To the surprise of no one, Virginia Tech freshman Landers Nolley made the All-ACC Freshman Team. At one point this season, Nolley had won so many ACC Rookie of the Week honors it was a foregone conclusion he would be the ACC Rookie of the Year.
Well, that didn’t happen as Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr. won the award and rightfully so. Carey was the league’s preeminent freshman and I am not sure it was that close once league play began.
Nolley had a terrific start to the season. It looked like the Hokies had a legit star on their hands.
Pretty solid first year for @NolleyLanders— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) March 9, 2020
15.6 points, 5.9 rebounds & 2.5 assists per game
The guard/forward becomes the fifth Hokie to earn ACC All-Freshman Team & is All-ACC Honorable Mention as well#StoneByStone | #Hokies pic.twitter.com/X1q3CgDKLL
However, in early February it appeared Nolley hit a wall. He had numerous performances where he shot less than 30 percent from the field. In fact, in nine of his last 11 games, Nolley shot 31 percent or less from the field.
During that time, fellow freshman, Tyrece Radford, picked up the slack. While the Hokies as a team struggled as Nolley’s performances declined, Radford ended up being a dynamite performer on both ends of the floor. At just 6-foot-1, Radford was Tech’s top rebounder and proved to be a good scorer.
Frankly, if you vote #Hokies forward Landers Nolley to the ACC All-Freshman team, but not teammate Tyrece Radford, you're not paying attention.— Norm Wood (@normwood) March 9, 2020
When Radford develops a more consistent jump shot he will be an All-ACC performer. He should have made the All-ACC freshman team in addition to Nolley. If only one Hokie would have made it, there is a strong case for Radford over Nolley.
Nolley’s struggles from the field, especially from three-point range in ACC play are a concern. However, with players like Radford, Nolley and Jalen Cone, in addition to a strong recruiting class next year, the future of Virginia Tech basketball is bright.