Patience Key For Future Results

by JustinC on January 23, 2014 · 5 comments

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50c7907673657.image  Patience Key For Future ResultsImagine taking a job with a company that wants you to completely overhaul their online marketing efforts with a new website, new social media channels, and anything else you could possibly add.  Sounds like a pretty sweet gig, huh? Now imagine stepping into your office on your first day only to find an old Packard Bell desktop sitting on your desk with Windows 95 on it, no severs anywhere, and no software available to do your job.  Despite that, your employers are expecting a modern website completely finished by the end of the next quarter. 

When James Johnson took over for Seth Greenberg that’s really what he walked into here at Virginia Tech.  There’s no infrastructure, no foundation for success; only a crumbling program that has zero sense of direction or accomplishment.  And yet, Johnson stayed on knowing the challenge that laid ahead of him as he tries to build Virginia Tech into a competitor in a very talented ACC.

After last night’s crushing loss to Wake Forest, a team that simply does not win on the road in conference, I felt as if this season had become lost.  Tech is 8-10 and has yet to win a game in 2014 with their last win coming against Maryland Eastern-Shore on New Year’s Eve. 

For Virginia Tech fans, the next two months are going to be trying.  Tech will be lucky to win a game the rest of the season.  After all, if you can’t beat Boston College and Wake Forest at home in this conference then who can you beat?

However, Virginia Tech fans need to remain patient with this program.  Overnight success isn’t something that happens to basketball programs like ours and the talent level needs to improve before expectations of any kind are levied onto this program.  The foundation needs to be rebuilt, infrastructure needs to be ironed out, and progress will need to be shown.

The 2014 recruiting class is one that can provide a bit of hope.  Is it blue blood quality? No.  Justin Bibbs would probably be a career 6th man for Duke at best.  TJ Lang is a tremendous shooter but doesn’t quite have the handle or otherworldly ability to have Ohio State or any other big name programs come calling.  For Virginia Tech though, it’s a step in the right direction. 

The Hokies need a roster full of talented player’s eligible to play.  Even through this season, that has yet to happen.  Malik Mueller, who would have probably finished in the top 5 or 6 in scoring on this team, is redshirting due to an academic transfer issue.  Maurice Kirby is also redshirting to help his development. 

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Next season, the Hokies will be extremely young with only one senior in C.J. Barksdale.  They’ll have three juniors in Joey Van Zegeren, Marshall Wood, and Adam Smith.  The rest of their 13 man roster will be sophomores or freshmen. 

My point is that there’s a long road to recovery for this program.  Tech needs to recruit better talent and they’ve taken a small step in that direction with this 2014 class.  The Hokies also need to cut some dead weight from this team, which they will do through graduation in the off-season. 

There are some fans who are clamoring for Virginia Tech’s new Athletic Director, whoever that may be, to go in a different direction with Tech’s new head coach beginning next season.  While that’s an option, I don’t think the Hokies have given Johnson a fair shake at being successful. 

With Virginia Tech’s roster in 2014, the team will only marginally improve from a talent perspective.  But, the team will be Johnson’s with the majority of the roster being players he recruited.  Progress will need to be made next year.  Maybe not an NCAA tournament berth.  That would be asking too much from this team too soon.  But 15 wins is a good benchmark.  That would require at least 6-7 wins in conference, which would show a lot of progress in just one off-season.

The truth is no matter who coaches this team, there are a lot of improvements that need to be made before this program becomes successful and for that success to become sustainable.  No matter what happens over the next few months or even the next few years, patience is something every Virginia Tech fan needs to exude.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Beth January 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Thank you so much for an accurate article on our Hokies Bball. I have been in the camp that JJ needs time to build the program on his recruits and foundation. Hope alot of Hokienation reads this article. They are being so unrealistic in what JJ inherited and how long it might take, Rome wasnt built in a day :) I like the recruits he has brought in, the philosophy he is trying to establish and I think given time he will be a fantastic coach for VT. I am amazed at the inpatience of our fans. I will always be supporting the Hokies and I hope JJ gets the time he deserves, he took on a giant mess and it cant be fixed in 2 seasons. Thank you again for being a voice of reason among so many who arent :)

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GBD January 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I personally don’t think he should come back next season his recruiting is very average and once again this program has no difference makers in the paint and that was a major problem with Greenberg bigger teams always give’s VA Tech major problem’s and Johnson isn’t addressing this issue just like Greenberg didn’t with his recruiting. He hasn’t shown he is a ACC caliber Head coach yet and his in-game adjustments are TERRIBLE he get’s outcoached almost every game if he comes back next season it will be the same crap all over again he isn’t the man for the job he is an assistant coach all the way and once again we can thank weaver for hiring another Ricky Stokes. This needs to be his last year this program is headed nowhere under Johnson.

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JustinC January 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I completely understand that method of thinking but I think we need to give him one more year just because he hasn’t had a full hand yet. I mean just look at the hand he’s been dealt the last few years. He lost Dorian Finney Smith to transfer, we lost Montrezl Harrell out of our recruiting class losing any shot at bringing in a quality big, and we had only 7 scholarship players for a good portion of last season.

This season was a return to normal until our best recruit Donte Clark failed to qualify and thus got out of his LOI and went to UMASS. Then Malik Mueller didn’t qualify per the NCAA’s standards and was forced to redshirt. Marquis Rankin, who was probably going to be our starter at point guard lost a family member and decided to leave the team.

We went from 13 bodies down to 10 after JJ decided to redshirt Kirby. So, at this point I don’t really know how good of a coach JJ is because a.) he’s battling constantly with players not giving enough effort in practice (Raines & Barksdale) and b.) he only has 10 guys this year that he can play with three of those 10 guys being freshmen that aren’t necessarily the type of freshmen that should have to play right away.

I think that was really the point of me writing the article. Is JJ a good coach? I think it’s tough to tell at this point. He hasn’t done anything amazing yet but then again he’s trying to win with a bottom tier A-10 team in the ACC. I’m not sure there’s a coach out there that could do much better at this point.

Next year, is a big year because improvement needs to be shown. Everybody should be available (although we’ll undoubtedly lose 1 player this off-season for some unknown, unforeseen reason) but the experience and talent will be there to win more games than we have the past two seasons. It might not amount to much but we need to get to 15 wins next year. If we do then I’ll have a bit more confidence in JJ moving forward. If we don’t then I wouldn’t blame our next AD to move forward with a new coach. Either way, JJ will have at least rebuilt the foundation for this program and the next coach won’t face the difficult uphill climb he was faced with from day 1.

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Lee January 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I continue to be confused about the firing of Seth Greenburg. Consider that he had one of the best recruiting classes coming in, and yet he was fired. As a result of that firing, we lost our best incomimg recruit, our best returning (potentially) player, and ultimately some other possible incoming recruits. This dismal situation we find ourselves was self-inflicted by Jim Weaver.

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JustinC January 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

The firing of Seth was necessary and there are plenty of “Seth Greenberg stories” out there from people who worked closely with him. He was not well liked in our Athletics Department and eventually, everyone who worked for him left. However, his firing was not well handled by Weaver. You don’t tell everyone your firing the basketball coach and then set a press conference time before actually firing the guy.

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