Jarell Eddie Assuming Early Leadership Mantle For Virginia Tech

Posted by Lathan Wells on December 11th, 2013

When Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball team had one of its players named the ACC Player of the Week on Monday, it’d be fair for most fans to wonder who could have possibly garnered that honor with Erick Green now playing in the pros. The Hokies were a team that relied almost exclusively on Green a year ago, and he put up continually stellar individual performances during a dreary overall season for the team. With Green now gone, many wondered who could possibly take over the reins offensively and help this team avoid a season in the conference cellar. Ten games into the year, that player has been Jarell Eddie.

Jarell Eddie Miami

Jarell Eddie’s big week spoke volumes about his positive impact on a young Hokies team (credit: miamiherald.com)

Coming into the year, the squad from Blacksburg looked to be in complete rebuilding mode. A freshman, Ben Emelogu, was named its captain, a sign that the returnees weren’t seen as leaders or surefire contributors. Most probably looked at Virginia Tech’s opening loss to South Carolina Upstate as further validation that, minus Green, this would be a team that would struggle to beat anybody. But the team has shown its resiliency with solid victories over West Virginia and Winthrop in the non-conference schedule and an overtime win over Miami that left them as the conference’s lone unbeaten team (yes, that’s the only ACC game played thus far, but some may not have predicted a single conference win for this roster). The Hokies’ 7-3 record won’t blow anyone away, but it is a good start to a year that many thought could be completely disastrous.

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ACC M5: 11.22.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on November 22nd, 2013


  1. College Basketball Talk: Huge props to Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton. I think we’ll look back on yesterday’s game seeing that Virginia Commonwealth was somewhat overrated, but the Seminoles gave the Rams an old-fashioned woodshed beating in Puerto Rico. Hamilton’s team has gotten back to its defensive principles this season, and the Seminoles dominated the game from a shot selection standpoint. This team plays smart basketball and is undefeated with a road win against a decent Central Florida team and last night’s whipping of a very good VCU squad. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a flash in the pan, but right now Florida State has the best resume in the ACC by a mile.
  2. ESPN: While this article was only published yesterday, I imagine it was written before Boston College got off to a 1-4 start. Now that start includes a really close loss to Connecticut (Olivier Hanlan missed a layup to tie the game with 11 seconds left), but it also includes a puzzling home loss to Toledo. I still like this team’s makeup and think the Eagles will be a tough game for everyone in the conference. I really think the Eagles have struggled learning to play as a front-runner rather than a plucky underdog. But Steve Donahue has to turn things around quickly — it’s very difficult to make the Big Dance after such a slow start.
  3. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Duke athletic director Kevin White is “unabashedly bullish” on an ACC-centric cable channel in the near future (circa 2016). I tend to disagree. While the network may provide a short-term financial boon, I think the cable TV market is moving quickly towards an online a la carte service. This isn’t to say having a talented and devoted production team wouldn’t be beneficial, but everyone points to the Big Ten Network with its high revenues when I believe it may prove to be a hindrance as people begin to purchase television differently. This will be an interesting story to follow over the next few years.
  4. Washington Post: Jarrell Eddie apparently learned a lot as Erick Green‘s roommate last season. And while the advice he got isn’t mind-blowing, it’s interesting to see how businesslike Green was in his approach to the game: “You’ve got to be in the gym all the time.” The Hokies will only go as far this year as Eddie will take them. He has the potential to be a very good scorer, and as one of two seniors on the squad it’s up to him to set the standards for the team. He admits to being complacent last year (citing it as a reason for his inconsistency), but any complacency this year will prove far worse, as Green isn’t around anymore to save the day.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: With struggling attendance, Georgia Tech is trying some creative marketing tactics to get people to come to its games. I don’t understand this at all, but if you buy your ticket through LivingSocial, you get to shoot a free throw after the game (along with a more sensical hot dog and soda). The free throw isn’t for a contest or anything. Presumably you just wait in line with the other people who sat in the upper deck with LivingSocial tickets and then line one up from the charity stripe afterward. I don’t understand it, but might as well give it a shot, right?
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ACC M5: 12.18.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on December 18th, 2012


  1. News & Observer: Everyone agrees that Duke is the best basketball team in the nation. As silly as the rankings in the media and coaches poll can be, for many schools, a place at the top of one of these lists is a rare feather in the cap. Yet in Durham, the top of the polls isn’t anything worth getting excited about, a reasonable stance when a team has topped the polls so frequently. Of all the numbers that speak to Duke’s dominance in this area, I think this is the most stunning: During Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure, Duke has played more games as the top-ranked team than they have as an unranked team. That is nothing short of incredible.
  2. CBS Sports: In more numbers-related news, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim achieved his 900th win last night against Detroit. Boeheim is in rarefied air, and it seems very likely that the Orange coach will easily retire with the second spot in all-time career wins (Krzyzeski is all but uncatchable at this point). Boeheim, with his incredible win total (and win percentage!), is one of the true living legends of the college basketball world. It’s worth taking a moment to realize what a big deal it is that this man is going to be coaching in the ACC next season and beyond.
  3. Washington Post: A short Virginia Tech rotation just got even shorter. Freshman Marshall Wood has broken a bone in his left foot and will be out indefinitely. Wood was in the midst of a fairly successful opening campaign of his college career, playing 18 minutes a game off the bench, and serving as the third big man in the Hokies’ frontcourt rotation. While fellow freshman Joey van Zegeren has seen some playing time at this spot, his propensity for fouling may mean that Virginia Tech embraces a smaller line-up with swingman Jarell Eddie seeing some time at power forward like he did last year.
  4. Wilmington Star News: Speaking of impressive freshmen campaigns, it’s time to talk about T.J. Warren‘s impressive start for NC State. Garnering a second ACC Rookie of the Week nod, Warren has barely missed since the beginning of his time with the Wolfpack. Shooting 69.1% from the field, he’s easily been the most accurate player in the conference as well as posting the third best field goal percentage nationally. While it’s unlikely that Warren will continue to shoot the ball at such a torrid pace, right now it’s amazing to watch a forward shoot from all over the court and never expect to miss.
  5. Blogger So Dear: Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman recently tried to address the dismal state of Demon Deacons basketball. While Wellman’s defense of coach Jeff Bzdelik reflects admirable loyalty, it also underscores the main issue that has been bothering many Wake Forest fans: It doesn’t seem like anyone employed at the university sees what is so obviously happening to what was once one of the best basketball programs in the nation. Martin Rickman does a great job breaking down the complete failure of leadership in Winston-Salem.
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ACC Team Previews: Virginia Tech Hokies

Posted by EMann on October 18th, 2012

Throughout the preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 teams. Today’s victim: the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Virginia Tech finally escaped the the wrong side of the bubble last year… by coming nowhere near the bubble. The Hokies’ 2011-12 season was a massive disappointment, as the squad finished below .500 and 4-12 in the ACC. However, Virginia Tech was probably a better team than their record indicated. In ACC play (including the ACC Tournament), the team was 5-9 in games decided by five points or less, so it was clear that luck was not on their side. This season, more importantly, was the final nail in the coffin for Seth Greenberg, one of the ACC’s most vocal coaches. Greenberg was fired in April, not just due to his team’s inability to make the NCAA Tournament (only once in his tenure), but also due to his inability to retain assistant coaches and retain continuity in the program.

Johnson faces many challenges in his first year as a Division I head coach. (USA Today)

Before his firing, two members of Greenberg’s staff left during this offseason, and it was the second time in three years he had to replace multiple members of his coaching staff. Greenberg’s firing, which shocked the man himself, also made it very difficult for Virginia Tech to hire the best coach available in the coaching carousel and also drastically hurt their player retention/recruiting due to the strange timing of the move. New coach James Johnson was an assistant under Greenberg for five years before taking an assistant coaching job at Clemson. Johnson had held the position at Clemson for all of 2 1/2 weeks before the Virginia Tech job became vacant. Virginia Tech hopes that Johnson can help provide the continuity (and the urge for a more difficult non-conference schedule) that eluded Greenberg, while also building on Greenberg’s positive moves towards making Virginia Tech a viable threat to perennially contend towards Tournament bids, a difficult task for a coach at a school where football is certainly prioritized.


This is where Virginia Tech’s suddenly thin roster is apparent. Three-star forward Marcus Wood is the only scholarship freshman on the team, following the de-commitment of Montrezl Harrell (who later chose Louisville) in the wake of Greenberg’s firing. Wood should see immediate playing time as an athletic forward who can hopefully replace the role of the transferring Dorian Finney-Smith (they have nearly the same build, 6’8” and just under 200 lbs.). Virginia Tech also added a walk-on guard, Marcus Patrick, a high school teammate of Wood, who could compete for some bench minutes on this scant roster. Adam Smith, who transferred from UNC Wilmington, will sit out the 2012-13 season. Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC Summer Recess: Virginia Tech Hokies

Posted by mpatton on July 17th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Virginia Tech.

Where They Stand Now

Virginia Tech surprised most people last year. The Hokies were picked in the middle of the pack by pretty much everyone. It was supposed to be a “down year” in the sense that people expected Seth Greenberg‘s perennial bubble team to not be one of the last teams out on Selection Sunday. Non-conference play went as expected: the Hokies lost all three games they played against tough competition and won the other 11. Then the ACC slate hit like a dump truck.

Virginia Tech started 1-6 in conference play with losses to league cellar dwellers Boston College and Wake Forest. Until beating Clemson by five in their final regular season match-up, the Hokies’ three wins came by a total of five points. No conference team played opponents as consistently close (Virginia Tech saw all but four of its conference games decided by single figures), but no team saw fewer conference wins either. It was the last straw for the athletic department brass, which waited until April 23 to let Greenberg go.

Erick Green

Erick Green Has First Team All-ACC Potential this Season.

In his stead is last year’s Assistant Head Coach, James Johnson. Johnson is a great choice for the job, though he failed his first assignments. Top recruit Montrezl Harrell de-committed from the program to go to Louisville, and rising star Dorian Finney-Smith transferred to Florida. Still, Johnson knows the Virginia Tech team well and he knows the program.

Who’s Leaving

Long story short: a lot of people. The Hokies lose Dorenzo Hudson and Victor Davila to graduation; they lose Allan Chaney and Finney-Smith to transfer; and they lost Harrell’s commitment along with their head coach Greenberg.

Hudson and Davila were the team’s second and fourth-leading scorers, respectively. They combined to average 18.4 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. While Finney-Smith was still very raw offensively, he contributed a lot on defense and by crashing the glass. He was highly rated coming out of high school (#18 by ESPN, #27 by Scout and #31 by Rivals), largely thanks to his potential.

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ACC Game On: 02.02.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on February 2nd, 2012

Wednesday night was a night of valiant efforts, but no surprises. Despite the underdogs’ collective success at keeping games close, Goliath withstood David’s slings and the ACC standings are starting to finally look understandable. Without Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech was no match for the still-hot Florida State Seminoles who put the Yellow Jackets in the rear view with a dynamic closing stretch. Boston College, formerly a high-octane scoring attack, tried a more traditional underdog approach with a hideous burn offense that slowed the game with North Carolina State to a crawl. Despite some notable efforts to try to give away the game in the second half, Boston College still faltered in its end-game execution and Mark Gottfried and his crew walked away with the win.

Turgeon Got Run, But Maryland Proved It Has Some Fight

The real excitement of the night was in the Maryland at Miami game. While it looked like it was going to be a by-the-numbers blow out, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon took exception to a referee call late in the second half, kept arguing, and finally got ejected. The Terrapins, rallying behind the guy who stood up for them, suddenly started playing some inspired ball. That combined with the absence of any true post players for Miami (Kenny Kadji was injured while both Reggie Johnson and Raphael Akpejiori fouled out) resulted in a remarkable turnaround that turned a double-digit deficit into a double-overtime thriller. It wasn’t the prettiest game, and before all was said and done, Durand Scott, Sean Mosley, and Nick Faust also fouled out of the game. Scott’s 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists would prove to be the deciding line of the night. Though Terrell Stoglin scored an impressive 33 points, he did so only after taking an I-still-can’t-believe-it 20 three-point shots. Though Maryland lost, Stoglin’s will, and the key defensive play of Alex Len means that the Terrapins leave Coral Gables feeling that their team is tough enough to hang in the big games and that their coach believes in them.

The Only Game In Town

  • Duke at Virginia Tech at 7:00 PM on ESPN
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ACC Afternoon Five: 12.28.11 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on December 28th, 2011

  1. Washington Post: Alex Len, the 7’1″ Ukranian freshman is set to debut tonight as Maryland takes on Albany. Len was serving an NCAA suspension for violating amateurism policies while playing for a Ukranian club. The addition of Len to the lineup along with the recent re-entry of Pe’Shon Howard into Mark Turgeon’s rotation bodes well for a Maryland team that has under performed in the first season of the post-Gary Williams era.
  2. Richmond Times-Dispatch: After the loss of two players to transfer, Virginia probably felt like it had something to prove against the over-matched Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks. The Cavaliers stomped their opponents as they waltzed to the team’s best start in over a decade. As expected, Paul Jesperson burned his redshirt and made his debut in this game, spelling the starters admirably. The Wahoos look pumped and primed for conference play to begin.
  3. Roanoke Times: The gradually unfolding story of the Virginia Tech placekicker robbing the home of Virginia Tech shooting guard Dorenzo Hudson is getting stranger and stranger. After the kicker and his friends allegedly invaded Hudson’s home, looking for marijuana that Hudson’s roommate had taken, the two roommates later went out to find the three invaders and got into a physical conflict. If this is news to you, you aren’t alone, considering that the Hokies athletics director Jim Weaver stated that he had no knowledge of this second confrontation. He was also quick to shoot down the idea that the basketball team had a “marijuana problem,” an idea that has apparently been floating around since forward Jarrell Eddie was charged with marijuana posession in the spring.
  4. Duke Basketball Report: Barry Jacobs takes some time to look at the free throw dominance of Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the past decade. Very few teams have managed to make more free throws than their opponent attempted, but currently North Carolina, Virginia, Duke, and Maryland all belong to this rare club. Though Jacobs acknowledges that all four are unlikely to maintain this status until the end of the season, teams that have managed free throw dominance over the course of a whole season have been wildly successful in the NCAA Tournament.
  5. ESPN: Robbi Pickerall profiles Denzel Robinson, a member of North Carolina‘s junior varsity team and son of assistant coach Steve Robinson. Since he was twelve, Denzel Robinson has watched his father and Roy Williams coach from the end of the bench, first at Kansas and now at North Carolina. Robinson has had a closer view of the players and coaches than just about anyone, and now, playing his second year of JV basketball, he seems poised to try out for a varsity roster spot next year, potentially earning a spot back on the bench where he sat for so many years.
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Checking In On… the ACC

Posted by mpatton on December 14th, 2011

Matt Patton is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic Coast Conference. You can follow him on Twitter @rise_and_fire.

Reader’s Take


Top Storylines

  • Wake Forest’s Dynamic Duo: The Demon Deacons may not be the prettiest team to watch, but CJ Harris and Travis McKie are lighting up the box score. We knew (even if I, in a gaffe of all gaffes, left him off my All-Freshman team last year for Ryan Harrow) Mckie was going to be one of the ACC’s top players this year, but Harris has been a very pleasant surprise. The pair are efficiently combining for nearly 57% of Wake Forest’s points through the first 10 games of the year. Harris has already made as many threes as he made all last season on 18 less attempts, and he’s significantly more effective inside the arc. It remains to be seen how Harris will adapt to the defenses of ACC play, but so far he has to be leading the “surprise of the year” category.
  • Duke’s Post Presence: That’s right: after two solid years of berating the Plumlees as overrated and generally poor basketball players, it’s time to give credit where it’s due. Mason Plumlee has developed into a very good big man. No, he can’t make a free throw to save his life, but he’s much better offensively everywhere except the boards than he’s been the last few years. He developed a couple of solid post moves, stopped turning the ball over as much and learned to hold his ground on defense. If he can either learn to crash the offensive glass or hit 60% of his free throws, I’m confident in saying he’ll be one of the top three or four bigs in the ACC this season.
  • That’s right, the ACC Digital Network launched this season. Check out JR Reid break down North Carolina‘s softness and the conference power rankings. So far the coverage is fairly limited, but as it expands this could become one of the better sources of information for ACC fans.

Power Rankings

  1. North Carolina (8-2) stays atop the rankings with a hard-fought win over Long Beach State, which better get rewarded by the Selection Committee in March for playing such a tough non-conference schedule. The Tar Heels dominated on the inside with John Henson and Harrison Barnes leading the scoring, but it is worth noting that this is  another game where four Tar Heel starters played more than 30 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
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