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Marshall Wood Quitting VT Basketball

Story Corrected: The long rumored departure of sophomore forward Marshall Wood has now been confirmed, but instead of transferring he is pulling a Rankin. Wood will apparently stay at VT but focus on his academics according to this article.

Other than his game at nc state his freshman year, it was a bit of a disappointing run for the Rustburg, VA native. Wood never showed the explosive finishes (dunks) he had in high school and settled for being a perimeter forward. He really struggled with his shooting his freshman year, and was marginally better this year. Wood averaged 3.6 ppg as a freshman and 4.0 this year. His 3-pt % increased from 24% to a respectable 35%, but battled illnesses and the doghouse all season. He committed to Seth, recommitted to JJ, and will now focus on his degree. This should open up a scholarship immediately.

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Hokies to play at penn state in the ACC/B1G(14)Ten Challenge

Ah, yes, the old pity invite.  The ACC/B1G(14)Ten Challenge has a rule that says a school cannot be left out of the party two years in a row.  So while Tech finished 15th of 15 teams in the ACC and lost to boston college twice, it is the eagles who will not play in the Challenge this coming season.  The Hokies will play at penn state in the Pillow Fight of the Challenge. 

The Hokies have played the nittany lions once before in the Challenge, losing 66-61 at penn state back during the 2007-08 season.  The Hokies then faced psu twice in a home-and-home series with Tech sweeping the games, winning at penn state in December of 2009 and at the Cassell in December of 2010 (Erick Green’s coming out party).

Tech leads the all time series 6-1, with that lone loss in the Challenge.  The Hokies are 3-5 in the Challenge, but 0-5 against teams other than iowa (yep, all three of Tech’s wins are against the hawkeyes).

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Malcolm Delaney Named Euroleague Rookie of the Year by RealGM

RealGM Basketball named Malcolm Delaney their Rookie of the Year for this past season.  Malcolm averaged 13.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists for Bayern Munich in the German league. 

Here’s the ARTICLE.

Posted in Home0 Comments issues press release regarding its future

Blacksburg, VA — Despite three straight cellar-dweller seasons in Blacksburg, dwindling attendance, several marriages, the births of multiple children, the firing of two coaches, and the transfer and de-commitment of countless high profile recruits, we here at have continued to provide die-hard, although somewhat masochistic, Virginia Tech basketball fans with indepth coverage of the worst team in the ACC. Even our colleagues at TSL noted our dedication:

TSL Tweet from Feb. 6, 2014

@TechHoops is meticulously detailing a very painful season. They have way more of an appetite for it than we here at TSL do.

What most TechHoops fans didn’t know was that coming into the 2013-14 season, there was talk of shutting down for good. After starting with six writers, all alums, we were down to just two; Niemo and Cope. These guys have families and jobs and other obligations. But they didn’t let spouses, children, and responsibilities get in the way of providing VT basketball fans every horrible detail of every demoralizing loss (and there were 58 of them) for the last three seasons. But they came close.

Now, with the program in a low not seen in near 14 years, there is a new hope dawning in the Cassell. JJ is out, and Buzz Williams is in. Why he left a high profile job at Marquette for the worst team in the ACC is still somewhat of a mystery, but he’s here now. Thus, to avoid any rumors and speculation, we want to announce that senior writer Niemo, formerly the Weekend Warrior, will return for an eighth straight season.

“I’m more committed than ever to righting this ship,” Niemo said via conference call following the ACC tournament. “I take full responsibility for the last three seasons, as well as the seven straight years of declining attendance. I have come to realize that the lack of BRRRRAAAHHHHHH-laden highlight videos is the sole reason for the decline in Virginia Tech’s basketball program.”

Niemo got married in 2013 and has since had his first child, but he doesn’t use those two events as excuses for his decline in productivity. He would only say that the correlation between his lack of effort at TechHoops and the lack of effort and results on the court cannot be easily dismissed.

“Look, I get it. I let this team down. I let the fans down. But I’ve rededicated myself to rebuilding this team, one arm curl and BRRRRAAAHHHHHH highlight at a time,” said Niemo between nap times. “I can’t promise victories, because we all know I’m pretty bad at that… God, remember that time I had to make a donation to some ‘Save the Eagles’ campaign? …anyhow, I can’t promise victories, but I can promise effort.”

It will be an uphill battle for Niemo,, and of course, Buzz Williams and what’s left of the team. After announcing his hiring, recruit T.J. Lang asked for and received a release from his NLOI. Warren Craft, a 2015 verbal commit, decommitted because he never heard back from Coach Buzz. And then there’s Trevor Thompson, who was one of the few bright spots in a historically bad season. He transferred to Ohio State.

On the plus side, Buzz and the Hokies did pick up two big recruits in Ahmed Hill, a 6-4 shooting guard, and Satchel Pierce, a 6-10, 250-pound center. Both verbally committed to the Hokies.

Despite the odds, Niemo will be back next season. To celebrate, has hired a graphic designer to redo its logo. T-shirts will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

In other news…
Cope will be back next season, too, keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes and writing the occasional recap and commentary. “Like anyone cares about the guy behind the scenes,” Cope said. “Whatever. Screw you guys, I’m going to get a drink.”

Posted in Cope's Corner, Featured Columns, Home7 Comments

Hokies’ ACC Opponents for the Next 2 Seasons Set

This article (LINK) shows who Tech will play the next two years in league play.  louisville replaces maryland starting this coming season on Tech’s 18 game ACC slate.

Tech will play 10 teams once, and four teams twice per regular season.  miami will remain as Tech’s other rival (along with uva).  After playing the canes just once per season a few years back, they played miami twice each of the last two seasons (plus a third time in the ACC Tournament).  Tech will play home-and-away at the canes the next two years, too.  This means the Hokies will face just two other teams twice per season.  Next year that is fsu and syracuse (VT has never won at fsu in ACC play) and wake and pitt the following year.

This year notre dame will make their first trip to the Cassell since these teams were Big East rivals back in 2003, and duke also heads to the ‘Burg where you can always throw out the records when these teams play.

Tech won’t see Pitino in Blacksburg until 2015-16, meaning Montrezl Harrell may finally play in the Cassell, though that is in the unlikely event he returns for his senior season (he could have been a potential lottery pick in this upcoming draft).

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Maurice Kirby to Transfer

Rumors are swirling that Maurice Kirby, a 6’9″ member of the Class of 2013 who redshirted this past season, is going to transfer.

While I try to avoid speaking negatively about the talent level of Hokies, I will say this — I wouldn’t sweat this one too much.  To put it as straight-forward as possible — he redshirted on a team that finished dead last in the ACC.  His high school numbers weren’t overly impressive, either. 

I never heard a negative thing about his character, so I wish him all the best and hopefully he does catch lightning in a bottle and proves my negatism wrong.  Good luck, Kirby.

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Hokies Receive 2 Huge Commitments (Literally)

Head Coach Buzz Williams got his first two commitments as the head dog in Blacksburg, and Hokie fans won’t have to wait long to see them.  Ahmed Hill, a 6’4″/6’5″ shooting guard, and Satchel Pierce, a 6’10″/7′ 250 lbs. center both committed to Tech over the weekend.  Both are members of the Class of 2014 and replace T.J. Lang (released from his Letter of Intent by VT) and Trevor Thompson (transferring).

Ahmed, from Georgia, is the gold star here.  He is a 4-star and top 100 recruit according to (#69 overall), ESPN Recruiting Nation (#54), and (#61).  Pierce, from Pennsylvania, is a big piece, too, as he will help fill the void of losing Thompson.  He was rated a 3-star by most services.

Both had previously been committed to marquette and Hill had signed with the golden eagles.  Hill was recently released from his LOI by marquette, and somewhat surprisingly, they didn’t put in a clause that prevented him from following Buzz to Blacksburg.

Hill is listed anywhere from 6-4 to 6-5 on different services, but either way, good size for an off-guard and adds to an already tall lineup for VT.  Pierce is listed anywhere from 6’10” to 7-foot.

Also, Justin Bibbs has been on the rise, rocketing up to #70 on the ESPN Recruiting Nation rankings.  Tech now has three shooting guards in this 2014 class.

Posted in Home, Recruiting News3 Comments

Isaac Chew Hired as an Assistant Coach

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.

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We Remember

Now, always — We Remember – LINK

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Isaac Chew and Brad Autry Expected to Follow Buzz to VT

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.

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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:

Buzz on CBS

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Trevor Thompson to Transfer (including my thoughts)

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.

My take:

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.

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Breaking Down Buzz: The Recruiter

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]

There are three main points I’d like to emphasize that excite me:

  1. Buzz recruited his school’s state, Wisconsin, very, very well.
  2. Buzz has pulled a couple of recruits from Virginia before.
  3. Buzz can land star power.

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…

  • 2009: One 4-star
  • 2010: One 5-star
  • 2011: No in-state signees
  • 2012: No in-state signees
  • 2013: Two 4-stars
  • 2014: One 4-star

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:

  • 1 Five-Star
  • 1 Four-Star
  • 2 Three-Stars
  • 1 Unranked

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).

The Commonwealth:

Buzz has inked two players from the state of Virginia, so our territory won’t be completely foreign to him.

  • 3-star Jamal Ferguson from Maury in Norfolk in 2012
  • 3-star Davante Gardner from Kings Fork in Suffolk in 2010

Star Power:

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…

  • 2009: Signed three 4-stars (out of 4 signed/6 verbals — other three players were 3-stars)
  • 2010: Signed one 5-star (Vander Blue) and one 4-star (from the same school Justin Bibbs is at) (other three signees were 3-stars)
  • 2011: Signed one 4-star (other two recruits were 3-stars)
  • 2012: All three signees were 3-stars
  • 2013: Signed four 4-stars out of five signees (other was a 3-star)
  • 2014: Signed three 4-stars out of five (other two were 3-stars)

In six seasons, he got John Hancocks from:

  • 12 Four-Stars
  • 14 Three-Stars

That’s an average of two 4-stars per year.

Average star ranking per recruit by year:

  • 2009: 3.5
  • 2010: 3.6
  • 2011: 3.3
  • 2012: 3.0
  • 2013: 3.8
  • 2014: 3.6

Like I said earlier, sign me up for those classes, I’ll take that over the next six years.

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A Tribute to the Worst Road Coach Ever: Jeff Bzdelik

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.


  • At wake:
    • 2-32 (5.8% win %) over 4 seasons in ACC road games
    • Lost 17 straight ACC road games before winning at VT this past season (amazingly this was NOT his longest road losing streak in conference play…)
    • Point Differential:
      • 27 of those 32 losses were by 10+ points (that’s 79.4% of ALL the ACC road games they played)
      • 12 losses by 20+ points (35.3% of all ACC road games)
      • 2 by 30+ points (Yes, he lost as many ACC road games by 30+ points as he won!)
      • -524 all told in ACC road games (including the wins)
      • Average margin of defeat was 15.4 points in ACC road games
    • wake scheduled fewer out of conference road games every single season he was the head coach
  • At colorado:
    • 1-23 (4.2%) over 3 seasons in Big 12 road games
    • Lost his first 23 conference road games before winning his final one at colorado
  • Total:
    • 3-55 (5.2%) in conference road games in 7 seasons at colorado/wake
      • Team went to frat parties the night before?
      • 3 AM conditioning
      • Slept on the bus?

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?

  • ACC Tournament Record: 1-4
    • wake never made it to the quarterfinals (i.e. Friday) in his 4 seasons.
    • wake went 0-4 in Thursday ACC games, losing by a combined 78 points (19.5 margin of defeat)
    • Fittingly, they lost by 29 to pitt last week in what was his final game as wake’s coach.

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):

Team Wins Losses Win% Road Ws
duke 53 15 77.9% 22
unc 53 15 77.9% 23
uva 43 25 63.2% 16
fsu 41 27 60.3% 17
miami 37 31 54.4% 16
nc state 34 34 50.0% 13
clemson 32 36 47.1% 9
maryland 30 38 44.1% 8
bc 24 44 35.3% 8
ga tech 21 47 30.9% 8
HOKIES 19 49 27.9% 6
wake 17 51 25.0% 2

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.

  • Sidney “Biz Markie” Lowe:
    • 25-55 in ACC play in 5 seasons (31%)
    • 7-33 in ACC road games (17.5%)
    • But Lowe went 5-5 in the ACC Tourney including a run to the title game (they lost) in 2007
    • FYI: Lowe was 3-4 vs Paul Hewitt, 2-0 vs Bzdelik
  • Paul “Blew It” Hewitt
    • 33-63 (34%) in ACC play in his final 6 seasons at georgia tech
    • 7-41 (14.6%) in ACC road games over those final 6 seasons
    • Also 5-5 in ACC Tourney play, including a run to the title game
    • 4-3 vs Lowe, and 2-0 vs Bzdelik
    • I should note Hewitt led the jackets all the way to the NCAA Championship Game the year before VT joined the ACC, but it was a steep drop-off after that.
  • James “Assistant Coach in Waiting” Johnson
    • 6-30 in ACC play (16.7%)
    • 2-16 in ACC road games (11%)
    • 1-2 vs Bzdelik

Tale of the Tape?  There are no winners here, but I’d rank these guys (in order of worst first):

  1. Bzdelik (I mean, look at that road record over 7 years and he took over a wake team that had been to 2 straight NCAAs.  JJ took over a team that had finished last in the ACC.)
  2. JJ (Had no prior HC experience where as Bzdelik had years of it before wake — another reason Bzdelik is the nod as the worst here)
  3. Lowe (Tons of talent, no defense — he was an awful coach in terms of preparing his teams)
  4. Hewitt (by virtue of head to head record vs Lowe and Buzz but his teams were atrocious on defense, too)

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



Bzdelik Overall ACC Road ACC ACC-T
2010-11 8 24 1 15 0 8 0 1
2011-12 13 17 4 12 1 7 L5 0 1
2012-13 13 18 6 12 0 9 L14 0 1
2013-14 17 16 6 12 1 8 L17 1 1
TOTALS 51 75 17 51 2 32 1 4
Lowe 2-0 vs Bz
2006-07^ 20 16 5 11 2 6 L5 3 1
2007-08 15 16 4 12 1 7 L5 0 1
2008-09 16 14 6 10 1 7 L3 0 1
2009-10 20 16 5 11 2 6 2 1
2010-11 15 16 5 11 1 7 0 1
TOTALS 86 78 25 55 7 33 5 5
Hewitt 2-0 vs Bz
2010-11 13 18 5 11 1 7 L13 0 1
2009-10*^ 23 13 7 9 1 7 L6 3 1
2008-09 12 19 2 14 0 8 L9^ 1 1
2007-08 15 17 7 9 4 4 1 1
2006-07* 20 12 8 8 1 7 L14 0 1
2005-06 11 17 4 12 0 8 0 1
TOTALS 94 96 33 63 7 41 5 5
Johnson 1-2 vs Bz
2012-13 13 19 4 14 1 8 0 1
2013-14 9 21 2 16 1 8 0 1
TOTALS 22 40 6 30 2 16 0 2
* Made NCAA
^ Won 3 ACC-T games to reach Finals

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Coaching Search: Running Post

This will be a living article where we track coaching candidates and rumors.

  • March 21st: On the Junkies radio show in DC today, best-selling author John Feinstein said Buzz Williams is Virginia Tech’s guy.  He talked about Buzz being unhappy with the administration at marquette, which has been mentioned by other sources.  He also talked about how Cronin, the coach at cincinnati, is very close to Whit and while Cronin isn’t going anywhere because he’s a Cincinnati guy, Cronin is friends with Buzz and it was inferred he may be playing up Whit to Buzz.  Feinstein is very well connected in the college basketball world but he is not well connected at VT, so take this (like all rumors on here) with a grain of salt.
    • Buzz would be a “name” hire for VT.  The funny thing is, he looks a bit like Greenberg to me although he may be shorter.  He has that Uncle Fester look working.  But definitely has the bald dome working.  And certainly not a GQ guy like Tony Bennett or Jay Wright.
    • Because of the rumors about Buzz hating the marquette administration, I don’t think this is a power play by Buzz (if true) to get more money.  I think if he interviews he will have genuine interest, but I could be wrong.
    • marquette was 9-9 in the Big East this year and 17-15 overall and didn’t make a postseason tournament. 
    • Buzz was 14-17 at new orleans in his first season as a head coach in 2006-07 and I’m assuming he was fired because he left to be an assistant at marquette the next year.
    • After one year as an assistant under Tom Crean at marquette, Buzz was named the head man for the 2008-09 season when Crean left for indiana.
    • In 6 seasons at marquette, he is 139-65 (68%) and 69-36 (66% — pretty darn impressive in the Big East).
    • marquette tied for the Big East regular season title last year.
    • Buzz led marquette to the NCAA Tournament each of his first 5 years there until this season, including the Elite 8 last year.
    • Buzz is 8-5 in the NCAA Tournament as a coach, including 7-3 in his last 3 appearances.
  • March 20th: I’m hearing Donnie Tyndall is the top candidate and has been for a while.  This is third hand information, so take it for what it is worth, but that’s the name I’m hearing as the front runner at this point.
    • Wikipedia Page
    • Tyndall is currently at southern miss in Conference USA where his teams have gone 55-16 in two seasons.  They are currently playing in the NIT, and will face missouri on Sunday.  They are 28-6 this season and won the C-USA regular season title at 13-3, but lost in the conference semis.  Last season they finished 27-10 and 12-4 (2nd in C-USA), and lost in the NIT Quarterfinals after winning two games.
    • It should be noted that southern miss was 25-9 and a #9-seed in the NCAA Tournament the year before he arrived, so Donnie didn’t exactly inherit a rebuilding effort.  But he was able to keep the machine running.  Tyndall replaced Larry “frat party” Eustachy who left for the colorado state job after the 2011-12 season.
    • Before that, Tyndall was the head coach at morehead state for 6 seasons where he led the eagles to a 114-84 record (won at least 20 games in 3 of his final 4 seasons), 2 conference titles (and NCAA Tourney appearances), and beat #4-seed louisville in the Second Round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
    • His career record as a NCAA head coach is 199-105 (66%).  He’s a winner for sure, the question will be could he recruit on such a big stage as the ACC.
    • Looking at his southern miss recruiting classes:
      • 2014 – Signed 5 (1 HS 2-star, 1 Post-Grad 2-star, and 3 Juco players who weren’t in the top 50 for Juco recruits — can’t depend on the Juco route at VT).  No one was above a 2-star on ESPN Recruiting Nation.
      • 2013 – 1 two-star Post-Grad, 1 Juco, 1 unranked player
      • I.e. Not very impressive on the recruiting front, though I do realize this is at southern miss.
  • March 18th: Bruce Pearl – cross him off.  He’s returning to the SEC as the head coach of auburn.  As I wrote a few weeks ago, I never expected him to take the VT job seriously as Seth (fellow ESPN colleague) has likely scared him off.  Another con to Pearl is he’s still under a NCAA show cause punishment until August of this year.  That means he cannot contact recruits until that is up, so he cannot talk to any recruits during the July evaluation period.  For a program at rock bottom like VT is, that wouldn’t exactly help us rebuild things in a hurry.  That said, I’d have loved to have gotten him and think he has the perfect personality for turning the program around.  I have no doubt he’ll do great things at auburn.

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If You Bring Whit, Will ‘It’ Come?

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.

Looking Back:

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:

  1. JJ had no head coaching experience when he took the job, and you can’t learn on the job in the ACC. Not his fault, but the facts.
  2. In two years, JJ has shown 0.0 of his alleged system (up-tempo with pressing).  Obviously he’d tell you it is because of all the injuries, departures, etc, but that’s still the fact.  And so even if he did start playing up-tempo next year, there would be a learning curve as he figured things out.  I’d rather we go with a coach now has a proven system and will implement it from day 1 without having to figure it out.
  3. JJ never appeared to be a Head Coach to me.  He always seemed a bit like Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers when Gene Hackman gets ejected.  Sure, he had the whistle, but JJ just never seemed in control of the situation (probably largely due to #1 along with personality).  Speaking of getting ejected, how do you go through a 1-17 2014 and not get a single technical called on you?  Believe me, some coaches are babies.  Seth was one.  Coach K is one.  And Boeheim’s tantrum may have cost his team the game at duke, but at some point you have to snap on a bad call and get T’ed up when you lose 17 of 18.  It shows the team you are still fighting and in it.  JJ — nothing.  Also, head coaches shouldn’t throw current players under the bus — twice.
  4. JJ’s recruiting classes seem solid, but they weren’t up to ACC standards.  Not a single 4-star made it to campus and there wasn’t one in next year’s class. So while I’d love to keep all 3 guys in the Class of 2014, I won’t lose any sleep if we lose one or two.  And JJ is rumored to have burned some bridges in VA and the Carolinas in recruiting, which would have only made things tougher for us.
  5. Attendance was going to drop even further next year, and it was already at its lowest since 2002-03 in Tech’s next to last year in the Big East — Attendance Figures
  6. JJ’s ceiling, I fear, wasn’t very high.  In other words, would we have improved next year?  How could we not after going 2-16?  With our current roster and recruits, I think 6 wins is a realistic goal for next year.  Let’s say we get there… then what?  Maybe we get up around 8 wins the year after that but with nothing but 3-star recruits, I never saw us getting over the hump of 8 wins and even making it to .500 in conference play with JJ as our coach/head recruiter.  Is that what we are aspiring to?  I don’t think so.  You saw the same thing with Bzdelik at wake.  1 ACC win his first year, 4 the 2nd, 6 the 3rd (going up, right?!), but then 6 again this year.  His ceiling was clearly 6 wins.  I’d rather pull the plug now than wait 2-3 years to figure out what JJ’s ceiling was given that my guess is, as a first time head coach, it wouldn’t be much if any better than Bzdelik’s.
  7. JJ’s buyout isn’t $2 million (he had 3 years left with $680,000 per year).  It is around $800,000 and could be less if he gets another job.  That’s peanuts.  Yes, we owe Seth money still.  And yes, we owe Weaver $900,000 over the next two years, but the Weaver thing shouldn’t be all on basketball to shoulder.  Like Whit said, you have to spend money to make money, and JJ would not have brought in money next year.

That said, JJ is a good man and I wish him the best.

Looking Forward:

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:

  • Next Year
    • Finish close to .500 overall and 6-12 in the ACC (I’ll take 5-13, though… maybe even 4-14 if we show progress)
    • Have a winning record at home
    • Install a system and stick with it, win or lose
    • Sign at least one 4-star recruit (for the class of 2015)
    • Make me feel he’s a head coach (demonstrative on the sideline, personable with the media, good at in-game adjustments, see basic fundamentals like help defense and an efficient offense)
  • 2015-16
    • Have shown the ability to make inroads in VA and NC in recruiting and sign at least one more 4-star
    • Definitely be at .500 overall and 6-12 in the ACC
    • Have made it to Thursday of the ACC Tournament at least once
    • Attendance be noticeably up at home
    • Have beaten uva at least once (preferably at home)
  • 2016-17
    • Have made the NIT at least once
    • Be close to 8-10 in the ACC or better
    • Sign at least one more 4-star and have 3+ on the roster (accounting for possible attrition)
  • After season 4 or 5:
    • Definitely have made at least one NCAA and finished .500 or above in the ACC at least once
    • Average one 4-star on the roster per year at VT
  • Long Term:
    • I see us as a school that should make the NCAA Tournament every 4th or 5th year.  While I’d like to make the Dance every year, that’s just not realistic for our program.  As long as any coach is making it approximately once per “class”, I’m fine with him (for the most part).  Seth made it in his 4th year, but then missed it the next 5.  So I did feel it was his time to go. 
    • We should make the NIT approximately two of those ‘other’ years, so about 3 postseason bids per 5 years is where I think we should be to allow for some rebuilding years.
    • Maybe this is setting the bar low, but compared to where we’ve been (1 NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 seasons), it’s a heck of a lot better.

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.

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