The small forwards and guards on the 2014-15 Virginia Tech men's basketball team will be largely interchangeable, something that mirrors a larger overall shift in college basketball.
The flexibility of a player that can play both spots is critical on a team like Tech's where the roster lacks proven depth. No doubt, we'll see a considerable amount of tinkering with the lineup to find the combination that works best in the first season under Buzz Williams.
In this part of our preview I'll highlight the players I expect to see the most shuttling between the two and three spots for the Hokies.
A talented 6'5", 220-pound freshman, Bibbs is one of two holdovers from the players that committed to former coach James Johnson last season.
Bibbs has more bulk than the other freshman likely to see time at either wing slot. In fact, his listed weight on the Tech roster is about 15 pounds heavier than when he signed his letter of intent.
He's athletic with a sneaky reach that will help on defense and he has a solid shooting stroke. He looks very calm and comfortable shooting outside or nailing a pull-up jumper in traffic. He's also left handed which isn't especially important, but I've had an affinity for lefty guards since Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon were in orange and maroon.
Given his size and the energy he brings I expect Bibbs to be a big part of what Tech can accomplish this season, especially on defense.
Another impressive freshman, Hill checks in at 6'5", 195-pounds. He's another athletic guard with strong shooting ability who will likely put up a lot of outside shots. He can get to the rim in other ways as well as evidenced by his high school stats.
Hill is the third leading scorer in Georgia state history finishing his career with 3,024 points so you know he can fill it up.
Senior Will Johnston has been impressed with these two freshman and mentioned it at ACC Media Day.
Johnston said frosh Ahmed Hill and Justin Bibbs have been impressive. Hill ran double sprints in camp to make up for guys who couldn't run.— Taft Coghill Jr. (@tcoghilljr) October 29, 2014
Voluntarily running double sprints certainly shows the kind of work ethic that is needed to turn around a program like Tech. It's no wonder he and Buzz clicked during Hill's recruitment.
I think we might see a bit more of Ahmed at shooting guard, but he's certainly capable of playing where he's needed.
Hudson is the other James Johnson recruit from last year and another very good outside shooter. He checks in at 6'5", 195 but may be a bit more raw in terms of his overall game than the other freshmen at his position.
Based on his shooting, I think he's also best suited to run at the two guard but Tech's numbers and complete lack of small forwards will likely see him play both as needed.
Hudson has a smooth shooting stroke and confidence to put up shots with a defender closely guarding him. I see loads of potential in him and he should see the court plenty, but my gut tells me he might be a step or two behind the other freshman wings at this point.
Johnston is one of just two seniors on this team and he'll be counted on for leadership with such a young group. He's also entertaining as his time at ACC Media Day proved.
He was pressed into action at times last season at the three because of foul trouble, injuries or a slumping Jarell Eddie. Once again I think his more comfortable position is shooting guard, but he can make it work at the three.
Will brings a toughness and hustle that's contagious. He also has terrific ability to make shots from behind the three point line, though his ability to score beyond catching and shooting has been limited.
He's the kind of guy you want out there with such an unproven group and while he's not a super exciting athlete, he will definitely find some playing time this season due to the other qualities he brings to the table.