From the sidelines
By Marty Gordon
The ACC championship banner was unveiled before Sunday’s Virginia Tech game with William & Mary, and the team has started the season with three easy wins. While those wins have come against the lower competition of college basketball including Sunday, the Hokies have shown they are getting better every day.
Coach Mike Young has gone up and down the bench, developing a lot of depth as the team were up as many as 29 at several points in those three wins.
The Hokies unveiled the ACC championship banner prior to tipoff and hangs from the rafters on the home bench side toward the south end of the Cassell. It hangs beside the 1979 Metro Conference championship banner and the 1996 Atlantic 10 West Division championship banner.
The Lehigh game also was the return of Justin Mutts, who missed the first game because of an one-game suspension.
Mutts participated in a non-NCAA certified event earlier this year when going through the pre-NBA draft process. The NCAA handed down a one-game suspension.
Mutts recorded the 17th double-double of his career Thursday night, dropping in 16 points and 11 rebounds.
But it might have been his energy he brought to the court which enabled his teammates to play even better.
Mutts was the ACC’s Skip Prosser Award winner last season and is embarking on his 11th semester in college. He has already earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees. He is currently enrolled in human development—his second undergraduate program. He is also one of an elite group of players in the ACC who have recorded at least 100 career starts.
There is a lot of optimism oozing from Cassell Coliseum.
- The Hokies are among the nation’s leaders in active NCAA Tournament appearances. With the program’s record fifth straight locked up in 2022, they own the eighth longest active streak. It’s the second longest among ACC programs. This is pretty remarkable turnaround, thanks to information provided by VT Athletics, for a program that prior to 2017 had only gone to the NCAA tournament once (2007) in 20 years.
- Wright State transfer and big-man Grant Basile has already shown he might be the answer to replace two-time ACC selection Keve Aluma. The 6-9 forward is a threat inside and behind the three-point arc. He dialed up 30 points on 12 0f 16 shooting in his debut. His 30 was the most recorded in ACC play on opening night. He also added six three-pointers.
The season has started out well for the Hokies. Now, the competition becomes a little stiffer and the Hokies will have to step up the play if they hope to continue this streak.
This includes Old Dominion on Thursday.