Hokies In The Pros: Delaney Signs With Hawks, Tapp to New Orleans, Minor League Players Making Strides

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Malcolm Delaney
Malcolm Delaney

In case you missed it, Virginia Tech will soon have another player in the NBA.  Malcolm Delaney will sign a contract with the Atlanta Hawks.

Online reports say that he’s signing for two years and $1.49 million.  But as Delaney himself told us on Twitter today, no monetary figures have been released.  However, the deal is for two years.

The former Virginia Tech guard has been a star in Europe ever since he left Virginia Tech at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season. Per this link, he made 1.15 million Euros in 2015.  He turned down a two year, $5 million deal from Barcelona last month according to this link.  Keep in mind that TSL has no way of confirming those numbers or those rumors.

(Note: former Virginia Tech guard Jamon Gordon made 1.35 million Euros playing in Istanbul this past season, according to the link above.  That’s worth $1,496,907, per today’s exchange rate.  While playing in Europe isn’t quite the NBA, the type of salaries that top players make in Europe show how big basketball is around the world.)

The timing was right for Delaney, who had also been linked by various reports to the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets.  He’s expected to back up Dennis Schroder, who will start at point guard for Atlanta.

Delaney is one of two former Virginia Tech players who are currently on an NBA roster.  Jarell Eddie is a member of the Washington Wizards.  He appeared in 26 games this past season, averaging 2.4 points per game.  Eddie’s contract for 2016-17 is not guaranteed, which means he’ll have to earn his way onto the roster for the second year in a row.  If he does that, he’ll earn $980,431 for the upcoming season.

Former ACC Player of the Year Erick Green appeared in nine games for the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz in 2015-16, averaging 2.2 points per game.  He averaged 3.4 points per game in 43 games with the Nuggets in 2014-15.  He is not currently under contract with any NBA team.  He will play for the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Summer League and hopes to play well enough to earn a preseason roster spot.

If all three of those players find themselves on an NBA roster this season, it would mark the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Hokies had three players in the NBA.  Those players in 96-97 were Bimbo Coles, Dell Curry and – believe it or not – Jimmy Carruth.  Carruth played in four games for the Milwaukee Bucks that year, scoring five points and grabbing four rebounds.

Mark Zagunis
Mark Zagunis is an on-base machine.

Two Hammerin’ Hokies Making Strides in Triple-A

Chad Pinder was a second round pick of the Oakland A’s in 2013 after helping Virginia Tech earn a No. 1 seed in NCAA Regionals.  He steadily progressed through the minors and was named the MVP of the Double-A Texas League in 2015.  He hit .317 with a .361 OBP, and added 15 homers and 86 RBIs.

As expected, Pinder was promoted to Triple-A Nashville in 2016.  He got off to a very slow start as he adjusted to a higher level of pitching.  However, his bat has steadily warmed up this summer, and Pinder is now hitting .259 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs.  He will play in the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game.

Pinder is a versatile infielder who can play second base, third base or shortstop.  That versatility, along with his solid pop, make him a Major League prospect.  MLB.com ranks him as the A’s No. 7 prospect, while Baseball America also has him at No. 7.

Mark Zagunis was a third-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2014.  Like Pinder, he helped the Hokies earn at No. 1 seed in 2013 while catching and playing in the outfield.  From an on-base percentage standpoint, his minor league career has been pretty remarkable.  He’s hit .284 with a .404 OBP across all levels of the minors, and those numbers have stayed steady even as he’s been promoted to higher levels.

In 2015, Zagunis played 115 games for Myrtle Beach, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Cubs.  He hit .271 with eight homers and 54 RBIs.  He walked 80 times, with 86 strikeouts, and finished with an on-base percentage of .406.  After posting a .466 OBP in the Arizona Fall League, he was promoted to Double-A Tennessee at the start of 2016.

He stayed hot with the Tennessee Smokies, and in fact his numbers improved.  In 51 games, he hit .302 with a .408 OBP.  That included four homers and 24 RBIs.  He was recently promoted to Triple-A Iowa, where he’s hitting .294 with a .352 OBP.  He has three homers and 12 RBIs in 29 games.  He was slated to play in the Double-A All-Star game, but his promotion to Iowa got in the way.

Zagunis was moved to the outfield full-time before this season, and he is ranked as the Cubs’ No. 18 prospect by MLB.com.

Note: Zagunis played with Brad Markey at Virginia Tech, and he’s also played with him throughout his minor league career.  Markey is currently in Double-A with Tennessee, where he is 6-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 16 games, with 14 starts.  He played in the Double-A All-Star Game.  Markey was a 19th Round pick in 2014.

Tapp Signs with New Orleans

Former Virginia Tech star defensive end Darryl Tapp is now a New Orleans Saint.  After a recent workout, the Saints signed him for defensive line depth.  A very versatile player, Tapp has played both defensive end and outside linebacker in the NFL.  He even saw time at defensive tackle with the Philadelphia Eagles in pass rushing situations.

The Saints will be Tapp’s fifth NFL team since his rookie year in 2006.  He was originally a second-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks.  He has 27.5 career sacks, 11 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

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6 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I understand Jeff Allen is playing in Israel. Any news on how he’s doing? Man, he was talented. Unfortunately he got on the wrong side of the refs…..

  2. Zagunis, unfortunately, has a lot of young talent blocking him from advancing to the majors for the Cubs. Best thing that could happen to him would be to be dealt somewhere before the July 31 trading deadline. Cubs need some bullpen help and will likely deal prospects to get it.

    Whatever happened to Austin Wates? He looked good to me at Tech, I hoped he had a shot. Last I heard he was in the Astros system.

  3. “CAR-RUTH! CAR-RUTH! CARRUTH IS ON FIRE!!” He could whip the crowd at Cassel into a frenzy.

    1. I never knew he even sniffed the NBA, much less logged some game time! Awesome for him.

  4. Thanks for the update on Tech players in the pros. Enjoy keeping up & recently learned that Brian Randall is planning to play arena football in China. Always GO HOKIES!

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