Categorized | 2011-12 Season

Hokies Final Report Card

Here is my grading of this season:

  • MVP: None- I’m sorry, but teams that go 5-13 in ACC play (including the Tourney) don’t have a MVP.  The obvious choice here would be Erick Green, but he was 3/16 on FGs at the end of halfs and didn’t have any game-winners.  He actually averaged 2 more PPG in VT’s 12 ACC losses he played in (he missed @bc) than in their 5 wins (16.5 in losses, 14.6 in wins).  His assists per game and steals had minor differences – they were both +0.2 in wins compared to losses.  In other words, the better he did scoring wise, the worse Tech did, and the his input in other areas had almost no impact.
  • Best Player: Erick Green – He was the only Hokie to garner ACC Honors, other than Doe Doe who made the All Freshman Team.  Green was 2nd Team All-ACC, leading VT in scoring (15.6 PPG — 4.7 ahead of #2), assists (2.8 per game — almost 1 ahead of anyone else), and steals (1.3).  He also appeared to be the closest thing the Hokies had to a leader on this team.
  • Most Improved: Cadarian Raines – I gave him this honor at midseason because of how much he meant inside to the Hokies, who were usually thin in the post.  Jarell Eddie had better numbers, but again, I thought Raines had shown the most progress of any player.  Well, we hadn’t seen anything yet.  When Davila went down with 3 weeks to go, Cadarian exploded given the extra minutes.  He averaged 11 PPG in Tech’s final 7 games and showed very developed post moves (lefty hook, up-and-under move, pick and roll).  He looks like he could be a real force next year in this league and easily contend for All-ACC honors.
  • Freshman of the Year: Dorian Finney-Smith – I gave it to Robert Brown at midseason because I felt he most consistently performed each night.  But Brown averaged just 4.8 PPG in ACC play (almost 8 out of conference) and really seemed to hit the wall in league play.  Doe Doe really struggled to adjust to ACC competition and went through a stretch in the first half of ACC play where he scored just 14 points in 9 games and missed 25 consecutive shots at one point.  But then Dorian refound his stroke and averaged over 8 PPG in Tech’s final 11 contests, plus 7 boards per game.  He even averaged more than 2 assists per game in VT’s final 6 games.  Doe Doe really needs to get stronger (he was often pushed away from the hoop on offensive and was overmatched on defense) and he needs to develop a midrange jumper (I’m not sure he hit a single shot from between 12-17 feet in ACC play).  But we finally started to see the progress down the stretch.  He looked like it was starting to click.  Can he develop in a C.J. Leslie-type player next year?  We’ll see.
  • Offense: D- – Tech never reached 70 points in regulation in their final 20 games.  That’s pathetic.  They couldn’t execute a fastbreak to save their life (outscored 32-0 in fastbreak points in their final 2 games and scored just 40 fastbreak points in their 9 home games in 2012).  Even VT’s FT shooting, which was best in the league for a long while, collapsed down the stretch.  This was a team that couldn’t score in the half court or in transition and finished last in ACC play in FG% (the only team under 40%).  The one redeeming thing is their 3-point shooting – Tech finished 2nd in the league in 3-Pt % for the year, and 3rd in ACC games.  Well, one other positive was Turnover Margin – Tech was 2nd in the ACC so they protected the ball.
  • Defense: D+ – Usually a staple of Tech teams, but the Hokies were poor in ACC play on the defense end.  They finished 10th in the league in FG% Defense in ACC play.  Even 3-Pt% Defense, which was #1 in the nation entering ACC play, was just 5th in the league.  The Hokies were dead last in the league in Defensive Rebounding %, too.   In Tech’s final 9 games, 4 teams shot over 50% against VT, including 3 hitting more than 55% of their shots.  For whatever reason, Tech really took duke out of their game — the devils shot 39% and 37% in the teams’ two meetings down the stretch.  But other than those games, there were too many easy layups for teams, or fastbreak buckets (that often were a result of lazy perimeter passes on offense or guys not coming to receive the ball).
  • Coaching: D – Never really saw progress in terms of improvent in our weaknesses mentioned on offense and defense.  Although out of bounds plays on the offensive end were very effective late in the year.  But offense got worse if anything as the year went on, and defense seemed to digress, too.  Next year is Bust Or Brackets for this staff, I’m afraid.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1196 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.

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  • Danram

    This team’s biggest single weakness this year was an inability to beat defenders off the dribble and attack the basket. This allowed opposing defenses to overplay the ball out on the perimeter without consequence, making it much tougher to get quality looks at the basket, hence the low FG %.

    In basketball, it all starts with penetration. In the ACC tournament I saw certain players finally getting much more aggressive in taking the ball to the basket, Robert Brown in particular, and that’s a good sign. When a team is in a shooting slump, driving hard to the hoop and getting fouled is a way to keep putting points on the board. If we did more of it, maybe we wouldn’t have as many of these 5-7 minute scoring droughts that cost us games.

    With as tall a team as we have, especially at the perimeter positions, we simply need to be MUCH more aggressive in taking the ball strong to the basket and either finishing, getting fouled, or kicking the ball back out for an open jump shot. When you attack the basket, good things usually happen.

    Some additional time in the weight room will definitely help our freshmen, who simply aren’t strong enough yet. But if I were Seth, I would employ drills specifically designed to improve players’ ability to get an opposing defender on their hip and take him to the rim. We simply aren’t “strong with the ball” and that was, IMHO, the primary reason for our poor offensive output this season.

    I really hope Seth can scrounge up a couple of additional recruits for the spring signing period. While I’d love to add another post player, even more than that I’d LOVE to add a guard like Evans for UVA. That kid is ALWAYS itching to drive to the basket when he gets the ball. We could really benefit from adding a guard with that kind of aggressive mentality. It’s no coincidence that the best teams of the Greenberg era featured two guards, Dowdell and Gordon, that were very good at beating guys off the dribble and penetrating.

    • Niemo

      Danram – all good points. With Doe Doe, his lack of strength actually led to his struggles penetrating. Defenders could bump him without fouling and steer him away from the hoop, often leading him to jumping out of bounds and throwing it to the far corner. If he’s stronger, he can, as you say, take them on his hip and get to the rim, power through and get an and-1 or at least 2 FTs (he needs to improve his FT shooting, too). Brown was aggressive all year on the drive, it just wasn’t working out very much in ACC play. He forced bad shots at times, which is part of being a freshman, He needs to really work on his runner which he showed flashes of in the OOC schedule.

  • King

    Erick Green needs to lead by example & set the tone next season. I would like to see him improve his body language on the court. The young guys will look up to him & try to emulate him, so he needs to carry himself like a confident leader at all times. Want to see Robert Brown improve on his game speed. He is far too casual for my liking and I feel like he has the ability to play quicker & smarter. Very excited to see how much Doe Doe & Raines continue to improve in the offseason. Giddy, actually. I hope Eddie either commits to being a spot up shooter or works really hard on his ball handling this offseason because he was awful dribbling the ball this year. Rankin & Barksdale…well, they were freshmen forced into action. They looked like freshmen so I’ll look on the brightside & hope that they can provide more conistent contributions off the bench as sophomores. They both need a lot of work.

  • RK in Roanoke

    Niemo and Cope – Thanks for a great site during a not-great year.
    I am usually not one of those wait until next year guys, but we really should be much better next year. Raines will be a force inside and add an off-season for Barksdale and the arrival of Montrezl Harrell we should have some depth as well.
    Agree that we need to develop someone who can penetrate and either finish or dish. Watching other guards do it to us is very frustrating.
    Our O seems to center on a guy dribble 35 feet away at the top of the key waiting for the shot clock to get under 20. Boring and ineffective but it slows down the game and keeps the score down. It’s like Seth is running a Princeton offense without the good screens and back cuts.
    Team definitely needs to make the NCAA or Seth should be gone.
    Again thanks for all the great work!

  • Les

    Tech matched up well with Duke. The defense concentrated on Rivers, Plumlee, and Curry. They were able to limit the shot attempts for Plumlee and Curry to just 10. Rivers still almost always shoots when he drives. If Tech could’ve gotten some interior scoring, they would’ve won.

    The team still needs to get a true center. The defensive rebounding and inside scoring both need more help. Raines is the only returning player with significant minutes and production, and he’s had injury issues in the past.

  • kiawahhokie

    How much PT would you expect van Zegeren to get next year? Victor will be gone so that leaves Raines and Barksdale. Is JvG a poor man’s John Henson? I watched his highlight reel; the kid rebounds well and has an outside jumper. What we need is a true inside presence to couple with how Raines played the last 10 games of the year

    • Niemo

      JvG will be interesting. I have heard Harrell is a beast and plays with a real fire, which Seth loves. If Montrezl can come in and wreck shop inside on defense and the glass, even if he isn’t getting a lot of points, he’ll play a lot (like JT Thompson did his first year). JvG will need to prove he can bang inside and play defense against ACC post defenders. Seth will play a better defender over a better offensive player (Ex: Atkins, Garland), so JvG will earn his minutes on the defensive end. That means he needs to bulk up this offseason.

      • Danram

        I’d like to see us try and run a “high post” offense with Van Zegaren as the “post” at the foul line. At this both this season and last season, when we brought our 5 out high, it seemed to work well for us. The European guys usually aren’t very good at banging down low (the European game is simply different than the US game) but they are usually good passers and ZVG reportedly has a pretty decent ability to hit the face-up 12-15 footers. I think it would be worth a try.

        • Danram

          Crap … Should read “At TIMES both this season and last season …”

      • HokieGuru

        Niemo – everything I’ve heard about Harrell syncs with what you said – therefore, I’m seeing Joey far behind Harrell – Dave Telep, senior recruiting analyst for ESPN, has had nothing but praise for Harrell – says he could be a defense end at Virginia Tech haha :)

  • Les

    The Golden Eagles’ frontcourt players, Luke Cothron, Gerson Santo, and Paul Bunch could have their hands full in defending the 6-10 Lenz, who is garnering recruiting interest from ACC and Big 12 schools, Gosar said.

    “He’s really long and athletic and has some nice post moves,” said Gosar whose team watched film on Arizona Western after a light practice Monday.

    http://magicvalley.com/sports/basketball/college-of-southern-idaho-basketball-one-game-away-from-heading/article_d3875116-6cc5-11e1-bed5-0019bb2963f4.html

    Matt Korcheck is another name from the same junior college conference as Lenz.

    • hokiegrad

      that ACC school appears to be us:

      “Lenz said he has talked with Gonzaga, Utah, Texas Tech, Wichita State, Virginia Tech and USC among others.”

      http://www.yumasun.com/sports/lenz-77414-year-good.html

      • Niemo

        Nice, would love to get a guy like Lenz. Even though he’s a JUCO, we have plenty of schollies for next year so we could take a guy even if we’d only have him a couple of years. Well worth the risk. We need a combo guard, too, in a bad way.

        Momo is no mo’ in the NCAA Tournament. They blew a 25-point lead (biggest in NCAA Tourney history) and iona lost to byu last night.

  • Hokie-ritaville

    Thanks TechHoops.com for all the coverage the entire season, I really enjoyed all the updates and angles.

    Looking forward to next year…seeing what kind of progress these guys can make. I am encouraged by the fact that we were “in” nearly all of our ACC games (13 of 17 decided by 5 or fewer, was the stat I think I saw). To me, that speaks volumes about where we are headed…to have the youth we had, to have the injuries we had and to have the “every-game-like-clock-work” scoring droughts we had and still be in those games…that can only be a positive. I think we are some tweaks away and not any wholesale changes necessarily from turning around that record in close games from 4-9 to 9-4 or better.

    But…when taking the whole Seth Greenberg era into account, I think the “Brackets or Bust” mentality is totally appropriate.

    • Niemo

      Thanks Ritaville! Let’s hope it is Brackets next year!

  • King

    Thanks to Niemo, Cope & everyone who works hard all year to make this the number one fan site for Hokies Basketball. Your passion and dedication are much appreciated. I really enjoy all of the content. Cheers!

    • Niemo

      Thanks, King! We appreciate your comments and input, too.

  • houndmound

    Thanks for the great articles/highlights this year, in what I’m sure was a frustrating season for you guys to cover. Danram was right on with his first comment, we need guards that can get in the lane and break down the defense. I think Green, Brown and Rankin have that ability, but Greenberg needs to make penetration a central part of the offense. Passing the ball around the perimeter the entire posession and occasionally feeding the post doesn’t work for many teams, the Hokies included.

    • Niemo

      Houndmound – this year wasn’t as bad as 2005-06. That season sprinkled in a LOT of personal/family tragedies with losing. And AC (Calloway) lost his life a few years later to the cancer that was found that season. While this year was tough and it was hard getting motivated to write a preview or put together highlights of another loss at times, it was a lot easier than 6 years ago.

  • John

    I hope there is a way the team can get smarter also. Sometimes you scratch your head at the decisions these guys make that you just don’t see on good teams. The easiest reference to make is the number of dunks we allowed under our own basket off of inbounds plays.

  • hokiegrad

    I was listening to a Duke assistant being interviewed today, and they were asking him about their ACC tourney game with VT. One of his comments struck me. He said that Greenberg was one of the very best in the ACC at… I wish I could remember his exact words… basically at coming up with the best strategy/gameplan going into the game. Interesting compliment.

  • http://none NYC Hokie

    Interesting comment from the Duke assistant coach. I remember after the Syracuse game, coach Boeheim told a reporter something along the lines of, “they [Tech] played us perfectly”; alluding to the strategy that Greenberg used against his team.

  • Techbball

    Great website, really enjoy all the articles and coverage throughout the season. Something that came to my attention the other day was the amount of transfers we have had since Greenberg took over. This seems to be a real issue and every year I wonder who is going to be the next person to leave the program. If we can keep guys for 4 years and build chemistry, I think things would be a lot better. Not to mention we would actually have players that could come of the bench and provide quality minutes.

    • Niemo

      Here’s a VT recruiting tracker under G-berg if you are interested… http://techhoops.com/recruiting/vt-greenberg-recruit-tracker/

      • chuck

        So that’s 16 of 50 recruits that never contributed more than a season, if suiting up at all….is this high? I don’t have any idea. To me it seems 5 or 6 guys too high.

        • Niemo

          It seems high to me, althought the % has to be way better than uva and their pretty boy. What concerns me is it seems that any guy that isn’t a starter by year 2 leaves. That leads me to believe one of two things: Seth is way over-selling PT during recruiting; or, the guys won’t accept being a role player or earning their way up the charts.

        • Les

          It does look as if Greenberg has had to stretch qualifications to get a commit in the past. They either couldn’t get admitted or used VT to keep shopping around.

          Six (Durant, Gilchrist, Pellum, Appleton-Miller, Taylor, Holt, and Momo Jones) were never admitted to the school.

          There’ve also been two large recruiting classes in 2007 and 2011 which resulted in players transferring out of the program. Munson and Thorns left when the 2007 class arrived. Boggs, Atkins, and Garland left most recently.

          One other, Swindle, was declared medically ineligible to play.

          • Niemo

            Gilchrist was admitted, I believe. Durant was a mutual separation and I don’t think he ever signed with us. And Momo I know never signed with us. That one bugs me the most — Momo verballed to us on the last day of the early signing period and COULD have signed, but claimed he didn’t want to because his mother couldn’t be there for the event (he was at Oak Hill)… so, it dragged out and he ended up committing to 2 more schools before signing. He’d have given us the penetrator we sorely needed this year — if he had stayed this year (family health situation).

  • chuck

    Any grade other than F is pie in the sky PATT nonsense.

    Getting the most out of the available talent should have netted us about 4-5 more wins…making us a solid NIT team…

    None of the FR played to expectations…Green and Hudson didn’t anchor and lead like two upperclassmen might hope to, and often proved our unraveling during key possessions.

    We never learned how to improve the half-court scoring, and when we did get turnovers, we were impotent in transition.

    I hope things change, though i fear they won’t.

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