#123 Virginia Tech Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Virginia Tech Hokies
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #123
Conference Rank: #12 ACC
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Virginia Tech made their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2019. The Hokies won two games in the Big Dance before falling in the Sweet Sixteen. This year, Virginia Tech enters a rebuilding phase as head coach Buzz Williams has departed along with the team’s top five scorers. New head coach Mike Young led mid-major Wofford to a 7-seed last season, but the ACC will be a different beast. Young will have his work cut out for him with an inexperienced team.
2018-19 Record: 26-9, 12-6
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA Tournament
Coach: Mike Young
Coach Record: 0-0 at Virginia Tech, 299-244 overall
Key Departed Players:
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Guard, 16.2 ppg
Kerry Blackshear, Forward, 14.9 ppg
Justin Robinson, Guard, 13.5 ppg
Ahmed Hill, Guard, 13.1 ppg
Ty Outlaw, Forward, 8.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Isaiah Wilkins, Sophomore, Guard, 4.7 ppg
Wabissa Bede, Junior, Guard, 3.8 ppg
P.J. Horne, Junior, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Jonathan Kabongo, Sophomore, Guard, 1.5 ppg
Key New Players:
Nahiem Allenye, Freshman, Guard
Hunter Cattoor, Freshman, Guard
Jalen Cone, Freshman, Guard
Branden Johnson, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Alabama State
Landers Nolley, RS Freshman, Forward
John Ojiako, Freshman, Forward
Tyrece Radford, RS Freshman, Guard
All top five scorers from last season are gone for the Hokies, which means some guys are going to have to take big steps forward this season for Virginia Tech to remain competitive. Wabissa Bede is the only player returning who started more than four games last season. Bede started 26 contests and played 25.3 minutes per outing, averaging 3.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals. A solid overall player, Bede could be viewed as the number one option for the Hokies this season. Isaiah Wilkins is the top returning scorer after he averaged 4.7 points per game in just 14.3 minutes per contest as a freshman. P.J. Horne is the last returning player from last season’s rotation. Horne played 13.1 minutes per game, averaging 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds. Bede, Wilkins and Horne were simply role players for the Hokies a year ago but will be asked to be key players this season. Jonathan Kabongo also returns after playing sparingly in 21 games as a freshman. Kabongo is a big-time athlete with high potential that could be a weapon for the Hokies this year. Landers Nolley and Tyrece Radford redshirted last year. Nolley is a dark horse candidate to be the Hokies’ best player this season as a former four-star, top-100 recruit who stands 6-7. Virginia Tech welcomes four true freshmen to the roster this season, led by four-star recruit Jalen Cone. Cone will be the point guard of the future for the Hokies, but he will be thrown into the fire immediately as a true freshman. Lastly, Branden Johnson joins the team as a grad transfer from Alabama State. Johnson averaged 7.7 points and 6.8 rebounds two years ago but struggled last season with just 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds. It’s a make-shift roster for Mike Young’s first season and the expectations will be low for 2019-20, but the Hokies are built to be contenders again in the near future.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.5 (145th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.1 (11, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (48, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (34, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.3 (41, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.4 (8, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.1 (17, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.4 (100, 9)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (49, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.2 (44, 3)
Madness 2019 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#74 Jalen Cone