Progress/Development of the VT Basketball Program

The reason VT has not been a high level basketball program is a lack of talent. VT has gone a generation without producing a career NBA player; it should be no surprise that the program does not make routine trips (or even semi-routine) to the NCAA tournament.

The identification, recruitment and development of NBA talent is a major component of being a successful coach at the high levels of college basketball.

If you look at Sweet 16 teams, they consistently have 1 - 2 career NBA players acting as the focal point of the game plan. Last year VT had good players at all 5 spots but did not have a NBA guy in the focal roles of Allen or LeDay to take them to the second weekend.

At Marquette, Buzz's game plan worked with Butler and Crowder being the driving force to take them from a NCAA Tournament participant (much like the 2016-2017 VT team) to a Sweet 16 team.

Is Buzz's offense and metric based evaluation really the reason he was really successful at Marquette or was it a couple of stud players?

Can a more developed NAW to be that driving force to get the program to take a step forward to a top 20 type team?

Is Buzz (or VT) going to be able to consistently identify and land NBA level talent that the blue bloods have not identified? Buzz did not out recruit the likes of UNC-Duke-Kentucky-UCLA for Butler and Crowder.

Can you get away with the liability of not playing a center without NBA production from your guard (Butler) or small forward (Crowder) against ACC teams?

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Comments

I don't think that many tournament teams have career NBA guys. The NBA is a small league with a lot of turnover. There are only about 420 guys on any kind of active roster contract in the NBA. A lot of guys move around from Europe to NBA to D league and around teams. Have a career guy, someone with a multi year contract with one team isn't as likely as the NFL. Now the question is can Buzz recruit guys who can win in the ACC?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

NCAA teams are filled with good college players. I think the sweet 16 teams have an NBA guy or two in most cases.

Career NBA guys? There aren't that many career NBA players each year coming out.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

There are not many teams making the sweet 16 on a consistent basis.

At this point honestly shouldn't we be hoping for just consecutive NCAA tourney appearances? VCU has 7 in a row, Iowa State 6 and Cincy 7 are all programs Tech should be better than I think.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

You have to consider the conferences your examples have been playing in to consistently make the tourney, VCU was Atlantic 10 for most of their run, Cincy has the American East which is fairly light in terms of basketball quality and Iowa State is typically the 4th or 5th best team in the Big12, which outside of Kansas and the two Oklahoma's is a spotty conference in terms of quality. In the ACC you are going up against four surefire Hall of Fame coaches in K, Williams, Boeheim, and Larranaga. You then have Louisville which still has most of the talent from Pitino being there, and Bennett and possibly Hamilton working towards Hall status. Clemson is benefiting from football exposure and if Pastner survives at GT he is a force to be reckoned with in recruiting. Boston College is going through a revival of its own, now having signed three top 100 players for next year's class to pair with the talent they found this season. Leaves Pitt and Wake Forest as the dregs because NC State seems to just luck box into talent saying yes like they thought they were going to be part of the UNC degree program, tough to be consistent compared to the easier path those other programs have year in and year out

You expect that VT can and should be a perennial Sweet 16 team?

Not at all. I think the expectation that Buzz produced consistent Sweet 16 teams was unreasonable.

I think a top half of the ACC on a regular basis (& associated NCAA tournament appearances) is a reasonable expectation. I am also still confident that the program is close to being at that level.

Buzz is being paid sweet 16 money, so yes, he should be averaging sweet 16 results. When he has all his own recruits at least.

Every coach in the ACC is held to this standard. They all get paid and are provided resources.

It is really hard to produce at that level against other excellent coaches and players. Look how few times Beamer was able to end a season in the top 16. I hope both Fuente and Buzz at better coaches than Beamer, that will be great for VT, but it is a really high standard to consider everything short of it a failure worth firing.

that would be a good topic to research...and whether they were projected at that level (top x) coming out of HS.

edit: looking at last year's draft and the sweet 16 (which is as far as I'm going to look), it does look like a healthy majority of the sweet 16 had players subsequently picked in the draft. whether they are "career NBA" I have no idea.

This is the question of Butler and Crowder at Marquette. Is Buzz's talent identification so good that he can find NBA players in back-to-back classes that everyone else passed on or was it a statistical anomaly?

Davidson's evaluation is not better than everyone else, they just lucked into Steph. (see lack of repeatability)

my gut reaction is that identifying "career NBA" players before they get to college is itself a statistical anomaly.

Or it is obvious and the player enrolls at Duke, UNC, Kentucky etc.

I think I get the gist of the topic...

I think Buzz can be highly successful (which for the sake of my answer, I'll define as Sweet 16) at VT with his system (metric-based small ball), but our depth has been an issue both last year and this year. Last year we didn't have KJ. Put him on that team (with Seth, LeDay and Outlaw) and Sweet 16 is quite plausible.

Similarly, put Sy and Outlaw on this team, and in my opinion, Sweet 16 would also be quite plausible.

However, it's going to take success to consistently get the kind of talent and depth needed to go beyond that, and to not always be on the razor's edge of catastrophe if someone goes down. Buzz's system will work fine if he can get depth in the front court and consistency from the outside. In that regard, I think next year's roster shapes up nicely.

edit: I'm not fixated on nor do I think "NBA" guys are necessary to have a highly successful program.

I think a true center, al la Coleman Collins, would really help this team. In no way do I think the big guy needs to be the best player on the team, much less NBA caliber.

We will have to hope with Sy, he was not able to help LeDay last year (but he was just a freshman).

Hopefully next season we will have a little more size to help spacing on the offensive end. When KB is out, the guys drive and have to kick out for 3 or try and score over someone markedly bigger than them. Right now teams are guarding the 3 point line and leaving a big to protect the rim.

Sy was projected to be a redshirt coming in and had no business playing. He's very athletic and he doesn't have terrible hands. But he has no instinct for position. He made the same mistakes in his last game that he did in his first game.

Hoping that guarding a healthy KJ in practice will help him. I think we need a transfer post player in the worst way.

Wait..... you think Sy will help our offense more than KJB?

No, not at all.

I think the offense can not dictate defensive spacing when KJB is out. Production from the post plummets when KJB is out, hopefully with Sy in it is just a drop off. If there is a transfer that can produce at a level closer to or above KJB, I am all for it.

Recruits don't commit to schools, they commit to coaches. Buzz has an excellent track record of guys playing the NBA (Jimmy Butler, Wes Matthews, Jae Crowder etc.) which is attractive to high school players.

Remember where we were in Buzz's first season and compare it to right now. We've gotten better every season since he's been here. With the new emphasis on three-point shooting and defensive flexibility in the NBA, I believe several guys on this roster will have a legitimate shot to play in the NBA, with 1-2 having long careers.

Don't be a prisoner of the moment.

Based on what I have seen this season, and I have watched at least part of almost every game, we have the talent to make the tournament and potentially make run this year. We are not losing because of a lack of talent, we are losing because of a lack of execution. Obviously we would better with another big, but if Clarke would play with more maturity and stop trying to out athlete everyone and take care of the ball, and NAW and Hill would get out on 3's or take a charge in the lane in help defense we might not have a loss now.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

If we made 4 more threes in this game we wouldn't have lost it. If I remember, we had at least 4 open looks that barely missed. The help defense, the turnovers, the poor rebounding, none of that would matter if we had made those shots. I don't care about anything else really, because our only realistic way to beat ACC teams is to outshoot them. And we have lost our shooting touch in ACC play. Until we get that back, nothing we do defensively or on the glass will change that much.

Get Angry, Bud!

I agree with this. However, when teams rely on the three, there has to be a plan for when they're not falling. We don't have a solution for that yet. In ACC play, we aren't creating enough shots on the post, we're not rolling effectively off of picks, and we're not getting to the foul line (it seems, I could be wrong about that one). That's where we miss LeDay and Seth Allen the most. When we were missing shots, Seth would remind all of us of his brass balls and drive straight at the defense. Then LeDay would scowl and get a rebound and get fouled.

Last year we gave up tons of threes, turned the ball over (not as much), and got consistently outrebounded, but we made our shots. And that's why we made the tournament. I don't think it's in the character of this team to be efficient or defensive or tough on the glass, but it really wasn't last season either.

Get Angry, Bud!

Not sure if it's a pattern but I noticed a couple times in the FSU game, Clarke would post up, get a nice entry pass, back his guy toward the basket, draw a double or triple team, ignore the open shooter(s), and then throw up a wild shot that had no chance of going in.

Med Hill is supposed to be the one occupying that Butler/Crowder role, right? He simply disappears for too many stretches to be reliable in that role, never mind his lapses on defense.

Buzz brought in 6 players in both 2009 and 2010, both of which were close to top classes in the Big East and nationally. I was surprised to see that he was pulling in such highly rated prospects in those numbers. As great as it is to get NAW and Bede, we haven't seen that kind of recruiting yet.

I keep telling myself that progress is never linear and that these things take time. The longer Buzz is around, the more likely his teams become more consistent.

Med is neither Jimmy Butler or Jae Crowder as a player type or talent level.

Always choose joy.

Is that level of player required for this system to beat ranked teams?

No. We did it last year. We need to make open shots.

Always choose joy.

No, Marquette went to 3 straight Sweet 16s; last year VT just made the field of 64.

I am not saying that making the field of 64 is not significant progress for the program but it is still a long way away from the level of success Buzz experienced at Marquette.

I think he can be successful but he needs more height depth. To have only 1 guy above 6'8" isn't going to cut it

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

SMH are we really now starting to question Buzz as coach of VT? How quickly we forget just how horrendous this program was before we got here. We start questioning his abilities and start putting heat on his job security, and we're on a one way path to irrelevance.

We're having a disappointing season. It happens. But this disappointment is still a great season compared to what this program would be if Whit didn't hit the homerun he did in hiring Buzz. If we even try to run him out of town, we deserve to have a national punchline of a program.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

dilly dilly!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

One of the guys told me on another thread that "he loved me and doesn't even know me"...

Sir, I forward that message to you. Folks that are questioning Buzz's status at VT are lunatics. Look at where we were 4 years ago...

Where did I post I want Buzz fired as the coach of VT? I fully support Buzz as the coach @ VT but was looking for a dialogue related to ways to improve the program.

I consider it very difficult to consistently win games in the ACC; there are lots of good players and brilliant coaches. An honest discussion on ways to improve the program is perfectly fine.

What are your expectations for Buzz Williams? Paid in the top 6 of the ACC, with the largest "staff" in the league? The NIT? He has a veteran team this year that he recruited. Should we settle for the NIT, because he is the irreplaceable Buzz Williams?

He is also recruiting consistently higher than any VT hoops coach since the star rating system came out. Should we get to the point where we are NCAA every year? Yes. Are we so far from wishing we got into the NIT that we should be there now? No! I expect him to get to the tournament more often than not, and finish in the upper half of the ACC more often than not, but I also think he is good fit for us as a coach, and setting the bar too high here is a recipe for disaster.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Year 4 after back to back seasons at (not near... at) the bottom of the standings with a lack of top end talent and a dearth of depth, coming off a tournament appearance last year. Perspective, brah.

We have a couple pieces that aren't playing up to our expectations. Clarke is a turnover machine and NAW has yet to show the offensive game he was touted to have. If either of them were having the kind of year we were hoping them to have, this is a completely different season, even with the soft perimeter defense.

Seasons like this happen. Disappointments happen to everyone. It's a complete mistake to make overreaching broad conclusions about the state of the program because of this year. What we are seeing now is our floor. That floor is a lot higher than it has been in a very very long time.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

What we are seeing now is our floor. That floor is a lot higher than it has been in a very very long time.

Agreed. And of course...the ceiling is the roof.

Is that the method of comparison now? The size of the head coach's "staff"?

No electrons were harmed in the making of this comment or post. However, billions of electrons were horribly inconvenienced.

You can't tell me you've never compared "staff"s with someone else as a measure of worth.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I try not to, I'll just end up disappointed.

Disappointed because I'm not going to google "big staff" at work in order to come up with a good gif for this comment. I got nuthin'.

No electrons were harmed in the making of this comment or post. However, billions of electrons were horribly inconvenienced.

Woosh... VT/Whit has given Buzz everything he has asked for- INCLUDING a large staff, because that is needed to "win" apparently. I was speaking to the nonesense of "VT basketball is lucky to have a Buzz Williams type", when luck has nothing to do with paying him in the top 6 in the ACC and giving him a budget to hire a huge staff. That's not luck.

While I do not disagree with anything you say about what VT has done to "deserve" Buzz, I think Whit and the culture of VT helped us get a coach that other teams with a better basketball history would have offered similar to to get. In that single regard I can see referring to it as lucky.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I am giving him a little more time to be consistently making the dance. We are thin on depth because of some transfers and injuries. We have also had a couple of games where the ball has just not fallen in. Clean three looks that bounce four times then roll out.

We are also coming from being hands down the WORST team in the ACC. Even with the turnover in a smaller basketball team, it takes time and effort to get better.

The roster is extremely imbalanced and we continue to recruit wings. You recruit for future needs. We've had a need for low post players with size since he got here. On the surface, what's not to question? At current. we don't have enough big man to play Buzz's system and finish in the middle of the ACC pack. That is a knock on the coaching staff.

'Look how great things are now vs the pits we were in' is a loser's mentality. Taste success and drive for more.. While i don't necessarily agree with OPs criticism, you are living in a dream world if you think there is no fair critiques of Buzz & Co. I am in no rush to see Buzz run out of town, but as a distant fan this is what I notice and am disappointment by.

I get what you're saying, believe me, I do.

But historically, our program isn't good enough to start criticizing the job that Buzz is doing. Without him, we're lower than irrelevant, and a national punchline for how bad a major school can be at a major sport. Like, take out these Buzz years, and the Greenberg years (another coach we ran out of town for not being good enough) and we're embarrassingly bad. Even with those two, our history is a joke. At a certain point, you have to know your place in the sports world and realize that, even when you might think criticism is justified, you do more harm than good in the big picture by saying it. This knee jerk reaction that we're not automatically making the tournament in year 4 after making it in year 3 (after back to back 2 win ACC seasons before he was hired, no less) and as such we need to question the capabilities of Buzz as a coach is the exact reason experts questioned the move and said VT is a place that didn't deserve someone like him when he came here. We legitimately don't know how good we have it with him, and if we even begin to go down that path, we're idiots that deserve every ounce of bad karma coming our way.

You don't change the culture of a program overnight. Buzz is trying to legitimately rebuild this program from the footings of the foundation to the roof. There will be good and bad years. What's encouraging about this year is that, even as much as they have struggled, they're that much better than they have been in their bad years at any point before Buzz came to down. This is our floor. This floor is better than the ceiling this program had before Buzz.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Greenberg years (another coach we ran out of town for not being good enough)

You know as well as I do that Greenberg wasn't just run out for 'not being good enough'.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Yeah Greenberg was a harsh individual to deal with if you get what I mean.

While this might be true, it's not the reputation we have in the coaching ranks at the collegiate level. Our reputation coming out of that, outside of the Mickey Mouse antics that Weaver and all pulled on the day of his dismissal with the bush league press conference that was called before they even let him know he was fired, was that the fans have completely unrealistic expectations compared to the reality of the state of the VT program. The absolute last thing we need to do right now is validate those opinions by putting Buzz on the hot seat and start discussing how he isn't having us play at a level we find acceptable. The basketball community viewed VT as a program beneath the level of a quality coach like Buzz. Warming his seat and openly criticizing his coaching and recruiting ability is not something that will go over well at all within that community. It would make getting that next great coach nearly impossible.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I'm curious where you learned about the reputation of VT held by the 'coaching ranks at the collegiate level'. Certainly nothing I've ever read in print media or online has even suggested that VT fans have unrealistic expectations for their basketball team.

I think its time to move on from a coach firing that happened six years ago.

Refusing to criticize Buzz because you're afraid of 'warming his seat' is silly. Might as well shut down all message boards.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

So that's VT hoops huh? Lucky to be in the NIT most years. That's it? We should just accept our place in permanent suckville forever based on decades old history- despite paying Buzz a fortune and giving him whatever he wants in terms of staff- we are "lucky" to have him. Wow. In this context - it REALLY makes you scratch your head at how teams like St. Marys, Wichita, Butler, Xavier, Cincinnati, Creighton, Providence, Dayton, VCU field tourney or at the very least bubble teams EVERY year? Maybe we could get one of their coaches, if we are lucky to have Buzz. VT didn't pay Greenberg- who is 100% overrated as a coach anyway, so yes that's on VT. But we ARE paying Buzz commensurate with his resume, so criticizing his constant roster turnover and lack of bigs on an ACC team is valid, IMO.

Most of the teams that you mention only have basketball as a D1 sport and pump most of the athletics budget into it. Just being from southwest Ohio I can tell you that Xavier, Dayton, and Cincy all have a better basketball pedigree than VT. Cincy especially was a powerhouse back in the Oscar Robertson days and again with Huggy's Thuggies in the 90s. Not good comparisons to a football school who only started paying attention to basketball in 2002.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

100% agree with this. Dayton plays FCS football and isn't even good at that, but pretty much the entire city is all about college hoops. Cincy football was an afterthought until Mark Dantonio (then Brian Kelly); before that most people who weren't students or alums would be hard-pressed to tell you a single player on their team at any given time. I've lived in OH for 15 years, and the only time I've heard Xavier football mentioned during that time was in the movie "We Are Marshall." Yet Cincy-Xavier basketball is must-see TV every year, because both schools highly-prioritize basketball.

VT, on the other hand, has hands-down the worst men's basketball pedigree in the ACC. There hasn't been a single VT Sweet 16 appearance in over 50 years. Meanwhile, VT football has been competitive for over 25 years; focusing resources on that strength was the obvious choice. But as a result, VT men's BB was left to rot for most of that time. It takes a long time to reinvigorate a program with a poor foundation like this one. And the progress Buzz has made is obvious. We're now disappointed with only 2 ACC wins at this point in the season, instead of only 2 all year. It's not reasonable to expect to make the NCAAT consistently at this point. If Buzz is still here in 5-6 more years? Then maybe.

We don't need a thread questioning our programs future every time we lose a game. It is a very bad look.

VB born, class of '14, Semper Paratus

I would counter that the lack of engagement regarding the basketball program is a worse look.

Without Ltrepeter2000 and Henry Skutt, there would be almost no activity in the Basketball Forum @ TKP.
Ltrepeter2000 provides good insight in pregame articles and H. Skutt does a good job of reporting after the game but there is little to no dialogue by members of this community.

Just as a reference point, the center for FSU was 6" taller than Sy... And a pretty good athlete considering he is 7'4".

.

.
I never met a project that couldn't justify a new tool.

....and it was a 6'5" wing named Walker who had a far bigger impact in the game. Unfortunately, wrong Walker.

I'm just really tired of the "were not tall enough" after every game. UVA isn't any taller than we are. But they are executing their style of play and we aren't.

A big guy helps protect the lane on defense and gets rebounds to kick to the Guards

Recruit Prosim

If you went to the VT-UVA game you would not argue that KBJ is as tall as Jack Salt. KJB is not 6-10.

Even when Salt went out, Mamadi Diakite was bigger than KBJ. UVA has 4 guys that play 20 minutes per game that are taller than Chris Clarke we just have KBJ (& he is repeatedly out of games in foul trouble).

I will agree, UVA does a great job of executing their style of play.
When Syracuse is going, their style of play is very successful too.
Hopefully the same will be said about our style of play too.

The 3 ball seems like the lowest percentage chance of executing.

Recruit Prosim

On the season VT is hitting at 40%, the same as Golden State.

Is the drop off in ACC play just cold shooting or is the offense harder to run with a size disadvantage?

Signing post players in the ACC is only a unicorn theory in Blacksburg. FSU has no issue with it. I'm not mentioning the top 7 acc teams either.

Signing 5 star Offensive linemen is also a unicorn theory in Blacksburg. We should probably chase Fuente out the door too

Woosh...does UVA football sign 5 star offensive lineman? Does Wake? Does GT? Does UNC? nope... but every other ACC hoops school has more than 1 kid over 6'06 on their roster.

Alright man, you're right, fire Buzz

Never said that... but feel free to interpret "VT needs to sign more big men" to "Fire buzz" though...

Very weird that I interpreted it that way, so is this suggesting that we should have TWO Head Coaches in Basketball?

Whit needs to take his 3.5 million and hire another coach.

Why don't you quote the sentence before that? The whole context? Where I put a very realistic qualifier in there? oh, that doesn't make for good message boarding

Or is he just unable to sign ACC level post players? If its the later, Whit needs to take his 3.5 million and hire another coach

Ok, let's break it down. I'm not supposed to interpret "VT needs to sign more big men" as "Fire Buzz," but if Buzz is unable to sign ACC level post players, we should hire a second coach. Got it

You disagree? You are content paying 3 plus million to a staff that can only sign wing players? At some point- not today- and I never even hinted at today- should one of the higher paid staffs in the league be able to sign big men?

Yes, I'm content having one disappointing season where one of two big men on the team that Buzz did actually sign transferred out and back in for unknown reasons. I know you're waiting for me to say it, so Buzz "gets a pass" for this one.

I admittedly have high hopes but low expectations, but for a program that has NEVER made the Sweet 16, I don't understand why anyone would expect us to recruit like Cuse, Duke, UNC, Lville etc. No coach in America is recruiting elite big men to schools with zero basketball history or, in the case of FSU/Texas and the like, lots and lots of money

Listen man, even BC has half a dozen kids above 6'8" that can be a warm body. You don't need to be a top 10 program alone to recruit height.

To expand on that, Zach Leday was a transfer South Florida. KBJ wasn't a big-time recruit coming out of high school. The guys that have been good for us are not high profile recruits.

Sure, a 5 star PF would be nice, but how about we just try for someone... anyone that could play down low!

Everybody here needs to get over the height issue. If we had Dream this year, we are only marginally shorter than Notre Dame, UNC, and UVA this year. Notre Dame with Bonzie Colson is literally VT this year height wise and they were a top ten team with him healthy.

This notion that Buzz can't recruit bigs is ridiculous. He doesn't recruit bigs because it doesn't fit his system. He gets a bunch of 6'5-6'7 guys that can ball, with a couple true point guards and a couple bigs. You also don't need crazy height to rebound well. UNC has the best rebound margin in the country this year, yet again, and they only have one guy above 6'9 that gets any significant minutes. What they do have is several players 6'6-6'8 that can pass, shoot, dribble, and rebound because that's how they're coached.

Also, be careful what you wish for in warm bodies. Satchel Pierce, Johnny Hamilton, Nick Fullard. All big warm bodies who don't play because it's much more valuable to have a 6'6 guy that can shoot 40% from three and grab 4 boards a game.

The key really starts with being a better defensive team. If we can play more man and less zone we will be a better rebounding team. If not, then we will have to get better at finding a man from zone when the shot goes up which is not easy to do at all against these athletes we're up against.

Notre Dame with Bonzie Colson is literally VT this year height wise and they were a top ten team with him healthy.

Bonzie is truly a matchup nightmare. Dude has a wing player's frame with a center's wingspan,. Hustle like Zach Leday but with an outside game, much better low post player than CC even at the same height. When healthy, ND still starts a traditional center with Colson at forward. ND got bit by the injury bug, big time. I think Farrell is just now back too.

UNC has the best rebound margin in the country this year, yet again, and they only have one guy above 6'9 that gets any significant minutes. What they do have is several players 6'6-6'8 that can pass, shoot, dribble, and rebound because that's how they're coached.

We have two players that fit this profile. One happens to find himself in foul trouble regularly, leaving us with 1 of these guys. I think you are really underestimating the size at each position for UNC, they have great depth in the front court, in addition to these guys being good athletes. 4 of their top 7 in MPG are 6'8"+.

This notion that Buzz can't recruit bigs is ridiculous. He doesn't recruit bigs because it doesn't fit his system.

This system is designed to fail in my mind, if he values a 5th point guard (see Kobongo coming next year) over a third post player.

Also, be careful what you wish for in warm bodies. Satchel Pierce, Johnny Hamilton, Nick Fullard. All big warm bodies who don't play because it's much more valuable to have a 6'6 guy that can shoot 40% from three and grab 4 boards a game.

Hurts to say that Satch might be a warm welcome this year. He was a capable defensive rebounder and paint presence with his size, despite offering very little offensively and being downright slow to move the court. Fullard's scholarship isn't going to pay any dividends, though he seems like a nice kid and i'm glad he earned the open scholarship. We aren't even using Horne to spell KBJs minutes at this point, kid has barely played all month.. We could use a warm body down low, as we have none.

I think Hamilton's recruitment was exactly what I am describing. Buzz needed some height and depth in the form of a warm body. I don't know how these two found each other at odds, but Hamilton is playing for UTSA this season after seeing like 10 minutes in total last season.

The key really starts with being a better defensive team. If we can play more man and less zone we will be a better rebounding team.

No disagreements from me here. Hard to win anything even given our pace of play if we are surrendering 85+ PPG.

1. Bonzie having a wing players frame doesn't mean anything becuase he is not super fast or quick off the dribble and just plays in the post. And yes, they have another Center that's 6'10 but last year if we had KJ and Leday on the floor then there ya go. Same lineup size wise. Don't blame a lack of height just because KJ isn't a good rebounder.

2. Yes, UNC does have players that are 6'8 and can run, but the fact they're leading the country in this category without towering post players like the past or other ACC teams means height isn't the only factor. We have more capable rebounders than just KJ and Chris. I would disagree that we only have two players that can do what I mentioned above. NAW and Med both average just under 4 boards a game. From a team that only grabs 35 a game and stays completely off the offensive glass that's not bad. Also keep in mind we have seen great rebounding games from these guys, just not consistently. Height isn't setting them back, it's their attitude about rebounding and how we choose as a team to rebound.

3. You can think it's designed to fail all you want but I'm more willing to trust in a guy making $3 million a year with a track record of success using this system. Also, not sure where you're getting 5th PG from. We have J Rob, Bede and Pig. Adding Kabongo will be 5 and Landers will act as a Chris Clarke type. Will play a big SF role and be a rebounder.

4. I'm sorry but Satchel was just not good in any way, shape or form. You put him in to grab a couple defensive rebounds and the result is that you can't get out and run the floor as well because he would gas way too quickly, and the pick and roll game suffers mightily because he is inept offensively and provides no motivation for a defense to account for him. Satchel throws a big ole wrench in our scheme just to grab a couple boards and pick up a few fouls.

Every team has something that they sacrifice or live/die by. We sacrifice offensive rebounds for transition baskets and we sacrifice two traditional bigs for wings who can do it all. We've seen this team take down bigger teams before when they execute. At it's best it literally forces coaches to sit their bigs and then it's an even playing field in terms of height. It's a frustrating game plan to watch at times but it has worked in the past and has potential here with the players that Buzz is bringing in.

3. You can think it's designed to fail all you want but I'm more willing to trust in a guy making $3 million a year with a track record of success using this system.

I don't care what his salary is, but THIS. This whole thread reminds me of the people that complained about Beamer after one setback season when I was in school because he did not use the old school power run enough.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

This is a bullshit post.
This entire site is dependent on people's opinions related to VT sports. Every one of the decisions made in the VT athletic department is made by a "more qualified" individual than the poster on this site.

You don't see parallels between people calling for an old school, you cannot win without playing the same game as the big boys even thought you cannot compete with them in recruiting in basketball now, and some of the opinions voiced when the power run game fell apart for Beamer in the early eighties? I probably could have worded it better. I believe Buzz's approach, where we do not have recruit better bigs than other ACC teams, is much more likely to get us success, than trying to recruit bigs that can outplay those all the bluebloods in the conference. I am disappointed with defensive play, and getting out of control trying to go too fast, and have said so. Football really turned it around when Foster came in with a system that allowed us to compete with smaller, twitchier linemen, not when we started recruiting 5* 300 lb guys. We started playing dual QB's when most blue bloods were not. Buzz has a vision to change the playing field, too. I don't think he is qualified because of his position or pay, but because he has done it, and is convincing his guys to come here. It's fair if you disagree with that, or his philosophy, but it's my opinion. I was trying to get out of work to get the turkey legs on the grill for the game tonight, and did not take the time to draw out the comparison like I should have.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Fair points and I appreciate the dialogue and I know I could have articulated many of my ideas better. I don't like to read, Coach makes XXX & you make 0, your opinion is invalid.

Looking for ways to improve any of the teams at VT is fair game to me and since the players are kids, I tend to place the responsibility to improve on the coaches. Their responsibility is to put players in a position to succeed 1st and foremost. A coach is lucky to have a player that can take over and win for them.

1. I see what you are saying on his frame, but he is an exceptional rebounder. We don't have a matchup nightmare like him. I think his game off the dribble is solid + his shooting ability from the low post make him outright dangerous. I am also very impressed by how he moves without the ball and picks his spots.

2. Those guys are capable rebounders for their size and position, NAW especially, but it seems like they get beat for plenty of boards by stronger and taller competition when they are bodied up on. Saying their height isn't is a factor is puzzling..

3. It is failing this season, we are watching. Your point on money is bullshit and means nothing.. Do you trust anyone that is paid well? Did all those NCAA and professional teams that fired their coach in the last year have trust in those multi-million dollar coaches?

3a. Forgot to substract D. Wilson, must've thought we was going to play until retirement age. Probably the right number of PGs since #5 will be a senior.

4. This season, I really only believe his size alone would be a welcome sight of the bench. Satch is a bad fit for our system and I too thought he was a bad player. Buzz recruited him, even pulled him along after leaving Marquette, although Satch never looked like a good fit. As an aside, I actually really wonder what Buzz was expecting from him, looked slow with no offensive game from day 1.

I didn't mean that their size isn't a factor. I meant that there are plenty of great rebounders that are not 6'10 and there just as many terrible rebounders that are 6'10. You saw NAW last night being super aggressive on the boards and have seen Med and Bibbs do the same throughout their career. They can be good rebounders but often times they lack the aggression and the technique to grab boards. You saw how happy Buzz was last night when PJ had a perfect boxout.

I only said the money thing because you said you don't think it works and didn't say much else about it. I've argued with plenty of people on here about the X's and O's of the system and looked at in pretty in depth before and for you to just rebutt my point by saying you don't think it works is just as ridiculous as me saying the guy that gets paid a lot should be trusted without question. If this was a new system that had never worked before or you could tell me why our teams now are so different than his past teams where it did work then that could be a valid point. But when Golden State plays this system and it works and Buzz has done it before and gone to the Elite 8 just saying it doesn't work isn't good enough.

I know people will go crazy that I mentioned GS and it only works for them because they have such good and unique talents on their team. Sorry but there are plenty of other teams with insane talent that aren't nearly as good as GS and cannot beat them because they can't run them off the 3 point line and can't keep up with them in transition. If bigs were so valuable then the Pelicans would be at least top 3 in the West considering they have two of the best, if not the best, bigs in the entire world.

We lost to UL because we couldn't close out on shooters. We lost to FSU because we missed wide open threes and they hit step backs. And last night we beat and outrebounded the best rebounding team in the country. I agree size would be welcome on the bench, but we are one weird transfer situation away from that being the case so you can't critique the system just because the player you want is on the team just not able to play.

I thought this was NAW's most impactful game in a VT jersey. At the end of the FSU game it appeared that he had some fire. I was happy to see his defensive intensity remain high even when his shots were not falling. Furthermore, he played a good game on the offensive end of the court, he kept being assertive and forcing the defence to respect his play even though the actual points were hard to come by.

In the OP I ask if NAW could be a NBA player, I still am hopeful and happy with his progression.

I question the system in combination with the roster, and you don't think that is a critique that can be made. We'll probably be forever at odds due to that difference. But in the spirit of sports debate and to throw some more detail behind my limited comment on what doesn't work....

I believe the system not working for us this year is all due to lack of depth in the frontcourt . Yes, plenty of teams are running a 4/1 lineup, Nova won a natty playing small ball just 2 years back and has been playing this style for about as long as I can remember. It works at a lot more places than VT. We just desperately need the depth to play this style for the full 40.

Even is the Sy fiasco had played out with him being eligible, or outright gone and the scholarship awarded to another post player, i don't believe this would be such an obvious problem. We can't play our system with KB in foul trouble because there is literally nobody behind him. CC is the only other guy can occupy the low post, our game is drive and dish at the point. We also have to run at such a fast pace and be lights out shooting with that lineup. IMO, we give up so much on the defensive end with this small lineup that we are constantly having to help down when the ball gets to the paint. Seems like this issue alone leads to a lot of open looks from 3 and those atrocious opponent shooting percentages we have seen in the last two memorable losses.

GS will always be a tough comparison for exactly what you mentioned, unreal athletes at multiple positions + a few dominant 3 point shooters. Even Buzz's elite 8 teams had a few more bigs at his disposal.

I think Buzz is pretty solid in game manager, and you can clearly tell his emotions charge up the team. I appreciate that the team never takes off an inbounds play and always looks for a set first. Off the timeout, Buzz usually has some creative way to free up his best long range shooters or get a decisive cut to the basket. That 2014 to 2015 turnaround will always impress me. But now, on our 4th year of Buzzketball and a lack of depth at the low post being a common theme, I just want another friggin' post player or two.

Satchel Pierce would not be a warm welcome this year. On a quasi-good Penn State team, 15-8, 5-5 but their only really good win was their almost half court buzzer beater over Ohio State before the weekend. Otherwise their best win is likely their overtime win over Nebraska since that is the only team in the top half of any P5 conference that they have beaten this year.

Pierce has managed 2.1 PPG and 2.2 RPG while still not even managing to give his coach 10 minutes per contest on average. In 8.6 MPG he still is managing to commit 1.8 fouls on average. He is such a non-factor for the Nittany Lions that he hasn't even seen the floor for seven of their 10 conference games.

I am with you on being confused about Horne not getting more run. Especially with how Buzz reacted in the UNC game when Horne got the block and the ball and then forced a foul on the other end. That was when Buzz ran out on to the court to high five Horne and probably should have gotten a technical.

I understand the low expectations and high hopes but VT did hire a coach who took his team to 3 straight Sweet 16s. That does make expectations for the Buzz tenure to be much more successful than previous regimes.

I'll just say this: this is the first year since I became a fan that I've ever been "disappointed" by VT basketball. Every other year I've expected them to completely suck or be pretty average and either got exactly what I thought or, more recently, a lot better. So I think Buzz has earned at least another year or two of "disappointments" before we start really worrying about the trajectory of the program.

Also, as far as this year goes, the problem to me seems to be much more everyone around Blackshear being sloppy and going completely cold for way too long than Blackshear not being "a true center."

The progress is fine. He actually overachieved imo slightly. He took a program that was basically in shambles and got it to the tournament in 3 years.That's ridiculously fast. This season is basically bit of a course correction. If you take the way last year's team played and this one and flipped them, everyone would say "yeah, we're right on track". Nothing to panic over at all. It's just this year's squad is just flawed. There isn't enough front court depth to solve the issues on defense and not enough consistent offensive talent to cover those holes up. Get Sy back, some more experience for Horne, incoming fresh Nolley has good length for a wing etc, and that's a good start to patching things up.

... and add back Ty Outlaw

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

i'm not a big fan of basketball to begin with but I do enjoy the NCAA tournament. I'd like to see us get into the tournament and make it a little further (sweet Sixteen). Since we are not a known commodity, nor an urban campus, our best bet would be to stay competitive in the ACC, finish closer to the top, make it to the Semis of the ACC tournament, win some big games, etc. Our Men's soccer team is a good example of this, 2 years ago they made it to the elite 8, this past fall they got to the 2nd round, no shame in that and despite not having a great regular season but they did beat #1 Notre Dame for their signature win and stayed competitive in other games.

I think that should be the formula for Basketball too. Also keep the coach for a longer term, In soccer Coach Briz was up against a lot of odds from the get go but over time he has put together a good program. Keep Buzz, let him do his thing, let him recruit the way he does and let him coach up a competitive team and we will build ourselves to tournament status. Once that tourney significance kicks in, more and more recruits will want to come to us.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

You serious Clark?

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Just asking how a team can be better (players and/or coaches) does not mean that you think the current team sucks and the coach needs to be fired. I have seen VT basketball play better than they are this year and I have seen them play worse, either way I have always hoped they would be better the next game and the next season.

Ok. To address your questions, yes I think Buzz is the guy and yes I think we will eventually have some, but not a lot, of nba talent. NBA talent goes to Duke and other Sweet 16 caliber teams, like you said. I don't know if we'll ever be a consistent sweet 16 team. That being said I think Buzz will continue to get us to the NCAA tournament, just not every year. I thought we had the talent this year but we have been underachieving.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I think you misinterpreted the initial post; this is not questioning what Buzz and the players need to do to be deemed a success in Blacksburg (they are currently checking all of the boxes).

This was looking for fans opinion for what would needs to happen for VT to have a Sweet 16 type season. I think UCONN is the perfect example of how hard it is to be consistently good. Their coach didn't change for decades but their production was tied to having a singular great player on the team. They could not reload year after year like the true blue-blood programs.

As someone who has been to 99% of the games in Cassell for more than the past 20 years, I think this is a reasonable goal for the team. This level of play allows for a "memorable run" if the right guys signs up or the shots fall.

Personally I enjoy the ride of the basketball program. There is the potential for development during the season that is not available in football (due to everything riding on winning the conference championship) and more dramatic change year-to-year.

It is just more of the same. The progam has not been decent since the Moir days. Solomon, Curry, The Youngs, Beecher. I used to live VT basketball but it has been a shitshow for ever. Therefore I have no interest.

Year 3 is coming up!

since the Moir days. Solomon, Curry, The Youngs, Beecher

Ah yes, back when we had to camp out (in January/February) for tickets!!

I did enjoy those days, and admittedly lost interest for a good number of years after that. However, I have been following the team pretty closely for the last ten years or so, with the same "high hopes, low expectations" approach that others on here have expressed. Certainly makes the games easier to take than football, where the expectation is much higher.

My exact experience, and sentiments.

Something, something about #BuzzGettingAPass

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Honestly, better perimeter closeouts would help more than anything. And then add better rebounding. A true five isn't going to fit in this offense. However the stretch 4's need to work the glass much better.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Without the 5 under the rim, it seems that you have to be able to make NBA range 3s to extend the defense out far enough. Long defenses (like Syracuse) will be really tough for our current offense because they can close out on perimeter shooters without giving up driving lanes.

I do agree with the desire for better defensive closeouts but more infuriating to me is the amount of time defenders hands are below shoulder level. My presumption is that they are trying to deny driving lanes with quick footwork but it appears to be at the expense of giving up practice shots.

Agree on the stretch 4... or ANY warm body to spell Blackshear when he picks up his 3rd foul,- 4 minutes into every game. - That is the price you pay when you have 8 wings, 1 true point on a 12 man roster.

Yep, I will continue to argue that it's not a lack of height that is our problem (we weren't taller last year, for instance). Our problems are:

- we suck at perimeter defense. Closeouts are a big problem as is pressuring the ball sufficiently to deter post entrance passes. We seem much more likely to want to swoop in from the backside to double team than actually defending the ball tight enough to make the entrance pass a challenge.

- KJB is plenty tall, but a.) he was a 6'8" wing when we recruited him and he still plays like he's 6'8", b.) he's not a good rebounder, and c.) he's crazy foul prone. KJB is tall enough and he's become a really good scorer, but the other things really hurt us. LeDay was 3-4" shorter than KJB and a much better rebounder.

- Our system puts pressure on teams when we are executing it well and a true post-5 doesn't fit in our system. I'm glad everyone is really please that Sy is returning, but him sitting out has done wonders for his image. Last year, he lost PT as the season wore on because he wasn't productive and he bogged down the offense. That big dude for FSU is big, defends the rim and rebounds, but if he was here, I'm not sure how he would fit. Buzz has a system, it's about spacing, and if you want a FSU front line, you're just following the wrong team. That's not going to happen here.

They overachieved last year in spite of the Clarke injury.

This year has been disappointing in that they haven't surprised us with an unexpected ACC win, and they haven't been as competitive as we'd have liked against really good ACC teams.

I agree with others here who say it's the execution, not the talent that has held VT back this year. I'm not worried about Buzz. He's been great for VT basketball.

they haven't surprised us with an unexpected ACC win yet

FTFY

I agree, but that's part of the current fan malaise.

I think we'd all be happy with a win over a top ACC program.

I think we are performing at our current team's level. We lack the depth to play as fast as we would like and I think the tired legs of the season are going to highlight this fact even more down the stretch. We have talented players, but not to the level of the top half of the ACC. I am concerned with our complete dependence on the 3 pt shot, we don't hit them consistently enough to cover the sloppy defense. This team is really close to being a perennial NCAA tourney team, but they will need to become much more efficient on offense and effective on defense. Look at the losses, if this team could have hit and prevented one one more three each game, we are in a tight one to the end at both Louisville and Kentucky. One shot each way. That is the margin for success. We are close, which is nice, but I think we all want to get over the hump and chalk them up into the W column more often.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

1. There is always an excuse- ALWAYS.. so and so is hurt, so and so has clearinghouse issues, oh if only so and so was eligible, etc, etc, etc. For 30 years- excuses, excuses, excuses. When Greenberg was here, it was well he wins 20 something games, but he is not paid anywhere near ACC coaches, thus we should be happy with the NIT. It was also the tired- urban kids don't want to play in blacksburg- keep in mind they flock to meccas like Lexington Kentucky and Lawrence Kansas though...Not being a Nike hoops school was also an excuse early on in the Greenberg era. Meanwhile- VCU, Xavier, Butler, Wichita, St. Mary's, Cincinnatti, WVU, Creighton are all regulars in the NCAA. I won't mention the consistent top 10 program 160 miles north of Blacksburg or other ACC schools like Wake, Clemson, NC State that have been much more consistent. So Buzz Williams comes along- and is paid in the top 6 of the acc in terms of salary, and the excuses remain- ironically his one tourney team thus far dressed 7 players due to virginia tech hoops doing virginia tech hoops things- injuries, the mysterious pig jackson issue, etc etc. So as long as there is the snake bit feel and a million excuses to why this program can't consistently be in the top 68, you are what you are- including this year, where he has a bunch of veteran wings that can score, but can't defend anyone and one post player- because why??? Khadim Sy mysteriously leaving school and coming back- VT hoops doing VT hoops things. 2. If Buzz Williams really thinks he can compete in the current ACC with no legit post players, he is not nearly as smart as the meme's he tweets everyday. The difference between VT and the top 6 teams in the ACC is that those other teams CAN actually recruit GOOD big men- without issue. Syracuse can sign bigs- good bigs. Duke, UNC, Louisville, ND- no problem signing bigs the last 30 years- good bigs. FSU can sign good bigs- they are huge. THAT is the league Buzz is competing in. If he really thinks a 4.5 guard lineup with zero post depth can win in that league consistently, he is insane. So does he believe this? Or is he just unable to sign ACC level post players? If its the later, Whit needs to take his 3.5 million and hire another coach.

I believe the "trust the process/system/coach" or the "we just need to execute better" people use those as a coping mechanism to avoid addressing our recruiting concerns because it is harder to swallow and harder to fix. I think Buzz has done a good job, this is the best VT basketball I've seen since Greenberg, but I think this is the ceiling until/if we ever get elite, big talent to Cassell.

Recruit Prosim

I think the problem is some people have unrealistic expectations based off our first tournament team in awhile.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Well that is my question.. what are the expectations? I don't think it is at all "out of whack" to expect Buzz and his well paid staff to recruit and keep eligible a complete "ACC type roster" in year 4. Will we win every game? nope. Will we compete with the Dukes and UNCs for McDonalds all americans? Nope. But is it too much to ask to have a balanced ACC type roster? Without several guys always in street clothes and 1 legit big on the team? I personally don't think that's too much to ask.

We won 10 games in the league last year without what you consider to be an ACC type roster.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Yes we did. And we played/dressed 7 guys. 7 guys is not an ACC type roster. Buzz will tell you he needed more depth.

7 guys is not an argument. We all know we should want a deeper bench. You like to laud Syracuse for being an example of a great ACC program, and Boeheim plays 7 to 8 guys every year.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Syracuse IS a great program. They make the NCAAs nearly every year and should their "one big" get 3 fouls in the first 5 minutes of a game, Beoheim always has other options, besides playing a Devin Wilson at the 4. If you can't see the difference in their rosters typically and ours- where one injury kills the entire deal, then I can't help you.

So, you're saying we are giving Buzz a free pass?

(I'm sensing a theme)

No. there is a difference between expecting a team coming off an NCAA tourney appearance and with much more depth than a year ago to be more competitive and "a free pass"- a huge difference.

We overachieved last year, and with so many returners it really does feel like underachieving so far this year especially with how winnable some of these losses have been.

Recruit Prosim

Against the better interest of my sanity I'm going to address parts of your text wall, because some of this is too outrageous to actually believe.

It was also the tired- urban kids don't want to play in blacksburg- keep in mind they flock to meccas like Lexington Kentucky and Lawrence Kansas though

Kentucky and Kansas have completely removed their locations from the equitation and it's been that way for decades.

other ACC schools like Wake, Clemson, NC State that have been much more consistent.

Clemson or Wake have not been that much more consistent over the last 10 years. They were each near the bottom of the league more than once during that time. NC State has a national championship and make basketball their priority, but they also spent more time than Wake or Clemson near the bottom over the last decade.

So Buzz Williams comes along- and is paid in the top 6 of the acc in terms of salary, and the excuses remain- ironically his one tourney team thus far dressed 7 players

I suppose the year one team with a 6'7" walk-on playing most of the minutes at the 5 should have made the dance? The year two team overachieved and nearly made it. Complaining we've only made the tournament once in 3 years is absolute madness when you look at the state this program was in year one. This reaching backwards to complain about the roster size is what gets me the most about this though. We were redshirting transfers and guys who weren't ready to play. I suppose the injuries were all Buzz's fault too. Please use this as an opportunity to attack the S&C program now because God knows we haven't done that enough either.

including this year, where he has a bunch of veteran wings that can score, but can't defend anyone and one post player- because why??? Khadim Sy mysteriously leaving school and coming back

Your basketball IQ is showing if you think the only thing between this team and defending the post is sophomore Khadim Sy.

If Buzz Williams really thinks he can compete in the current ACC with no legit post players, he is not nearly as smart as the meme's he tweets everyday.

Hyperbole and strawmanning. Buzz does not think he can complete in the ACC with 0 post players. Buzz's Twitter habits are really what irk you about him, aren't they? :^)

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

So to recap... the reason this team is an NIT team at best in year 4 of the well compensated Buzz Williams coaching era- is?? excuses- just as I pointed out. NC State has a natty- in 1983, so they should be able to destroy us every time in Raleigh and sign big guys. Buzz totally knows he needs big guys to compete- he just doesn't sign any. "We were redshirting transfers and guys who weren't ready to play. I suppose the injuries were all Buzz's fault too."- who on this team falls into that category? Who are we redshirting this year - Sy? the kid you say can't play? If your expectations are the NCAAs once every 3-4 years with Buzz- that's fine. You can say that VT hoops has been a disaster forever and buzz inherited a mess- and I agree. But turning around a hoops program- in the ACC- is not like turning UVA football around. If Buzz is irreplaceable and VT is lucky to have him, etc. then he should be able to get this program to a point where coming off a tourney, we are not fighting for the NIT.

So to recap... the reason this team is an NIT team at best in year 4 of the well compensated Buzz Williams coaching era- is?? excuses- just as I pointed out.

I'm not making excuses for this year's team. I'm picking apart some of your outrageous assertions about previous years if anything. Hell, I'm probably on the same side as you about this team's performance thus far, which is why I said it will take more than just having Sy to turn things around right now.

"We were redshirting transfers and guys who weren't ready to play. I suppose the injuries were all Buzz's fault too."- who on this team falls into that category?

I was addressing your complaint about dressing 7 players on last year's tournament team. Please try to keep up.

If Buzz is irreplaceable and VT is lucky to have him, etc. then he should be able to get this program to a point where coming off a tourney, we are not fighting for the NIT.

If a down year is enough for some of us to get the knives out then we deserve to have a terrible basketball program.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Cmon man... "down years"?? perfectly fine- especially regarding VT hoops..but not all "down years" are created equal- please be honest here. This team is a veteran team, with 4 more guys available than last year getting minutes, and we get dusted at home by UVA in the worst loss of the series, and could not get a split from middle of the pack Louisville and FSU. This is a clear NIT team with serious defensive flaws. This is not a James Johnson "down year". Can VT fans expect down years? sure and under different circumstances, nobody is bringing out the knives.

This team is a veteran team, with 4 more guys available than last year getting minutes, and we get dusted at home by UVA in the worst loss of the series

Some down years are more disappointing than others, but no down year is enough to get me to call the entire direction of the program into question. You're right about having 4 more guys though. Maybe we need to pare back the rotation, that seemed to work well last season. :^)

nobody is bringing out the knives.

You've openly floated firing Buzz in this thread.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Hoops at all levels is a 4 guard, 1 big game now... Coming in to this year Buzz thought he had Sy and Blackshear at 6-10 each plus Outlaw who was fantastic last year. There was no way he could plan on Sy deciding to leave at the last moment and Outlaw getting hurt. Unless you are Duke, injuries and losses like that are huge. This year, even Kansas, UNC and UK are flawed with player shortcomings. This program has come so far from the depths and been able to pass those above it in a short period of time.

Yeah the D is disappointing but the player make-up is hard to question based on where we were and the unexpected losses.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

This thread reminds me of the time I had only two dog biscuits but three dogs. They ended up fighting each other while the biscuits went uneaten. We all want the same thing here, simply put, to win games, and scrapping and biting each other isn't gonna get us those biscuits.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

...But what happened to the two dog biscuits? Did you eat them? I bet you ate them.

Nope. Put them up and threw all three of the dogs out the back door. Of course, they learned nothing and were already great buddies by the time I opened the door. I learned that throwing two dog biscuits to three dogs was a dumb move, and I should've had the biscuits for dinner as punishment for being stupid. It was comical to see them going round in circles, though, nipping at heel and tail. A maelstrom, for sure, but bloodless.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Let's not panic here... we had a great OOC (minus St. L). We have lost to Syracuse on the road, #2 LOLUVA and FSU at home, Louisville on the road, #18 Kentucky on the road. Our expectations are high and that's a good thing, but let's not forget where we were 5 years ago. If we can get a couple of upsets and make a run in the ACC tourney which we are very capable of, we will be dancing. If not, we have a ton of young talent and we can get better for next year.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Our OOC SOS is in the 300's.. Our best win is #85 Ole Miss. UVA beat us in Cassell worse than they EVER have- James Johnson Bobby Hussey years included.

Our OOC is atrocious.

By KenPom rankings:

USCe: 77th
Detroit Mercy: N/A
Citadel: 335th
St Louis: 146th
UW: 99th
Houston Baptist: 318th
Morehead State: 258th
Iowa: 101st
Ole Miss: 85th
Radford: 173rd
MD Eastern Shore: 346th
UK: 33rd
Presbyterian: 334th
NC A&T: 277th

That's good for an average of 199.

Our best win is against USCe, which is ranked 77th.

(I was reminded that USCe doesn't count as it was an exhibition game, therefore our best win is against 85th ranked Ole Miss.)

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

South Carolina was only an exhibition, so it doesn't count on our resume.

Ah, good point - I had forgotten this.

I'll update.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

What's this buzz all about?

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Can somebody with a higher basketball IQ than me explain why it seems like we default to going under every screen even when the guy with the ball is a well-known 3 point shooter? Are we worried about giving up drives to the basket so much that we'd rather take our chances with teams knocking down open threes? Or is it just bad habits on the part of the players?

I have to presume this is directed by the coach because it is too easy of a fix otherwise.

It baffles me the the O values the 3 so much but it does not appear to be a focus on D.

I think this is where a lot of the height complaints come from as it appears that VT has to over guard dribble drives due to the lack of a rim protector (that doesn't foul) and that leaves EVERY team hitting practice type 3s.

I find both sides of the argument quite frustrating.

Buzz Williams is the best coach VT has ever had, by an enormous margin. Running him out of town would be ludicrous, we vastly overachieved in hiring him (thank you Whit). Buzz is recruiting on a level that we've never seen before, he's pumped life into a moribund program that now has significantly improved facilities and an updated court. His turnaround from year 1 to year 3 was exceptional and it appeared that everything was headed in the right direction.

However, the "In Buzz we trust" crowd seems to have too rosy of an outlook for my tastes. Buzz deserves criticism for the current team which is going to be one of the worst in the ACC this year. The team currently stands at 13-6 without an impressive OOC win, and I see very few winnable games left on our ACC schedule (GT, NC State & BC). This team could potentially end up with a 16-15 regular season record, which would be unacceptable in my eyes.

This is Buzz's fourth year, he's been given facility and venue upgrades and an expanded budget for assistants and he's pulling in impressive recruiting classes. At this point, he has a roster full of his guys (OKGs) and the excuses regarding where this program was prior to him taking over are beginning to be less and less valid.

tl;dr: Buzz is a great coach, better than we likely 'deserve', firing him would set this program decades but the vitriol directed at anyone criticizing Buzz is unwarranted, he needs to get over the hump.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Why doesn't Virginia Tech basketball deserve a good coach? I don't get it. If we are paying good money, you mean to tell me we can't find a good coach that we "deserve"? I just don't get it. Buzz Williams has never been to a final four. Buzz Williams has never won a conference tournament and has one regular season title. Buzz is .609 career winning % and 8-5 in the NCAAs. All due respect, this isn't Brad Stevens or Gregg Marshall or Mark Few here. If Virginia Tech of today- ACC member, updated facilities, over 3 million budget, large staff- doesn't "deserve" a coach on the level of Buzz Williams, we honestly should play in another league.

He could have gone to plenty of other programs with better facilities, a larger budget, larger staff etc.

There's a reason why outsiders were shocked and VT fans swooned over the hire. We overachieved in hiring him.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

OK, but if he left money and better jobs on the table to come to VT, the argument that we don't "deserve" him doesn't hold water. He came here for a reason. He must have thought the program had potential and was "worthy" of him, right?

I should clarify, he didn't necessarily leave more money/better jobs on the table as I don't recall what other openings existed when he jumped ship.

I personally think that Buzz could have parlayed his success at Marquette into a much better job than VT, but Buzz is an exceptionally unique character so getting an accurate read on him is pretty much impossible.

We seem to have a fundamental disagreement on both Buzz's coaching quality (which I rate higher than you do) and the relative ranking of VT's program, where it seems that you would put it much higher on a list of job openings than I would.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Some of yall mfers don't seem to remember James Johnson...I remember. I remember going 4 straight years as last place in the ACC, becuase those were my undergrad years lol. Yeah, we are playing poorly right now, but sometimes shit happens that don't represent future trends.

Also the "1-2 career NBA players in each sweet sixteen team" is bullshit.

Then explain why the same teams make up 10-14of the 16 teams playing the second weekend of the tournament. They consistently have NBA players on their roster.

I would be willing to bet that UNC, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA will produce 4 of the Sweet 16 ten years from now because they will still be bringing in the best talent.

Take a look at the Sweet 16 from 10 years ago; you have the regular participants and the Cinderellas all had a transcendent player.

The OP questioned Buzz being a regular participant type of coach or one who made it with a transcendent player in Crowder & Butler.

Who was the Transcendent player for the VCU squads?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Larry Sanders was pretty damn good until he decided his love and dedication to reefer was worth more than an NBA career.

Briante Weber probably would have been pretty good in the league if he hadn't torn his ACL in one of his last games of his Senior year

Transcendent though? Probably not

Well that's a much different statement. I don't think some of yall understand that it is hard as fuck to be a career NBA player. I doubt many of TKP follow the NBA super closely, but I do and there certainly aren't that many career players coming into the league each year. Yes, there are plenty of recurrent schools in the S16, but most don't have 1-2 career NBA players, just a shit load of good college players. Transcendet for college does not always =/= NBA player.

EDIT: Just becuase I was curious, I looked at the sweet sixteen for 2010. That means 6-8 years in the NBA for those players that made the NBA. I would consider that a career for sure. Here is the list of guys I would consider "career NBA" players.

UNI: 0 players

Mich State: 1 - Draymond Green

Tennessee: 0 players

Ohio State: 1 - Evan Turner

Syracuse: 1 - Wesley Johnson

Butler: 0 players

Xavier: 0 players

Kansas State: 0 players

Kentucky: 3 - John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Terrrence Jones (he has bounced in and out of the league but I'll count him)

Cornell: 0 players

Washington: 1.5 - Isaiah Thomas, and although CJ Wilcox and Justin Holiday have bounced around, they haven't spent as long on an actually NBA as Terrence Ross to count them completely.

West Virginia : 0 players

Duke: 3 - Lance Thomas, Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry

Purdue: 1 - E'Twan Moore

Baylor: 1 - Quincy Acy

St. Mary's - 1- Matthew Dellavedova

Summary: Six teams had no NBA players. Three teams had more than 1 NBA player. And honestly, a few of the players listed only made it while on their rookie contract and then got dumped from the league because no one wanted to pay them. I don't even know if I would consider that a "career NBA player."

Good work. I'd argue that if Seth Curry is the threshold for career NBA player, then Justin Holiday definitely counts, but maybe that's just me.

Chem PhD '16

Yeah, Holiday seems to be right on the cusp. I don't know if he will be in the league in 2-4 years or not. But I agree, he is currently contributing to an NBA, albeit a shitty one in Chicago.

I feel like whenever I watch a VT game, the other team is shooting lights out from 3pt range. Even teams that were statistically bad at 3 pt shots (Kentucky). I looked it up and we are allowing ACC opponents to shoot 44.7% (60/134) from 3. I'm not sure how we can expect to win when teams are shooting that well from deep. Often they are wide open looks. That could be from bad defense or us collapsing inside. Either way, that number needs to come down if we want to consistently win ACC games. Our offense is still scoring but our defense needs to improve.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

This is a direct result of helping inside due to lack of size. Our team has to collapse to the ball inside because the matchups aren't favorable and we're not getting off the ball quick enough to pressure the outside shot that's leaving a lot of open looks from 3 range.

Yep. you can find advanced stats that tell you that you don't need size in the ACC, but that's BS. Our defense is awful, thus you wont beat good ACC teams- and it has everything to do with size and depth in the front court.

CALLING JOELESTRA for a By the (Advanced) Numbers: Hokie Basketball Edition!!!

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I think everyone on here is appreciative of what Buzz has done with the program compared with where this program was before. How could you not be? However, I also think it's completely justifiable to have some criticisms this season. No one should get blasted for thinking so. Geez, it's a fan forum. I'm fairly confident that a critical comment on a forum regarding Buzz's recruiting, coaching style, etc. isn't going to be a catalyst to "drive Buzz out of town."

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Thanks.
Let's hope we kick ass tonight.

No matter what your opinion of the season, we're all root for the boys tonight.

Recruit Prosim

I won't call a season a failure unless the wins for the entire season are disappointing AND the team is not able to at least build experience for the next year. I have seen way too many games in Cassell to call it quits on the program.

Man, it only took 36 hours for this OP to not age well...

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I'm just glad we didn't fire Buzz yesterday.

Fuck you, that was never remotely suggested in my OP.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

It wasn't. You had well though out points IMO. This morning, after a big win, those points are still just as valid as they were at 6:59 EST last night. Sorry you're getting hounded like this; this makes me nervous to ever post a topic about how our team can improve that may be perceived as slightly critical of a coach or player...

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Thanks, I have been surprised at the response since so many are happy to question the impact of every detail of the football program. In football the evaluation goes as far as the paint scheme of the helmet but in basketball, the size and skill of a player is a non-starter.

Apologies, td, I definitely should have refrained from commenting at all here yesterday. The OP was quality, and I took issue with comments that I should have just let go for the betterment of the discussion.

We're good.

while I'm kissing ass: happy bday, btw

No, it showed that having someone in the post over 6-6 is vital.
KBJ balanced the team on both ends of the court.

If you insist on taking the least charitable interpretation possible, maybe. Dude just wanted to talk some hoops.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

I'm extremely happy for our program that we got a huge win against a Top-10 team and love how much better we looked on the court tonight, but I don't think this win alone invalidates the OP or the content in this thread that made critiques and suggestions for improving.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Not necessarily, the OP asked if Buzz's strategy can be successful. One game doesn't prove or disprove that question. I think the team finally played some decent defense at times, they stayed on their man and did a much better job closing out on the shooters and getting a hand up in their face, but there were still lapses and series of one-dimensional offense and long teams seem to be able to shut us down with little effort. Might just be the current roster more than the system.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

But Buzz can't coach PAWWWWLLLLL

VB born, class of '14, Semper Paratus

Buzz said in the post game interview that he's gotten tired of looking at all the people on Twitter who say he can't coach. Justifiably so I'd say.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Yeah but how would he know if I don't tweet it?

#thingsiblamethemvsfor

Fencer, you can see the passion when he said that. It hurts him that people feel that way. You have to take the good with the bad with a coach like Buzz. I think his emotion will fuel us to victories like this one; however, at the same time his emotion and care for the fan base will allow the personal attacks on him to hurt that much more. I doubt he visits this site, I'm sure he has far too much on his plate to have time to sift through all of our comments. However, I hope after tonight, this fan base can really get behind this team win or lose. I've accepted the likelihood that we won't make the tournament, but I've never waivered on Buzz.

I think our expectations are sky high after making the tournament last year. We as a fan base need to support our squad win or lose, and trust that the coach is doing all that he can to develop this team to the best of his ability. And before anyone thinks I'm taking a shot at tdhokies, that is not the case AT ALL. I know he was simply trying to spark another good conversation on this site. That's why we all come here, to vent, to decompress, to suffer losses together, and to celebrate wins together as well. I missed the game cause I got tied up with some personal business, but I'll end this post with the usual....FAM!!!!!!!

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

100%

Versus UNC, at the start the perimeter defense was shaky and the post defenders kept getting pinned by the posts and couldn't rotate to help. Once that stopped and defenders started closing out properly on switches, UNC couldn't piss a drop besides wild shots by Berry that went down. This isn't rocket science. Good defense creates good positioning for rebounds. One and outs, coupled with VT's shot making, is the formula for them to win.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Bilas mentioned something about how we started switching from zone after makes to man after misses (or vice-versa, I didn't pay that close of attention). Do you/Does anyone know if that's something we've been doing all season, or was last night the first we saw of that?

I don't know about the timing of it but we have mixed zone and man through multiple games this year and in the past.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

Buzz has a color code for how he wants the team to approach the defensive side of the ball and seems to utilize it mainly when a team starts to use the high ball screen to allow dribble penetration by the ball handler. He shifts them to zone for those sequences so they switch off at the point of the screen. In the Notre Dame game, Clarke had a few miscues in this regard.

This conversation...

... has taken a fortunate turn.

A lot of people wanting to put the hot seat on Buzz already... Yal actin' up... Isaiah Todd, the #1 basketball recruit in the nation for 2020, has VT on a short list of warm teams on 247... THE NUMBER #1 RECRUIT IN THE NATION... When else would we have the number one recruit in the nation interested in basketball for us if we didn't have Buzz???

https://247sports.com/Player/Isaiah-Todd-94693

While it is cool to be mentioned with the blue bloods, there is no chance he comes here if he develops as anticipated. Just not going to happen.

Yeah, no way he's coming this way. BUT like you said, it's cool just to be high up on the number one recruits list. Just trying to point out Buzz's impact on this program... and hopefully in 3-4 years, we can snag a top 10 player.