Observations From Virginia Tech Basketball Open Practice

The Tech Sideline crew observed Virginia Tech men’s basketball practice on Friday. (Jon Fleming)

Mike Young and Virginia Tech invited the media to view practice and the team pictures on Friday afternoon. The Tech Sideline staff was there – Will Stewart, Chris Coleman and David Cunningham – and came away with some takeaways.

Here are three thoughts each from Chris and David after the practice session:

Chris Coleman:

1: The first thing that stood out to me was attention to detail on some minor parts of the game that most people wouldn’t even think about. For example, Virginia Tech actually practices how to save a ball going out of bounds and how to properly get it back in to a teammate. Also, when you are securing a loose ball, you aren’t supposed to dribble it; you’re supposed to grab it as quickly as possible and bring it back up strongly to your chest. I never played basketball, so I had never thought about it before. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at that level of detail. After all, we are the reigning ACC Champions.

2: The early sessions of practice are fast and furious. I’m talking about 15 guys all going in for layups and rebounding on the same basket all at once, and there seem to be four or more basketballs getting passed around at all times. Everybody is making noise.

It’s fast, loud and confusing if you’ve never seen it before. That’s why it takes some freshmen a little while to adjust. Everything is moving faster than they’ve ever seen, even the ones who are naturally gifted.

3: I never realized this, but Patrick Wessler is left-handed. The 7-footer splashed a few threes during some drills, and he hit one from the elbow as well. I’m not saying he’s going to be drilling a whole bunch of three-pointers for the Hokies during the course of his career, but he’s got some skill that I didn’t realize he had.

David Cunningham

1: M.J. Collins should be able to help Virginia Tech early. The true freshman guard from Clover, S.C. brought the juice during the Hokies’ practice, especially defensively. He blew up a screen once and was very aggressive. Rodney Rice (6-4, 194, Fr.) is recovering from an ankle injury and had a brace on while doing some individual workouts with David Jackson on Friday. That said, Collins could see more time than usual on the wing behind Hunter Cattoor and Darius Maddox at the beginning of the season depending on when Rice can go. He’s got a spark, that’s for sure.

2: How the big man rotation behind Justyn Mutts and Grant Basile pans out is curious. Lynn Kidd