Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
The Virginia Tech Hokies are entering year two of their re-building effort and face the enormous challenge of doing so in a loaded lead that is adding even more talent this season. The loss of college basketball’s leading scorer, Erick Green isn’t going to help the situation either.
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
Last Season: 12th, 4-14 in ACC, 13-19 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 15th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Cadarian Raines (Sr)/Trevor Thompson (Fr)/Joey van Zegeren (So)
PF: C.J. Barksdale (Jr)/Marshall Wood (So)/Maurice Kirby (Fr)
SF: Jarell Eddie (Sr)/Christian Beyer (Jr)
SG: Adam Smith (So)/Will Johnston (Jr)/Ben Emelogu (Fr)/Malik Mueller (Fr)
PG: Marquis Rankin (Jr)/Devin WIlson (Fr)
Gone: G-Erick Green, SG-Robert Brown (transfer-UAB)
With Green taking his talents to the NBA and starting off guard Robert Brown transferring to UAB, the Hokies will undergo a backcourt makeover. The only returning guards are Marquis Rankin and walk-on Will Johnston but four new players enter the fold including UNC-Wilmington transfer, Adam Smith. Smith was an All-CAA Freshman team member after averaging 13.2 points per game so his offensive punch will be welcomed to try and replace Green’s scoring.
Unless one of the three freshmen really impress, Smith and Rankin figure to make up the starting backcourt though both guys are 6-1 combo guards which makes it an undersized duo, neither being a true floor general. Donte Clark was considered the top recruit for James Johnson’s 2013 class and likely would have been an immediate contributor but he was denied admission into VA Tech due to academic reasons. Still, as opposed to last year Virginia Tech does have more depth and flexibility in the backcourt but certainly not the talent so call it a move from quality to quantity.
With a lot of uncertainty in the backcourt, Jarrell Eddie come out of the shadows of Green that he was under the past two years and step into the spotlight as the go-to option. He provides some offensive versatility while returning starters Cadarian Raines and C.J. Barksdale add energy and toughness inside.
Marshall Wood and Joey van Zegeren saw quality minutes off the bench but will be pushed by freshmen Trevor Thompson and Maurice Kirby. Thompson is an athletic big and might end up being a key reserve if he can continue to get stronger and prove to handle a more physical brand of basketball.
The Virginia Tech Hokies finished dead last in the ACC last season and it’s going to be a mammoth task for them to show much improvement this year. The loss of Green combined with the youth up and down the roster should equal another bumpy ride in Blacksburg.
Player to Watch: Adam Smith
Despite playing at a mid-major, Smith did damage versus ACC opponents by dropping 32 points on Wake Forest and 23 against Maryland. For a team that liked to get up and down the floor last season and loses two of their top three scorers, that is an encouraging sign. Expecting that type of performance on a nightly basis in conference action would be insane, but at least provides a ray of hope.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 & 11/22 vs. Michigan State, Oklahoma, or Seton Hall (Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn)
12/?? vs. VCU (at Richmond Coliseum)
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks