Virginia Tech basketball center Keve Aluma

Virginia Tech basketball reloads after the loss of graduates and transfers.

Virginia Tech basketball battled Covid-19 and the ACC to make it into the NCAA tournament losing in the first round to the Florida Gators. The Hokies lost Wabiss Bede, Cartier Diarra, and Cordell Pemsl as all chose to move on from the school and seek professional careers.

The star guard for Virginia Tech basketball, Tyrece Radford transferred to Texas A&M. The team also lost Jalen Cone to Northern Arizona and Josepha Bamisilie to George Washington as they chose to transfer for the potential of more exposure and minutes.

The good news for Virginia Tech basketball is that head coach Mike Young was able to bring in an experienced guard out of Wofford in Storm Murphy. The Hokies were also able to land Lynn Kidd from Clemson, who could end up being a vital piece of this offense as a big man. The team also grabbed a couple of freshmen guards and forwards to help boost the team.

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Projected Rotation

PG: Storm Murphy (6-0, 180, Gr.)

2021 stats: 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 40.0 3P% (Wofford)

Projected stats: 12.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 42.8 3P%

SG: Nahiem Alleyne (6-4, 195, Jr.)

2021 stats: 11.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 40.8 3P%

Projected stats: 13.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 42.1 3P%

SF: Hunter Cattoor (6-3, 200, Jr.)

2021 stats: 8.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 43.3 3P%

Projected stats: 9.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 41.9 3P%

PF: Justyn Mutts (6-7, 230, Rs. Sr.)

2021 stats: 9.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists

Projected stats: 11.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists

C: Keve Aluma (6-9, 235, Rs. Sr)

2021 stats: 15.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 blocks

Projected stats: 16.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 blocks

6: Sean Pedulla (6-1, 175, Fr.)

247Sports 3-star recruit

Projected stats: 3.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists

7: Darius Maddox (6-5, 185, So.)

2021 stats: 0.8 points, 0.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists

Projected stats: 3.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists

8: David N’Guessan (6-9, 205, So.)

2021 stats: 2.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.4 assists

Projected stats: 5.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists

9: Lynn Kidd (6-10, 235, So.)

2021 stats: 1.1 points, 1.0 rebounds, 0.3 blocks (Clemson)

Projected stats: 5.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks

10: Camden Johnson (6-2, 175, Fr.)

247Sports 2-star recruit

Projected stats: 2.5 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists

11: John Ojiako (6-10, 245, Jr.)

2021 stats: 0.3 points, 0.2 rebounds, 0.3 blocks

Projected stats: 1.5 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks

Team MVP: Keve Aluma

Keve Aluma, returning to Virginia Tech basketball, hopes to continue building his resume for a professional career. He will need to continue to be the leading scorer, rebounder, blocker, and free throw taker. Aluma’s numbers are outstanding, and another year with a better feel of the Hokies offense should only allow for more success. He will need to continue to be the big body, solid footwork, and continue to cause issues in the interior.

Aluma had multiple categories in the ACC where he was in the top 10. He was the ninth highest points per game (15.2), ninth in total rebounds (174), fifth in total rebounds per game (7.9), ninth in offensive rebounds (56), tenth in blocks (29), ninth in blocks per game (1.3), eighth in field goal percentage (.490), tenth in free throw percentage (.722), fifth in free throws (78), and fourth in free throw attempts (108).

Aluma helps Virginia Tech basketball in more technical aspects as he helps in defensive win shares, box plus minute, rebound percentage, and block percentage. The area that he helps the most is his ability to produce points outside of himself. If Aluma continues to expand his game, he can be a massive asset for the Hokies and an issue for the ACC opponents.

Make or Break Player: Storm Murphy

Virginia Tech Basketball brought in Storm Murphy as a leader and a combo guard that naturally plays as a point. He can do it all, and it will cause a lot of problems for offenses. Murphy will have some growing pains going into a more significant, better conference.

He will need to step up and make the big plays necessary for the Hokies. Murphy could struggle a little bit as a smaller guard, but he puts in the work early. I hope that Coach Young forces him to play against the bigger players to prepare him for potential offensive and defensive matchups.

Murphy is hoping that he can have mutually beneficial growth with Virginia Tech basketball. He is hoping that his stats from the Southern Conference to the ACC. Murphy was a tremendous asset to Wofford, and if he plays like he did a Wofford, he will be on an NBA team next year.

He was fifth in points (426), fourth in points per game (17.8), fourth in assists (104), second in assists per game (4.3), seventh field goal percentage (.470), second in free throw percentage (.843), fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (.400), eighth in field goals (143), seventh in field goal attempts (304), fourth in 3-point field goal (70), fourth in 3-point field goal attempts (175), eight in free throws (70), and eight in free throw attempts (83).

Murphy showed out in the Southern Conference, and it shows in his technical stats. He had two categories in the SoCon where he led all other players: offensive win share (3.1) and offensive box plus/minus (4.9). Murphy hopes to come storming into the ACC and show out for Virginia Tech basketball.

Bench Rating: 7/10

Virginia Tech filled up the team with seven guards, four forwards, and two centers. The issue is that there isn’t a lot of experience coming off the bench. The experienced players are starting in Murphy, Aluma, and Mutts as a guard and two forwards. There are three junior players in Alleyne, Ojiako, and Cattoor: two guards and a center. Three players are sophomores in N’Guessan, Maddox, and Kidd, balanced in a guard, forward, and center. All of the freshmen players include three guards and a forward.

The bench players are hoping that more experience allows for more opportunities. Last year, the players on the bench had minimal production. Virginia Tech basketball is hurting when it comes to depth and production. The players from last year have a few returners, but the walk-ons from the previous year have seemingly departed, and the bench players that stayed averaged less than three points per game.

Analytic to Know: 3P%

Virginia Tech was a top 50 team in terms of three-point percentage and that will only grow with the addition of a knock-down shooter in Storm Murphy. However, teams can’t plan on just stopping Murphy from behind the mark.

Alleyne, Cattoor and Murphy all have at least one season in the books of a three-point shooting percentage over 40%. They have a chance to be one of the deadliest trios in college basketball and will completely open up the inside for a power duo down low in Mutts and Aluma. The offensive capabilities are endless.

Team Outlook

Virginia Tech basketball eases into its non-conference schedule with Maine, Navy, Radford, San Francis, and Merrimack. Before the intensity and resume building teams make it difficult for the Hokies. This team will face Memphis in NIT Season Tip-off. They will then play either Xavier or Iowa State in that tournament.

After that, the Hokies have tests against Maryland, Wake Forest, Cornell, Dayton and wraps up its non-conference schedule with St. Bonaventure. This team will then head into conference play and hopes to return to the NCAA tournament. With the difficulty of the ACC, the Hokies will likely find their way to postseason play.

Projected Finish: 5th in ACC

Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA Tournament Round of 32 Exit

Ceiling: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Exit

 

Featured image from 247Sports

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