The Virginia Tech Hokies will open the 2022-23 college basketball season as the reigning ACC champions. Sure, Duke or North Carolina could open the season as the reigning national champions — depending on what happens in the Final Four — but it still doesn’t change what the Hokies accomplished in Brooklyn this month.
Mike Young’s team could look far different next season, with Storm Murphy, Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts all departing Blacksburg. However, Aluma and Mutts have one year of eligibility remaining and could return. What are the odds of either player returning? Well, no one knows but Mutts or Aluma, but there’s a chance.
If Mutts, Aluma, or both players depart, the Hokies will likely make a veteran addition or two via the NCAA transfer portal. Young will have a lot to sell to some top frontcourt players looking for an increased role in the nation’s leading conference.
The Hokies have an impressive recruiting class coming in, too, led by four-star combo guard Rodney Rice from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland. Could the Hokies also add another highly-rated DeMatha star to the 2022 mix?
Four-star forward Tyrell Ward recently de-committed from Xavier after the Musketeers fired head coach Travis Steele and Ward chose to re-open his recruitment. The 6-foot-7, 185-pound Ward is the No. 36 overall player in the 2022 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports. And, with Rice and their former head coach at DeMatha, Mike Jones, on staff at Virginia Tech, could the Hokies now be considered the favorite for Ward?
It’s certainly an exciting possibility. Remember, Virginia Tech was a finalist for Ward before he committed to Xavier last July.
Ward will have plenty of options as one of the top uncommitted players remaining.
Virginia Tech, Georgetown, UCF, Tennessee, Providence, Pittsburgh, and Louisville have reached out to Top-35 senior Tyrell Ward, sources told @Stockrisers. Reopened his recruitment today. Former Xavier pledge.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) March 20, 2022
In addition to the aforementioned schools, local schools like Maryland and Georgetown may re-enter the mix. Maryland has a new head coach who could sell Ward on remaining home.
Let’s imagine the possibilities for a moment. What if Aluma and Mutts return and Ward signs with the Hokies? We are all Hokie fans and live in the real world, so this likely does not happen, but the chances are better than ever now because of what Mike Young has built in Blacksburg.
If only one of Aluma or Mutts returns and Ward signs, the Hokies will be in good shape. Sean Pedulla should replace Murphy in the starting lineup, and Rice will split backcourt minutes with Hunter Cattoor, Nahiem Alleyne and Darius Maddox. The Hokies will also bring in another combo guard in M.J. Collins, 7-foot center Patrick Wessler and forward Darren Buchanan.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest basketball news regarding Ward, Aluma, Mutts and other happenings surrounding Mike Young’s squad.
But, for once, it feels good to be hopeful — but realistic.