The wait is over. The Virginia Tech Hokies have a new basketball coach. Mike Young spent 30 years at Wofford, including the last 17 as head coach. While many will judge Young’s overall record as not overly impressive, consider how he built the Wofford program into a semi-regular in the NCAA Tournament and your opinion should change.
Young worked on a tight budget at Wofford. That will change now that he’s in the ACC. The first thing Young needs to do is hire a good staff. His first coaching hire could be one of his former players, Shane Nichols. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Nichols, much like Young, was a star at nearby Radford High. Currently, Nichols is an assistant at Murray State where he recruited and helped develop future NBA lottery pick, Ja Morant.
Recruiting is the name of the game in college sports. Young must prove he can recruit at this level or he won’t get the chance to develop a program like he did at Wofford. Young’s first recruiting challenge is someone already in Blacksburg: Rising senior Kerry Blackshear Jr.
Blackshear broke out in 2018-19. A talented but somewhat frustrating player at times during his first two years on campus, Blackshear put it all together this season. He dominated the post, got to the foul line often and proved he could make shots from outside, too. He didn’t just become the best post player in the ACC, but one of the best in the country.
But, you see, Blackshear has options. He has already graduated. Remember, he redshirted one season after a foot injury so he has one year of eligibility remaining. In the NCAA, that means he could transfer now and not be forced to sit out a season as a graduate transfer. You don’t think Buzz Williams would love to get him Texas A&M?
There’s also his NBA prospects. Blackshear looks like a future NBA player. It wouldn’t hurt if he announced his intentions to enter the upcoming draft, see how he performs against other draft hopefuls and if he doesn’t like what he’s hearing, he can return to school for one more season.
Will that be in Blacksburg?
That’s partially up to Young. He must convince Blackshear why he should remain at Virginia Tech for one more season. Williams left the roster in bad shape next year. His constant flirtations with other schools in the offseason likely played a part in Tech’s recruiting. So, if the Hokies want to avoid making the 2019-20 season a complete rebuilding job, Young will need to convince Blackshear to remain in Blacksburg.
Good luck, Coach Young.