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Two days after Virginia Tech dropped a big hint that Keve Aluma would be returning by using his picture on a season ticket renewal graphic, Aluma himself made it official.
Today on Twitter, Virginia Tech’s leading scorer last season posted a picture of the back of his jersey along with the words “Round 2….Let’s run it back.”
Aluma had entered the NBA draft back in April, but did it in such a way where he preserved his eligibility at Virginia Tech so he could come back. It seemed apparent that Aluma wanted to see where he stood in regards to making it to the next level, and if he fell short, wanted to see the areas he needed to work on if he tried again next year.
That’s pretty much what happened, as he was one of 40 invited to the NBA G League Elite Camp, which was held last weekend in Chicago. While he did well enough to be invited to that event, he was not chosen to join the prospects who were invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which is where the elite prospects worked out for NBA scouts.
Seeing that, Aluma realized his chances of going undrafted were a distinct possibility, and also saw where he needed to improve his game.
In this story with the Roanoke Times’ Mark Berman, Aluma was asked what he needed to work on, and he replied “Getting my body in better shape, because once I do that then I'll be able harder for longer. Getting better at defense and being overall more consistent.”
While not being invited to the upper tier NBA combine might have been disappointing to Aluma, his return to the Hokies should have Virginia Tech basketball fans elated. The top four scorers from last season – Aluma, Tyrece Radford, Nahiem Alleyne and Justin Mutts – are all back, and they will be joined by high scoring Storm Murphy, who is using his final year of eligibility transferring from Wofford to Virginia Tech.
That lineup has a lot of scoring firepower and experience, and unlike years past, the bench will be deeper and bigger. Hunter Cattoor, Darius Maddox and Sean Pedulla can provide relief in the backcourt, and instead of being down to only one big man due to foul trouble or injury as has been the case in the past, the 2021-2022 bench has a lot more size.
Backing up Mutts and Aluma are returning players John Ojiako (6-10) and David N’Guessan (6-8). In addition, the Hokies now also have 6-8 Jalen Haynes and 6-10 Lynn Kidd, who played in the ACC last season at Clemson. I can’t remember a time Virginia Tech put its starters on the floor and still had two 6-10 players and two more 6-8 players sitting on the bench, ready to play.
So with Aluma coming back, the Hokies will now be bigger, faster, more experienced and have more scorers. All from a team that finished 3rd in the ACC and went to the NCAA Tournament in Mike Young’s second year as coach.
The future looks bright. November can’t get here soon enough 😊