Virginia Tech should be one of the more interesting ACC teams this season. The Hokies lose Shane Henry, who was a useful player but a transitional one. He can be replaced. Despite getting 20 mpg and hitting 8.4 ppg per game, Jalen Hudson transferred to Florida
Everyone else is back for the Hokies, including Ahmed Hill and Chris Clarke, who both had to deal with injuries last year.
The most impressive Hokie though was 6-7 Zach LeDay, who transferred from South Florida after averaging 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
He really took advantage of his transfer year, to say the least.
His first game at Virginia Tech, LeDay racked up 26 point and 15 rebounds. He averaged 15.5 ppg and 7.9 rpg and became one of the better ACC players. True he did struggle against some of the better ACC teams but a lot of people do. He was really good. He’s probably a bit small for an NBA forward and not really an NBA guard, but at the very least he has a bright future overseas. And he has surprised people already.
Buzz Williams has shown a tendency to go small, but he has 6-10 sophomore Kerry Blackshear and he may get the nod. He had a respectable freshman year and should only get better.
Chris Clarke was slowed by injury and missed 13 games but played well otherwise. He’s an energetic player and we’d be really surprised if he doesn’t start. If he stays healthy he should be really good. Given Williams’ appreciation of small ball, it wouldn’t surprise us to see him at power forward either.
Justin Robinson returns at point guard and he seems to be a really good fit for this group. Justin Bibbs, a 6-5 soph, had a great freshman year. He shot 45% from three point range, which is outstanding, and averaged 11.7 ppg.
The 6-5 Hill is back after sitting out last year with a knee injury. He averaged 8.7 ppg., 3.7 rpg and shot 38.6% as a freshman.
After he plays in his first game, Seth Allen is the answer to a great trivia question: who was the last Maryland Terrapin to play in the ACC?
Unfortunately, his minutes may be limited given the depth the Hokies have at guard.
Williams has reasonable reserves as well: 6-6 Ty Outlaw, from Roxboro, sat out last year but could help. Johnny Hamilton is 7-0 and can spell Blackshear at center. He doesn't need to be great, just competent.
Le Day’s younger brother Seth is a Hokie now as well, coming over from Northwest Mississippi Community College. He isn’t as big - Zach is 235 and Seth is 200 - but could help as well. He averaged 18.5 ppg and eight rpg.
Khadim Sy is a 6-10 freshman from Senegal. He’s been in the US for high school - Oak Hill - and came on at the end of his big school career and got offers from major programs like Purdue, Kansas State and Georgia Tech.
He may be a year or two away from being a big factor and might redshirt.
Point guard Tyrie Jackson (6-1) is also a freshman and joins the ACC tradition of brothers playing for different schools. The Buckleys (Jay and Bruce, Duke and UNC respectively) and the Capels (Jeff and Jason, also Duke and UNC) spring to mind. We’re sure there are others, not to mention the ones who chose the same school - the Plumlees of Duke (Miles, Mason and Marshall), the Lewises of Maryland (Derrick and Cedric), the Grants of Clemson (Horace and Harvey), the endless Mahaffeys at Clemson and most recently, the Martin twins at NC State (Cody and Caleb transferred to Nevada over the summer).
Williams has a pair of his own twins on the way as high school sophomore guards Keyshaun and Kobe Langley recently made early commitments.
Williams is starting his third year at Virginia Tech and in his first two seasons, he’s been playing with significantly less talent. Yet the Hokies have been highly competitive. His teams play with a lot of energy and heart.
Now he has a pretty decent collection of talented players. You could quibble over center and maybe Robinson isn’t a perfect point guard.
Don’t forget this though: Williams has specialized in finding tough, gritty players who are maybe a shade below elite but who really bring it. You can expect Virginia Tech to play hard and together.
Now you can expect them to bring talent and some size as well.
Some people even see the Hokies as a potential dark horse Final Four team.
We won’t go that far, but we do think they’ve got a solid shot at an NCAA bid and with a few breaks could hustle their way to the Sweet Sixteen.