Hoops: The brand, and the freshmen

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The Hokies suffered a tough loss at the hands of UVA last night, and it got me thinking about several topics.

Tech's 2-3 zone frustrated UVA.
Tech’s 2-3 zone frustrated UVA.

A 2-3 Brand

I know that James Johnson wants to “get out and run.” He’s said it numerous times. That is the brand that he wants to build. I would really like that. I would like nothing better than to recruit a team full of Deron Washingtons, outrun everybody up and down the court, score between 80 and 100 points every night, and watch a bunch of breakaway dunks. That sounds like fun basketball.

However, do you know what’s even more fun than playing up-tempo basketball? Playing winning basketball. I don’t think the up-tempo style is a brand that can ultimately be successful at Virginia Tech.

Does it sound good? Sure. However, playing fast games with the likes of Syracuse, UNC, Duke, Louisville, NC State, etc. is probably not going to work. The Hokies are not going to out-athlete a Jim Boeheim team that features McDonalds All-Americans. They aren’t going to beat UNC or Louisville up and down the court. That would require recruiting better athletes than those schools have.

Let’s be realistic. Virginia Tech is not going to beat those programs for basketball recruits. However, I’m still in favor of building a particular brand of basketball that people and recruits can identify with our program.

I believe that brand should be a halfcourt zone defense, with occasional pressing and trapping depending on the matchup. Despite their youth and lack of depth, Tech nearly beat two top 25 teams in ten days by slowing the game down and playing a 2-3 zone