We are just one week away from the start of the 2020-21 men’s basketball season. The Hokies will host Radford in Cassell Coliseum for the two program’s first game against one another since 2017. In fact, despite their close proximity the two schools have only met 10 times, with Virginia Tech holding the edge 8-2 in the series. For second year head coach Mike Young, a Radford native, it’ll be a special way to open what is sure to be a unique season.
Up until a week ago the Athletic Department was planning on having up to 1,000 spectators inside of Cassell Coliseum for games, but due to surging COVID-19 numbers and renewed restrictions in the state, capacity will now be limited to just 250. Honestly, as long as the games can continue as scheduled, having no fans there is worth the adjustment. As the football season taught us, expect game delays or reschedules as players and/or staff test positive throughout the year, whether that be in Blacksburg or from opposing sides.
But before we stress about what might be ahead, let’s focus on the start of the new season. Here is a quick refresher on last season, returning leading players, incoming freshmen class, the roster breakdown by position, the schedule (as of 11/18) and preseason predictions for the Hokies.
Last Season: 16-16 (7-13 in the ACC), finishing 12th in the regular season. Started ACC play 5-3, before ending the season with a tough 2-10 record.
ACC Tournament: Lost their opening round game against UNC.
Returning Leading Scorers: Tyrece Radford (10.2), Nahiem Alleyne (8.8) & Jalen Cone (8.0)
Returning Assist Leaders: Wabissa Bede (5.5), Tyrece Radford (1.7), Nahiem Alleyne (1.4)
Coach: Mike Young, 2nd season in Blacksburg.
Freshmen: Joe Bamisile (G), Darius Maddox (G), David N’Guessman (F), & Gill Williamson (F)
New Players (non-Freshmen): Keve Aluma (F, Wofford transfer), Cartier Diarra (G, Kansas State transfer), Justyn Mutts (F, Delaware transfer) & Cordell Pemsl (F, Iowa transfer).
Guards: Nahiem Alleyne (Sophomore), Joe Bamisile (Freshman), Wabissa Bede (Senior), Hunter Cattoor (Sophomore), Jalen Cone (Sophomore), Cartier Diarra (Senior), Darius Maddox (Freshman) & Tyrece Radford (Sophomore)
Forwards: Keve Aluma (Junior), Justyn Mutts (Junior), David N’Guessman (Freshman), John Ojiako (Sophomore), Cordell Pemsl (Senior), Gill Williamson (Freshman), & Grant Yates (Sophomore)
Centers: None. However, expect Pemsl (6’9”), Ojiako (6’10”), Aluma (6’9”) & N’Guessman (6’9”) to function in a version of the role depending the situation and opposition lineup.
11/25 vs. Radford
11/28 vs. Temple (Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Conn.)
11/29 vs. USF (Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Conn.)
12/3 vs. VMI
12/8 vs. Penn State
12/15 vs. Clemson
12/19 vs. Coppin State
12/21 vs. Longwood
12/29 (or 12/30) vs. Miami (Fla.)
1/2 (or 1/4) at Virginia
1/5 (or 1/6) at Louisville
1/10 vs. Notre Dame
1/12 (or 1/13) vs. Duke
1/17 at Wake Forest
1/19 (or 1/20) vs. Boston College
1/23 vs. Syracuse
1/26 (or 1/27) at Notre Dame
1/30 vs. Virginia
2/2 (or 2/3) at Pitt
2/6 at Miami
2/9 (or 2/10) vs Florida State
2/13 vs. Louisville
2/16 (or 2/17) at North Carolina
2/20 at Florida State
2/23 (or 2/24) vs Georgia Tech
2/27 vs Wake Forest
3/5 (or 3/6) at NC State
Predicted Starting Lineup: Wabissa Bede, Tyrece Radford, Cartier Diarra, Keve Aluma & Nahiem Alleyne
Hopefully the season can play out, as the Hokies have a very interesting roster for Coach Young’s second year in charge and should push farther up the ACC ladder. You can catch Virginia Tech kick off their season next Wednesday, November 25th on the ACC Network (time TBD).