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Jalen Cone Latest Player To Enter The Transfer Portal

When I heard the news Monday that Joe Bamisile had entered the transfer portal, my first thought was “I’m surprised it wasn’t Jalen Cone.”

Today, it was.

Cone tweeted that he was leaving, saying “I don’t even know where to begin…Virginia Tech has become my second home. I have built relationships that will last a lifetime and learned so many things here. I’ve gained new family and made memories that will never fade. There is no place like Blacksburg and nothing can replace it.

“I want to thank the staff for giving me tremendous opportunities and helping me through this journey. I want to thank my teammates for always pushing me, the great memories, and becoming my brothers for life. To the basketball program as a whole, y’all can never be replaced. To the students and people of Blacksburg, thank you for believing in me and being the best fans ever.

“After prayer, giving it long thought and conversation with my loved ones, I’ve decided to reopen my recruitment and enter the transfer portal.”

It would appear Cone looked at the same stats Bamisile did when looking at potential minutes he might get next season. A week ago, Virginia Tech had 9 guards on its roster when including transfers and signees, and assuming Wabissa Bede doesn’t come back and Bamisile leaving, the number was still 7. Cone’s departure moves it down to 6, assuming the Hokies don’t acquire anybody else from the transfer portal.

Cone played in 15 games this season and started four before missing the final four games of the season due to an ankle injury. The handwriting was on the wall for him, however, in watching the NCAA Tournament game against Florida, just as it was for Bamisile. In that overtime game, 95 percent of the minutes played went to just six players for Virginia Tech, and four of them were guards:  Bede, Hunter Cattoor, Tyrece Radford and Nahiem Alleyne.

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If Fans Could Choose, They'd Sign 50 Players From Portal

At some point, the whole deal with the transfer portal in college athletics is about to turn comical.

Originally created as a clearinghouse to help graduate transfers with a single year of eligibility left find another school to team up with, the effects of COVID have now given college sports true free agency. Everybody got an extra year of eligibility, and everybody got the opportunity to go somewhere else without having to sit out a year.

It has created a combination of Sam’s Club, Costco and Amazon for college football and basketball programs: A one-stop shopping place for everything a coach could possibly want.

Which could be both good and bad.

I have no issue with everyone moving about. My first year at Virginia Tech, I majored in engineering, and while it was a fine endeavor that taught me how to drink so much coffee I could study until 3 AM, I decided after that year it wasn’t for me. I tried business for a quarter (this is why fellow Hokies call engineering “pre-business”) and then found what I enjoyed and was good at: Communications.

Back then, the program was in its infancy, so had I possessed the money or wherewithal, I could have chosen a school like Syracuse or Northwestern to further learn my craft, and no one would have cared. I wouldn’t have had to sit out anything, or be lectured on commitment, etc. I’d have just gone on and lived my life.

Being a relatively poor guy from an Italian family who was told “you can go anywhere you want, but if it costs more than $3,000 for all four years, that’s all we’ve got and the rest is on you,” I stayed in Blacksburg. I’m glad I did, but I had that option, and I think everyone should have it.

Athletes now do. That’s the good news. They have options.

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VT's Brooks Finally Accomplishes Two Long-Term Goals

It took five long seasons, but Kenny Brooks finally accomplished two of his long-term goals that he set when taking the Virginia Tech women's basketball head coaching position.

One was to get the Hokies to an NCAA Tournament. The other was to win a game in the tournament.

Check and check.

A lot has happened in these last five seasons. Brooks inherited a program that had grown accustomed to losing — Tech didn't finish a season with a winning record from 2007-08 through 2014-15 — and accustomed to an early end to the basketball season. Tech broke into the WNIT in 2015-16 under Dennis Wolff, but his contract wasn't renewed after the season.

Brooks' arrival instantly changed the program. He moved longtime point guard Vanessa Panousis to an off-ball role to take advantage of her shooting prowess. He unleashed Sami Hill and enabled her to be the scoring wing player she was capable of being. And he developed Regan Magarity into one of the best players in program history.

Tech won 20 games in Brooks' first season, and the Hokies proceeded to eclipse the 20-win mark for the next three seasons. Last year, they came awfully close to clinching an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 2006, but the cancellation of the Big Dance evaporated those hopes.

This year, they came back for more.

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Hokies Won't Get To See What Bamisile Could Have Become

This isn't my idea of what college athletics was supposed to be.

The original purpose of college athletics was a simple one — athletes can attend accredited four-year institutions at no cost to themselves (sort of). In return for them playing a sport and assisting with the marketing efforts of a university, those athletes can earn a college degree, usually a bachelor's and sometimes a master's.

But that's not reality.

College athletics is now a multi-billion dollar industry that will resume its consistent track record of growth as soon as the country returns to normal and exits the lockdown stage. Coaches are often the highest-paid employees by their respective state government, and players are worth their weight in gold.

I don't have an issue with college athletics being big business, but if it's going to be big business, players have to have rights. Pursuing opportunities at other programs has to be one of those.

That's what Virginia Tech's Joe Bamisile did Monday.

The freshman guard announced that he's entered the transfer portal in search of playing time. His decision had nothing to do with the coaching staff in Blacksburg; he just wants a bigger opportunity.

Who could blame the Richmond native? Certainly not me.

Bamisile has every right to look elsewhere to better himself and his professional prospects. And given that he's been class personified since committing to the Hokies in July 2019, he should be given the benefit of the doubt. I wish him nothing but the best.

That doesn't mean I'm happy about this.

Bamisile would have found himself in a crowded backcourt next season with the return of Tyrece Radford, Nahiem Alleyne, Darius Maddox, Jalen Cone and Hunter Cattoor. Oh, and don't forget the additions of Wofford transfer Storm Murphy and incoming freshman Sean Pedulla.

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Recent Comments
Jeremy Counts

Will miss JBam

I wish him all the best. He could've been a legend here, but it has to be frustrating waiting on your shot
Tuesday, 23 March 2021 10:35
Dave Scarangella

You just never know

Injuries or situations could change and he could be a starter next year. But I do understand. You're only young once...
Tuesday, 23 March 2021 13:56
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Bamisile Becomes First Offseason Transfer For Hokies

It wasn’t 24 hours after Virginia Tech lost to Florida Friday that I found myself thinking about what next year’s Hokie team would look like, and immediately thought the team sure had a lot of guards coming back next season.

Too many, in fact.

But rather than write something about who would probably be leaving, I thought “it’s too soon. Let me wait a few days.”

Turns out it wasn’t too soon after all.

Today freshman guard Joe Bamisile announced he is entering the transfer portal, and I seriously doubt it has anything to do with any other factor than Joe doing the same math I did Saturday. There’s a lot of players on the bench fighting for minutes, and there are some who just aren’t going to see as many minutes as they'd hoped to.

The Tech roster right now lists at guard Hunter Cattoor, Bamisile, Wabissa Bede, Nahiem Alleyne, Jalen Cone, Darrius Maddox and Tyrece Radford, which is 7 guards. Storm Murphy will be transferring from Wofford, and the Hokies have signed Sean Pedulla from Edmond, OK. That makes 9.

Bede is probably not coming back, but he can still play another year under the COVID eligibility rules if he wants to. But with him gone, that’s still 8 guards, and Coach Mike Young tends to play a tight rotation where he plays the same 6 players, then works in 2 or 3 more who get 5 minutes or less. Against Florida, 8 players saw action, but two players combined for 11 minutes in an overtime game. The other six saw all the action.

Of those six, four were Bede, Alleyne, Cattoor and Radford. Three of the four are definitely back, and Bede’s minutes will probably be assumed in large part by Murphy, who knows Young’s system and is a much more dynamic scorer. That would leave Bamisile, Cone, Maddox and Pedulla to all fight for whatever minutes remain.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Johnny Hurst

Minutes played

"Coach Mike Young tends to play a tight rotation where he plays the same 6 players, then works in 2 or 3 more who get 5 minutes or... Read More
Tuesday, 23 March 2021 09:05
Dave Scarangella

I agree

I also think had he stayed, the part of his game that was probably reducing him minutes - playing tight defense - would have impro... Read More
Tuesday, 23 March 2021 14:00
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One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Cutout Maggie

If you've been following the continuing adventures of Maggie The Wonderbeagle as chronicled earlier in the week in this story, I just got a few pics in my email showing her cutout is one step closer to home.

My friend Bonnie (on the left) graciously went over to Cassell Coliseum Friday to rescue cutout Maggie from the shredder due to my own forgetfulness. She then met my old broadcast partner and good friend Tim (on the right) this morning in Blacksburg and the swap was made.

So when Tim gets home, cutout Maggie will be in Northern Virginia. Which beats the heck out of a closet in Blacksburg awaiting a shredder. 😊

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Recent Comments
Guest — Todd C Graham

Lowes

I bet Tim got Lowes to pay for that shot
Sunday, 21 March 2021 10:04
Dave Scarangella

I thought the same thing

I hope they both got paid for the sponsor shot
Sunday, 21 March 2021 10:22
Dave Scarangella

UPDATE:

The two Maggies have been reunited. One is suspicious of the other ... Read More
Sunday, 21 March 2021 13:40
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When Hokies Needed Points, Alleyne Stepped Up Big Time

When Tyrece Radford found himself sidelined with legal troubles earlier this season, I wrote about how Virginia Tech needed Nahiem Alleyne to step up and become the Hokies’ primary offensive threat from the wing.

Alleyne’s next few performances were a mixed bag, mostly filled with inefficient shooting performances. Even in Radford’s first game back against Georgia Tech, Alleyne shot 3-of-12. At that point, I was ready to write off Alleyne as a future scoring machine.

He sure showed me on Friday.

With his team on the ropes and wobbling from extended usage, Alleyne put Virginia Tech on his back. The sophomore guard scored Virginia Tech’s final 12 points in regulation, including a stone-cold three-pointer with one second remaining to send the Hokies into overtime with Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

I know you’ve seen the shot already, but watch it again.

Unfortunately, this will be one of the few lasting good memories Virginia Tech will take away from Mike Young’s first NCAA Tournament as the head whistle in Blacksburg. Tech fell 75-70 after leading by as much as 8 points in the second half, ending their season.

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Hokies Come Close But Lose 75-70 To Florida In Overtime

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Virginia Tech saw its men's basketball season come to an end in the NCAA Tournament today, and it was somewhat similar to the way the Hokies saw their time at the ACC Tournament finish: They started strong with great ball movement, tough defense and timely outside shooting to lead at the half, but then hit a stretch in the final 7 minutes of the game where the defense got tired, the shots stopped dropping, and Florida pulled out a 75-70 overtime win.

It was a game of mixed emotions if you’re a Hokie fan. This was only year 2 of the Mike Young coaching experience, and after a surprising .500 season in year 1, this was supposed to be the next step toward establishing an identity that got them into the NCAAs in year 3.

At times – like in the first half – Virginia Tech looked far ahead of schedule. Tough defense caused Florida to act confused, turning the ball over 8 times (Florida would have 18 turnovers in the game), including several on shot clock violations. The Gators just simply couldn’t get their offense going in a timely enough matter to get a decent shot off.

The Hokies packaged that with sharp offensive play that included screens and passes that seemed to find the right man when he was open, and when Hunter Cattoor nailed his third straight three-pointer and Tyrece Radford added another jumper, the Hokies had their biggest lead of the game at 21-11.

The lead would shrink to only 29-25 at halftime, and then Virginia Tech – as it did against North Carolina – morphed back to the second-year type of team most of us expected. Outside shots stopped falling, as they only shot 37 percent from the floor in the second half, and even worse in overtime.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Johnny Hurst

I'm satisfied

Sure I wanted to win bad! But I love Coach Young and the best thing is I don't have to worry when he's gonna leave. I think there ... Read More
Saturday, 20 March 2021 08:11
Dave Scarangella

I don't think anyone will leav...

But other than Bede (who technically could play another year) nobody is leaving, and if the chance comes to add a few players (par... Read More
Saturday, 20 March 2021 08:34
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These Shining Moments Brought Back Great Memories

Today, it all begins.

The play-in games are done (Texas Southern, Drake, Norfolk State and UCLA were the winners), and Virginia Tech gets it all going shortly after noon from Hinkle Fieldhouse when the Hokies face Florida.

To commemorate the tournament, the NCAA has released a 3-minute all-time video of the Big Dance, and I have to say, it both made me feel old AND made me feel goosebumps, as it captures just about all the great moments I’ve come to remember about the tournament.

My first memory of the tournament - when it was only two weekends - was the historic victory by then-unknown Texas Western, winning it all at Cole Field House up at College Park. A black and white snippet of the team is in the early seconds, then – to the music of One Shining Moment – the memories start coming one after another.

There’s Dell Curry’s son Steph, showing the world that there is no shot too long that he can’t make, Gary Williams getting his hair tousled after winning a national championship (I have a basketball here in the house signed by Gary), and Jim Valvano, running around the court in search of someone to hug after the "Survive and Advance" miracle in Albuquerque. I was lucky enough to cover that N.C. State team in about a dozen games that season.

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The Cutout Of Maggie The WonderBeagle Lives!

I’m sure none of you ever forget things, but as I move deeper into my senior years, it happens.

Last night, while checking with my oldest friend about tornados and other bad weather moving through where he lives in Mississippi, it hit me of something BIG I forgot. Something that filled me with immediate regret.

My oldest friend is named Doug, and as a Christmas present, he gave money to Virginia Tech so he could place a cutout of someone in Cassell Coliseum. He chose my beloved Maggie The WonderBeagle, and it made me smile every time I watched the Hokies, knowing that at least one member of the family had left the house and was watching in Cassell.

But a few weeks ago, he forwarded an email saying with the season ending, those cutouts had to go. You were given a form to fill out to have them either mailed to you or picked up, and they had to be gotten by March 13. Otherwise, they were going in the shredder.

Last night while talking to Doug, it occurred to me it was March 17.

This led to a thought of “oh no, I’ve killed my dog,” and I took to Twitter to ask if anybody was available to help me try to stop the shredding of an Ashburn Foxhound. Twitter can be a nasty cesspool at times, but it is also filled with good people who will help you if they can. Several offers were made, and I got an email from one lovely person saying she worked at Virginia Tech and would be glad to help grab Maggie if she still existed.

So this morning I started with an email to Terry Bolt, Senior Director of Major Gifts for Intercollegiate Athletics, pleading for clemency. She immediately responded, forwarding the email to the person she thought was handling the cutouts. That person immediately responded, saying she was forwarding the request to Bob Gavagan, Associate Director, Marketing & Fan Experience, as this was his area.

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Recent Comments
Doug Johnson

Cut-Outs Do Live!

https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/watch-bud-lights-ode-cardboard-sports-fan/2288081... Read More
Thursday, 18 March 2021 13:37
Dave Scarangella

This one will!

And you made it happen!
Thursday, 18 March 2021 13:48
Dave Scarangella

Update:

She's on her way home... ... Read More
Thursday, 18 March 2021 16:32
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Not Sure I Understand Controversy Over Young's Remarks

It’s not unusual for me to get up some mornings, look at social media, and immediately get aggravated. Happens more days than it doesn’t, to be honest.

But today’s perusing of topics on Twitter this morning really annoys me. There are some who have taken a harmless analogy by Virginia Tech Coach Mike Young and tried to turn it into something entirely different.

The New York Post, for example, has a headline saying “Mike Young Takes Random Shot At Jehovah’s Witnesses.” TMZ had a headline that said Young “Trashes Jehovah’s Witnesses.” I’ve seen a poster using the “NotMyCoach” hashtag because of this, and I’ve seen comments like “disgusting” replying to this.

So now that you’ve seen what I think is a huge overreaction, let’s look at what Young said. He had been asked about playing Ohio State, assuming the Hokies beat Florida in the first round. Reacting the way any coach would, Young strongly stated they weren’t going to overlook anybody and were only focused on the next team on the schedule.

"We're not playing the Jehovah Witnesses all-star team; We’re playing the Florida Gators" Young said. “We’re playing the Gators, man, we’re playing the Gators. I do know who our next opponent would be if we were lucky enough to win, but there’s not a chance in hell you starting thinking about anything, nothing…I will not give one clip about anything but Coach White’s Gator team, and that’s the same for my team.

“This is it. This is one game and if you play poorly or get outplayed, I’m going to be walking down the hall after talking to you guys via Zoom and there’s going to be an NCAA Representative telling me, ‘your plane leaves in 45 minutes. Good luck to you. Go get your stuff packed and get out of here’.”

To me, Young is saying Florida is not an all-star church league team. He could have said Southern Baptist All-Star team, the All-Presbyterian all-star team or any other phrase to denote a recreational team versus a major college team. There was indeed no malice, and when he was told the phrase might have offended someone – although I can’t imagine how – he immediately apologized.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Nothing More

I agree 100% with your "stance," Dave. Many folks seem to look for any quote or innocent action to turn into something it isn't. I... Read More
Wednesday, 17 March 2021 12:07
Guest — Johnny Hurst

I'm Outraged :-)

A friend of mine since high school somewhere along his life path became a Jehovah's Witness. I thought about messaging him on Face... Read More
Thursday, 18 March 2021 11:10
moderate rain

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Wind: 1.99 m/h

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moderate rain

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heavy intensity rain

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Fri

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