It’s the return of college basketball. The Hokies kick off the season with an ACC clash in the form of a road trip to Clemson. As we’ve already discussed, Virginia Tech has a new head coach in charge and quite a young roster. But exactly how young are the Hokies? What experience can Mike Young rely on early in the season? Let’s take a quick look at the current roster.
Breakdown by class:
- Senior/Graduate Student (1): Branden Johnson (a transfer from Alabama State)
- Junior (4): Wabissa Bede and P.J. Horne are the only returning upperclassmen with significant minutes for the Hokies. While Keve Aluma transferred from Wofford, following coach Mike Young, after featuring as a main starter for the side who made the NCAA Tournament. Ryan Payne is a walk-on who isn’t expected to see many minutes.
- Sophomore (4): Isaiah Wilkins played his way into a strong Hokies lineup during his freshman season. With the turnover in the off-season, Wilkins will be expected to become a significant contributor. Jonathan Kabongo saw limited time in his freshman year, but should feature early on. Brendan Palmer saw just three minutes of action last season and Grant Yates is a walk-on transfer from Christopher Newport University.
- Redshirt Freshman (2): Landers Nolley sat out his freshman season in Blacksburg under Buzz Williams. A highly rated recruit, Nolley was listed as the #49 player in the nation by Rivals and #65 by 247sports. Both sites placed him in the top 15 small forwards in the country. Tyrece Radford joins him in the redshirt freshman class.
- Freshman (4): Transitions to new coaches can greatly impact the incoming freshman class. But Young was able to secure 4-star point guard Jalen Cone for Virginia Tech, along with three other 3-star recruits. The Hokies have the 47th best class for the 2019-20 season, according to 247Sports. Cone reclassified to enroll a year early, Hunter Cattoor switched his commitment from Wofford to VT following Mike Young. The other incoming freshman to watch for is John Ojiako who was ranked as the number 10 center in the country by ESPN.
- 8 pure guards on the roster.
- Landers Nolley is listed as a guard and forward, but likely will see time at the forward position given his 6’7” height and the overall makeup of the roster.
- 6 forwards are listed, with 0 centers. However, at 6’10” Ojiako should play as a center, along with graduate transfer Branden Johnson (6’8”).
The Hokies open the season as seven point underdogs traveling down to South Carolina. Even with Clemson going through a transition as well, the Tigers will have the edge at home. Mike Young will be watching to see how his young team plays together, picks up his system, and which players start to stand out.
You can watch Virginia Tech open the year on ESPNU tonight at 7 pm ET.