As the members of the Virginia Tech men's basketball team aim to rebound in 2012-13, those who support the program can't help but think back on the tough campaign that we all just experienced. High hopes entering the season were dashed with inefficient play in conference, but as noted here, there is a lot of hope for the future after a 16-17 season.
But before we close the final page on this past term, it's time to play the role of teacher and hand out grades to each player and coach Seth Greenberg.
Key Stats: 15.6 ppg, .438 fg%, 1.9 turnover-to-assist ratio, 1.3 spg, .828 ft%
Analysis: The unquestionable leader of the team, it's hard to even imagine the Hokies winning a league game without the junior star. Green earned second-team All-ACC honors and led Tech with his leadership, ball-handling skills and tenacity. Most fans would have certainly liked to have seen him attack the basket more, but he was a bright spot on a team that had little to rave about. Each year he has improved and should certainly be a candidate to make first-team all-conference next season in his final shot at making the NCAA Tournament. We would have liked to have seen him average more than 2.8 assists, but he is not to blame with the poor shooting of his teammates. He filled up the score sheet all season, failing to score double digits only once.
Game of the year: 58-55 loss to Wake Forest on 1/7/12 -- 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one block and two steals
Key Stats: 10.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .815 ft%,
Analysis: Poor Zo. With all the injuries, he still played his heart out and had a respectable campaign. He was one of two players to quietly average double digit points, while also nailing two game-winning shots, with one coming against Virginia in Charlottesville. He did look a step slow throughout, but that is to be expected with constant injuries. But, it can't be stated enough: If Hudson was not on the squad this year, it would have gotten much uglier. The senior guard departs the school with little to show for it, but he always came out to play. His senior year was no different.
Game of the year: 78-63 win over Florida International on 11/15/11 -- 31 points, five rebounds and two assists
Key Stats: 9.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, .443 from 3-point range
Analysis: The North Carolina native is another player to greatly improve from his first year to his second, leading the team in three-point field goal percentage, while doing the same with free throws. He has been efficient and really boosted the outside game. Remember his freshman year when he would chuck up shots and make all of us hold our heads, forcing us to ponder what exactly he was thinking? Now we seem to do the same when he doesn't shoot, just because he has been very effective. It was a very good year for the sophomore, who looks to arrive as an all-ACC player next season.
Game of the year: 73-60 win over Norfolk State on 12/11/11 -- 24 points (5 for 6 from deep) and seven rebounds
Key Stats: 7.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 56% from the field
Analysis: The Puerto Rican's career abruptly ended with injury but he did improve from last year. He was never the most talented, but he worked hard, despite failing to show consistency. He had a few solid games but was over-matched the majority of the time.
Game of the year: 75-60 loss to Duke on 2/2/12 -- 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block
Key Stats: 6.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.9 apg.
Analysis: Look, I don't care where you play, but unless your name is John Wall, Harrison Barnes or Kevin Love, it's extremely difficult to make a huge impact as a freshman in college basketball. Brown deserves plenty of credit for his play this season, because he saw plenty of playing time and did well in spurts. His experience is only going to help him improve in the following seasons. It appeared as if he could be a guy who could come in and average 10 points and shoot lights out, but it wasn't to be. Next season will certainly be another story after a solid first year and time to develop.
Game of the year: 91-46 win over Monmouth on 11/14/11 -- 19 points, three assists and a steal, hitting three of six from deep
Key Stats: 6.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.9 apg
Analysis: Many readers might not be happy with this grade, but scoring isn't everything. Yes, he had a horrific scoring drought, a painful one. But he was darn good in nearly every defensive category. The kid screams talent and has shown what he can do, though it was not on a nightly basis. Matching it up with an offensive game will convert the soon-to-sophomore into a big-time baller. He grabbed tons of rebounds, blocked shots, stole the ball plenty of times and improved from range as the season went on. As an elite recruit, we surely expected a bit more on offense, but he made up for it everywhere else.
Game of the year: 78-63 over Florida International on 11/15/11 -- 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals
Key Stats: 18.8 mpg, 5.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 51% from the field
Analysis: I love this guy. With his injuries behind him (knock on wood), he really began to shine this season when given the chance. He pulled down boards, made his presence known in the paint and just worked his tale off. He will start at center next season and certainly strike fear into other teams after performing well this season, especially down the stretch.
Game of the year: 70-65 OT loss to Duke on 2/25/12 -- 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks
Key Stats: .391 from 3-point range, 2.5 ppg,
Analysis: A highly-touted recruit, Rankin's first season in Blacksburg got off to a slow star due to injury. Having Green start ahead of him didn't help in regards to getting playing time, but he did prove to be a suffocating defender, who looks set to be a star in the ACC, as long as he matches his defensive quality when the ball is in his hands. It's hard to evaluate him completely from his first year. But, as most guards make a huge sophomore leap under Greenberg, fans should expect the same from him.
Game of the year: 67-65 win over Clemson on 2/4/12 -- Eight points, one rebounds, one assist and one steal
Key Stats: 11.8 mpg, 2.7 ppg, 2.7 rbg
Analysis: He averaged very little time, but he did make an impact off the bench on a few occasions, demonstrating his hustle and athletic ability, proving that he has what it takes to grow into a big-time contributor. Still, it's just not enough to give a complete analysis at this time.
Game of the year: 84-55 win over North Florida on 12/19/11 -- Eight points, two rebounds and two blocks
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