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With Hokie Basketball, The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

I’m  beginning to think that the Virginia Tech basketball team is really an NHL hockey team, and we’ve just gotten to the point of the season where they take a month off to go participate in the Olympics.

Today will be the second straight postponement for the Hokies, as opponents have had issues with COVID, setting up a minimum of 10 days before the last game and the next scheduled one. There is no guarantee 10 days will be all the delay there is, as the next opponent is North Carolina, which has had issues of its own. Then the next game is against Florida State, which started the string of postponements.

It’s as if the Hokies need to go out and buy a truckload of Snickers, since it would appear they’re not going anywhere for a while.

There is one school of thought that believes this could be a good thing. It can be like a bye week (or two) in football, where players can use the extra time to get healthy. Cordell Pemsl had not been available with back issues, Jalen Cone was in a walking boot after the last game against Miami, and John Okiako – who has bulked up significantly since last year, and in a good way – has been slowed by a knee injury. All those can improve with rest, something you can’t do in a season where you’re playing every 3 or 4 days.

Then there is the case of Tyrece Radford, who has been serving an indefinite suspension for DUI and a gun charge. The word around Blacksburg is that the matter is going to be settled sooner than later now that there was a plea agreement on the DUI charge (he was found guilty), and the judge placed the gun charge in advisement for a year. He could dismiss that charge at the end of that period if Radford shows good behavior.

The rest is now up to Virginia Tech, meaning it’s possible he will either never play another game in Blacksburg, or could be back in the lineup the next time the Hokies play.

I’m more of the school of thought that these delays are not a good thing. The last time the Hokies played, there was a miracle shot by Hunter Cattoor at the buzzer to send the game with Miami into overtime, then the Hokies gamely scrapped through the overtime to pull off a win that 99.9 percent of the other teams in college basketball would have lost.

I mean, you’ve got to feel like Superman when you do something like that. I’d be flexing out in the parking lot going home from the game. You don’t have to tell a team after a game like that that they are never out of a game if they pull together and play their game. They just did it. If you have a choice, you want to play your next game about an hour after the Miami game ended.

A 10-day vacation from games is like timeout when you’re on a hot streak during a game. It stops the momentum. You lose the feeling. The next time out, it’s just another game. Another game, I might add, where you could be just a little bit rusty.

Then there’s Joe Bamisile. You just see in watching him that he has the tools to be something special. But so far this season before the Miami game, he hasn’t put it together enough to get any meaningful minutes, and he has seemed a tad bit frustrated. Against Miami, he found his game early, played 25 minutes, hit 50 percent of his shots and scored 11 points.

You could see his confidence growing as he started hitting his shots. He’s a big guard who can drive the lane, rebound and has a nice shot from the 15 to 20-foot range. He could be a huge bonus to the team if that type of play continues, but that’s the rub on this extended layoff. He’s only a freshman, and one of the biggest issues for all young players at first is consistency. You get that with minutes in live games, not practices. Best thing for Bamisile would have been the team playing its next game 30 minutes after the Miami game ended.

You never know how a team will react, but I’d rather be playing to stay sharp down the stretch of the final three weeks of the season. While the Hokies are sitting at home practicing, UVA played Wednesday, they play today, and they will play again Monday. I’d have to say UVA would have an advantage if the two teams played in the final 3 weeks (they’re not scheduled to).

So if you're a Hokie fan, you wait. And hope.

And go get a Snickers bar 😊

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