Erick Green, Saturday Night Games, and a Short Q&A

Green’s Final Game

Barring some sort of a catastrophe, Erick Green will lead the nation in scoring this season.  He’ll be the first player from a power conference to lead the nation in scoring in 19 years.  He is three points shy of becoming the first Hokie to score 700 points in a season since Bimbo Coles.

As a freshman during the 2009-10 season, Green couldn’t shoot a lick.  He shot just 29.3% from the field that year and averaged only 2.6 points per game.  He’s probably going to score over 1,700 points for his career, but only 88 of them came his freshman season.  Take a look at this streak from February 16 through March 22 of his freshman season:

vs. Wake: 0-of-1 from the field, 1 points
at  Duke: 0-of-3 from the field, 0 points
at BC: 0-of-1 from the field, 1 point
vs. Maryland: 0-of-3 from the field, 0 points
vs. NC State: 0-of-2 from the field, 0 points
at GT: 0-of-1 from the field, 0 points
vs. Miami: 0-of-1 from the field, 0 points
vs. Qunniciac: 0-of-3 from the field, 0 points
vs. UConn: 0-of-0 from the field, 0 points

Erick Green drives against Wake.

That’s exactly two points on 0-of-15 shooting in over a month.  One of the most-used phrases on our message boards amongst some fans is to say that whatever player happens to be struggling “isn’t an ACC caliber player”.  For those who like to use that phrase, let me ask you this: did you think Erick Green was an ACC caliber player when he was a freshman?

It’s a crying shame that Green isn’t one of the 30 finalists for the Naismith Award for National Player of the Year.  That’s because he plays on a losing team, but at the same time, Ace Custis was a finalist for that award back in 1997, and he played on a losing Atlantic 10 team that season and he didn’t put up anywhere near the numbers that Green is getting each and every night.  Ace averaged 14.7 points that year, while Green scored 16 points against Miami and it was considered an off night.  I really don’t see any reason for Green to be left off that list.  He’d start for any team in the country.

Unless they are blessed with an unbelievable amount of talent, the best basketball players are gym rats.  They stay in the gym constantly working on their game.  Green took over 20,000 shots in Virginia Tech’s practice facility last summer in preparation for this season.  That might sound like a lot, but it’s accurate; the Hokies have a machine called “The Gun” that monitors those numbers.

Green obviously has a certain amount of natural ability, but he never would have harnessed it without a work ethic that goes above and beyond the call of duty.  He’s developed himself into a great player.  The younger players on this team need to use Green’s offseason work as an example for themselves.  Robert Brown and Jarell Eddie need to bring cots into the Hahn-Hurst Basketball Practice facility during the offseason.  They’ve got to spend all their free time in the gym.  If they do, they will get better.

Erick Green ‘s career really followed the Bimbo Coles track.  Coles wasn’t a highly-recruited player, but he turned out to be a dominant scorer on some bad basketball teams.  He went on to be a mid-second round pick in the NBA Draft (which is where Green is projected to go), and carved out a long NBA career.  I hope  the same thing happens to Green.

Saturday Night Home Games Have Become Rare

Saturday night home games in Lane Stadium have gone the way of the dinosaur.  Since the start of the 2005 season, Virginia Tech has played exactly five night games in Lane Stadium.

2011: Clemson, 6pm, ESPN
2008: Duke, 5:30pm, ESPNU
2006: Southern Miss, 7pm, ESPNU
2005: UNC, 7:45pm, ESPN
2005: Miami, 7:45pm, ESPN

And really, does that Duke game even count?  It was freezing cold in late November, and it was Duke on ESPNU.  It seems to me that night games are a thing of the past.  That’s why I’m disappointed there is no Thursday night game this year.  It’s not because of Thursday.