November 26, 2020

Independent analysis and commentary on UVA athletics

ACC Offseason Refresh – #12 Virginia Tech

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The Mike Young era at Virginia Tech started well enough, upsetting Michigan State in Maui and racing out to a 4-2 ACC start before the chemistry started breaking down, weaknesses were exposed, and the Hokies lost 12 of their last 15. But a lot of young talent returns this year, so can Virginia Tech surprise the league yet again with its trademark 4-guard approach?

Coach: Mike Young; 315-260 in 18 Seasons Overall; 16-16 (7-13) in 1 season at Virginia Tech

2019-20 Record: 16-16 (7-13); T-10th in ACC

2019-20 KenPom Efficiency:

National: AdjO: 104.3 (147th of 353)
AdjD: 98.0 (82nd of 353)
ACC: AdjO: 94.8 (13th of 15)
AdjD: 101.4 (7th of 15)

 

Roster Roundup

Departures:

G Jonathan Kabongo (Medical)
21 G, 4.9 mpg, 1.5 ppg, 0.2 apg, 32% 3P%
G/F Isaiah Wilkins (Transferred to Wake Forest)
32 G, 14.4 mpg, 4.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 28% 3P%
F Landers Nolley II (Transferred to Memphis)
32 G, 30.2 mpg, 15.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 32% 3P%
F P.J. Horne (Transferred to Georgia)
32 G, 28.1 mpg, 7.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 35% 3P%
PF Branden Johnson (Graduated)
10 G, 4.6 mpg, 0.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 29% FG%

Returners:

PG Jalen Cone (SO)
32 G, 18.4 mpg, 8 ppg, 0.7 apg, 46% 3P%
PG Wabissa Bede (SR)
32 G, 29.7 mpg, 5.2 ppg, 5.5 apg, 22% 3P%
SG Hunter Cattoor (SO)
31 G, 20.3 mpg, 6.5 ppg, 1.1 apg, 40% 3P%
SG Nahiem Alleyne (SO)
32 G, 26 mpg, 8.8 ppg, 1.4 apg, 39% 3P%
SG Tyrece Radford (SO)
32 G, 26.3 mpg, 10.2 ppg, 1.7 apg, 8% 3P%
C John Ojiako (SO)
31 G, 10.4 mpg, 2.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 54% FG%

Additions:

SG Darius Maddox (4-star FR)
G/F Cartier Diarra (RS SR Transfer, Kansas State)
32 G, 31.3 mpg, 13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 31% 3P%
G/F Joe Bamisile (4-star FR) 
PF David N’Guessan (3-star FR) 
PF Justyn Mutts (RS JR Transfer, Delaware)
33 G, 31.8 mpg, 12.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 54% FG%
F/C Keve Aluma (RS JR Transfer, Wofford)
35 G, 26.6 mpg, 6.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 67% FG%
C Cordell Pemsl (RS SR Transfer, Iowa)
28 G, 12.7 mpg, 2.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 49% FG%

*Projected starters in bold

Outlook

All-ACC youngster Landers Nolley’s gone to Memphis, though even with his hefty stat line that’s likely addition by subtraction, as his attitude and shot-hogging was a problem. 2nd year coach Mike Young ran off a few other Buzz Williams-era holdovers in PJ Horne and Isaiah Wilkins, but they do bring back and bring in a lot of diverse guard options.

Wabissa Bede can defend and facilitate though struggles to score at times. Jalen Cone is undersized but can shoot the 3 with the best of them. Ty Radford can score in the lane but can’t shoot a lick. Nahiem Alleyne and Hunter Cattoor found a role last year as bench gunners. Darius Maddox and Joe Bamisle are 4-star freshmen who have good upside but may need time. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and it will be intriguing to watch how Young chooses to pair and deploy these players to balance each other in the backcourt.

Key players on the wing and in the front court will be transfers. Trying to solve their size issues in the post are Keve Aluma, who was with Mike Young at Wofford, and Justyn Mutts will try to transition from the CAA to the ACC. The coup of their transfer haul, however, was Cartier Diarra, coming from K-State as a volume scorer combo wing.

They have 13 scholarship players, and honestly that may be a bit too many as Young may struggle to nail down a consistent rotation without bruising egos of guys who will feel passed over. Additionally, this team doesn’t have guys who know how to win at the ACC level yet. Diarra (and to a lesser degree Bamisile) arrive with reputations of maturity concerns, and on top of the discussed youth and talent issues, this still feels like a team that’ll top out around 8 ACC wins. The NIT will be a realistic, though respectable, target.