Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

ACC Preview #5 Virginia Tech

Posted by Tommy on November 3, 2008

Coach- Seth Greenberg (6th season)

PG- Malcolm Delaney (SO): Last year the Hokies really missed the play of an experienced point guard. Delaney split the duty of running the offense with fellow freshman Hank Thorns. Now that both of these players are acclimated to college basketball, Greenberg will rely heavily on them to run the team. The reason I give the nod to Delaney over Thorns is his scoring ability. Delaney has a better shot and more size than the 5-9 Thorns and found his stroke during the ACC Tournament and NIT. Delaney does have a tendency to turn the ball over a bit more but Greenberg will live with that as long as Delaney keeps up his scoring numbers. Nevertheless, Delaney is a budding star in the ACC and could be poised for a bust-out sophomore season at the helm of the Hokies.

SG- A.D. Vassallo (SR): The young Hokies are really going to look to Vassallo to provide leadership. He doesn’t have a game with a lot of flare but he’ll do just about anything to help out his team. Vassallo gets it done on both ends of the floor. He can score in a number of ways, is a good rebounder and a tough defender and plays with his head as well as his heart. His size and versatility will allow him to play the two and the three this season. Vassallo is in a nice situation in which he’ll be relied on to take plenty of the shots, but can’t acquire too much of the opposition’s attention because he has quality young players around him. Vassallo could flirt with 20 PPG this season.

SF- J.T. Thompson (SO): Thompson, who played the four spot for the most part last season, has slimmed down over the offseason. His slimmer frame has improved his athleticism and will enable him to play the wing. Thompson has shown that he isn’t a threat from outside after only shooting one three-pointer last season, but he’s strong and athletic and will get to the rim. The departure of Deron Washington leaves some pretty big shoes to fill for Thompson at the wing, but as he gets more and more playing time, I think he’ll really come on strong for the Hokies. He may not have the greatest of offensive games, but he’ll provide hustle, defense and a strong rebounding presence for Greenberg.

PF- Jeff Allen (SO): The third starting sophomore for the Hokies is without question their best. Allen opened a lot of ACC fans’ eyes with his play down low. He’s one of those guys that fills most every column in the stat sheet. He’ll put up around 13 PPG, grab 8 RPG, and will cause about five or six turnovers each game through blocked shots and steals. Allen has a nice set of soft hands and good touch around the rim. Like Thompson, Allen has lost a significant amount of weight, meaning he’ll give the Hokies more athleticism and will be able to stay in the game longer, block more shots and run the floor better. Like the other two sophomores in the starting lineup, Allen is blossoming and I think can establish himself as one of the best big men in the ACC.

PF- Lewis Witcher (JR): Although Witcher is an undersized post player, he makes up for it with hustle and toughness down low. He won’t impress anybody with his athleticism or his skill set on offense, but Witcher is willing to put his body on the line for the sake of his team. Greenberg will look for him to provide the club with good defense and make the shots he’s given, knowing he shouldn’t expect any more or less out of the junior. Witcher reached double digits in the scoring column only twice last season, and any improvement on his 2.7 PPG would be a nice bonus for Greenberg and the Hokies.

Bench: Greenberg has a lot of interchangeable parts for this year’s roster. Senior Chuck Diakite will come off the bench and provide an energetic game similar to that of Witcher. As I said before Thorns will get some time at the point, but he has to improve on his 34 percent from the field from last season if he wants to get a chance at significant minutes. Sophomore guards Dorenzo Hudson and Terrell Bell give the Hokies some flexibility and athleticism in their backcourt. There has been a lot of talk in Blacksburg about 6-8 245 lb incoming freshman Victor Davila. His size and athleticism will bolster the frontcourt that will probably need some help because of their lack of size.

Backcourt: B+
Frontcourt: B
Bench: A-
Coaching: B+

Bottom Line: I would imagine Seth and the Hokies would be pretty motivated going into this season after having their bubble burst at the 11th hour last year. With three sophomore starters and three more playing significant roles off the bench, this “Sophomore Six-Pack” will have to mature over the course of the season. There is plenty of talent in that class, but if the Hokies want to solidify a spot in the dance, guys like Delaney and Allen will have to play a big part in taking them there. Nobody on Virginia Tech will blow opponents away with their natural talent, but they all play great defense and run an efficient offense.

Key Non-Conference Games: O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-off 11/20-11/23, 12/1 vs. Wisconsin
Key Conference Games: 1/17 vs. Boston College, 1/25 @ Miami, 1/29 vs. Clemson, 2/28 vs. Duke
Most Valuable Player: A.D. Vassallo
Postseason Tournament: NCAA (one and done)

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One Response to “ACC Preview #5 Virginia Tech”

  1. Zach said

    Is Poise, Purpose, Sense of Urgency, Confidence and Compete Seth Greenberg’s own version of the 5 D’s of Dodgeball?

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