Jan 11, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Ben Emelogu (15) drives to the basket against Boston College Eagles center Dennis Clifford (24) and guard Olivier Hanlan (21) during the second half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
There is plenty reason for Virginia Tech fans to be excited about the future of basketball under Buzz Williams. Of course, a lot of that attention has been due to the fact that the Hokies have to players in the ESPN 100 committed in shooting guards Ahmed Hill and Justin Bibbs. Hill and Bibbs both seem likely to get a lot of playing time in the fall with at least one of them most likely starting in what will be a 3-guard backcourt with Devin Wilson at the point.
However, Virginia Tech fans are forgetting about one player who also deserves to get a lot of playing time whether it be as a starter or as a sixth man, Ben Emelogu.
Ben Emelogu might not have the best possible freshman season but Emelogu played fairly well when he was healthy enough to play. One thing we definitely know about Ben Emelogu is the fact that he is a leader in the locker room and on the court proven by how he was voted captain as a true freshman. Emelogu’s leadership will be valuable to aiding the development and growth of this team during this rebuild.
Mar 12, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Ben Emelogu (15) takes a jump shot against the Miami Hurricanes during the first round of the ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Ben Emelogu played some of his best basketball early on in the season when he was utilized more as a sixth man sparkplug instead of a starter. Ben Emelgou was able to come in to some early season games off the bench and have some strong performances which included his 22-point game against West Virginia and his 18-point game against Seton Hall. In both of those games, Emelogu shot at least .500 from beyond the arc and was able to really make a difference off the bench.
Ben Emelogu did have some struggles as a starter but one thing that he showed a lot of potential in becoming was a skilled three-point shooter. Emelogu seemed to find a way to help keep the Hokies in some games down the stretch with a three-pointer to change the momentum and that will be important.
Ben Emelogu only averaged 1.5 turnovers per game and is the type of guy that can be relied to handle the ball down the stretch. Emelogu rarely got into foul trouble with an average of 2.2 fouls per game and this is another valuable quality that you want in a starting guard that will play 30+ minutes. Emelogu was not an elite defender but he was solid overall and his 0.6 steals and 0.2 blocks.
Ben Emelogu is an impact player that definitely has the potential to be one of the Hokies’ three starters in the backcourt. However, Emelogu might be better suited for a 25 to 30 minutes per game role as the Hokies’ sixth man. Ben Emelogu deserves the chance to start but even if he struggles some, a shift to a role as a sixth man could work quite well. Ben Emelogu will definitely make a big impact for the Hokies no matter if he starts or is the sixth man.
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