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Game Post: appalachian state (1-2) 65, HOKIES (2-1) 63

RECAP:

BOXSCORE

Gambler’s Note: If you had bet appt state and wake to win straight up and bet $100 per, you’d have won ~$2500 and probably feel a lot better about today. I didn’t.

If you thought the wake/VT football game was bad, you obviously weren’t watching the basketball team.  Today is officially the most embarrassing day in VT history (both teams were 15-point favorites).  The football team and the basketball team lost as 15 point favorites to teams in western NC.

The basketball Hokies lost on Saturday at home to an 0-2 appalachian state team that lost by 26 to ohio and 19 to FURMAN.  Yes, I capitalized an opponent’s name.  appy state scored with 1 second to go after a missed JvZ free throw to win 65-63.  Tech has shown progress under Buzz, but clearly this team was already on the plane to Cancun today before tip-off.  appy state was 9-21 last year, by the way.

No highlights are coming… you’ll thank me.

PREVIEW:

Before hoping on a plane to head to Cancun, Mexico (BRRRRR-I-BAAAAAAAAH!), the Hokies take on a strug-a-ling appalachian state team at 1 PM in the Cassell (yes, that is during the Hokies’ football game vs wake and the game will be on in the concourse level — not sure which game is more of a mismatch).

Through two games, Tech has displayed solid defense, holding both opponents below 43% shooting and forcing 36 turnovers (leading to 47 Points off Turnovers and 28 Fast Break Points).  On the flip side, the Hokies have shot over 52% in both games, including a blistering 61% vs liberty!

Offensively, in the first game it was the freshmen who led the way, scoring 52 of Tech’s 71 points (73%).  On Wednesday, the three veterans decided to get into the act, tallying 43 of the Hokies’ 73 points (59%).  Against appy state, they are so bad, the freshmen might score 60% of the points and the veterans might go for 72%.  It could happen, they are that awful.

appalachian state had enough troubles in the Southern Conference last year, finishing 9-21 (5-11 in conference play), and now they’ve moved to the Sun Belt.  But this move wasn’t about basketball, it was about allowing them to participate in the FBS for football after doing very well at the FCS level (remember that win in the Big House?).  And it is a better conference.

But, back to today — this is a very, very bad basketball team, possibly even worse than the 9-21 team from last year.  The mountaineers in their first two games lost to ohio by 26, and then to furman by 19.  That’s, uh, that’s not good.  ohio was decent last year and made the CIT (a step down from the NIT), but they just lost to florida golf course by 17.  And furman lost to college of charleston by 35.  By transitive properties, this isn’t a good match-up for appy state.  And this is a small team, so they will not present size issues inside like we worried liberty might (they didn’t — VT was too athletic).

FYI: if you are keeping track, Tech’s first 3 opponents had a combined record of 26-66 (28% win %).

The Opponent: appalachian state in Boone, NC

  • 2014-15 record: 0-2
    • ohio 73, asu 47
    • furman 84, asu 65
  • Top Player:
    • #15 Tommy Spagnolo – 6’7″ forward is averaging 13 PPG and 9.5 RPG.
  • Other Starters:
    • #21 Frank Eaves – 6’2″ Junior Guard – 13.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.5 APG
    • #10 Chris Burgess  – 5’8″ Junior Point Guard- 10 PPG, 2.5 APG
    • #0 Mike Kobani – 6’8″ Freshman Forward – 7.5 PPG
    • #3 Dustin Clarke – 6’3″ Junior Guard – 5.5 PPG
  • 2013-14 record: 9-21 (5-11 in the Southern but they are now in the Sun Belt)
  • Series History: VT 7-1
    • Last Hokie win: 87-76 almost exactly two years ago
    • Last VT loss: 1969 (VT has won 6 straight in the series)

Spread (our first of the year!  hopefully the hoops team does better against the odds than football has):

VT opened as 17.5 point favorites, but are now showing around -15.5 (football is at -15 — who will win by more?!)

Prediction:

Tech…. big.  Stock up on your Jager, Red Bull, Baileys, Jameson, and Guinness.  You’ll need it, possibly twice on Saturday.

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Video Highlights: HOKIES 73, liberty 63

Here is a 4-minute montage of the highlights from Wednesday’s Virginia Tech win over liberty 73-63 at the Cassell…

 

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Game Post: HOKIES (2-0) 73, liberty 63

RECAP:

Boxscore

It wasn’t pretty, but the quick, young Baby Birds took care of the taller flames 73-63 at the Cassell and move to 2-0 in the Buzz Era.  I haven’t seen that many turnovers since I walked by the Entenmann’s rack at the grocery store: liberty committed 21 turnovers while the Hokies (who didn’t have a turnover in the first 30 minutes of Friday’s game) had 19.  But Tech won because of their athleticism (16 fastbreak points, many off turnovers, to just 4 for liberty).  And Tech scored 16 points from the line (but just 57% unfortunately) compared to just 7 for liberty despite Tech playing 4 guards most of the game (again, quickness).  In fact, liberty didn’t have a made free throw until less than 10 minutes remained in the game.

While it was the freshmen that led the way vs maryland-eastern shore, the Hokie ‘veterans’ stepped up tonight.  Joey van Zegeren led 4 Hokies in double figures with 17 points (7/9 FGs and a respectable for him 3/6 from the line, including the front end of a one-and-one in the final minute).  JvZ had a double-double, adding 10 boards.

Adam Smith and Devin Wilson added 13 each.  Wilson, who struggled from the line most of last year and Friday, was 9/10 from the line!  Devin just missed a double-double, finishing with 9 assists.  Smith hit 3/4 three-pointers.

Justin Bibbs hit double figures for the 2nd straight game to start his career with 10, while Jalen Hudson added 7 and Ahmed Hill 4.

Tech shot a blistering 61% from the field for the game, better than their FT% (57%).  And Tech was 7/13 (54%) from behind the arc.  Had it not been for turnovers, the Hokies would have won by a much more comfortable margin.  VT led 31-28 at the half but pulled away early after the break and liberty would never get closer than 6 down the stretch.  The Hokies shot 74% (14/19) from the field in the 2nd half.

Gielo, who had 23 in liberty’s win over delaware, had just 13 tonight on 4/12 shooting and the flames shot just 43% from the field.

PREVIEW:

(check back to this same post after the game for a brief recap and other stat-data-stuff)

The Hokies drive for a Big South title took a critical blow now that vmi has moved from the Big South back to the Southern Conference.  But Tech will play three Big South teams this year (liberty, radford, and presbyterian)!!!  Tech’s Big South slate kicks off Wednesday with a home tilt against the liberty flames at the Cassell at 7 PM.  This is the Hokies’s warm-up act as part of the Cancun Challenge, which they will participate in next week.  Win or lose on Wednesday, Tech is still in the higher end bracket of things and will face northern iowa next Tuesday in Mexico after playing appy state on Saturday during the VT/wake football game.

The Opponent:

liberty university in Lynchburg, VA

  • 2014-15 record: 2-0 with wins over randolph college (DIII and also in Lynchburg — Did you know their enrollment is just 576 and their mascot is Wanda Wildcat?  Neither did I.) and delaware (61-55)
    • They beat delaware?: the blue hens went 25-10 last year and won the CAA!
    • Oh, they beat the 2014-15 blue hens: delaware’s top 4 scorers from last year are gone (two of which averaged 19+ PPG) and the their 5th leading scorer from last year didn’t play
  • Top Player:
    • 6’9″ senior forward Tomasz Gielo (he’s Polish!) scored 23 against delaware and is averaging 18.5 PPG.  Tech will need to D him up well without getting their thin front court (literally and figuratively) in foul trouble.  Gielo is a duel threat — a face-up shooter who can also battle inside — half his FG attempts have been 3-pointers so Tech’s athletic bigs will need to go out with him and avoid the shot fakes — he’s already attempted 18 FTs (and made 15) so he does get to rim and has 19 rebounds through two games (just 1 block though so he isn’t a force on the defensive end outside of rebounding)
    • Gielo was 4/7 from deep and 7/8 from the line with 10 rebounds vs delaware
  • Other Players:
    • No one else averages double digits so far but they do have some decent post players
    • Their top 2 scorers from last year are gone (Gielo was 3rd at more than 10 PPG)
    • David Andoh is a 6’7″ transfer from san jose state that has averaged 9.5 PPG so far and 1.5 blocks
    • 6’10” James Johnson is their 3rd leading scorer — Johnson started at uva, then played 2 years at san diego state, and now is at liberty.  He’s averaging 8.5 PPG so far but never averaged even 2 PPG in any of his past 3 seasons.
  • 2013-14 record: 11-21 and 5-11 in the Big South (2nd to last in the North Division ahead of longwood)
  • Series History: VT 13-3
    • Last Hokie win: 58-46 in 2007-08
    • Last VT loss: 61-56 in 2000-01 (you know who was our coach… “Program Bomb, Part I”, aka “JJ Sr.”)  Mr. stokes actually went 0-2 vs liberty in his career.  All other VT coaches are 13-1 vs the flames.

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Highlights: HOKIES (1-0) 71, umes 46

Highlights from Virginia Tech’s season opening, Bear Fight victory over the maryland-eastern shore hawks 71-46:

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HOKIES (1-0) 71, umes 46 | Post-Game Post

Added Reflections from last night and the Plus/Minus stats:

Reflections:

  • Bibbs looked very comfortable out there from the start while Hill looked a little nervous and a deer in the headlights for the first half.  I think you can attribute that to Bibbs played for a power high school team that travelled all over and played the best teams where as Hill wasn’t quite on that stage (though both get that to an extent from AAU but those games aren’t quite the same level in terms of ‘team’ play as HS games and now college games).  You could see how excited Buzz was when Hill hit that 3 late in the 2nd half.  I think he knew that would relax him and help going forward, and I’m sure Buzz has a special attachment to Hill since he followed him here from marquette.
  • Malik Muller is thick!  He’s every bit of 220 and should be a solid perimeter defender given his size — perhaps like a Jamon Gordon (though Gordon had exceptional hands and Malik deflected some passes last night).
  • The Hokies showed adjustments!!!  In the final 10 minutes of the first half, umes used a lot of 2-3 zone and Tech scored just 8 points in the final 10 minutes.  In the second half, they were much better against it — I think VT hit 4 three-pointers from the corner to beat the zone (although one was on an inbounds and another in transition).
  • Later in the game, VT struggled with the press, but I attribute this to Buzz was resting Wilson and Hudson, as a true freshman, wasn’t quite ready for it.  This will be a good experience for him (and good that Buzz stuck with him since we were up 20+).  We’ll see if he’s better next time, and it was smart to save some of Wilson’s minutes since he played way too much last year.
  • We are razor thin inside.  JvZ and Pierce both fouled out with more than 4 minutes to go, and we had to go to Shane Henry inside who is built a lot like Deron Washington was — not exactly a big man.  Michael Myers Jr, their Juco stud, just abused Henry with physicality in the post.  Though Henry did get 8 rebounds which leads you to think he has good technique and certainly can sky to get boards/blocks.  Tech must avoid foul trouble on their bigs…
  • Speaking of, that 2nd half was brutal to watch.  There was a whistle on almost every possession down the stretch.  Perhaps the refs are calling things like hand-checks and rooting in the post early this year like they did last year in the hope it will clean things up.  These freshmen need to play with their feet, not their hands, on defense.
  • I liked that Buzz had the perimeter defenders extending all the way out to the half court line in their half court man defense.  He isn’t the type that is going to sit back and wait for them.  Apply pressure, make them move, and then assume the help defense will rotate as needed.  There were a few blown assignments in the first half but largely they did well.
  • Free throws: Devin Wilson did show any jumpshots (really need that added to his game) and still can’t hit a free throw (1/5) — this has to get fixed — he’s had a mental block since last January.  JvZ still can’t hit a free throw (0/1).  The young guys were 12/18 — not great but not bad, either.

Plus/Minus Stats:

Note: Plus/minus is calculated by your team’s scoring margin while you are on the floor (so if you enter with your team up 10 and leave with them up 14, you were +4… take every stretch you play in and add them up and that’s your game plus/minus).

Player umes
JvZ +11
Bibbs +22
Muller +30
Wilson +23
Smith +15
Henry +6
Hill +8
Pierce +10
Beyer -3
Hudson +7
Johnston -4
TEAM +25
  • Interesting that the walk-ons were the only Hokies with a negative +/-.  And how about Muller with a +30!  He really played well in the 2nd half on O and D when the Hokies opened up the score.  Wilson and Bibbs with solid numbers, too.

Boxscore

Highlights:

The Buzz Williams era at Virginia Tech began with a Bear Fight victory as the Hokies easily beat maryland-eastern shore 71-46 at the Cassell in front of 6,191 fans (pretty good turnout based on recent history and lots of students!).  The highlight for umes might have been seeing Ace Custis return to Blacksburg as a coach for the hawks.

As for the Hokies, there were lots of positives to take from tonight.  First, they won… just Tech’s second win since defeating this same umes team back on New Year’s Eve of 2013.  Second, their three leading scorers were freshmen — Justin Bibbs and Malik Muller with 15 each and Ahmed Hill with 11.

The most impressive thing though was VT went more than 31 minutes to start the game without a turnover, and that’s with such a new, young team.  VT finished +9 in turnover margin for the game and that helped Tech pull away.

Tech shot 52% from the field while holding the hawks under 30% shooting.

Free throw shooting still needs improvement for the Hokies (17/29 for 59% and missed three front ends of one-and-ones) and some defensive assignments were missed and there was some poor shot selection, but all in all this wasn’t a bad first game of the season.

SHOOTING STATS FOR VT:

  • In the Paint: 15/21 (71%)
  • Midrange: 3/10 (30%)
  • 3-Pointers: 6/14 (43%)
  • Free Throws: 17/29 (59%)
  • Points in the Paint: 30 (VT) to 12 (umes)
  • Fast Break Points: 12 to 3
  • 2nd Chance Points: 4 to 10

Tech returns to action on Wednesday at home versus liberty.

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Class of 2015 (Early Signing Period) Wrap-Up

The three committed members of Virginia Tech’s Class of 2015 have now all put ink to paper, signing their Letters of Intent, meaning there is now a 90% chance they will be Hokies (assuming something doesn’t happen to cause either side to opt out of their LOI).  Let’s look at the class by the numbers. Oh, and FYI: Tech already has 11 scholarship players on-board and the NCAA limit is 13, meaning someone on scholarship, or one of these recruits, can’t be around for the 2015-16 season.

Player Home State Pos Height Rivals 247 ESPN
Kerry Blackshear Florida F 6’8″ 3* (#110) 4* (#75) 4*
Chris Clarke Virginia SF 6’6″ 4* (#59) 4* (#41) 4* (#63)
Justin Robinson VA/MD PG 6’1″ 3* 3* (#141) 3*

Another solid class for Buzz.  Clarke is obviously the headliner, and in dramatic fashion.  In the last 13 days he’s committed to tennessee, flipped to VT, and signed with VT.  He was the clear cut #1 player in the state, too.  Don’t think that’s important?  While home turf isn’t as big in basketball as football, Buzz did show a propensity to sign the top kids from Wisconsin while at marquette (Buzz the Recruiter) — he signed four 4-stars and a 5-star from the Cheese State in 6 years.  Creating a local pipeline and starting to make us “Virginia’s Basketball School” is going to take time, but starts with this.  Let’s just hope it turns out better than some previous in-state signings, like Marquie Cooke and Doo-Doo Finney-Smith.

Robinson gives Tech a point guard of the future and Blackshear isn’t chopped liver, either.  Rivals ‘only’ rates him as a 3-star, but has him #110 overall in the class.  The Hokies will take that caliber of a 3-star any day.  247sports has all three Tech signees rated in the Top 150.

Major props to Buzz.  Before even coaching a game at VT he’s brought in two Top 75 players (Ahmed Hill and Clarke), two more consensus Top 150 guys (Justin Bibbs and Kerry Blackshear), a stud transfer in Seth Allen, a JUCO transfer at a position of need (forward Shane Henry), a big man in Satchel Pierce, another quality transfer (forward Zach LeDay), and two solid guards in Jalen Hudson and Justin Robinson.  Not too shabby for a guy taking over a program that has finished last in the ACC three years in a row and was 2-16 last year (and is just 1-17 this calendar year).  These recruiting wins can’t help but turn into wins on the court.

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Hokies to Play in 2015-16 Emerald Coast Classic; Could Face Robert Brown

The Hokies’s out of conference schedule is pretty awful this year, but already next year’s slate is looking up.  On Tuesday it was announced Tech will play in the Emerald Coast Classic next season which includes illinois, iowa state, and uab.  The interesting thing is former Hokie, Robert Brown, is now a junior with the blazers so Tech could face him in this ‘classic’.

This is another made up tournament that is partly a tournament, partly not (let me explain).  The format is eight teams will compete with the first two rounds will be on campus sites.  Tech will likely host a mixture of ut-chattanooga, alabama state, chicago state, and jacksonville state between 11/19 to 11/24/15.  Then, the “third round” and “championship” (the actual tournament part) will be at northwest florida state college in Niceville, FL (near Ft Walton Beach and just east of Pensacola).

The hosts will play the scrubs in the first two rounds, but those games won’t be a tournament format (i.e. if we lose we are still in the real tourney).  Then, illinois, iowa state, uab, and VT will play a 4-team tourney at nfsc the next week and the other four schools playing in a separate bracket.

The ECC is going on this year in Destin, FL and features ole miss, creighton (barrel), cincy, and middle tennessee state.

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GAME POST | md-eastern shore (0-0) at HOKIES (0-0) | Friday, 11/14 at 7 PM

Ok, ladies and germs, we are going to try a new format this year.  Basically, we are going to have one post per game that will evolve leading up to, and after, the game.

  • Pre-game:
    • Brief preview
    • Links to other previews, articles, and stats to get you ready for the game
  • Post-game:
    • Brief recap
    • Plus/Minus Stats (probably not until the next day)
    • Next Day thoughts (after I’ve had some sleep and given the Wild Turkey some time to clear the system)
    • Links to the boxscore, other recaps, other highlights, etc.

The only thing we may create a second article for is if we do our own highlights (BRRRAHHH) so they show up in other web sites’ news feeds… hey, we need the traffic.

With that, let’s get to the opener of the Buzz Williams Era at Virginia Tech!

PRE-GAME:

Whit Babcock wasted no time shaking things up, firing James Johnson and going out and getting Buzz Williams from marquette, a coach that took the golden shower eagles to the NCAA Tournament 5 out of 6 years.  Obviously, that took quite the investment over JJ, who was basically earning minimum wage by ACC standards.  This hire probably won’t define Whit’s tenure (when/how Beamer goes and who replaces him and how they do will likely define that), but it sure looks like a great start so far.  Either Buzz will make Whit look brilliant, or Tech will continue losing but at a great cost.  Personally, I’m buying the former!!!

Just don’t expect miracles this season.  Tech returns just 3 scholarship players that have ever played in a 4-year college game.  And those 3 guys have played in just 111 games and scored less than 750 points for the Hokies, so even those 3 guys are exactly grizzled vets.  The future looks bright with 4-star Ahmed Hill making his VT debut along with other talented freshmen, 4-star Chris Clarke joining the Hokies next year, and stud guard Seth Allen (via maryland) redshirting this year after transferring to Tech.

But, like I said, this year is this year.  9-22/2-16 (ACC)/1-17 in 2014 (so far) are over.   Tech, who has finished last in the ACC 3 years in a row, was picked to pull off the Quad-pete, picked to finish 15 out of 15 in the ACC by the media.  But that’s why we play the game and Buzz could show progress with, heck, a 14th place finish, getting past Wednesday in the ACC Tournament, well, just about anything after the last 2 years (and he’s off to a good start in recruiting).

The Hokies, who had a ton of height last year, will be woefully thin inside this year.  Outside of freshman Satchel Pierce (7′ and 255 lbs) and junior Joey van Zegeren (6’10” / 235), the Hokies have no other scholarship player that is at least 6’6″ AND 200 lbs.  No one.  But the Hokies do have some big guards with 6’3″/220 Malik Muller and 6’5″/220 Justin Bibbs (both freshmen).  Devin Wilson is 6’5″ at the point and Jalen Hudson is 6’5″, so length on the perimeter is a plus.  Tech will have to be active getting hands in passing lanes to help the post players and limited the other teams’ opportunities down there.

Tech has just 11 scholarship players (not including walk-ons that are given scholarships) and only 9 of those guys can play (2 are transfers that are sitting out), meaning walk-ons Will Johnston and Christian Beyer (who is 6’7″ and 220 thankfully) can expect minutes again this year.

Tech’s pre-ACC schedule is a joke, though, so expect the Hokies to get off to a good start.  They will pick up a horrible looking loss or two, but that’s fine, at least they will have some time to settle into Buzz’s system before league play.

Anyway, enough on all that.  Let’s talk about this game a bit:

The Hokies played maryland-eastern shore last New Year’s Eve at the Cassell.  Most of you probably didn’t see it because at the exact same time, ucla was taking us to the woodshed at the Sun Bowl.  But the Hokies rolled in this game, leading by 23 at the half and despite a late stumble, easily won 82-66.  Sadly, that is still Tech’s 2nd-most-recent win.  The Hokies went 1-17 after the calendar year flipped to 2014.  I’ll say it again, though, this is a new era.

  • The Opponent: maryland-eastern shore hawks
  • Conference: MEAC
  • 2013-14: Finished dead last (6-24 overall, 4-12 in the MEAC)
  • Stats of Note: They were 280th in points last year and 336th in FG% out of 351 teams in Division I
  • Players of note: Their leading scorer from last year transferred to uab and their 3rd leading scorer is gone.  Tyree Jones is a 6’2″ guard that returns (13.4 ppg) but no one else returning averaged more than 7.2 ppg last year.
  • Prediction: The hawks were awful last year.  This is the perfect game for Tech to open with.  Tech should win in Bear Fight fashion… but we’ll see (sorry, I am excited about Buzz but it is hard to believe quite yet… I mean, even JJ got off to a 7-0 start)
  • Spread: [will update when it posts]

Key Links for the Game:

  • VT Roster (we are all going to need to reference this for a while)
  • Boxscore from last seasons game: VT 82, umes 66 — JvZ had more fouls (4) than points (3), but Devin Wilson did have 16… Adam Smith didn’t play.

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Hokies Picked by ACC Media to Finish Dead Last (15th)… Again

In what was a surprise to no one, the ACC media members at ‘Operation Basketball’ this week picked Tech to finish in 15th place.  The Hokies finished tied for last in Seth’s final year, and have had the cellar all to themselves the last two seasons under the now departed (as a head coach) James Johnson.  Tech received just 155 points in the poll, 29 below the 14th place bc eagles.

Some basketball publications had picked boston college to finish last.  The eagles fired Steve Donahue (Jim Christian is now the coach) and Ryan Anderson and Joe Rahon transferred (Anderson was the much bigger loss there).  But they recently picked up two transfers from southern miss and odu that averaged double digits last year and can play right away.  Plus, the eagles have Olivier Hanlan who is one of the best players in the ACC and a much more proven commodity than anyone on the Hokies’ roster.  So I have to agree with putting Tech last.

That said, the Hokies obviously can break their cellar-dweller streak and the expectation, having brought in a coach of Buzz Williams’s caliber, is that they will… this year.  Heck, even 14th place, not tied for last, will be an improvement.

duke was picked to finish first and received 63% of the 1st place votes, with unc, louisville, uva, and syracuse rounding out the top five.

Hokiesports.com Article on Predictions

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Chris Clarke Flips to the Hokies!

ChrisClarke_largeThe Clark(e)s keep on flippin’!  If your last name is Clark(e) and you are a 4-star recruit from VA, chances are you swapped a SEC school for VT this week.  First OL Austin Clark, now Virginia Tech received one of their biggest commitments in years when Chris Clarke, a 6’6″ wing player (could play SG or SF) from Cape Henry Collegiate School in Virginia Beach flipped his commitment from tennessee (he just committed there a week ago) to the Hokies on Thursday.  Chris is a solid 4-star recruit and the second Boo Williams player in this class, along with Justin Robinson (point guard).  Tech now has three commitments in the 2015 class as Clarke joins 3-stars Robinson and Kerry Blackshear (power forward).

Check out Clarke’s rankings nationally by the major services:

  • 247sports.com: #41 overall, #9 shooting guard, #1 in Virginia (4-star)
  • Rivals.com: #59 overall (4-star)
  • ESPN: #63 overall, #12 small forward, #1 in VA (4-star)
  • 247sports.com’s Composite Rankings: #60 overall, #17 shooting guard, #1 in VA

Clarke chose the Hokies over defending National Champion uconn, creighton and, of course, tennessee (he was a vol for a week).  He averaged 18.2 PPG, 10 RPG, 7 APG, and 3 steals as a junior.  Cape Henry went 26-1, losing to Paul VI Catholic School in the VISAA Division 1 State Championship Game.

Here are some highlight videos of him…

Check out the block at 0:55…

Posted in Home, Recruiting News3 Comments

Season Preview: One Month to Go Until the Buzz Era Begins!

On November 14th the Hokies will don the orange and maroon for Buzz Williams for the first time when they play maryland-eastern shore, and almost nothing will resemble things from the previous regime.  A new Athletic Director (well, he did finish out last season), a new coach with no holdovers from the previous staff, and a new team with just 3 scholarship players that have suited up for Tech before.  Programs will be a hot commodity that first month… assuming attendance picks up from the past few years.

Tech will assuredly be picked to finish last in the ACC given that they’ve finished last 3 years in a row and have just 3 returning scholarship players. But there is a buzz in Blacksburg this season that has been missing the last few years.

THE COACH

BuzzBrent “Buzz” Williams blazes into Blacksburg with a 153-86 career record as a head coach (1 at new orleans and 6 at marquette).  He’s posted just one losing season (his only season at new orleans back in 2006-07) while leading marquette to 5 NCAA appearances in a row, including a couple of Sweet Sixteen and one Elite Eight trip.  But he’s not in Milwaukee anymore.  The challenge will be stiff for Tech’s third head coach in four seasons in turning around a Hokie program that has gone 38-58 (10-42 in ACC play including 3 straight last place finishes) over the last 3 seasons.

Of note:

  • Age 42; married with 2 daughters and 2 sons
  • Degrees: oklahoma city university and texas a&m – kingsville
  • 14-17 in one season at new orleans (2006-07)
  • 139-69 at marquette in 6 seasons
  • 5 NCAA Tournament appearances (8-5 Tourney record)
  • 5 20-win seasons
  • 69-39 in Big East conference play and tied for the regular season title in 2012-13
  • 2 Sweet Sixteens and 1 Elite Eight
  • Origin of his nickname: As a freshman at Navarro College, Williams was neither a player nor a student manager. But he was so intent on learning about basketball that he asked to watch practices from the bleachers, where he would keep diligent notes. The coaching staff would joke that Williams was always “buzzing” around the gym, meeting more than 400 other coaches to whom he would write weekly letters.

THE TEAM

[Insert name of any player you remember from last season]… He’s probably gone.  But, based on the aforementioned record of the past few seasons, perhaps that is a good thing.  Tech, for good or bad, will have a fresh start this year.  Here is a list of every returning Hokie scholarship player (guys that weren’t originally walk-ons), their career games for VT, and their career points:

  • Joey van Zegeren (r-Jr): 66 games (28 starts), 306 points (4.6 ppg)
  • Adam Smith (r-Jr): 14 games (9 starts), 154 points (11.0 ppg)
  • Devin Wilson (So): 31 games (all starts), 286 points (9.2 ppg)
  • TOTAL: 111 games (68 starts), 746 points and about 25 ppg

Add in the numbers from walk-ons Will Johnston (63 games and 14 starts with 157 points and 2.5 ppg) and Christian Beyer (51 games with 1 start and 73 points at 1.4 ppg) and we get all the way up to 29 PPG returning!  Here are some numbers/data for each guy that can play this season:

  • 0 – Shane Henry – 6’8″ – Jr. – Juco transfer (1st year at VT) was a stat stuff at georgia perimeter c.c. averaging 13.2 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and 4.7 bpg
  • 1 – Malik Muller – 6’3″ – r-Fr – Redshirted last year because he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA after arriving from Germany
  • 2 – Joey van Zegeren – 6’10” – r-Jr – Tech’s lone returning scholarship big man – averaged 6.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and had 53 blocks last year
  • 3 – Adam Smith – 6’1″ – r-Jr – The unc-wilmington transfer missed 17 games due to injury but averaged 11 ppg and hit 36% of his 67 3-Pt Attempts
  • 10 – Justin Bibbs – 6’5″ – Fr – The JJ signee played for the top prep team in the nation, Montverde (FL)
  • 11 – Devin Wilson – 6’4″ – So – The true point guard set a VT freshmen record for assists (148) and also averaged 9.2 ppg while being named to the All-ACC Freshmen Team
  • 13 – Ahmed Hill – 6’5″ – Fr – Tech’s top recruit thanks to a late flip from marquette to VT by Buzz; is the 3rd-leading scored in Georgia history with 3,024 points
  • 21 – Satchel Pierce – 7’0″ – Fr – Also a late signee by Buzz, he played on two straight state runner-up teams in Pennsylvania (3-star recruit)
  • 22 – Christian Beyer – 6’7″ – Sr – The walk-on played in 28 games with 1.1 ppg and 2.3 rpg
  • 23 – Jalen Hudson – 6’5″ – Fr – No relation to Zo, the JJ signee played at Lebron James’s alma mater (St. Vincent-St. Mary) and was a 3-star recruit
  • 25 – Will Johnston – 6’4″ – Sr – The former walk-on played in all but one game, averaging 3.2 ppg and hitting 27 threes (he only made 2 two-pointers)
  • Isaiah Ford – 6’1″ – Fr – The star football receiver, who was also a prolific scorer at Trinity Christian in Florida (37 ppg as a senior), will join the basketball team after football season is over, likely around the start of the new year.

What all this means is a lot will ride on 2 things:

1. How much the returning guys have developed — there is talent there with an enforcer (JvZ) with an improved offensive game, a fearless shooter (Smith), and a very solid point guard (Wilson) that shattered the freshmen record for assists at VT (148).  JvZ averaged just under 10 PPG in Tech’s final 9 games, Wilson had a stretch of 9 double-figure games out of 13 games but faded down the stretch (probably from playing 37 minutes per game in ACC play), and Smith had games of 19, 27, and 28 early in the season before injuries slowed him and eventually forced him to shut things down in mid-January.

2. How well the new guys adjust to life in the ACC.  Tech was able to land a 4-star and top 100 recruit in guard Ahmed Hill, an athletic JUCO forward in Shane Henry, a 7’0″ big man in Satchel Pierce, and keep two solid recruits from JJ in guards Justin Bibbs and Jalen Hudson.  Plus, after sitting out last season, point guard Malik Muller from Germany will join the rotation and push Wilson for playing time at the point (or relieve him of all the minutes he racked up last year as a freshman — top 10 in the ACC) allowing Smith to play his more natural off-guard position on offense.  Also, while unable to play this year, stud maryland transfer Seth Allen and south florida transfer Zach LeDay will help the team in practice and starting with the 2015-16 season.

But, any assessment here would be purely a guess.  Until we see the Baby Birds under the bright lights of Cassell Coliseum we have no idea.  Freshmen guards tend to struggle in this league (Wilson had an exceptional first year for a freshman point guard) and bigs tend to not be big enough to handle the physical play of some of the tougher ACC teams (i.e. the ACC teams from the Big East) or too slow to handle the skilled teams (read: the unc’s and duke’s of the conference).

THE SCHEDULE

This would be considered a soft out-of-conference schedule for a mid-major school.  In fact, you’ll swear by mid-December that Tech joined the Big South Conference North Division (the Hokies play 4 teams from the South including more than half of the North Division).  Virginia Tech’s out of conference opponents had a combined record of 161-225 last year.  Only 2 (possibly 3 depending on the Cancun Challenge) teams are from Power 5 Conferences (penn state and wvu… maybe northwestern).  Tech faces 3 teams that finished last in their conference (like Tech).  Of the 13 out of conference games the Hokies will play, they will face just 4 teams that had a winning record last year with 2 of those teams within 100 miles (16-15 northern iowa, 22-13 radford, 22-13 vmi, and 17-16 wvu).

In ACC action the Hokies will face uva, fsu, and miami twice, and the other 12 teams once (including newcomer louisville and former VT signee Montrezl Harrell).  uva won the ACC (ugh, that still hurts to type), fsu finished 9-9 and has never lost to VT at home in ACC play, and miami gave Tech both of their ACC wins last year, and almost a third.  So it is a fairly balanced ACC schedule.  Tech gets syracuse, notre dame, and duke at home, and the cuse and uva games are both on the weekend which should help with attendance (can’t remember the last time we actually played uva at home on a weekend).  Ultimately, though, fans will likely take a wait and see approach before the turnstiles really start humming, especially with the soft out of conference schedule.

PROGNOSIS

A perfect out of conference start is about as likely as the McRib being served at the Master’s Winners Dinner next year.  In fact, forget wins and losses.  JJ led Tech to a 7-0 start two seasons ago and we all saw where that led to.  The story of this first season is about progress and growing a program, and our program is underground right now.  This season is about planting the seeds (tough, aggressive defense; solid recruiting with 1-2 top 100 guys; not finishing dead last, or even tied for last in the league even though we will assuredly be picked to finish there; and hopefully advancing past Wednesday of the ACC Tournament).  JJ had a plan but never stuck to it.  You can blame injuries, depth, blah blah blah.  The point is there was no progress.  Buzz needs to do what we all expect him to do — put in his kind of system and ride it, no matter how brutal the results are at times.  Obviously he needs to make adjustments to utilize his players’ strengths, but past regimes have said they wanted to play one way, you’d see it for a half, and suddenly it would be thrown on the junk heap.  Ultimately, that should lead to progress as the season progresses.  Anyone that thinks Tech will make the NCAAs this year is grasping.  Heck, even the NIT has probably a 20% chance at best.  But progress this season and some hope heading to next season will go a long way to soothe this suffering fan base (and hopefully result in increased attendance along the way).

Posted in Home5 Comments

Hokies Land PG Justin Robinson

The future looks bright for the Hokies at the point. Not only does Virginia Tech have 3 more years of All-ACC Freshman Devin Wilson plus redshirt-freshman Malik Muller from Germany, and Sunday they received a commitment from 6’1″ Justin Robinson of St. James School in Hagerstown, MD (and Boo Williams in AAU ball). Robinson was their primary focus at the point and joins forward Kerry Blackshear in the Class of 2015 for VT.

Robinson averaged 15 ppg and 8 apg last season. He was a 3-star recruit by most services, except for Scout.com that has him as a 4-star. Scout has him as the #11 PG and #86 player overall in 2015. 247sports.com’s composite rankings have him as the #22 PG and #124 player overall in his class.

Justin also officially visited creighton, maryland, providence, and unlv before picking the Hokies.

Posted in Home8 Comments

WR Isaiah Ford to Play Hoops for VT

According to THIS ARTICLE from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, freshman wide receiver Isaish Ford will join the basketball team once the football season is over.  He averaged 37 ppg last season and is tops on the pigskin squad in receiving yards and 2nd in catches.

Posted in Home0 Comments

Hokies Land 2015 Recruit – Forward Kerry Blackshear

Virginia Tech now has a 2015 basketball commit* in Kerry Blackshear, a 6’8″ or 6’9″ forward between 220-225 lbs. from Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, FL.

Blackshear is a great get from the Sunshine State.  247Sports.com rates him the #75 overall player in the Class of 2015 and the #21 small forward (and a 4-star).  Rivals.com ranks him as the #109 player in his class, and a 3-star overall (they cut off 4-stars at #105).  ESPN rates him a 4-star and the #27 power forward.  It will be seen as to whether Buzz plays Kerry at the 3 or the 4 spot (or both), but Kerry seems to have attributes that could work at both.

Tech beat out schools like smu and arkansas, and ACC foes bc, miami, and clemson for Blackshear.

Kerry’s teammate, C.J. Williamson, also has a Tech offer and the Hokies are considered to be a strong candidate for his services.

*I didn’t say first commit of 2015 because Warren Craft of Roanoke had previously been committed to the Hokies, but that changed when Buzz came in and they decided to move on.

Posted in Home, Recruiting News0 Comments

Schedule Released

If you want to boo Montrezl Harrell, a National POTY candidate and former Hokie-signee, you’ll have to travel to K-Y Kentucky to see VT play ACC newcomer and former Metro-rival louisville. Tech returns to the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge with a game at penn state. Plus a trip to Cancun just before Turkey Day. And the Hokies play at west virginia (for some reason it is also on a Tuesday afternoon just like last year’s game).

Home games include notre dame, duke, and syracuse. The Hokies play fsu, syracuse, miami, and uva twice in league play.

The out of conference schedule is, well, an opportunity for Buzz to get some momentum (I.e. It stinks).

SCHEDULE LINK

Posted in Home1 Comment

Denver Nuggets to Sign Erick Green

According to THIS ARTICLE, the Denver Nuggets are poised to sign Erick Green to a multi-year contract.  Drafted in the 2nd Round a year ago, his rights were immediately traded and he played abroad last season.  At the Las Vegas Summer League this past month, Green averaged 16.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, and 1.2 spg in 5 games (27.6 minutes per game) for Denver.

Here’s a DIFFERENT ARTICLE where he talks about his time in Italy.

Green could become the first Hokie to play in the NBA since Zabian Dowdell back in 2011, though signing a contract won’t guarantee he makes the team.  Deron Washington signed a two-year deal with Detroit back in 2009 but got cut before the start of the season and never played in a NBA regular season game.  Let’s hope Erick fares better.

Posted in Home1 Comment

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2014-2015 Schedule/Results

November

11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - vs. liberty | 7pm, ESPN3
11/22 - vs. appalachian state | 1pm, ESPN3
**********
Cancun Classic
11/25 - vs. n. iowa | 7pm, CBSSN
11/26 - championship/consolation game | TBA, CBSSN
**********
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

Photos on flickr