During his opening statement to reporters following Virginia Tech’s 69-61 loss to Kansas State Sunday night, Coach Seth Greenberg brought up the second-half performance of Wildcats forward Jamar Samuels, a Washington native who finished the contest with a game-high 17 points and 14 rebounds.
“I thought that Samuels played like a senior,” Greenberg said. “I thought he played like a guy that was a little bit more mature.”
The comment was appropriate on a night when Greenberg’s two seniors were mostly invisible. Forward Victor Davila scored just one point and grabbed only one rebound while battling foul trouble. Guard Dorenzo Hudson, meanwhile, played better than his zero-point outing at Minnesota last week, but still mustered just seven points and four rebounds.
The problem the Hokies have as they try to end a two-game losing streak at Rhode Island Wednesday night is that the inconsistency of their only two available scholarship seniors has become all too consistent.
“We need more from those guys,” Greenberg said simply.
Hudson is the team’s second-leading scorer at 11.6 points per game, but that’s greatly inflated by a 31-point showing against Florida International. In the four games since the Hokies’ loss to Syracuse at Madison Square Garden, the redshirt senior is averaging just 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds. Perhaps more significantly to Virginia Tech fans, though, is that Hudson has yet to show the sort of explosion off the dribble that he had before a foot injury forced him to miss most of last season.
Greenberg said Hudson played through a knee injury Sunday that didn’t allow him to practice the two days leading into the game and has been hit with a heavy academic workload now that it’s exam time. But Hudson averaged 15.3 points per game and was a third team all-ACC selection during the 2009-10 season, and the Hokies were hoping he would continue to be a double-digit scorer this year.
Davila has shown flashes of being an improved offensive weapon this year, stringing together consecutive strong performances against St. Bonaventure (13 points) and Minnesota (10 points, seven rebounds) last week. But as Sunday night showed, he’s still prone to becoming a non-factor on the floor too often.
Despite receiving more minutes per game than any other Hokies’ post player this year, Davila is averaging just seven points and 4.4 rebounds.
Greenberg admitted Sunday he considered playing sophomore Cadarian Raines and freshman C.J. Barksdale more in the second half after the duo combined for 12 points and nine rebounds while Davila sat on the bench in foul trouble during the first half.
“I wanted to give Victor a chance to play through it,” Greenberg said. “I think he’s deserved that.”
This highlights the tricky situation Greenberg now finds himself in, even though Virginia Tech has a good chance of ending its two-game losing streak Wednesday night against a Rhode Island squad that is just 1-7 this year.
After Hudson’s lackadaisical performance at Minnesota — in one sequence, he committed a double dribble and on the ensuing possession was unaware the shot clock was about to expire — Greenberg was adamant he will continue to stick with Hudson, just like he defended Davila on Sunday.
But freshman shooting guard Robert Brown has come on strong of late, averaging 14 points in his past two games. Raines and Barksdale have also been huge energy boosts off the bench. So at what point does Greenberg decide the future is now for a team that has 10 underclassmen, and start putting more on these younger players’ shoulders?
Judging from my inbox and twitter account (@HokiesJournal), that’s a question many Hokies’ fans are already pondering eight games into this season.