Photo Courtesy of ESPN Press Row
Many expect Virginia Tech men’s basketball to be really good in 2021-22. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas is no exception.
The longtime TV personality and former Duke forward raved about what head coach Mike Young has done in his two short seasons in Blacksburg from inside his Charlotte, N.C. home.
“This is another step forward for Mike Young and his program to be consistently a national contender,” Bilas said about the Hokies upcoming campaign. “Mike is one of the best offensive coaches that I’ve seen on any level. His team passes, cuts, and schematically is a joy to watch.
“They take advantage of their player skills. They take advantage of the court. I think he’s got really good players…good shooters, again.”
A Powerful Five
Virginia Tech’s offense certainly won’t lack any firepower. The starting five of Wofford transfer Storm Murphy (17.8 points per game in 2020-21), junior Naheim Alleyne (11.1 PPG), Florida native Hunter Cattoor (8.5 PPG), Delaware transfer Justyn Mutts (9.5 PPG), and Preseason All-ACC pick Keve Aluma (15.2 PGG) is set to form a dominant offensive lineup that can score over 80 points night in and night out.
Aluma, who could make a run at ACC Player of the Year, certainly is garnering a lot of national attention. The Berlin, Mary. native has already been named to both the preseason Karl Malone Award and Lute Olson Award watch lists. Bilas echoed many thoughts by signing the praise of the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder.
“He’s got some of the best footwork of any player in the country,” the former Duke standout said. “I think he’ll take another step forward towards a potential First Team All-ACC candidate.”
“They’re Good Enough To Win The League”
As far as the Hokies themselves, Young’s team was picked fifth in the annual ACC preseason poll, but Bilas thinks Virginia Tech’s potential is greater.
“They’re good enough to win the league,” Bilas said. “The question is not how many points they can score; it’s how many points they can limit their opponents to.”
Virginia Tech does lose the services of top-tier defender Wabissa Bede at the top of the key for the upcoming season. But with the addition of Murphy and his offensive capabilities, the Hokies should be well-equipped to replace the two-year starter.
“If they can defend at a higher level, there’s no one in the ACC they’re not capable of beating,” Bilas said.
Virginia Tech begins its quest for that coveted ACC title when it hosts Maine on Wednesday at Cassell Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET and will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.