After Virginia Tech’s loss to Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last Friday, optimism was at an all-time high around the Hokies’ basketball program. With a roster loaded full of talented underclassmen, players and fans were already looking forward to next year.
Virginia Tech fans were disappointed earlier this week when four-star freshman guard Joe Bamisile announced he was entering the NCAA transfer portal after just one season in the program.
While disappointed, many understood Bamisile’s decision to look for another place where he can get in the starting lineup quicker.
On Thursday, Hokie fans were shocked when sophomore guard Jalen Cone also announced he was entering the transfer portal.
Now, Virginia Tech’s backcourt depth certainly doesn’t feel as deep.
Cone, who played in 32 games as a freshman in 2019-20, averaged eight points per game and was one of the nation’s top 3-point shooters at 45.7%.
Isaiah 43:2-3 thank you Hokie Nation pic.twitter.com/cYmaNe4oVi— Jalen Cone (@J15Cone) March 25, 2021
In 2020-21, Cone continued his role as instant offense off the bench, although injuries limited him to 15 games this past season. Cone averaged 9.2 points per game but shot just 34.7% from beyond the arc.
Cone, a point guard in high school, wanted the opportunity to lead a team as the starting point guard, and that wasn’t going to happen at Virginia Tech next season with Storm Murphy in Blacksburg.
Cone had a strong role on this team, as head coach Mike Young worked hard to get Cone looks from 3-point range. Before his injury in February, Cone struggled in his final six games with the Hokies, scoring a total of 21 points, and shooting just seven of 36 from the field.
This is a tough loss for the Hokies, but it will not significantly weaken the team heading into next season. While Young did not want to lose Bamisile or Cone, he now has two extra roster spots he can use in the transfer portal. In case you’ve missed it, the portal is already loaded with talent. Virginia Tech isn’t the only program losing talented kids.
We’ll miss Jalen Cone. A fun young player with a really nice shot. He’s also a good kid who Virginia Tech fans should root for wherever he lands. Much like Bamisile, this wasn’t personal toward Virginia Tech. Let’s all wish these kids the best.
Now, it will be interesting to see where Young looks to add players for next season. We know he is already looking to add a big. Guard depth is almost certainly in play now, too.