Observations on VT's Open Basketball Practice
The Hokies first open basketball practice was held in Cassell Coliseum this afternoon. The head coach, Seth Greenberg, is saddled with the task of incorporating a talented class of freshmen with a solid core of veterans. Virginia Tech’s season is less than a month away; this year they will attempt to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Here are a few observations from practice.
Dorian Finny-Smith is for Real: Although we only were allowed to watch practice for about 30 minutes, I was extremely impressed with Finny-Smith. “Do-Do”, as he is referred to on the court, was the biggest prize of Virginia Tech’s stellar freshmen class. When the team traveled up to Canada for two exhibition games earlier this fall, he was the leading scorer in the first game and led the team in rebounds the second. Finny-Smith has a smooth shot and looked explosive in drills when he drove to the basket. I thought he showed a lot of speed and control at the basket. In my opinion he’s going to have to bulk up, but I think Greenberg will insert Finny-Smith into the starting line-up sooner rather than later.
The Veterans: Erick Green looked extremely confident in his shot. I get the sense that Greenberg will give him a lot of responsibilities and expect a lot. Dorenzo Hudson is coming off of a second foot surgery, but he seemed extremely comfortable with the ball in his hands. J.T. Thompson was back on the court and still seemed slightly hesitant. But I think that he will continue to progress and be a source of energy come November 12th.
The Hokies Lack Size: The biggest question mark for the Hokies is their frontcourt. Once again, they are lacking size. Freshman Joey van Zegeren is the tallest Hokie, but he also has the least experience. Victor Davila is still Victor Davila, a solid forward. But they need a big year out of 6’9” forward, Cadarian Raines. Although Raines may be behind the game in terms of fundamentals, he looks to have the physical tools to be a force.
Biggest Surprise: The biggest surprise that I saw at this practice was Jarell Eddie. He had a limited role with the team last year and was in danger of possibly missing the first half of the season due to his run in with the law last semester. However, he has been fully reinstated and will be available at the start of the season. Eddie seems to be taking full advantage of this opportunity. He seemed confident with the ball and Greenberg had lots of good things to say about him during practice.
Obviously, the season is still young (very young), but there is plenty to be encouraged about from this first open practice. Here’s to a new season, one filled with anticipation, expectations, and wins (we hope).