Basketball: Time to demand more

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I had planned to stay up all night and write an article about Whit Babcock and what he can do for the entire Virginia Tech athletic department.  Instead, watching tonight’s basketball game led me to concentrate on Whit Babcock and one subject: the basketball program.

Let me preface this article by saying that I like James Johnson a lot.  He’s a good man.  He came to TSL’s Spring Game tailgate this past year, ate barbeque with us, and we had a fine time.  If you’ve met James Johnson, you like him.  If you don’t, you might not be human.

He personally told me that he doesn’t have a problem with TSL, message boards, etc.  He understood that it’s a part of the business these days.  We had a nice conversation from everything about basketball to good Southern BBQ to how in the heck does a guy like Billy Wagner come out a school like Ferrum and have a great MLB career?  He’s a personable, down to earth guy who I really like a lot.

How he talked to me was a big change from his predecessor, who told Will Stewart and I in person in a meeting with the Roundball Club back around 2007 that he “wasn’t too hip on you guys” because we have message boards (yeah, he was taking a shot at Tech fans there).  We were both members of the Roundball Club, we promoted it on TSL, we were invited there by other members, we wanted to help, and the treatment we got from the head coach was, well…not as cordial as one might hope.

As a professional I completely understood where he was coming from.  If I were a basketball coach, I would probably feel the same way, though I wouldn’t express it like that.  But as a Virginia Tech basketball fan first and foremost (I’m still more of a fan than I am a professional, believe it or not), that’s not what I wanted to hear.  As a guy who has been to 99% of Tech home basketball games since I was a freshman in 2001, and as a guy who has gone to the ACC Tournament, and as a guy who drove to Columbus for the NCAA Tournament in 2007 to support the team…to get the cold shoulder like that…well, I guess I don’t need to say anymore.

Despite that, I can say with no reservation that Jim Weaver botched his firing and how he handled it.  He wasn’t going to get a good coach AFTER the April evaluation period, especially with how he handled the firing of a guy who was on the whole a good coach for the Hokies and who did some really good things for the program.  In all