Friday Q&A: February 15, 2013

1) How do you see the depth chart shaking out for next year’s basketball team, and who will be the breakout player?

Robert Brown

Chris Coleman: Those are both good questions. Virginia Tech will bring in five new players next season, and if nobody on the current team transfers, the Hokies will have a full roster of 13 scholarship players. Even if one or two guys do decide to leave, James Johnson will have many more options next year than he has this year.

We’re going to operate under the assumption that nobody transfers following the end of this season. That’s always a big assumption, but until something happens, there is no reason to speculate.

Point guard: Adam Smith is not a point guard. He is a scoring 2-guard in a point guard’s body. I believe he’ll play a major role next season, but not at point guard. I also don’t see Donte Clark playing point guard right away for the Hokies, considering he doesn’t start at that position for Hargrave. Point guard duties next year will be handled by Marquis Rankin and Malik Mueller , who is the newest Tech commit. Mueller is from Germany, and he has played on the German National Team. He will be a 19 year old freshman next season for the Hokies.

I believe Mueller is likely to step in and start right away for Virginia Tech. Rankin is a good on-ball defender, and he’s a solid spark plug off the bench, but I don’t view him as a starting point guard. Mueller has a wider range of abilities, and he’s capable of being a solid scorer for the Hokies. You can check out his highlight video below. Note: You’ll probably want to turn your speakers down before watching the video.

Shooting guard: Robert Brown is struggling right now, but will anyone be able to displace him from the starting lineup next year? Adam Smith can certainly score, but his size is a limitation defensively. He and Marquis Rankin can’t be on the court at the same time, because their lack of size would be a big disadvantage going up against teams with big guards.

I believe that Donte Clark will begin his career as a 2-guard. Incoming true freshman Ben Emelogu has the size to play both the 2-guard and small forward positions. Emelogu and Clark will have a competition for early playing time on the wing, but overall Emelogu seems to be a little bit ahead right now. He can score from all three levels.

Nevertheless, I expect Brown and Smith to get the majority of work at shooting guard. Below you can view a highlight tape of Adam Smith as a freshman at UNC-Wilmington.

Small forward: Jarell Eddie is Virginia Tech’s returning starter at small forward. He will likely be Tech’s leading returning scorer. Eddie must find a way to get his game more consistent. He has played very well in many games this year. In many others, he’s played very poorly. Rarely do we get an average game from Eddie. He’s either good or bad.

If Ben Emelogu can show that he can play with consistency, it’s not out of the question that he can step in and steal a number of Eddie’s minutes.

Power forward: I believe that Marshall Wood has a higher ceiling than C.J. Barksdale , particularly with the system that James Johnson wants to employ. Wood is a guy who can knock down an open three-pointer, and he’s an athletic guy around the