Multiple sources are reporting that Isaac Chew has been hired to join Buzz’s staff. This was expected, as Chew has been on Buzz’s bench for the last few years at marquette.
Posted on 17 April 2014.
Multiple sources are reporting that Isaac Chew has been hired to join Buzz’s staff. This was expected, as Chew has been on Buzz’s bench for the last few years at marquette.
Posted on 26 March 2014.
Two of Buzz Williams’s former assistants at marquette are expected to join him at Virginia Tech and take their share of the newly increased assistant coaching pay pie of over $800,000. Isaac Chew and Brad Autry have both left marquette and should be introduced as part of the Hokie staff soon.
Jerry Wainwright, who has head coaching experience at multiple schools and was an assistant for Buzz, is not expected to come to Blacksburg as far as I’ve heard.
Autry has been an assistant at arkansas-little rock, baylor, tulsa, and marquette. He was with Buzz for all six of his years at marquette but only served as an assistant the last two years after being a Student-Athlete Development Coordinator the first four years he was there. And he was the interim head coach when Buzz was suspended for a game in 2013.
Chew has experience as an assistant at murray state (Beamer), missouri, and marquette. He pulled a James Johnson with illinois on his way from missouri to marquette and was with Buzz the last two years.
Through the grapevine I’ve heard Ace Custis has asked to be interviewed after serving as an assistant coach at virginia state university this past year.
Posted on 22 March 2014.
Our new coach was on CBS, TBS, and TNT Saturday helping with their halftime studio shows. Here’s a clip of Buzz talking about his new gig:
Posted on 22 March 2014.
Update: I’ve heard from several sources that say Trevor was on his phone during the meeting with Buzz and the team on Saturday and Coach simply told him to put it away, not making a scene. So more and more (and based on additional info from these sources), it sounds like TT had more than a foot out the door even before Buzz was named the coach and all this stuff from his dad was simply excuses to rationalize it.
This Roanoke Times article pretty well sums things up with inside info from Trevor’s dad. It says Buzz recruited Trevor in high school but called him “soft” (allegedly). It says Trevor’s cell phone went off in a meeting between the team and coaches yesterday and that Buzz called Trevor out and would give him a release if he wanted it, and it said Trevor was “50/50″ about staying before the meeting. After yesterday’s meeting, Trevor decided to move on.
Since we only have info from one side, and a third party at that, we only understand so much of this situation. But I read it as either a coach running off a player he wasn’t sold on so that he can bring in his type of guys, or a coach challenging a player and the player taking his ball and going home.
This is the difference between a head coach and an assistant coach in terms of handling things. A head coach gets the matter resolved quickly and in private. An assistant coach keeps benching the player and calling him out in postgame press conferences.
Obviously I wish Trevor was staying as he showed great promise, but I’d rather have the matter fixed and move on, instead of dragging out over an entire season and potentially impacting other players. So I’ll trust Buzz and his experience. And I trust that he’ll be bringing in enough talent that guys will constantly be challenged and pushed instead of having to kiss their butts just to have 6-7 healthy guys.
I certainly didn’t expect any attrition from the current team or recruits when we got a coach like Buzz, but this just shows that attrition is a part of the game now. You will lose a player more years than you don’t. This will make things more challenging next year, but I really look at next with minimal expectations while we start to implement a system and get things running. I’d like to hope we can hit 6-12 in the ACC next year, but it is really about getting things on track two-three years from now.
Posted on 22 March 2014.
Buzz Williams proved to be a fantastic recruiter at marquette (though it helps that marquette is a storied program in a big city in what was the best conference at that time). But still, there is lots to get excited about in terms of what Buzz might bring to the ‘Burg from a recruit standpoint given that he’s in the ACC.
Buzz took over the marquette gig in April 2008, so well after the signing periods had opened that year and most classes were set. So I’m counting 2009 as his first class at marquette. Here is analysis of his recruits from 2009-2014 at marquette. [Note: all star rankings below are based on Rivals.com]
There are three main points I’d like to emphasize that excite me:
Recruiting Your State:
There were rumors that JJ/his staff had burned bridges with some VA and Carolina programs on the HS/AAU level. That’s never a good thing, especially when you are at a school with a historically limited recruiting budget. You have to lock up your own territory, and Buzz did that while at marquette. Check out what Buzz was able to do in his own state of Wisconsin…
In six classes, that four 4-stars and a 5-star, almost an average of one per season. We’d take that from the Commonwealth over the next six years thank you very much. And considering (and this is just an educated guess on my part) Virginia is more fertile in terms of basketball recruits than Wisconsin, that bodes well for our chances. marquette also had nearby Chicago, but Tech has nearby DC which is very rich in talent, so that hopefully will be a wash.
Also, for comparison, here’s what the university of wisconsin hauled in from their home state over that six year span:
So Buzz clearly beat his in-state rivals on the recruiting front. Now it is time to eclipse Mr. Bennett (who obviously had ties to wisconsin from his father who was the head coach there in the late 90s, ironically enough).
Buzz has inked two players from the state of Virginia, so our territory won’t be completely foreign to him.
Buzz was pulling in solid classes practically ever year at marquette. The most marquee recruit he inked was point guard Vander Blue, a 5-star recruit in the 2010 class (ranked #24 overall in that class). But it goes well beyond my boy Blue…
In six seasons, he got John Hancocks from:
That’s an average of two 4-stars per year.
Average star ranking per recruit by year:
Like I said earlier, sign me up for those classes, I’ll take that over the next six years.
Posted on 20 March 2014.
Ron Wellman, wake forest’s Athletic Director, finally did on Thursday what any other AD would have done at least one year ago, if not two years ago — he fired Head Basketball Coach Jeff Bzdelik. Jeff is a great friend of Ron’s and so this was no doubt a painful decision for Ron. But when you get in bed with a close friend, who also happens to be the worst coach in the ACC and was coming off a horrible stint at colorado that saw him fired after 3 seasons, then this is what you get.
I place this up there with Terry Holland hiring his former player, ricky “program bomb” stokes, as the head coach at ecu after what stokes did to VT (Holland was the AD at ecu at the time). At least ecu gave up on that failed revival after two seasons, wake fans had to sit through four years.
What makes it even worse for wake is they fired Dino Gaudio after 3 seasons… the final two of which Dino led wake to the NCAA Tournament including a NCAA win. But he was “just 17-18″ in February and March. Uh huh.
So in comes his good buddy. How bad was Jeff Bzdelik as a coach? For starters, he appears TWICE on the list of worst coaches over the 30 years according to Athlon Sports, honoring his tenure at colorado and wake (the list was made last March): Worst Coaches Since 1984.
In some cases you need to see it to believe how bad someone was. In this case, the numbers blow you away.
Ok, ok, he was bad on the road. But he must have redeemed himself in the ACC Tournament like Sidney Lowe used to do at nc state, right?
Was he good at home? Yes, actually, they were pretty decent, and that’s what makes the road woes all the more mysterious. Since going 1-15 in 2010-11, wake went 14-12 at home over the last 3 seasons. So 14-12 at home (54%), 2-22 on the road (8%).
Let’s look at how wake did in the ACC compared to the rest of the league over the last 4 seasons (not including pitt or ‘cuse):
Tech fired two coaches during the same span it took wake to get rid of Bzdelik. Think about that.
I should note that over the last 3 seasons the Hokies have just 3 road wins (1 per year), so they aren’t much better than Buzz. But like I said, that cost two coaches their jobs.
Also, when you make Sidney Lowe and Paul Hewitt look like great road coaches, you know you are bad.
Tale of the Tape? There are no winners here, but I’d rank these guys (in order of worst first):
Here is where Athlon Sports ranked guys of note on their list of 20 worst coaches of the last 20 years:
1. Dave Bliss – baylor (sadly, murder will do that to you)
6. Bzdelik – wake edition
7. Sidney Lowe – nc state
16. Bzdelik – buffaloed
18. ricky stokes – Va Tech
|Lowe||2-0 vs Bz|
|Hewitt||2-0 vs Bz|
|Johnson||1-2 vs Bz|
|* Made NCAA|
|^ Won 3 ACC-T games to reach Finals|
Posted on 18 March 2014.
This will be a living article where we track coaching candidates and rumors.
Posted on 17 March 2014.
New Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock took a bold, but necessary move in just his 2nd month in Blacksburg – he fired Head Basketball Coach James Johnson after just two seasons.
So what is ‘it’ for us? ’It’ right now is hiring a coach that excites the fan base and helps sell some season tickets next year. And that coach, in my book, will get a pass for next season and maybe even the season after that if I believe in him. But ultimately, starting with the 2016-17 season, ‘it’ must be wins. Wins are what will draw Hokies back to the turnstiles and pack the Cassell.
I think this was the right move for many reasons. While I hate to pile on the dead, there are a few points I’d like to make as to why I agree with the decision:
That said, JJ is a good man and I wish him the best.
It is time to move forward with our program. I’d rather take it on the chin next year with a new guy that can build things up quickly (with some growing pains) that has a higher ceiling than JJ. We won’t get to .500 in ACC play next year, but hopefully we can in our overall record (or at least be close). Here are the things I’d like to see:
I will have a lot more patience with the next guy as long as I trust him and the direction. I never had that feeling with JJ. I didn’t want a guy learning on the job. To Weaver’s credit, he basically got us a rent-a-coach with a low buyout until the new AD came in place (whether that was his intended purpose or not, we’ll never know).
Kudos for Whit for pulling the trigger on dismissing JJ. He basically showed he wasn’t going to be Weaver’s puppet for the next two years. Whit may have taken over as AD last month, but he officially became our AD today and showed Weaver isn’t a consultant, he’s a man on a severance package for the next two years, as it should be.
Now Whit’s next task is to find the man that will make Virginia Tech basketball relevant again. The honeymoon was short lived for Mr. Babcock. But then again, that’s why we hired an AD with prior AD experience. He’s now on the clock to make a splash with this hire and get the Teddy Bridgewater (whoops – scratch that after his pro day yesterday)/Khalil Mack/Jadaveon Clowney of available coaches.
Posted on 12 March 2014.
Big thanks to Cathy F!
The Hokies put a bow on one of the worst seasons in program history Wednesday afternoon, losing to miami in the first round of the 2014 ACC tournament, 57-53.
Virginia Tech finished 9-22 on the season and just 2-17 in ACC play – the 17 losses are an ACC single-season record. The Hokies’ only two wins were against the hurricanes, so they had a shot today. But beating a team three times in one season proved too difficult for VT. Or rather free throws proved too difficult, as VT made just 9/17 and Joey van Zegeren missed both free throws with VT down 1 with 10 seconds to go.
As if VT’s overall and conference records weren’t depressing enough, here’s a little stat for you: the Hokies finished the season with just one, solitary win in 2014. That’s it. Since Jan. 1, 2014, some 70 days ago, head coach James Johnson and his battered and bruised team are 1-17. That’s it.
Niemo likes to break down the game and go through the key moments, but at this point, I’m done. I’m sure you, the fans, are done, too. The Hokies, despite not committing a turnover for the first 23 minutes of the game, couldn’t get out of their own way. They went through their typical scoreless/field goalless drought. They missed critical, must-have, free throws when the game was on the line. More specifically, Joey van Zegeren missed critical free throws with the game on the line.
You can’t pin the loss on JvZ, though. He’s actually played pretty well down the stretch this season. And the team had more than had its fair share of opportunities to win this game. But, as we’ve seen all season, the Hokies just didn’t have what it took.
After the game, JJ said he feels “optimistic” about being back next year. You think? He can do the math and so can we. The athletics department is one of only a handful in the country that are in the black each year. That’s not by accident.
Coach JJ is the lowest paid men’s basketball coach in the ACC. He still has three years left on his contract, so call me skeptical if I don’t think new AD Whit Babcock is going to shell out Frank Beamer-type money to bring in a Shaka Smart. Remember, Tech is still paying Seth Greenberg and Jim Weaver a hefty sum of money. I don’t see Whit paying two former coaches and going out and getting a big name.
JJ is going to get another year whether you think he deserves it or not. Personally, I don’t think he does, but he’ll get at least one more year. Gone are seniors Cadarian Raines (who was what, a 4-point guy at best?) and Jarell Eddie. Aside from that, everyone else should be back. Unless they transfer.
There’s enough hope (and hope is a dangerous thing don’t forget) that with the guys coming back next year, as well as some rookies coming in, the Hokies can improve next season. Ben Emelogu, Devin Wilson, and Trevor Thompson look like they could turn into solid players. JvZ needs to be more consistent and Adam Smith needs to stay healthy.
I’d say that next season couldn’t get much worse, but it could. The canes should be much better with transfers from texas and kansas state becoming eligible, so don’t chalk up wins against the u just year.
So there’s your nice pretty little bow on one of the most forgettable seasons in Virginia Tech basketball history. Now excuse me while I go get a damn drink.
Niemo’s Notes (I’ll keep it short):
- Tech reached the 30 point mark in the first half for the first time in 10 games, leading 32-31 at the break. They led by as many as 9 in the first half, 19-10.
- miami went on an 8-0 run early after the break to take control, up 39-34. But VT did battle back and led with less than 2 minutes to go in the game.
- The Hokies scored 53 points on 54 possessions. They finished the ACC season reaching 1.0 in points per possession just once. Not good. And the easy culprit today was FT shooting. 9/17 (52%) is not satisfactory. Wilson missed 4/5 at the end of the first half. And of course, with VT down 1 and 10 seconds to go, JvZ missed both free throws. He was a 36% foul shooter on the season.
- Tech’s 3 turnovers were easily a season low, eclipsing the 6 they had against wake.
- miami’s 57 points were the most scored in regulation in this series this season. Needless to say it was not a point friendly 3-pack of games.
- Devin Wilson had 5 assists, ending his season with 148, easily the VT freshmen record. He had 19 assists vs miami this season.
Posted on 11 March 2014.
Virginia Tech’s Devin Wilson was the only Hokie honored by the ACC on Monday. Devin made the ACC All-Freshman Team, joining Deron Washington, Jeff Allen, and Doo-Doo Finney-Smith as the four Hokies to achieve this honor.
Devin finished the regular season averaging 9.2 ppg, though he led the Tech freshmen class in PPG in ACC play at 10.1. But his biggest asset was his assists. His 143 assists are easily a freshmen record at VT and destroyed the previous mark of 114 by Hank Thorns. Wilson also led the team in steals, though 24 is not a very high number and shows how poor Tech was in this category.
Posted on 06 March 2014.
Note: gt is favored by 7 on Saturday.
On Saturday, wake forest (fresh off a win against duke) will head to Coral Gables to face the miami hurricanes at 2 PM on Saturday. The winner will finish in 10th place in the ACC and face the Hokies (locked into the 15th seed) on the Opening Day of the ACC Tournament next Wednesday at 3:30 PM.
It is a battle of weaknesses — wake is 1-7 in ACC road games this season and just 2-31 in Coach Bzdelik’s four seasons at wake. Meanwhile, miami is just 2-6 in ACC home games this season, but they have won 2 in a row at home after an 0-6 start.
Obviously the Hokies would seem to want miami given that they swept the canes this year for their only two wins, but wake is 0-3 in the ACC Tournament under soon to be fired Coach Bzdelik, so who knows.
Posted on 05 March 2014.
Let’s take a look at what the Hokies are facing as they close out the season in the next week:
The most glaring stat might be how much worse VT is than the rest of the league over the last 3 seasons. Tech has finished dead last the last two years, and were in a 4-way tie for last in 2011-12.
It really goes back to the win over #1 duke on 2/26/2011. Since then the Hokies are 10-43 in ACC regular season games (18.9%). Before that point, Tech was 57-53 (52%) in nearly 7 full seasons of ACC play. I believe that was the 4th best mark during that stretch. And Tech had earned 4 first round byes in the ACC Tournament in their first 6 years in the league (finished 3rd or 4th place in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010), the third highest mark during that stretch.
Let’s hope we can get the ship righted but this vessel is pointed straight down right now.
Posted on 05 March 2014.
NO MORE NOVA?
Last night was sad for me in many ways. I’m happy to see maryland, possibly my most hated of all ACC schools due to their ignorant fans, leave the ACC. But reality also set in that as a NOVA Hokie, after 20 years of having a DC-area league team, I no longer will be able to travel just a few miles up 66 or 495 to see the Hokies play, or “Homecoming” as I called these games. We had:
And now? uva is the closest conference rival. RIP, Weekend Warrior.
Posted on 02 March 2014.
Virginia Tech’s 53rd season in Cassell Coliseum is complete. But this season was unique in many negative ways.
|Season||Home Games||Avg Attendance||Avg Att Per Conf Home Game||Sellouts||Conference/ Coach|
|2013-14||18||4,812||4,985||0||ACC – JJ|
|2012-13||17||6,202||6,046||0||ACC – JJ|
|2011-12||18||8,395||9,362||4||ACC – Seth|
|2010-11||16||8,932||9,574||10||ACC – Seth|
|2009-10||19||9,272||9,844||7||ACC – Seth|
|2008-09||16||9,414||9,847||14||ACC – Seth|
|2007-08||17||9,815||9,847||14||ACC – Seth|
|2006-07||15||9,822||9,800||14||ACC – Seth|
|2005-06||17||9,763||9,846||13||ACC – Seth|
|2004-05||16||9,406||9,847||11||ACC – Seth|
|2003-04||15||6,342||7,044||0||Big East – Seth|
|2002-03||15||4,211||4,259||0||Big East – stokes|
|2001-02||15||3,501||3,778||0||Big East – stokes|
|2000-01||15||4,508||5,244||1||Big East – stokes|
|1999-00||13||4,042||3,855||0||A10 – stokes|
|1998-99||14||4,040||4,249||0||A10 – Hussey|
Smart money would say that if the Hokies stand pat this offseason, attendance will drop even lower next year in terms of season ticket sales (3,400 this year). So how can the Hokies turn their fading attendance figures around? Easy — win. Going 1-8 at home in the conference does not endear yourself to the local fans. Who wants to make the effort to go to the game or fork over money when there is an 89% chance you are going to lose? The die hards will, but that’s about it.
While better weekend conference tilts would help (like not having uva on a Tuesday night at 9 PM), that isn’t everything. Even unc on a Saturday afternoon could only draw 6,500, and trust me when I say many of them were in sissy powder blue.
Other things that I believe would help (and should happen just because it is the right thing to do) are ringing the students around the sideline on one side, not just sticking them behind one baseline; and finding ways to reward the fans that attend more (i.e. the locals, not just giving the best seats to the biggest donors who hardly ever show). While both ideas might tick off people that have those good seats now, let’s face facts — we only have 3,400 season ticket holders and that likely will drop again next year. So why not fix things now when the Cassell is largely empty and build it up from square one?
Ultimately, it is W’s that matter. If you win with Whit, they will come.
Things are bad, but it didn’t take long while crunching numbers from the ricky stokes days to see that at least it isn’t that bad (yet). Here are a few stokies:
Posted on 26 February 2014.
It’s hard to believe it has been three years since that magical night… well, magical day in Blacksburg. It all started with ESPN College GameDay being on our campus, featuring our program, our players, our coach. And it culminated with a thrilling victory over the #1 team in the nation, the hated duke blue devils in front of a primetime national ESPN audience.
But no one wanted it to end there, either. Seemingly the entire sold-out arena rushed the court afterwards to celebrate with the team, making the post-game celebration seem like a parade that everyone got to share together. Tech had seemingly punched their ticket to the Big Dance.
For me, I was staffed in Milton Keynes, UK (England). The game started at 2 AM my time and I had to watch on my 21″ iMac screen via the internet and my dongle. By the time the game ended around 4:30 AM, I couldn’t sleep. I ended up staying up and watching the replay on ESPN America at 7 AM and making highlights (linked below).
The freefall since that night has swift and hard to swallow. The Hokies would drop their final two ACC regular season games, Senior Night they were blown out by bc and then lost at clemson. Two wins in the ACC Tourney, including a replay-aided win over fsu, wasn’t enough and Tech went to the NIT… again.
In the three seasons since Tech has finished tied for last in the ACC (4-12), all alone in last place (4-14), and currently sit along in the cellar this season (2-13) and will enter the ACC Tourney as the last seed unless they win at least two of their final three games. Overall Tech is 10-41 in ACC regular season games since the win over duke (19.6%), easily the fewest wins by an ACC team over that span of teams that have been in the league the last four years (next lowest is bc and ga tech with 16 each). Heck, syracuse already has 3 more wins than that and they’ve only been in the league this year.
But forget the negatives for a day, and let’s reflect back on the day the Cassell was magical.
The Hokies are experiencing their worst season since the ricky "program bomb" stokes era. Sure, we could have quit on you, but did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!
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01/07 syracuse 72, Hokies 52
01/11 boston college 62, Hokies 59
01/15 clemson 56, Hokies 49
01/19 notre dame 70, Hokies 63
01/22 wake forest 83, Hokies 77
01/25 virginia 65, Hokies 45
01/29 boston college 76, Hokies 52
02/01 maryland 80, Hokies 60
02/05 florida state 70, Hokies 50
02/08 pittsburgh 62, Hokies 57, 2OT
02/15 Hokies 52, miami 45
02/18 virginia 57, Hokies 53
02/22 nc state 71, Hokies 64
02/25 duke 66, Hokies 48
03/12 miami 57, Hokies 53