfer of Tyrone Garland.  While Marquis Rankin was taking his minutes, no one wanted to see Ty go, though it is likely best for him long term.  Farewell, Predator, we’ll miss your banked 3s.

The other bad thing I’ll mention is the attendance.  I guess the novelty of being in the ACC, along with 4 straight NIT appearances, has gotten to the Hokie fan base.  Tech is averaging just 7100 fans per home game, barely above 70% of capacity.  Tech had sold more than 90% of their season tickets coming into this year.  It could be worse, though.  bc, gt, and miami are averaging less than 4000 per home game.

THE UGLY:

  • Jimmy Graham – seriously, he may have turned into an All-Pro tight end for the saints after being a goon on the miami basketball team, but dude is powerful ugly.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1221 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.

Contact the author | Visit the author's website | Follow Niemo on Twitter

  • RK in Roanoke

    A few weeks ago I had a wistful thought while watching NFL highlights. The heads were waxing poetic on the resurgence of the tight end. The thought was this: Wouldn’t you love to see Jeff Allen lining up for your favorite NFL team. Jeff may never make the NBA, but watching what guys like Graham and Gronkowski are doing, I think Jeff would make a great NFL TE. Just sayin’.

    • Niemo

      RK – Don’t forget Tony Gonzalez, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, played hoops at cal, although he was a bigger football star in college than hoops.

  • RK in Roanoke

    Niemo- absolutely, didn’t forget him. But he did play football in college. I don’t think Graham played much. Not sure what Jeff (or malcolm for that matter) is doing but 6’7″ 240 running down the seam. It is an interesting thought.
    BTW- scuttlebutt coming out of Bburg is that Zo is not completely out of the woods with the incident with Journell. The 3 guys have clammed up talking to police but once the legal system starts, more info will come out that may not paint Zo in a great light. Hopefully the legal system moves at its normal, glacial rate.

    • Niemo

      RK – 2 things:
      1) You are right, Graham did not play football until his bball career was over. He played vs VT in that monsoon 2 years ago. In fact, he dropped a critical pass (I believe VT was up 14-0 at the time) that would have given miami the ball deep in VT territory. So he really came out of no where.
      The Hokies were going to try out a basketball player, his name slips my mind, about 5-8 years ago. Some big man who I believe was of African descent (not Cheick Diakite). Nothing ever came of it, the guy quit after one day of practice.
      Keep in mind your eligibilty in other sports is running at the same time you are in school playing other sports. That’s why guys like Graham and “Teabag” Paulus only had one year to play football. So the return on investment can be slim.
      2) I’m not sure what your scuttlebutt is so it is hard for me to address it. I do still believe based on the info I have that while Zo did make one error in judgment that night, he did nothing illegal. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it until I hear otherwise. So I still believe he won’t be charged, nor should be charged, if my info is correct, and I have no reason to believe otherwise.

  • vtgoad

    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t see anything in the writing or recent comments…

    From Tech Talk Live Notes (12/20), James Johnson – Associate Head Coach, pointed out that Dorenzo Hudson is playing through a torn meniscus. His production has been fairly steady lately, and while it’s not like 2 years ago, I’m pretty impressed given the injury. We have so many contributing players, that baring an injury, Zo’s recent efforts should be more than plenty.

    Also of note, Johnson called Wood a gem of a recruit, while claiming Harrell is a bit raw. Apparently a few weeks ago Wood put up 49 points and 20 rebounds in a game!

    • Niemo

      Goad – Thanks for mentioning that about Zo, I had failed to talk about it (I’m kind of used to him playing through injuries now).
      I’ve heard the same thing aobut Harrell. I met him at a game earlier this year (I still need to post the pic) but he’s impressive physically.
      That’s good news on Wood. At some point I’ll catch up on their stats so far this year, just been lazy so far.

  • Ryan C

    My favorite positive is definitively 3pt shooting. It just opens up the floor so much when you have 3-4 guys that can pull the trigger from deep.

    Anyone else concerned about our dribble defense? It seems like every PG can dribble down the middle of our defense. Some of these guards were playing for the cupcakes we played.

    • Niemo

      Ryan – dribble drive is a big concern and I expect okie state to really exploit that Saturday. They killed us with it in the 2nd half a month ago. And as you state, they aren’t even that quality of a team. We’ll see how bad a guy like Rivers kills us off the dribble drive.

  • Chrishokie

    Yeah, the 3-point shooting has been a huge surprise. And how comfortable our freshman look on the floor most of the time. Seem like a very mature bunch.

    I paid tribute to a former Hokie star today. I am vacationing in South Florida and I made the trip inland to Pahokee, birthplace of Zabian Dowdell, on the banks of Lake Okechobee (2nd largest fresh water lake in the U.S., 110 mile circumference and most of it it trailed for cyclers, pretty awesome). I drove by the high school where ZD played. The football stadium is named after Anquan Boldin who also played basketball 4 years ahead of ZD and has gone on to FSU and NFL fame as a wide receiver. Maybe the gym could be named after ZD one day. I asked a local if they remembered ZD and he said yes and asked me if I went to school with him. Since I graduated from VT before Zabe was born I said “no” but that I watched almost every game he played at VT. Wikipedia lists 16 notable residents from Pahokee (a town of 6,500) and ZD is one of them. I even filled my tank with their high priced gasoline to help the local economy. I didn’t kiss the ground or anything but I thought it was cool to get to visit the homeland of a Hokie great.

    • Niemo

      “The Hokie from Pahokee.” It was destiny he ended up with us, but hard work that made him great. Let’s hope he gets back in the NBA.

  • RK in Roanoke

    Niemo- forgot about that game. The creek behind the house was overflowing so I stayed home. Seem to remember we tried Rivers (?) as a wideout a few times years ago and there was some issue about if a guy plays football and basketball, which program gets charged with the scholarship. I think the NCAA has some rules to keep schools from using football scholarships to get bball players in, or maybe the reverse. Imagine ky or unc using some of their scholarships for football to have guys walk on the bball team.

  • Raleighwood

    One concern I have so far is the team’s ability to finish games. I understand basketball can be a momentum game, but we seem to be allowing runs at very inopportune times (see today vs. OKST – 10 point lead with 4 mins left) and struggle to regain composure. Other than that, I have been quite impressed with what I have seen. I have been most pleasantly surprised with the free throw shooting. I look forward to ACC play to see what this team really has. LET’S GO!

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