The NC State game showed that the Tech players are still fighting and competing. They are getting better in certain areas. They have to find a way to close out games like this.
Jarell Eddie came on late in the game and made some big shots. He started out slow. He’s getting used to coming off the bench. He’s a talented player who can really shoot. He’s been up and down and inconsistent.
As time goes on, Marshall Wood is starting to get his legs back and his confidence back. Being out six weeks really hurt him. Hopefully Jarell Eddie is coming out of his slump as well.
Marshall Wood can shoot the ball. He made four three-pointers in the Maroon-Orange scrimmage. He has been a good outside shooter. He’s been staying after practice and getting in extra work, and it was good to see it carry over into a game. Johnson knew Wood could rebound as well. He was the team’s leading rebounder in practice in the preseason. It was a bit of a surprise that Wood got 16 rebounds against that NC State front line.
The Hokies practiced their missed free throw play a lot in the preseason. Erick Green and Jarell Eddie executed it perfectly. The coaching staff knew NC State was going to foul them when Mark Gottfried called a timeout, so they drew up that free throw play in the huddle before the Hokies inbounded the ball.
Tech came out ready to play on Saturday, but Johnson thought he saw fatigue set in yet again on Saturday. They just don’t have enough guys. Erick Green has to score a lot of points, and he also had to guard Lorenzo Brown on Saturday. That makes for a long game.
Johnson has seen every defense you could possibly throw at Erick Green this year. Green has handled it very well.
The atmosphere around the team is very good. They enjoy being around each other. Johnson has talked to some coaches who win 25 games a year and they hate going to practice every day because they don’t like their players, or their players don’t like each other.
Johnson is very pleased with his group of walk-ons this year. They have helped out a lot. They have stayed positive on the bench, and they help in practice. Marshall Wood is probably the guy who is most likely to make his teammates laugh.
Johnson was good friends with former MLB closer Billy Wagner. They both went to Ferrum College together. Watching him pitch in college was unbelievable.
Johnson took his team to the Special Olympics in Blacksburg earlier this week. It has a special place in his heart because his sister graduated from the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. It means a lot to him and his players to be able to take time out and help with events like that.
Johnson feels good about the recruiting class that is coming in next season. Maurice Kirby’s season is over, as is Trevor Thompson’s. Donte Clark is at Hargrave, and he’s still playing. Ben Emelogu’s team in Texas is 21-3, and he’s having a really good year. Johnson expects all those guys to come in and help right away.
Virginia has always had good basketball recruits. Teams recruit Virginia a lot. It can be tough for Tech to recruit basketball players from the Hampton Roads area. Not only do the North Carolina schools have a better tradition, but they are also closer to the prospects from the 757.
Johnson is happy about some of the new recruiting rules. Now schools can pay for recruits’ parents to come on official visits as well. Some kids commit on their visits if their parents are with them. Ben Emelogu is an example. He committed to the Hokies while he was at Bull & Bones with his parents.
Virginia Tech has to play 40 minutes of basketball to win. Or, they have to play 40+ minutes, as he told his players. The UNC and NC State games were overtime losses. They will have to do the same against Duke. They have to be sharp on the defensive end, and they will have to be able to handle Duke’s pressure. Tech will have to play their ball handlers in this game, such as Marquis Rankin.
Erick Green has had an amazing season. Not only is he scoring well, he’s also being very efficient. He’s shooting at a high percentage, and he could have had more assists if his teammates had made more shots.
Monday day 3,006 in Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup!