With the return of forward JT Thompson still in doubt and just 10 scholarship players committed to play for the Hokies next year, Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg transitioned into offseason mode this week by looking for some possible reinforcements to his roster.
The Hokies already have two recruits signed for next year – forwards Montrezl Harrell of Hargrave Military Academy and Marshall Wood from Rustburg, Va. — and Greenberg said the team could add up to two more players if they are the right fit. The decision will likely depend on whether Thompson returns.
The fifth-year senior missed a second consecutive season this year because of a torn ACL and can apply for a sixth year of eligibility because of medical hardship. He’s currently rehabbing and taking graduate school classes at Virginia Tech, and Greenberg said a decision on his return would be made in the next two weeks. Thompson’s cousin, Dorenzo Hudson, said two weeks ago that Thompson would prefer to play professionally next year because he already has a degree but isn’t sure how his knee will hold up yet.
The uncertainty has left Greenberg open to the idea of perhaps bringing in a junior college transfer because forward Cadarian Raines is the only experienced post player on the roster for next year.
“Maybe at one position, but I have not had a history of recruiting people there. But maybe the right position with a guy who has a chance to graduate,” Greenberg said of the junior college ranks. “We’re not gonna take a warm body, we’re not gonna take a guy that’s gonna win us a game. I want to take a guy who has a chance to graduate.”
When Virginia Tech lost to Florida State in Tallahassee last month, Greenberg stayed behind an extra day to recruit a junior college prospect. The Hokies are also looking to bring in a combo guard to provide depth along for Erick Green and Marquis Rankin. Greenberg said the team will have some recruits in for visits this week, but “we’re only going to take guys that we think can help.”
As for his current roster, Greenberg is looking forward to new NCAA rules that will allow his staff to work with players for up to eight hours a week as long as they are enrolled in summer school. He also wants freshmen Dorian Finney-Smith, Robert Brown and Joey van Zegeren to add weight to their sinewy frames, and hopes freshman C.J. Barksdale will commit to getting into “world-class shape.”
Next year’s schedule will include an exempt tournament in Las Vegas, a trip to Salt Lake City to face BYU and a road game against UNC Greensboro (the ACC tournament is being held at Greensboro Coliseum next year). The Hokies will have a home game as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge as well as return games at Cassell Coliseum against Rhode Island and Oklahoma State.
But looking ahead also means reflecting on what took place this season, and Greenberg has been buoyed by the fact that over the last month the Hokies seemed to turn a corner in terms of competing on a consistent basis.
“I think that we did a lot of good things at the end of the season,” Greenberg said. “Honestly, I didn’t think we’d play the last four weeks without Victor [Davila] and the whole season without JT, and we got a lot of experience for a lot of good young players and we were in position to win almost every game. So therefore, we’re not that far off. But we’ve got to get stronger, we’ve got to mature. We’ve got to be more efficient offensively. But I also think there’s a lot of positives to build on.”
On an unrelated note, Greenberg will be appearing on ESPN as a guest analyst for the NCAA tournament starting Thursday. He said the plan is for him to discuss the tournament on many of the network’s platforms, including “SportsCenter.”