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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

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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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UVA Will Need More Backcourt Firepower Next Season

If one thing jumps out at me in reviewing the Virginia men's basketball season, it would be the lack of offensive firepower at the guard position, most notably from the 3-point line and beyond.

Of the three players who led the Cavaliers in 3-point attempts, only one, Trey Murphy III, is listed as a guard, and he's 6-foot-9.

For the season, more than 60 percent of Virginia's 3-point attempts were launched by three players -- Sam Hauser, who is listed at 6-8; Murphy and 7-2 Jay Huff.

Hauser's team-leading 63 made 3-pointers were more than guards Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman, Tomas Woldetensae and Casey Morsell combined.

None was bigger than the 3-pointer Reece Beekman nailed at the buzzer in a 72-69 victory over Syracuse in the ACC Tournament, but he was 0-for-5 until that point, including 0-for-3 on 3-pointers.

Clark and Beekman were 1-2 on the team in assists, but Clark, for one, doesn't hesitate to shoot. He was 16-of-52 from the field in the last six games, including a 3-for-10 outing against Ohio in UVa's first-round NCAA Tournament loss.

Allowances made by the NCAA as the result of COVID-19 would suggest that almost everybody could return next year, although that would be a sixth year for Huff and a fifth year for Hauser, who almost assuredly would test the NBA waters.

In that event, where would Virginia go for its offense? Murphy, a transfer from Rice who didn't know that he would be eligible this year until the last moment, would be a start.

Woldetenesae is an interesting case in that he spent two years in junior college, but if I'm reading that situation correctly, he could be back. He was seventh on the team in minutes played this year, but he seemed to disappear at times.

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College Notebook: Recruiting, The Portal and More

You had to wonder why more ACC men's basketball programs didn't jump after Jay Heath before he signed with Boston College out of Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C.

There should be more action now with word that Heath has entered the transfer portal.

Heath, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, averaged a team-leading 14.5 points and had a team-high 42 made 3-pointers for the Eagles, who finished 4-16 and ended the season without six-year head coach Jim Christian.

The Eagles completed the season with Christian assistant Scott Spinelli at the helm and ultimately selected Earl Grant as their new head coach.

Grant, most recently the head coach at the College of Charleston,  was an assistant at Winthrop and Wichita State . He has an ACC background after years as an assistant at Clemson.

One of his coaching mentors was Gregg Marshall, who resigned under pressure as Wichita State head coach prior to the 2020-21 season.

After eight straight seasons of 20 wins or more, Wichita State finished 16-6 under Isaac Brown, who was promoted to interim coach following Marshall's resignation and later elevated to head coach.

THE PORTAL AND MORE

Playing time wasn't an issue for Au'Diese Toney, the University of Pittsburgh junior who entered the NCAA Transfer portal earlier this week.

Toney, a 6-6 swingman out of Huntsville, Ala., averaged a team-high 34.9 minutes per game for the Panthers and led the team in scoring with 14.4 points per game.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Education?

I don't suspect any of these various folks floating around the transfer portals have put much emphasis on getting an education.... Read More
Thursday, 25 March 2021 12:20
Dave Scarangella

I don't think you can paint ev...

There are probably some just looking for more playing time and don't care as much about school. But I know the 6-9 young man from ... Read More
Thursday, 25 March 2021 12:28
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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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Since It's The First Day Of Spring...

Since today is the first day of spring, I find myself thinking about one year ago.

There was no NCAA Tournament – or live sports for that matter – so we all watched in huge numbers a 10-part Michael Jordan ego-enhancing series on an NBA season not even in this century…just to get our sports fix. Last night, partly because of disappointment over Virginia Tech losing to Florida and partly because of college basketball overload, I didn’t even have the television on.

There was no Major League Baseball season and traditional opening day about to occur in a week. Perhaps it’s the lingering effects of that which make me think when they talk about a minimum number of fans being able to attend, they’re talking about some date way off in the future instead of only 10 days from now.

You couldn’t buy what you wanted when you wanted to, particularly paper products. I handle all the buying of groceries and consumables in my house, and I used to have a pretty easy system. When somebody said we were down to the last three rolls of toilet paper or paper towels, I scanned the grocery ads to see if anyone had them on sale, then went and replenished our stock.

Now, when my wife mentioned the other day that we were down to only two 12-packs of both products and she was opening one of them, I felt like I had to replenish the supply. I did, and there’s an entire corner of the guest room filled with toilet paper, papers towels and tissues. There’s no issue now, as Amazon regularly contacts me asking if I want to buy more and it can be here in two days.

But I was in a warehouse club earlier this week, and I just couldn’t resist all those big 12 big rolls = 137 regular rolls of Bounty just sitting there, secretly whispering to me “one day you’ll wish you had bought one more pack.”

A year ago I actually ran out of the type of coffee filters you use in a device called a Chemex. They were a little difficult to find any way, but when it comes to coffee, I don’t mess around. I discovered that if you were a regular Joe, everyone was sold out, but if you subscribed to the product through a place like Peet’s, they’d find some for you. So I’ve been getting a box of 100 every 8 weeks, even though I only use maybe 50 every 8 weeks.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

On Record

Please let me go on the DullesDistrict record as the one individual who did not watch a single episode of the MJ marathon.
Saturday, 20 March 2021 11:52
Dave Scarangella

It's nice to know

One of the 13 people who did NOT watch
Saturday, 20 March 2021 12:11
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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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If You Want To Win, You Have To Take Chances

Over the years, I've come to see a certain personality during the NCAA Tournament.

You know the type. The one who brags "hey, I picked that upset," when a 12 seed surprisingly beats a 5 seed. Or when it gets down to the final four, says he got just about all of the games correct in the early round, but "missed by that much" on a few of the finalists.

Oddly, this person never shows his actual brackets to see if what he's saying is true. Usually it's a good friend who you've known for years, so you don't push it and ask to see them, because you already KNOW he's lying.

So that I won't be confused with THAT guy, here are my picks before the first game is played. I had given serious consideration to spending hours reading up on what all the experts had to say, but then I realized "who am I kidding?" The tournament is unpredictable every year, and when you add in the COVID factor, it's even more of a guessing game.

So I went game for game and just picked the teams I've seen and liked. You never win an office pool picking all favorites, and you never win if you pick too many upsets. I HAVE probably picked too many upsets, but now you have the evidence to taunt me every weekend as my brackets go down in flames.

I'm not going to be THAT guy 😊

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Recent Comments
Edgar Kinnier

Brackets

Good luck! Always remember to factor in Covid-19 that thing could just destroy everyone's picks. EOK
Friday, 19 March 2021 11:34
Dave Scarangella

That's going to be the biggest...

You may have picked the team that probably would have won, but it won't matter if COVID forces the game to not be played...
Friday, 19 March 2021 11:44
Dave Fulton

Cards

I always figured you were a cards on the table kinda guy. Maggie had no paw whatsoever involved in these picks?... Read More
Friday, 19 March 2021 12:09

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They Finally Did It...

They Did It

After a long and bumpy road, The Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. And made an old man in Ashburn cry...

Never Grow Old...

Never Grow Old

A trip to Spring Training reminded me we're all still kids at heart, and no matter how old, you keep playing until they get you out.

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