Late in the Season, Tech’s Lineup is Still in Flux

Today we’ll compare the production of Marshall Wood vs. C.J. Barksdale , and Will Johnston vs. Jarell Eddie .  Also, is Tech’s talent as good right now as it was 10-12 years ago?

Virginia Tech has gotten inconsistent performances from Jarell Eddie this year, and walk-on sophomore Will Johnston has gotten the start the last two games.  Also, Marshall Wood is being more productive than starting power forward C.J. Barksdale .  At this point in the season, 60% of Tech’s starting lineup isn’t playing consistent enough to have their starting positions locked down.  In fact, if James Johnson had a deeper bench, he probably would have replaced these guys a long time ago.  Obviously it’s tough to win when 60% of your starting lineup isn’t effective on a game-to-game basis.

Marshall Wood

Marshall Wood vs. C.J. Barksdale

In Marshall Wood ‘s last game, he had 14 points and 16 rebounds against a very talented NC State team.  Before that, he had eight points and five rebounds at UVA.  That’s very good production from a freshman over the course of two games, especially a freshman who missed a big chunk of the season with a fractured foot.  Meanwhile, starting power forward C.J. Barksdale had two points and four rebounds against UVA, and two points and one rebound against NC State.

Over his last nine games, Barksdale is averaging just 2.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.  Marshall Wood has combined to score more points in his last two games (22 points) than Barksdale has in his last nine (21 points).  It’s obvious who the more productive player is right now.  We’ve seen Wood’s minutes go up in the last two games, and he has the look of a guy who has a higher ceiling than Barksdale.  He’s more athletic, he’s got a deeper range, and he’s better on the boards.

Wood is 7-of-14 from the three-point line dating back to the Georgia Tech game on February 9.  He is 8-of-16 overall from the field during that span.  He obviously wasn’t shooting the ball particularly well to begin the season, but I saw him score 17 points and hit four three-pointers during Tech’s Maroon-Orange scrimmage back in October.  This is a guy who can make shots when he catches it with room and rhythm.

Plenty of Virginia Tech freshmen have struggled from three-point range, and then gone on to improve their shooting as their careers progressed.  These three guys come to mind:

Erick Green : 27.5% (38% as a senior)
Dorenzo Hudson: 21.3% (33.3% as a senior)
Terrell Bell: 21.7% (39.5% as a senior)

Those guys put a lot of work in on their shooting over the course of their careers, particularly Green and Bell.  Green has practically lived in the practice facility over the last two summers.  He’s put up thousands of shots in the gym to improve his shooting ability, and it’s paid off.

I read an article recently about Troy Daniels, a Roanoke native who plays for VCU.  He is one of the best three-point shooters in the nation, and last year he set the VCU record for most three-pointers made in a season.  The article notes that Daniels puts up over 1,000 shots per day in the summer.  Shooters shoot every single day, and I’m confident that if Marshall Wood puts in that type of work he will develop into a good outside shooter for the Hokies.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering, Daniels came out of William Fleming the same year that Ben Boggs came out of Hidden Valley.  The Hokies decided to pursue Boggs, who now averages 19 minutes for Valpairaso as a r-senior.  They didn’t offer Daniels, who held out until the spring signing period, ultimately earning offers from Cincinnati,