It was bad enough Sunday that Virginia Tech ended its regular season with just its fourth double-digit ACC loss in a 70-58 defeat to North Carolina State. But while the Hokies were out-played for a second year in a row on senior night, Internet rumors were circulating that perhaps junior Erick Green was considering leaving Virginia Tech after the season based on a message on his Twitter account.
So when Coach Seth Greenberg benched Green to begin the second half, it only fueled the speculation that the Hokies’ leading scorer might be playing his final home game at Cassell Coliseum. After the loss, however, Green was adamant that he has no plans to transfer and will be back in Blacksburg for his senior season next year.
“Someone took it the wrong way,” Green said. “I got one goal and one goal only before I leave here and that is make it to the tournament one time. I ain’t going nowhere.”
Green has consistently been the one bright spot during a regular season in which Virginia Tech finished with a sub-.500 record for the first time since 2006. The two-time All-Met ranked among the top ten in the ACC in points per game (15.3), field goal percentage (44.4 percent), free throw percentage (80 percent) and steals (1.4).
Green also averaged 2.8 assists per game, and during ACC play, nobody in the league played more minutes per game (34). Before Thursday’s loss at Clemson, Green had finished in double figures in scoring for 30 straight contests.
As a result, there’s a good chance he will be named second- or third-team all-ACC this afternoon.
That, though, doesn’t mean the 6-3 point guard is satisfied with his performance this year. Take Sunday’s regular season finale, when Greenberg sat him on the bench at the start of the second half because “I guess he kind of saw the frustration in my face,” Green said.
“As a leader I wasn’t contributing to my team. I wasn’t giving my team what I had to give them coming out,” he added. “It wasn’t nothing personal. We weren’t arguing or nothing like that.”
All the losing this year has also worn on Green. The Hokies won just four conference games, tied for the fewest ever under Greenberg and will enter the ACC tournament with their worst seed (10) since joining the league prior to the 2004-05 campaign.
Green said while he’s grateful that statistically he upped his game from a year ago, it isn’t nearly as rewarding when Virginia Tech struggles the way it did this season.
“It ain’t all about scoring and putting up numbers for myself. It’s about winning,” Green said. “I want to change this thing. I want to lead this team to a tournament, do something that hasn’t been done in awhile.
“They lay it on me and I kind of feel like I let them down,” he added, referencing Virginia Tech’s youthful roster. “We’re supposed to have buzzer beaters and in close games I’m supposed to take them over as a leader. At the end of the day, I take a lot of blame. I’m not happy with this season. I’m not happy the way I went out. People can say I had a good year, but in my opinion I didn’t have a good year. I didn’t take my team where I needed to take them and we’ve had a bad year. So I take this one on myself.”