All Hokie, All the Time. Period.

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My novel of thoughts on the team, and moving forward.

First things first, let's talk about rankings! (Yes I understand it's early, but we're closer to being in the AP Top 25 than you'd expect). Preseason rankings, which are still in effect until the newest top 25 poll is released later today, but nobody in the top 25 lost and no teams ahead of us have lost, either. As to be expected from the first week of the season. However, two games tonight can help us jump up, as Minnesota (#15) plays Providence (#30). Regardless of that outcome, we will move up a spot. Additionally, St. Mary's (#22) plays a very good New Mexico State Team (they dropped 147 points in their first game, who could easily beat them, vaulting us up a spot. These are two games that could put as at #30, not including the fact that we will most likely move up a spot or two given the fact that we're 2-0 and one of the highest scoring offenses in the nation. Yes, rankings don't necessarily matter and it's early, I get that. But if we take care of business against a good St. Louis team and Providence upsets St. Mary's, then we either play a potentially ranked Providence team or a good Washington team. We're probably two games away from being in the top 25, if we win of course.

Onto the real stuff: we are going to be one heck of an annoying team to play against. We're very Golden State Warriors-esque. No, UVa fans reading this and scoffing, I'm not comparing us to the caliber of a championship winning NBA team. What I'm saying is that we can shoot the 3-ball lights out, and this is a statement being said without Justin Bibbs even stepping on the court yet. We are VERY small but we are VERY fast and shoot the ball VERY well. Teams with size will be extremely tough for us, but our speed and tempo, combined with shooting, is the best way to counter a big team. When our guys are all clicking, we will be able to beat any team in country, and that's not an exaggeration. "Everyone clicking" is a rare feat though. But you understand what I'm saying.


Chris Clarke: Clarke is so exciting to watch. I do get nervous every time he takes a bump or makes a sharp cut, it's always got me sweating more than I should. He's a great player and we need him to stay healthy. But he's no stranger to injuries so I like the minutes restriction so far, and I wouldn't lift that restriction until January unless we absolutely need to. I didn't see the South Carolina game but saw he nailed a 3-pointer and heard it was a confident, no-hesitation shot. We need him taking more jumpers for 2 reasons: it expands his arsenal and makes him harder to cover/predict, and it also avoids him taking any more contact than he should be taking. His game is predicated by his slashing ability so I can't expect him to not slash, but man he is good. He has 24 points and 15 rebounds in 38 minutes on the season.

Justin Robinson: 5 is the dude. He's a spotty shooter, but we saw last night that he's clearly worked on his deep shot. If he can remain relatively consistent with that, teams are going to really have a hard time covering him. We know he can drive and dish (averaging 6.5 assists per game so far), but adding a reliable 3-ball on a team of shooters makes him so deadly. It's crazy to think he's a junior - he sure does lead like a senior. As has already been pointed out on the board, he's averaging 7 minutes per game less than last year, but averaging more points and assists, so definitely a product of maximizing his time on the court and knowing that he doesn't have to save the day for the team on both ends of the court.

Kerry Blackshear Jr.: I remember saying last year going into the season that the ONE guy we couldn't lose was Kerry. And we all now see what we were missing. He's so talented around the rim. His length is hard to cover and he's probably the best big man in terms of running the court and having good hands that we've had in twenty or thirty years. If Buzz allows him to step outside and pop a 3 every once in a while, which he is fully capable of doing so, he's going to be a nightmare matchup. The unfortunate part of this is that we aren't going to see him play as many minutes as we'd like. Teams know how small we are and they're going to do everything they can to get him in foul trouble early. He will probably be a 2nd half player given that 2 fouls in the first will remove him until then. I'm OK with him picking up fouls, just as long as he's staying healthy. He's the key to the team in my opinion.

Ahmed Hill: talk about a guy who spent serious time in the gym during the offseason. You can see it in his body. He's ridiculously cut and can really run the court well. He's gotten stronger and has elevated his driving game. Not to mention his corner 3 has gotten better. He's definitely a team leader and we need him to stay around the 16+ PPG mark for us to be in a good spot, which he can do for sure. After missing the season two years ago, it was apparent last year that he didn't want to drive much, anticipating the contact and possibly not being 100% healthy, which is why he took so many 3's last year. This year, he's meshed the two aspects of his offensive game and he's become a very complete player. He doesn't have to do anything spectacular, but we need him to be a constant more than anyone this year.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker: Holy cow. Enjoy watching this guy because we might not have him next year. Some NBA mock drafts had him going in the first round, before the season even started, and I haven't seen anything to dispute that. He's the most natural scorer we've had in a long time, and you can tell that his ceiling is enormous. We might get a 40-point game out of him this year. Last night he had 29 and that was with a few missed layups and a few missed free throws, and he was taken out of the game with 5 minutes left. I highly highly highly doubt he stays for 4 years, but if he does, we're looking at the all-time scoring leader for VT history.

PJ Horne: I can't get a good grasp on him yet, but he had 12 points in the South Carolina scrimmage and had 10 rebounds against Detroit Mercy. He didn't play much last night, but I think he's a season in the weight room away from being our next JT Thompson (for those who don't remember him, he was an undersized big man who gave opponents trouble with his effort and motor). I like his skill set a lot, and obviously Buzz does too, so I have high hopes for him.

Tyrie Jackson: He's quickly becoming a fan favorite. It's a shame he's only 6'0" because if he was 6'6" or taller he'd average 15 rebounds per game easy. He's probably the best athlete on the team, just in a smaller body. But he sure makes up for size with effort. He has a really good looking shot and knows how to distribute the ball. He's as good as any of them defensively too, and he's only going to grow as a player and competitor. I see a lot of Robinson in him.

Wabissa Bede: Like Jackson, I see J-Rob's skillset in Bede. To me, he's more of a junkyard dog, a guy who can get an attitude and be a fierce competitor. He has a good looking shot and is fearless when he drives to the goal. He and Robinson were almost identical in their recruiting measurables and you can see why. We have depth at PG and SG like we haven't had in a long time. Bede is going to be really solid.

Devin Wilson: He's the quiet leader on the team. A buddy of mine pointed out that his body language states otherwise, but I think that's just because he's still trying to figure out how to get back into game speed since being away from games for a year. He's our defensive stopper and a surprisingly good rebounder. He's every bit of 6'4" but plays a lot tougher and in my opinion, with a much more mature approach offensively. He's still a "pass first" type of player, but he's driving to the basket and making cuts behind the back line of the defense since he's not always the primary ball handler. We're going to see some lineups this year where he's playing center, which is wild to think. But I really like his composure and he seems to be the guy who's going to be our mental "glue" if and when the team runs into some obstacles.

Nick Fullard: The guy has an inspiring story, for sure, and he's worked hard to earn his minutes. His first game against Detroit Mercy, he played just 2 minutes, picking up 2 quick fouls and a turnover. Not exactly what you want to see out of the backup big man. Don't expect him to play many minutes this year, but when teams take it straight to Blackshear on the regular, we will need Fullard to step up and get 4-6 minutes per game if we're being realistic. He can provide some fouls, grab a few boards, and hopefully get a basket here and there. As long as he's a presence in the post and doesn't turn it over, he doesn't need to do many flashy things. Expect to see him take advantage of the minutes given, while sparingly. He's not very fast, which doesn't work well in the nature of our offense, but he sure can provide energy minutes and size that we will need come ACC play.

Justin Bibbs: You know what he brings. He will be just fine.

Looking forward: We are poised for an offensive break out season. We may very well lead the ACC in points per game. Defensively, we need to figure that out, but our front line sure can produce a lot of steals. I anticipate us averaging a lot of points and a lot of forced turnovers, but surrendering a lot of points in the paint. I imagine we will trade opponents' 2's for 3's oftentimes, which is what we can expect, which is fine as long as we're hitting.

I never want to be that guy that's always projecting for "next year," but let's take a step back and realize what we have next year. The team we've seen over the first 2 games is going to be the exact same team we see next year, with Ty Outlaw replacing Devin Wilson. I love Wilson, but Outlaw is a huge upgrade on offense and is actually a really good rebounder. Bibbs graduates and we will definitely miss him, but based on the fact he's been out the first two games, I'm pointing out that the team we've seen so far is essentially the same next year, PLUS 3 recruits coming in, one of which is ESPN top100 player 6'5" SG/SF Landers Nolley. Buzz is a year away from having an entire team of "his guys" and you're seeing, based on the tempo and speed of the team, exactly the type of roster he's going for.


Go Hokies!

[Post edited by WeAreDBU at 11/14/2017 10:10AM]

Posted: 11/13/2017 at 1:15PM


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Current Thread:
My novel of thoughts on the team, and moving forward. -- WeAreDBU 11/13/2017 1:15PM
  Great, detailed perspectives* ** -- A3genhokie 11/13/2017 7:35PM
  Just having Sy would be so huge for this team. Such a shame. ** -- Last Full Measure 11/14/2017 12:23PM
  Maybe in terms of getting KB some rest but Sy is very limited -- Fightin Gobbler 11/14/2017 3:14PM
  Heard he might be back for 2nd semester. Not sure -- RJHokie 11/14/2017 12:31PM
  Good post and I would add -- Coastal Hokie 11/13/2017 3:01PM
  Nolley and Kabongo can both fill it up ... -- vt90 11/13/2017 2:52PM
  Not to mention 5, Med, Bede, Pig, and Outlaw. -- Gobbler Guru 11/13/2017 9:25PM

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