Catching Up on Hokie Hoops Abroad

Christian Petersen

Editor's Note: What a great first impression new contributor Justin Cates has made with this well-researched summary on former VT Hokies basketball players abroad. Enjoy!

-Flyers 13

Virginia Tech basketball has a checkered past. The golden age of the program was the middle half of the 1980's under the most successful head coach at Tech, Charlie Moir. There were a couple good seasons under Bill Foster in the mid-90s, but after that Cassell Coliseum became a desolate wasteland until Seth Greenberg arrived in 2003.

Even under Greenberg the results were mixed. The Hokies made one NCAA Tournament in 2007, but otherwise became a fixture on the selection bubble and in the NIT, which had been for a brief period derisively re-named "The Virginia Tech Invitational."

The Hokies didn't quite have the success they expected, and those expectations arose because there was a lot of talent in the program. And because there are no Tech alumni playing in the NBA, there's a misconception that the Hokies don't produce professional basketball players.

It's true there haven't been any NBA regulars since the days of Dell Curry and Bimbo Coles, but there are actually quite a few Hokies playing professionally around the world.

Below is an update on the careers of all 14 of the currently active pros I was able to find. Some of the names are obvious and some are a bit surprising.

In a largely failed attempt at brevity, I'm omitting players that began their careers at Tech and transferred to another school before going on to play professionally.

Brian Chase, 1999-2003

The diminutive point guard from Washington, D.C. was the only member of Ricky Stokes' 1999 recruiting class to have a significant impact at Tech. Chase has played in various professional leagues including several stints in the NBA's Developmental League, making the All-Star game in 2006-07. Currently, Chase is playing for Vanoli Cremona in Italy where last season he averaged 11.7 PPG and shot 46.1% from three-point range.

Carlos Dixon, 2000-2005

Dixon was an important four-year starter that played a key role in Tech's transition from the Big East into the ACC. When his Hokie career concluded, he ranked 16th in all-time scoring, 11th in assists and 7th in steals. He's played professionally for several teams in Argentina and Japan. Currently, Dixon is a starter for the Gunma Crane Thunders where he's averaging 20.7 PPG and 7.3 rebounds through nine games.

Zabian Dowdell, 2003-2007

Dowdell was Seth Greenberg's first signee at Virginia Tech and turned out to be a terrific player. He scored 1,785 points in his Tech career and helped lead the Hokies to their first NCAA Tournament birth in more than a decade. Dowdell is the most recent Hokie to play in the NBA, seeing time in 24 games for the Phoenix Suns during the 2010-11 season. He's played in several countries since and currently is a reserve for BC Lietuvos rytas in Vilnius, Lithuania where he averages 6.6 PPG and 4.2 assists.

Jamon Gordon, 2003-2007

Gordon and Dowdell made up one of the best backcourts in school history. While Dowdell was more of a scorer, Gordon did a little bit of everything and filled up the stat sheet. He's continued that trend with a specialty in thievery. In 2009 he led the Croatian league in steals (3.1 SPG), led the Euroleague in 2011-12 (1.81 SPG), and currently leads the Euroleague again (2 SPG) playing for Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Coleman Collins, 2003-2007

Coleman Collins was the final piece of the group that built a solid foundation for a Tech program that surprised plenty of folks in the ACC. Collins was dominant at times for the Hokies but was understandably never quite the same player after the death of his father. Collins has played for five teams in Europe and the NBDL after getting a look from the Phoenix Suns. He currently plays for the Ukraine club Azovmash where he's averaging just over 12 points and 7 rebounds per game this season. Coleman is also a semi-frequent contributor to ESPN's TrueHoop blog where he writes thought-provoking pieces like this one from back in December.

Robert Krabbendam, 2004-2007

Krabbendam's Tech career was strange. He had some injury trouble, but even when healthy he rarely played despite a unique skill set. A 7-footer who can shoot, Krabbendam left Virginia Tech feeling he wasn't given a chance to prove himself as he outlined in this letter published in the Collegiate Times. He's played for a number of teams since leaving and now suits up for BC Apollo Amsterdam where he's averaging 15 PPG and 6.5 rebounds despite being listed as the backup center.

Deron Washington, 2004-2008

Deron quickly established himself as an exciting albeit somewhat inconsistent player, and easily one of the best dunkers in college basketball. After getting drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2008, Washington has seen time in the NBDL, Israel, Spain and currently with Italian club Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia where he starts and averages 12.5 PPG and 6.4 rebounds. He's shooting 41.8% from three-point range but only makes 59.7% of his free throws.

A.D. Vassallo, 2005-2009

Though a bit streaky at times, Vassallo was a terrific outside shooter for the Hokies. Whenever he came out and made that first shot coming off a curl, you knew he was going to have a big night. He expanded his game and developed the ability to create his own shot and get to the basket while at Tech and turned into a big-time scorer. He's played in France and for several teams in his native Puerto Rico where he currently plays for Arecibo. A.D. averaged 17.8 PPG and 6.2 rebounds. He had a season high 42 points and went through a stretch in May and June where he scored at least 20 points every time out posting 23.8 PPG over several weeks.

Lewis Witcher, 2006-2010

This was the biggest surprise of the guys I found still playing. Witcher was a highly touted high school player from Rocky Mount who showed flashes of ability but never quite blossomed in Blacksburg. He now plays for Gunma in Japan with fellow Hokie Carlos Dixon. This season Witcher is averaging just 4.9 PPG and 3.7 rebounds, but during the 2012-13 season he put up 11.6 PPG, 6.5 rebounds and made 54% of his shots.

Dorenzo Hudson, 2007-2012

When Dorenzo Hudson signed with the Hokies it was a major recruiting victory for Seth Greenebrg as Hudson chose Tech over offers from several major schools. His Hokie career was a bit of a mixed bag however. Even when he found his stroke and became a major scoring threat, he'd still toss up the occasional shot off the side of the backboard. After a season in Hungary, Dorenzo is making 55.9% of his two-point attempts for Science City Jena in Germany. He's averaging 19.4 PPG in 25.2 minutes per contest and has scored in double figures in all 18 games so far this season.

Jeff Allen, 2007-2011

Allen is another guy who was brilliant a times but also had a knack for terrible mistakes at Tech whether it be dumb fouls or bumping officials. He was another very big time recruit in this class by way of Dematha High School and Oak Hill Academy. Despite his questionable mental game, he's a tremendously skilled forward with some of the softest hands I've ever seen on a ‘big'. After a stint in France, he's taken those skills to Hapoel Afula in Israel where he starts at center and averages a double-double with 20.3 PPG and 12.6 rebounds.

Terrell Bell, 2007-2011

Terrell was a fun player to root for. He was scrappy and had a knack for knocking down big shots when the Hokies needed it most, especially from three. Bell played two seasons in Finland for KTP Basket Kotka. Last season he scored 16.8 PPG and added 10 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the Mildura Heat in Austrailia. Upon Bell's signing, Mildura's coach James Madigan said, "This will probably be Terrell's first international exposure, so I expect him to be nervous, but full of beans." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but based on the results, I'd say it's a good thing.

Malcolm Delaney, 2007-2011

The Baltimore player of the year coming out of high school, Delaney had a chance to grow into a star with a veteran backcourt in place when he arrived. He became an impressive scorer finishing his Tech career with 2,225 points and is first in school history in career free-throw percentage at 84.5%. After playing in France and the Ukraine, Delaney signed with FC Bayern Muenchen and in his first season in Germany he's averaging 13 points and 4.5 assists per tilt.

Erick Green, 2009-2013

Green was of course the primary reason to watch Hokie basketball last season as he led the nation in scoring despite being Tech's only consistent scoring threat. His steady improvement turned him into an NBA Draft pick, going in the second round to the Utah Jazz who promptly traded his rights to the Denver Nuggets. After playing in the NBA summer league, Green ended up signing with Italian club Montepaschi where he's the starting point guard. He's averaging 8.8 PPG and 1.4 assists.

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