Virginia Tech’s loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64 over a week ago gave me a sense of déjà vu. It was the end of the careers of Seth Allen and Zach LeDay, two guys who helped Buzz Williams transform the Virginia Tech program and make it relevant again.
It took me back to the Hokies’ NCAA loss to Southern Illinois 10 years ago, when the careers of three players who were just as influential as LeDay and Allen also came to an end: Jamon Gordon, Zabian Dowdell, and Coleman Collins.
The parallels are striking. As the Hokies entered the ACC in 2004-05, Gordon, Dowdell and Collins revived a flatlining Virginia Tech program, under the stewardship of Seth Greenberg, a coach with a strong personality who set the tone for the program as the scrappy underdog. By Greenberg’s fourth year, also the fourth year for his three best players, Virginia Tech had returned to the NCAA Tournament, for the first time in about a decade.
Fast forward to 2016-17, and the Hokies again have a coach with a strong personality, and he leaned on a couple of tough, hard-playing seniors (two guys this time, not three), as they took a program that was dead in the water to the NCAAs for the first time in a decade.
Just like the Gordon-Dowdell-Collins trio, the duo of Seth Allen and Zach LeDay are likable guys...
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