The Virginia Tech Hokies and new basketball coach Mike Young were certainly hoping they’d get one more season of Kerry Blackshear, Jr. Those hopes were evaporated on Wednesday evening, when Jeff Goodman of Stadium Sports reported Blackshear would likely be heading to Florida.
Kerry Blackshear, barring a last-minute change of heart, is expected to choose Florida, source told @Stadium. Huge pickup for Mike White and the Gators.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 27, 2019
First, this was not totally unexpected. We’ve discussed here how it was becoming unlikely Blackshear would remain in Blacksburg. After taking a grand tour of the SEC, Blackshear finally chose his home-state Florida Gators over the Hokies, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas A&M, among others.
There are multiple ways to view this. First, let’s wish Blackshear the best moving forward. An outstanding young man, Blackshear represented everything good about Virginia Tech. While we may not like or agree with his decision, it was his decision and we should respect it.
On the basketball side of things, is going to the SEC better than playing in the ACC? I mean, no one is going to confuse SEC Basketball for SEC football. However, Florida is a solid program, despite not reaching the levels Billy Donovan had set in previous years before leaving for the NBA in 2015.
Blackshear apparently really liked Tennessee, too. One could make a point playing for Rick Barnes and the Vols would’ve been a better situation than playing for Mike White and the Gators. After all, the Vols just lost Grant Williams to the NBA.
There were plenty of reasons to choose the Hokies, too. For one, the ACC is the best conference in college hoops. Playing against talented ACC squads night after night will make you a better player. We can certainly see how much Blackshear improved in 2019, especially when Justin Robinson went down. Blackshear dominated against teams like Duke and Virginia. And there’s also the familiarity with the team, school, area, etc.
However, Blackshear chose the Gators and we should appreciate what he gave the Hokies over the last four seasons. And please don’t blame Mike Young for this. Young has done an outstanding job filling this roster, given the constraints he’s faced. Young fought hard to keep Blackshear but the truth is that Blackshear was probably never returning to Blacksburg.
Best of luck, Kerry. And thanks for everything.
Oh, should I mention the Hokies also lost a four-star defensive end to the Gators today, too? Antwaun Powell, a Portsmouth native, also chose the Gators over the Hokies today. This was not long after Powell had a great visit to Blacksburg. Ouch.
Goodnight, Hokies. Enjoy our football countdown.