I honestly have no idea how JJ's tenure as head coach will turnout. I certainly hope it is very successful and for a very long period of time. But I have no clue, nor does anyone else.
Anybody remember Frank Beamer and his 2-8-1 record? What did that tell us about the future of Va. Tech football? Following that season how many of you predicted that we would go to 20 straight bowl games, play for the National Championship, go eight straight years winning 10 or more games. Did you know then that we would win multiple championships in the Big East and the ACC, be a mainstay among the nation's top twenty teams, be considered one of the elite programs in college football and have the winningest active coach in the country. No one could have predict any that 2-8-1 season and no one can predict what will happen to the basketball program under James Johnson.
We know that JJ took over a team that was short on talent and short on depth. We know that he started out with a strong winning record that no one expected. We know that he was good enough as a coach to defeat the then number 15 team in the country (Olka. State) but bad enough to lose to a terrible team in Ga. State. We know that when he was winning the team was shooting lights out but when they seemed to lose their confidence, following the one pt. loss at West Va. their shooting touch went away (with the exception of Green). We know that we went from one of the highest scoring teams in the country to a team struggling to score. It is hard to win games when you can't score.
We know that since the fast start JJ has had to deal with injuries to two key players in Wood (foot) and Barksdale (knee). We know the flue bug seemed to have hit almost every player on the team to some degree causing some players to play sick, weak or not at all. During this time we know that JJ was forced to play walk-on players for major minutes and employee a variety of defenses to protect players from foul trouble.
We know that defense has been poor although we have been told that they are practicing a wide variety of defensive drills everyday in practice. In recent games it seems to have improved.
Through all of this with, the losing included, JJ has kept this team together. For the most part they continue to play hard with good effort. They have managed to win two games against ACC competition hang tough against what is arguably the best team in the conference (Miami) and come within a basket of defeating UNC in the Dean Dome.
Seldom have I heard him make excuses. He hates losing and you can hear it in his voice following a loss. He still has high expectation for this team and you can tell when he feels the team is not playing up to their potential in post game interviews.
We know that he put together a pretty good recruiting year even though he was working with a time handicap. This according to RevZeke. Still some on this board have already written off next year before a single one of these recruits have stepped foot on campus. This negative attitude is based on what facts?
Some on this board have already written James Johnson's obituary as coach and have forecast the decimation of the VT basketball program. Following the OT loss to Carolina one poster said that Johnson is "over his head and can't coach". Really? If Erick Green makes the final shot in regulation time and Tech wins couldn't we say that Roy Williams, one of the best in the business, was out coached by JJ. After all Williams was coaching a team that is far more talented, far deeper and was playing in front of 21,000 Carolina fans. In truth there is no way Tech should have won that game but they almost did. Give JJ some credit.
I know some people never wanted JJ to be named head coach. They wanted a big name coach or a proven coach to be hired. So did I. But I will not use the team struggles to bash Johnson to prove that this was a bad hire. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. Only time will tell. But to use this one season to make a decision is in my opinion short sighted. Give the man a chance. Lets see what he can do when he has a full team of his own players where he can employ his own style of basketball to its fullest potential. I do know that most great coaches were at one time assistant coaches and someone gave then a chance to become the head coach and run their own program. We all owe James Johnson as much.