Posted on 26 March 2013.
Updated with Niemo’s Notes…
Earlier this morning, Niemo wrote a post title “Transfer Train” and addressed a rumor going around that an unnamed player was going to transfer from Virginia Tech’s basketball team. Shock of shocks, right? Yeah. Not really.
A few hours later, the Washington Post’s Mark Giannotto posted to his @HokieJournal Twitter account that Robert Brown, the sophomore guard that struggled mightily this season, would transfer to a school closer to his home. Giannotto cited Brown’s father as the source.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, Brown was not the player to which Niemo was referring in his post. We still won’t name that player, but Brown may not be the last Hokie to exist stage right in what has become an annual right of passage for some players at Virginia Tech.
And while some Hokie fans are already dismissing this as no big deal, likely because of the lackluster season Brown had, he showed that he could play as a true freshman and merely struggled this season. It’s hard to imagine he would have extended that slump into his junior year. But, we’ll never know now.
And while he can certainly be replaced, losing another player to a transfer is a psychological blow to the team and its fans. Just two days ago, we watched as a former Hokie, Tyrone Garland, hit a game-winning shot to send his new team, la salle, into the Sweet 16. In the opening round, Garland scored 22 points.
We’ve also seen former Hokie Ben Boggs make the NCAA tournament a couple of times with valpo. Dorian Finney-Smith is redshirting this year, but his new team, florida, is also in the Sweet 16.
James Johnson may have some talented players coming in next year, but he’s going to lack veteran leadership in a big way.
This one is odd to me because my sources told me back after Robert’s junior year in high school in Florida that he needed to get away from home, and that’s part of the reason why he went to Hargrave for his senior year. I guess three years was enough for him (and I’m not surprised to hear that his father was the source for this announcement… I’ll leave it at that). That said, I’ll believe it when I hear it from Robert and VT. Not saying this story is wrong (**cough** uva and gt to the Big Ten **cough**), but just because the Post posts it doesn’t make me a complete believer – ARTICLE
Other random thoughts:
- I guess Robert will have to get a new twitter handle (RbrownVT_1).
- Brown would be the 5th Hokie to transfer in the last 27 months (Boggs, Atkins, Garland, and Doo Doo).
- Brown was 3rd on the team with 8.3 ppg this year, up from 6.8 as a freshman.
- Through the first 8 games of this past season, Robert was averaging 14.4 ppg, shooting 45% from the field and 37% on 3-pointers.
- In his final 23 games he averaged just 6.2 ppg, shot just 27%, and made just 11/67 3-pointers (16%).
Let me add a note about those shooting woes — keep in mind he had a foot injury in the preseason (July — and he had surgery) and that may have impacted his ability to work on his shooting (I know, why did it impact him after a month instead of right away). Just sayin’. It could have had limited his reps and taken a toll as the season went on and he got beat up. Maybe… maybe not. We’ll see the next season he plays if his numbers take off, then we may have a clue that it was reps or work ethic.
Final Assessment: This is obviously devastating for the Hokies’ program. With EG gone, Brown was still one of Tech’s best players and had two years of experience. Freshman don’t star in the ACC, especially guys that weren’t that highly rated. So to think a Clark or Emelogu or a German are going to come in and fill his void next year — it ain’t gonna happen. Smith, the transfer, will help as a third-year sophomore, but he doesn’t have the height to guard other ACC shooting guards.
And this is all assuming Brown played the exact same way next year. Assuming he progressed with a healthy offseason and a good (not even needing a great) work ethic on his shot, he’d have been a solid player next year. This just makes the outlook for next season that much bleaker. In all honesty, I think we have to start looking multiple years down the road now as a program, and that means getting our young guys loads of experience next season, even though it may be brutal at times, to help them down the road.