- Dorian Finney-Smith was just what was advertised. He's not a dominant scorer (yet), but he seemed like he was everything else. Put up a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds (yeah. 16!). Blocked 4 shots. Racked up 5 assists. Only turned the ball over twice despite helping to bring it up the floor against the full-court press. Wow... I'm a fan. That's how you replace Jeff Allen, and then some.
- Victor Davila is what we thought he is. For people who thought he was going to step in and be the team's dominant rebounder and a consistent double-figure scorer, that was never going to happen. He seemingly reached his max potential last season, but that's still a good player to have. He had 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks today... a standard game from Vic with very good post defense.
- I think ETSU's 2-3 zone kept Zo Hudson from really getting off today. He finished with a quiet 9 points, but he did a nice job defensively and even played some point guard to give Ty Garland a breather. I think he's typically going to score more than today.
- No Erick Green today... he is still nursing a sore achilles tendon. With Marquis Rankin still recovering from a knee injury he suffered about a month ago, that left Ty Garland running the point. Garland had a really sloppy game, particularly early on when he was trying to shake some jitters. He did a nice job of cutting through the 2-3 zone, but too many times he would finish his drive with a low pass at the feet of a post player, and you just can't expect Davila, Raines, or Barksdale to catch a pass like that. Heck, I don't really think anyone could have caught those passes. They were just too ambitious. 7 turnovers and some bad shot choices will not help Garland to keep a spot in the rotation when Green and Rankin are back. Two positives from Garland... he was aggressive at times defensively and was able to get some steals that way. He also did a nice job of finishing on his shots in the lane.
- CJ Barksdale = a taller JT Thompson. He brought some fantastic energy off the bench and pulled down 7 rebounds. Like Thompson, he doesn't seem to be a shooter at this point in his career and will need to work on that, but he had some nice moves closer to the basket.
- You're going to love Robert Brown. He makes good decisions with the ball, he plays some tenacious defense, and he can SHOOT IT. He shot 7 times in the game, all three-pointers. The first 3 in the first half were bricks, then he made his next 3 in the second half after calming down. He's got a really nice stroke and supposedly can finish on the break as well, although we didn't get to see that today. I see him leading the team in scoring next season after Hudson moves on, or at least giving Erick Green a run for his money.
- Jarell Eddie had a solid game starting at the 4. For those who were worried about VT's 3-point shooting now that Delaney is gone, I think that the answer will be Eddie + Brown. Eddie was only 1-3 in the game from the arc, but his two misses both rattled around inside the rim before jumping out. Make no mistake, this kid can shoot.
- Cadarian Raines gave our team some much needed protection around the rim. He only had 1 block in the game, but he altered a bunch of shots with his interior presence. He also managed to grab 3 steals, leading the team today. I think he's a guy who you will see improve a lot over the course of the season. Because of two seasons of foot injuries, he doesn't have a lot of game experience and so he looked lost in the offense, but I can definitely see him improving there. He's going to be a valuable player for VT.
- We even got to see 2 minutes of Joey Van Zegeren today. He came in and did a nice job, in my opinion. He bodied up ETSU's best player, PF Isiah Brown, and played him tough forcing a missed shot. Brown managed to get the ball back kind of through a bit of luck rather than anything JVZ did, and then he fell for a double pump and fouled Brown, but it was nice to see that he's no pushover.
Overall, I am really encouraged by this game. The Hokies got down by as much as 7 points with about 8 minutes left in the first half, but I am going to attribute most of that to early season jitters while shooting the ball and also to Garland's early turnovers. It looks like things are back to normal this season with Greenberg's patented, suffocating, man-to-man defense and that should be a constant throughout the season. It was also great to see the Hokies battle back to take the lead before the end of the half and then to keep ETSU from taking the lead again at any point in the second half. ETSU made a late run to get back into the game, but the Hokies stomped it out. This is what good teams do... they squash runs. I am definitely excited about this season and I think that an NCAA tournament bid is more likely this year than it was last year. Remember that.