They never said it’d be easy.
Virginia Tech basketball faces the tall task of replacing Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, and Terrell Bell in their lineup this season. The dynamic trio averaged 39 points and 18.8 assists per game in 2010-2011.
This season, however, Erick Green is the leader of this team and will look to carry the load for a very young Hokies squad. The junior guard from Winchester stepped into the starting lineup last season after Dorenzo Hudson went down with a season ending foot injury.
Green flourished in his new role as he had a breakout season at the point guard position. He averaged 11.6 points per game and was third in the ACC with 1.8 steals per game. Another key stat that often goes unnoticed about Green’s season is that he was third in the conference in assist to turnover ratio as well with just 2.3.
His size is the most noticeable physical asset when he is on the court. At 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, he has a considerable size advantages on most point guards on the team. With that size, many will expect him to be our leading scorer and often take over when the team needs buckets and that is expected.
The second leading returning scorer is Dorenzo Hudson and Victor Davila. Davila averaged just 7.4 points per game and Hudson spent most of the season on the sideline with his injury.
Green, however, will be relied upon to be a pure point guard as well and facilitate an offense that at times could be extremely young. His ability to limit his turnovers and distribute the basketball makes him the ideal point guard for the Hokies. This was proven in the team’s opening 64-53 victory over East Tennessee State.
Green suffered an Achilles injury on November 4th while trying out a new shoe in practice. He remained in a boot up until November 11th and after testing out how it felt during warm-ups of the teams opener, decided not to risk injuring it any worse.
As a result, sophomore guard Tyrone Garland stepped in as the starting point guard and was forced to try and lead the offense. Garland struggled tremendously against the pressure that the opposing team applied the entire game. Despite finishing with a team high 13 points, he struggled to handle the ball when pressured and had a team high seven turnovers.
At times, the team resorted to having Hudson bring the ball up the court due to Garland’s struggles. The sophomore guard was caught at times standing around with the basketball instead of making the correct cuts to the basketball in order to avoid turnovers.
After the game, Garland acknowledged that things will be much smoother with their leader back on the court. Garland hasn’t played point guard at a significant role since his sophomore role of high school and so the move was a major adjustment for him.
Green has accepted the leadership role on this team and will be vital to the team’s success this season. Throughout the entire preseason, Green has said this team has great potential and a much deeper team that in year’s past.
While the team may miss the scoring and rebounding of Delaney, Allen, and Bell this year, with great play at the point guard position and a balanced effort consistently from the young team, the Hokies could make their first NCAA tournament appearance in four years.
This is Erick Green’s team. Now let’s see what he can do with it.