I think it’s time to concede that Tyrece Radford is not coming back to play basketball at Virginia Tech.
There’s certainly nothing official to confirm that, but there’s 8 seconds left in overtime and the odds are certainly pointing in a negative direction. Yesterday, Radford appeared in court, and as this rather thorough story by Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times points out, all of his legal issues were dismissed.
But there is much more to the story than that, as it looked to me as if Radford has already decided to put Blacksburg in his rear-view mirror. As previously written about in this story and a follow-up here, Radford’s issues involve alcohol, and his latest problems involve a positive reading on an ignition interlock device while he was already on probation.
He had been suspended for these issues from playing for Virginia Tech for several weeks back in early February before a deal for probation was reached in both court and the Virginia Tech student judicial system, which allowed him to come back and finish the season. His latest troubles center around a May 3rd positive reading on the device, and Berman’s story notes that during Monday’s hearing there was also a second positive reading on July 3rd, which would be two violations of his probation agreement.
It has been thought that while Radford could end up with the charges dropped in the legal system, one probation violation might be a tough sell to get the university to be OK with his return. Two violations, it would seem, might be next to impossible. Shortly before the second violation, Radford entered the transfer portal, a move some saw as a “just in case” maneuver in case after the August hearing, he wasn’t allowed to come back to the Virginia Tech team.
Regardless of any of that, it certainly doesn’t look like Radford plans to come back. Virginia Tech athletics uber attorney Jimmy Turk, who was representing Radford, said after the Monday hearing that Radford had gone back to Louisiana.
“He was a student here,” Turk said in court as Radford stood beside him, according to Berman. “He still could be. That is up in the air right now as well.”
I interpreted that as a sign Virginia Tech’s judicial system has not given the green light for Radford to return.
In addition, Berman noted Jennifer Blankenship of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program said at Monday’s hearing that Radford had told her office that he was moving back to Louisiana. These are the people that would require Radford to maintain the ignition interlock device for another year if he stayed in Virginia. Radford would not be required to have one if he went home to Louisiana, where he also has a drivers license, so telling VASAP this is kind of like saying “I’m removing the interlock device from my car.”
Then there is a tweet Radford posted just after midnight last night that said “announcing soon.” Wabissa Bede replied with a picture of the two, as if he was saying goodbye to his friend.
Obviously if Radford was staying, he doesn’t need to announce anything. He’s still in the transfer portal, but he’s also still listed on the team roster. All he has to do if he was going to return to the Hokies is, well, return to the Hokies. If he needs to make an announcement, odds are it will be regarding him going somewhere else.
A player of Radford’s abilities will be missed, and I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I was concerned for the young man. He was found guilty of a DUI in February, then violated probation in May and July for alcohol-related offenses. If he has a drinking issue – which I have no way of knowing – it would be far better to stay in Virginia around a support system of people who will be honest with you and tell you if you’re messing up. That interlock system he would need to have in Virginia would also make anyone think twice about drinking and driving.
My experience is going back home to be around family and friends is a lot more comfortable, but you’re not around people who will tell you things you don’t want to hear. They just want to enjoy your company and have fun. Plus the car he will be driving won’t have anything installed to stop him from doing anything involving alcohol.
I had thought right up until Monday’s hearing things would somehow work out for Radford to return, and as I'm writing this, the door is not 100 percent shut. But right now, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
So Tyrece, thanks for some incredible memories. You were one tough, talented player. I wish you the best of luck wherever you go, and I’ll continue to follow you.