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My 12-Pack of Wishes for VT Bball 2012-13

Here are 12 things I’m hoping happen during this Virginia Tech basketball season.

  1. Effort – the guys play hard for Coach Johnson game in and game out because he’s a players’ coach, instead of taking advantage of him/slacking off.  That’s the danger when you are a players’ coach.  Will you get their best effort because they like you?  Or will they take advantage of you because they don’t think you can rule with an iron fist when you need to?  This year, at least, I think we will see great effort because these guys chose to stay and have fresh in their memories the way things were before.  But it also make take JJ making an example of someone (kind of like how SG benched EG to start a game last year).
  2. Push It Real Good – Every year we’d hear how SG wanted to push the ball more on offense.  And every year by the 2nd half of game 1 he’d have scrapped it.  JJ says this is the style he wants to implement, and quite frankly, I think we all hope he does.  Enough with the boring offense – we get that enough during football season – let’s get up and down.  8 guys or not, let’s see it.  Heck, most teams don’t play more than 8-9 guys anyway.  Warning: this will require some growing pains.  We will see some awful shots.  We will see some alley oop passes sail into the 3rd row (that’s pretty high up behind the baskets).  We will see some 0/10 stretches… but at least those stretches will happen in 3 minutes instead of when we’d go 0/10 and not score for 10 minutes.  And we will likely lose a game we shouldn’t early in the year, but you have to stick with it because you believe in it in the long run.
  3. Raines-y Days – Here’s hoping Cadarian is NOT applying for a 6th year of eligibility after this season (yes, I realize he’s only a r-junior).  My point is his health, to me, is more critical than anything else.  Lose him and we lose our one low post scoring threat and shot blocker.
  4. Beamer Makes Significant Changes to the Offensive Staff/System – Yes, I realize this is a football thing, but I said during the basketball season, and this would have to happen in December or more likely January.  I expect Newsome to be ‘reassigned’ at the very least, I’m hopeful O’Cain will move on and we get a new QB Coach and OC (as in someone who isn’t internal and isn’t hired from the ‘Hokie Playback’ announcing crew).  I realize the last of those points is unlikely – I bet Stinespring stays as he is – but I can dream, can’t I?  I can’t take another year of this.
  5. No Angioplasty Necessary – Seriously, could any of us take another basketball season where we lose 11 games (8 in conference) by 4 points or less, or in OT?  Hopefully our experience in close games will pay off this year and we’ll be able to win more tight games, and hopefully we’ll have plays other than EG dribble until 2 seconds are left and heave it over his head.  And hopefully we can blow out some teams and get a Bear Fight win in conference (our 4 ACC regular season wins were by a combined 6 points… SIX!).  I can’t take another year of that.
  6. Hey Chip, Meet Shoulder – SG teams were at their best when nothing was expected of them.  And I think SG coached his best in those situations.  He loved being the underdog and could bring out the best in his teams.  Four times VT was picked to finish 8th or worse in the ACC and SG led them to a top 4 finish in 3 of those years.  When he had a target on him?  Not so much (VT finished worse than predicted 3 of the 4 years Tech was expected to be in the top 6 of the ACC).  Here’s hoping JJ can find a similar way to motivate the guys – it isn’t about being competitive, it is about finding ways to win.  This isn’t a bad team, it is just a thin (scholarship-wise) team.
  7. unc Gets a Stiffer Penalty in Football – Seriously, what did they learn from their one-year postseason ban, vacated wins (they didn’t win that many games to begin with), and three years of reduced scholarships?  Their football program is better than ever, and this is a program that hasn’t won an ACC title, or even played for a title, since 1980.  All it says to me, if I’m at an average football school, is let’s lie, cheat, and steal our way to the top.  Maybe we get caught, but even if we do, we’ll just get a slap on the wrist as long as we don’t do something appalling like penn state.
  8. Recruiting Rise – I can’t find any way to describe this 2013 VT basketball recruiting class other than a stinker.  And this was an important class.  SG made a living by bringing in a good, and overachieving big class every 4 years (Dowdell/Gordon/Collins, Delaney/Allen/Bell/Zo/JT, and Brown/Rankin/Barksdale/Doo-Doo).  This big class (4 so far with the possibility of another) features a top 150 player, a 3-star, a 2-star, and an unranked guy.  That’s not cutting it in the ACC, and also means they’ll be burning scholarships for 4 years unless they leave.  Yes, we needed big men, but projects rarely pan out in the post.  Maybe they’ll overachieve… but you can’t count on that.
  9. al groh Gets Hired by pitt as their LB Coach – Maybe then we’ll finally be able to beat arm-pitt in football.
  10. Nike Comes Up With Uniforms With Oxygen Built In – We are going to need it this year if we play up-tempo with 8 guys (2 of which have never scored a collegiate point).  I mean, Cadarian has usually sweated through his undershirt AND his jersey by the time player introductions are done.  I just hope we make it back out after halftime.
  11. Be Fun – this goes along with #2 about pushing the ball, but here’s hoping we are finally fun to watch.  In our 9 home games in the calendar year of 2012 (8 ACC games plus byu), VT scored a total of 40 fastbreak points.  To put that in perspective, we were outscored 32-0 on the break in our final two home games alone.  And we had just 13 FB points in our final 5 home games.  I realize we aren’t going to go 10-0 out of conference before the new year, and we aren’t going to go 18-0 in the ACC.  But I just wanted us to be more fun to watch.  Win or lose, let’s be interesting.  Also, I just hope for progress (since we play 18 ACC games now, progress would be 6-12 in the league or better… but forget that…)
  12. My ACC Over Under: 7.5 wins – That would mean 9-9 is a great accomplishment (and no, we would NOT make the NCAA Tournament at 9-9).  8-10 and I’ll think “hey, we are getting better”.  7-11 is a slight disappointment, but probably pretty realistic.  6-12 or worse and I feel no better than I did after last season.  But like I said, I think we have more talent than people realize, and we have good, veteran talent in EG, CR, and JE.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1246 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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  • Jonnycat

    Spot on Niemo…especially #9!

    As for Recruiting Rise and Be Fun, I think these are extremely important for JJ and they are tied together. I can deal with the growing pains of playing a new style, but just commit to it and make it our identity. If we do that and play an attractive style then we can recruit to that.

    I have that preseason excitement again, not because I expect big things in the standings, but because hopefully we will be an exciting, up-tempo, turnover-inducing team and not the borderline unwatchable, plodding, let’s make this a 50-48 snoozefest-of-a-game team.

  • hokiegrad

    I think you may be undervaluing the recruiting class JJ has pulled together. I think he dug up some good, underrated players, and some of the offers they have would seem to back that up. We shall see…

    • Niemo

      HG – I’m hoping they were underrated, too, much like our ’03 class of Gordon, Dowdell, and Collins. But I’d feel a lot better if we had 2 4-stars and 2 3-stars in this class, instead of a 4, 3, 2, and UR. In the ACC, you shouldn’t have to dig that deep. And this guys will represent 30% of our scholarships starting next year, so they better pan out or the depth issues just keep on rolling.

      • hokiegrad

        I hear ya. In a normal year I’d be right with you, but with the late stage of JJ’s hire, he kinda did have to dig that deep. And I think he dug well. This class has surpassed my expectations. I’m not really any more worried than usual about these guys eating scholarships. Now, unless he can snag someone he really, really likes, I would like him to stop here and save another spot for the next class…

      • hokiegrad

        fyi… re: that 2*

        KipTJam ?@KipTJam
        Gibbons has Maurice Kirby in tie for 6th best post in ’13 class. Also has him as highest rated of the 4 Tech commitments.

        There are a lot of interesting elements to the Kirby story. I’ll take this roll of the dice over the overseas recruits we’ve pulled in any day.

  • Chris

    I gotta disagree with you on recruiting, Niemo. I’m actually a bit excited about the upcoming class. All things considered (JJ’s first year, Blacksburg is in the middle of nowhere, controversial firing of SG), I think he’s done a very good job with this class. I’ve said before that I think Emelogu could be a steal in this class, and JJ has added some much-needed size in Thompson and Kirby. I wouldn’t look too much into star rankings with hoops players. Tyrone Garland and Ben Boggs were both rated as 3 stars, and apologies to both of them, but I never thought either were anything close to ACC caliber players. Player development is much more important than recruiting in college hoops, IMO. I’m confident JJ wouldn’t have gotten these guys unless he saw something in them. Don’t be surprised if they add a 5th guy during the late-signing period either.

    As for the rest though, I agree with it. Looking forward to getting the year started. I do think VT has a sneaky good starting 5 but the lack of depth will ultimately hold this team back. In spite of losing Green, I think we’re looking at a much better team next season(maybe a tourney team. Yeah, I said it…) I expect a 5-13 or 6-12 ACC record this year.

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2014-2015 Schedule/Results

November

11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - Hokies 73, liberty 63
11/22 - appalachian state 65, Hokies 63
**********
Cancun Classic
11/25 - n. iowa 73, Hokies 54
11/26 - Hokies 78, miami ohio 63
**********
11/30 - morgan state | 3pm, ESPN3

December

12/03 - @ penn state | 7:15pm, ESPNU
12/07 - vs. radford | 3pm, ESPN3
12/14 - vs. alabama a&m | 3pm, ESPN3
12/20 - vs. the citadel | 1pm, ESPN3
12/22 - vs. vmi | 7pm, ESPN3
12/27 - vs. presbyterian | 7pm, ESPN3
12/30 - @ west virginia | 2pm, ESPNU

January

01/03 - vs. syracuse | Noon, RSN
01/06 - @ fsu | 7pm, RSN
01/13 - @ louisville | 7pm, RSN
01/18 - @ unc | 6:30pm, ESPNU
01/22 - vs. notre dame | 7pm, RSN
01/25 - vs. uva | 1pm, ACCN
01/27 - vs. pittsburgh | 7pm, ESPNU
01/31 - @ wake forest | 2pm, RSN

February

02/03 - @ syracuse | 9pm, ESPNU
02/07 - vs. fsu | 3pm, ACCN
02/09 - vs. georgia tech | 9pm, ESPNU
02/14 - @ clemson | Noon, RSN
02/18 - @ miami | 7pm, RSN
02/21 - @ nc state | 6pm, ESPN2
02/25 - vs. duke | 9pm, ESPN2
02/28 - @ uva | 4pm, ACCN

March

03/02 - vs. boston college | 9pm, ESPNU
03/07 - vs. miami | Noon, RSN
**********
ACC Tournament
03/10 - 1st rd.
03/11 - 2nd rd.
03/12 - quarterfinals
03/13 - semifinals
03/14 - championship

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