Five Things To Look Forward To Next Season

Posted: May 17, 2012 in Men's Basketball

It’s been a rough off-season for Virginia Tech basketball.  We didn’t make any significant tournament in the post-season while having to watch UVA make the NCAA Tournament, we fired our coach in just about the crappiest way possible (timing, execution, etc…), and we lost two very important pieces of our roster in Dorian Finney-Smith and Monrezl Harrell.

It can’t all be bad though!  To follow up with the good news that Adam Smith will be playing for Virginia Tech down the road (after sitting out a year first), I want to keep the good vibes going!  Here’s a list of things you can look forward to next season.

You heard the man!

  1. A renewed passion and energy: Under Seth Greenberg the players weren’t exactly energized.  Virginia Tech had some of the worst passion that I’ve ever seen for a basketball program last year.  That lack of passion extended from the players to the fans who didn’t show up outside of when Duke and UNC came to town.  That should change under James Johnson.  J.J. connects with these players and should be able to get the most out of them emotionally.  The overall passion really starts with the players, after all.  Why should the fans care if the players don’t?  J.J. has already brought a renewed excitement among the players and that should carry all the way through the season.
  2. The progression of Erick Green: Erick Green had his coming out party last season.  We saw him transition from a decent scorer to one with a great touch, range, and ability to create his own shot.  Coming into the season there were questions of who would pick up where Malcolm Delaney left off with the scoring and Erick Green stepped up to the plate on that front.  I expect to see more of that progression this year as he hones his skills even more and learns new ways to make the other players around him better, just like elite point guards do.  For his sake, I hope that we also see a progression in terms of leadership – something that was severely lacking last season.
  3. The rebirth of a rivalry: The Hokies will once again renew the bad blood between the Mountaineers of West Virginia this season.  Starting this season, the Hokies will be playing in a home-and-home series with WVU in basketball.  This upcoming season will see Virginia Tech travel to Morgantown, WV to play, and in the 2013-14 season, WVU will travel to Blacksburg.  This home-and-home should really be good for all parties involved.  Who doesn’t like some good ol’ fashioned WVU hatred?
  4. Dot: For those of you that aren’t aware, “Dot” is Cadarian Raines’ nickname.  Personally, I am very excited to see how Raines progresses this season.  Towards the end of last season we began to see a major jump in ability/execution by Raines.  It’s like he managed to flip a switch in terms of his scoring ability and he became a legitimate threat in the post.  After a long off-season of grinding and training, I expect to see Cadarian Raines really step into the role of a big-time scorer and defender in the ACC.
  5. The ACC/Big-10 Challenge in Blacksburg: It’s always a fun time when ESPN comes to Blacksburg and this season should be no different.  As reported earlier in the week, the Hokies will play the Iowa Hawkeyes in the ACC/Big-10 Challenge.  This will be a good chance to show the nation that last year was an anomaly and that Virginia Tech basketball hit a bump in the road, not a cliff.
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