What UVA Basketball fans need to know about Virginia Tech

basketball

Photo Credit: nobeastsofierce/Adobe Stock

Virginia Tech was supposed to take a big step back in 2019-2020 after losing … everything.

Buzz Williams is at Texas A&M. Justin Robinson is in the NBA. Kerry Blackshear Jr. transferred to Florida.

New coach Mike Young, coming from Wofford, was left to figure out a way to make do with the couple rolls of tape the case of Gatorade left behind.

Ain’t done a bad job at that to this point.

The Hokies (10-3) have a win over preseason-#1 Michigan State already on the resume, and a strong performance in a loss to Duke last month showed that earlier performance was no fluke.

Young has done it by going super small. The rotation’s average height, according to KenPom.com, is just 75.5 inches – six-three-and-a-half, if you need to think of it that way.

The biggest guy on the floor the bulk of the time is 6’7”, 225-pound freshman Landers Nolley, who is the team’s leading scorer (17.4 ppg), leading rebounder (5.8 rebs/g), and a 43.5 percent shooter from three-point range on a high volume of long-range shots (6.6 per game).

Young uses a nine-man rotation that uses Nolley at center more than 40 percent of the time, according to KenPom.com, with 6’6” junior P.J. Horne (8.6 ppg, 4.6 rebs/g, 55.4% FG) and 6’10” freshman John Ojiako (4.0 ppg, 2.9 rebs/g) splitting the rest of the time at the five.

Ojiako gets 12.1 minutes per game, which means Young is essentially going five-guard roughly 94 percent of the time, creating matchup problems for opponents across the floor.

Junior guard Wabissa Bede was a rotation guy for last year’s Sweet Sixteen team, and has stepped up as a playmaker (6.4 assists per game) even as he has struggled with his shot (6.5 ppg, 38.4% FG, 20.7% 3FG, 56.5% FT).

He’s really the only one among the guards having trouble from long-range. The Hokies shoot 39.4 percent from behind the arc, 12th-best nationally.

The threats from deep include 6’3” freshman Nahiem Alleyne (10.2 ppg, 39.3% FG, 36.4% 3FG), Horne (43.2 percent from three), another 6’3” freshman, Hunter Cattoor (8.3 ppg, 47.9% FG, 44.6% 3FG) and 5’10” freshman Jalen Cone (6.1 ppg, 45.6% FG, 55.9% 3FG).

One thing you don’t see the Hokies do is get a lot of shots at the rim. Just 24.4 percent of their shot attempts have been at the rim, according to Hoops-Math.com, the fifth-fewest in the nation.

Another thing you don’t see from Tech: turnovers. The 14.2 percent turnover rate is third-best nationally, according to KenPom.com.

The Hokies don’t play too fast – averaging 66.0 possessions per game, 317th nationally, and in line with what Young’s teams did at Wofford (his team last year averaged 65.7 possessions per game, and its high in recent years was 66.7, back in 2015-2016).

The focus is on playing efficiently, limiting turnovers, and hitting threes.

And the early returns are: good.

Story by Chris Graham



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.