The Bad, The Ugly, And The "Good" Of Hokies' Men's Basketball

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

In what could be the most forgettable season in Virginia Tech men's basketball history, what good is actually coming from this season?

With a record of 9-17, the Hokies' men's basketball season has been utterly painful to watch. Tech stands at rock bottom in the ACC standings at 2-12. There are only four regular season games left as they face Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, and Georgia Tech. With the way the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are playing, it looks as if the final two games are only the seemingly winnable ones.

Everything that could go wrong for Tech went wrong. Seniors, Jarell Eddie and Cadarian Raines haven't  lived up to expectations and haven't produced what the team needs from them. Eddie is still able to be a leader on the court and be the shooter that he is every so often, while Raines is required to be a vocal leader, lead by example, and be someone that the freshman look up to in the midst of turmoil.

Attendance in Cassell Coliseum is poor, the basketball is often ugly, and the season has gone from bad to worse. But the one thing that does look promising as this season ends and we get into the off-season is how promising each Hokie freshman looks to be. Each one brings a certain level of excitement to the court.

Player


Games Played


PPG


FG %


3 PT %


FT %


Reb PG


Assists


Blk/Steals


Min PG


Adam Smith


14

11.0

.384

.358

.818

2.3

30

0/2

25.8

Ben Emelogu


20

10.8

.394

.367

.681

3.1

40

5/13

27.2

Devin Wilson


26

9.4

.420

.367

.665

3.4

123

4/21

34.3

Trevor Thompson


25

4.4

.389

(None Taken)

.638

4.4

4

26/4

13.9

Adam Smith has been fighting injuries for a while now, but I believe he could be one of Tech's more prolific scorers in the next few years. He doesn't play scared and is confident in his shots. When he's healthy, he's a threat to score at any time.

Ben Emelogu impressed me right from the start. With the breaking news that a freshman was going to be a team captain for this Hokie squad, I admit that I was afraid of what that meant. But Emelogu plays and acts like a team captain. His demeanor is very controlled and relaxed. He can shoot the jumper and drive to the basket. I think he has a great future in Blacksburg.

Now for the most exciting player on the court for the Hokies: Devin Wilson. This guy is pretty amazing. He plays hard and fast. He can shoot, he can pass, drive through the lane, and get the foul call. He does it all. I love the way this guy plays. He is the reason you should go to the game.

Ed. Note: Wilson is currently re-setting the VT freshman assist record and making a run at a top five spot overall on the VT list.

Trevor Thompson has great potential. He's tall and long and has great upside to him. If he can put on some weight and get stronger, I believe he can be great. He plays with a lot of emotion and intensity and that's what you need to play down low.

Meanwhile, also be on the look out for red-shirt freshman forward Maurice Kirby. At six-foot-nine and 235 pounds, this big guy looks promising. During his time at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, in 48 games he averaged 11.6 points, 2 assists, 9.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game.

Freshman Malik Mueller was a hopeful to challenge at both guard spots this season, but was ruled academically ineligible to play by the NCAA. The Germany native has been a member of the German National Team since 2009 and will look to add an extra element to the Hokies as he still has four years of eligibility left.

These two freshman look to be something special, and with Eddie's and Raines' time up, they will only make the Hokies better going into next season.

Even Johnson's next recruiting class is shaping up nicely. Six-foot-five, 205 pound guard Justin Bibbs is the top recruit for the Hokies. He hails from Dayton, Ohio, and plays for Montverde Academy. He chose Tech over schools like Cincinnati, Xavier, and UCF. There's a YouTube video labeling him as a "Baby James Harden." He's pretty impressive needless to say:

Justin Bibbs, Baby James Harden?? Virginia Tech University Commit - Montverde Academy (OBC) (via 3rdCoastHoops)

Johnson reeled in another guard, Jalen Hudson, a Richmond, Va. native who plays at St. Vincent -St. Mary High School (LeBron James' alma mater). Hudson stands at six-foot-four, weighing 195 pounds and his play speaks for itself. Check this out:

Jalen Hudson Combo Guard 2014 NEW (via CoachUnderhill)

Finally, Tech is rounded out by Mobile, Alabama native T.J. Lang from McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. The small forward stands at six-foot-seven and weighs 195 pounds. Let's face it, he can shoot:

Antonio "TJ" Lang Jr Lets His Smooth Shooting Do The Talking!!! JuniorMix (via Kirven Lang)

This is Coach Johnson's first real recruiting class and if any past freshman's production is an indicator of years to come, I'd say the Hokies are going to be just fine if they keep it up. Let's take a look at some of Seth Greenberg's players during their freshman year.

Player


Games Played


PPG


FG %


3 PT %


FT %


Reb PG


Assists


Blk/Steals


Min PG


Jamon Gordon


24

9.8

.365

.280

.673

4.4

107

11/66

33.25

Zabian Dowdell


28

10.8

.375

.305

.689

3.0

89

3/52

33.82

Malcolm Delaney


35

9.6

.420

.402

.787

2.9

107

4/28

27.25

Jeff Allen


33

11.8

.491

.211

.607

7.6

30

41/69

28.15

Erick Green*


32

11.6

.414

.248

.777

2.3

86

9/56

30.9

*taken from sophomore season since during his freshman year, he saw limited playing time because of Malcolm Delaney.

In the wake of Greenberg's firing, Coach James Johnson is doing very well with recruiting. He, much like Greenberg is able to nab in-state, out of state, and international talent. He continues to get recruits with loads of potential and bright futures. But with the way the past two seasons have gone (a combined record of 22-36) Johnson might not even be around long enough to see his plan through. It's obvious that Johnson cares and is doing a lot to put together a promising squad. But the Hokies just haven't seen any results yet.

From the looks of it, the numbers are very similar. I'm not saying the freshman now will turn into any of these great Hokie players. But if they continue to improve and producer great numbers, I believe this team will be okay going forward.

All of Johnson's freshman have tremendous upside, and look to have a great future. It's going to take some time for them to settle in, but look for brighter days coming to basketball in Blacksburg.


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