Jan 11, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward C.J. Barksdale (42) goes up for a dunk against the Boston College Eagles during the second half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jarell Eddie almost made a miracle shot to force overtime but unfortunately for the Hokies, Eddie’s shot just barely missed and the Hokies fell to 1-2 in the ACC and 8-7 on the season against a Boston College team that won only its fifth game this past Saturday. The Hokies looked like a team that should have won the game at some points but the Hokies struggled in certain areas that really cost them. However, there were a lot of things that should give Hokies’ fans optimism for the next game against Clemson despite the fact that the Tigers just beat Duke. So, what did we learn from the Hokies’ seventh loss of the season?
1. Jarell Eddie and Adam Smith need to set up others.
Jarell Eddie is the focal point of the Virginia Tech offense and has struggled throughout the season to get open opportunities. However, this game exposed how Eddie is not doing a good job at getting his other capable teammates involved and that is setting him up to take shots that are just downright terrible in some cases. Eddie went 3 for 14 from the field yesterday and while he did make all three of his free throws, Eddie’s bad shot choice is the number 1 reason why the Hokies lost yesterday. James Johnson tried to get that in the head of Eddie but it might just be time for Johnson to bench Eddie against Clemson to send him a message.
Adam Smith is currently the sixth man for the Hokies but he didn’t do much better yesterday as the redshirt sophomore shot five of sixteen from the field. Smith is a lot younger player and a guy that James Johnson will need to have some patience with, especially since Smith has done a better job of spreading the ball around. However, Smith needs to work on setting up his other talented teammates as he missed a few great opportunities for others yesterday.
2. Devin Wilson could become a star point guard.
Devin Wilson is not a great shooter similar to another point guard who at one time was a star in the ACC in former North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. Wilson is a very good attacker that is becoming a solid passer which is very much the type of player that Kendall Marshall was in college. Wilson knows how to attack the basket, especially in transition where he is extremely effective at getting points for the Hokies. Wilson also had three steals yesterday which set him up to make plays for the Hokies in transition. The one concern with Wilson is his free throw shoting which was atrocious as Wilson was 2 for 8 from the charity stripe yesterday. Wilson is just above 65% from the free throw line for the season but Wilson can’t afford to have days like this. Outside of the rough free throw shooting, Devin Wilson showed how good of a player he has the potential to become.
3. C.J. Barksdale and Joey Van Zegeren should be the starting frontcourt duo.
The Hokies have been rotating their two true big men in the starting lineup throughout the beginning of the season but C.J. Barksdale and Joey Van Zegeren have proven that they should be the two starters. Barksdale is the physical scoring threat that can get the easy buckets while also providing some quality defense despite not having great size. Barksdale was four of eight from the field yesterday which included 2 big three pointers which showed that Barksdale has a little range. Barksdale is averaging just under 10 points but that should go up as his playing time goes up which seems likely.
Joey Van Zegeren has a huge ceiling and he is starting to reach some of that potential as a very good defensive player to go with being an average offensive player. Van Zegeren is one of the best shot blockers in the ACC and might be the best by the end of the season after having an impressive 5 blocks against Boston College. Van Zegeren played tough defense and is staying out of foul trouble with only two fouls. Van Zegeren still has work to do on the offensive side but Van Zegeren has huge potential that he is starting to reach.