June 8, 2009
Hoops facility nearing completion and should pay dividends for hoops programs

A new era in Virginia Tech basketball begins in roughly eight weeks when the Hokies’ men’s and women’s programs move into their $21 million practice facility. While workers continue to finish up the interior, Tech coach Seth Greenberg is already using the building as a recruiting tool.

“We walked two prospects through the facility this past weekend and they were blown away,” Greenberg said. “It’s big. It’s unbelievable how nice it is going to be once the graphics are up and the courts are painted.”

The facility will not only house coaches offices and practice courts, but also training rooms, theaters, sports medicine centers and lounges for both the men’s and women’s teams. And this week, even before it’s done, the building is helping in recruiting.

“What we are lacking in history, we just made up for in facilities,” Greenberg said.

Both Tech programs should be in the new home on August 1.

Whiting-Turner of Baltimore, which also did the recently completed Bio-Informatics center on Tech’s campus, is the general contractor on the facility. Cannon Design, the creative minds that built the U.S. Olympic facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., designed the new facility on Tech’s campus.

Other nuggets from the head coach:

On the 2009-2010 schedule: “We need one more game and we’re done,” Greenberg said. “We have three games in the Philly Hoops Classic – Brown at home, and games against Temple and Delaware in Philadelphia (Palestra). We are going to play 17 or 18 home games this season, which is good because last year we played the fewest of any team in the ACC.”

On the NCAA’s “No-Charge Zone” rule: “In theory it’s great, but without the circle drawn on the court (like in the NBA), it’s still a judgment call for officials,” Greenberg said. “It will create a dispute because the official has to decide where a defensive player is at the point of contact. It’s an easy call in the NBA because of the circle in front of rim.”

The new NCAA rule prohibits a secondary defender from establishing position in the area from the front of the rim to the front of the backboard. A defender must establish position outside that area to draw a charge or a player-control foul.

On Clemson sophomore Terrence Oglesby leaving school to play pro ball in Norway and Miami’s Dwayne Collins electing to return to school: “I was shocked about Oglesby,” Greenberg said. “He’s a starting guard for an NCAA Tournament team, at a terrific school and he plays for a great coach. Two years from now, he still has that passport and can still play in Europe or whatever. It seems like he’s giving up a lot.”

Since Oglesby has dual citizenship (U.S. and Norway), he can play pro ball in Europe but not count as an international player on a team’s roster, which makes him very attractive to pro teams there.

“Collins made the right call and clearly used the system as it was designed to do,” Greenberg said. “He goes and works out, sees what his strengths and weaknesses are and gets a feel for where he might fit in at the next level. But he can still come back to school, which he elected to do. That’s how the system is designed.”

Hey Bill,

Do you think that the offense will ever use the TE position more in the passing game like they did back when Jeff King was at VT? It seems like we have the athletes at TE now to be able to stretch the field. What is your take? Thanks. D. Hurt, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Well, Tech used the tight end quite a bit last year. Greg Boone (22 receptions), Andre Smith (10) and Chris Drager (3) combined for 35 catches. By comparison, in Jeff King’s senior year, he had 26 caches, John Kinzer had nine and Jordan Trott had two for a total of 37, so that’s pretty close to the same total.

Also, remember that Boone had 21 carries as a quarterback in the Hokies’ “Wild Turkey” formation, so in reality, the tight ends had more ‘touches’ last year than in any other year in recent memory.

Anyway, to get the ball into Boone’s hands is a good strategy because he could post some serious YAC (yards after catch) numbers. The team that uses the tight end the most in the ACC is Virginia. Since 2001, Virginia’s tight ends have caught twice as many passes than those at any other ACC school, and last year, John Phillips had 48 catches. But UVa has had a different offensive strategy than other teams in the ACC in terms of tight end usage. In fact, if you look at Boone’s numbers compared to Ryan Purvis of BC (24 catches last year) or Dan Gronkowski of Maryland (29), he’s in the mix with the All-ACC players at his position.


One of the things I think our team is missing is a 'killer mentality.' Think of the 'Canes in the 80's who won big. They won because they didn't care if they got penalties and didn't care about late hits. They brought an attitude and bullied people into submission. I think we are a bit soft at times and we need get that attitude on our team. G.L. Menendez, Reidsville, N.C.

There’s a big difference between ‘killer mentality’ and ‘dirty play.’ If you’re like me, you’d like to turn a 21-3 halftime lead into 42-3 advantage in the third quarter. So would our coaches, believe me.

But Miami won in the 1980’s because of great players like Vinny Testaverde, Jerome Brown, Bennie Blades and countless other All-Americans. Yeah, they had an aura about them and certainly were intimidating. But Miami won because they had, without question, the most talented team of that era.

As for today, ask anyone Tech plays if you think the Hokies are ‘soft.’ You might get a different answer. Thanks for writing.

Dear Bill,

What is the grass that makes the playing surface at Lane Stadium? Mike, Blacksburg.


It’s a cross, ah, of Bluegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Featherbed Bent, and Northern California Sensemilia. (Always wanted to answer that question with a Carl Spackler reference.) Actually, Casey Underwood, Tech’s director of outdoor facilities, confirmed this week that Lane Stadium’s surface is Patriot Bermuda. It can be over-seeded in the fall with rye to keep a green appearance, but this type of Bermuda is designed to have a hearty freeze tolerance.

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