Hokies Men’s Basketball: Virginia Tech Has Found a Frontcourt Gem in Khadim Sy

Khadim Sy puts up a layup against Maine [Credit: Harley Taylor]
Khadim Sy puts up a layup against Maine [Credit: Harley Taylor]
The Virginia Tech Hokies are unsurprisingly off to a 2-0 start with easy wins over Maine and High Point, but that hasn’t prevented there from being a couple pleasant surprises that suggest this team is better than we thought it would be.

The biggest reason for that is that the Hokies have seen a big man over 6’7” step up with Kerry Blackshear out in freshman Khadim Sy.

Through two games, Sy has only played 16 minutes per game against teams where he has been the biggest guy on the floor, but Sy has been dominant averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game so far while having no fouls in his 15-minute debut against Maine before having 3 fouls against High Point.

The play of Sy has brought plenty of high praise including this from Buzz Williams after Virginia Tech’s season-opening win over Maine.

This is exceptional praise for a freshman big man, but Sy has earned it so far as the former Oak Hill Academy player is already looking like one of the biggest surprises in the ACC so what makes Khadim Sy so good?

There are plenty of reasons why Sy is playing so well, but the first is the fact that Sy just looks comfortable on the floor. This is obviously a subjective factor and the competition Sy has faced hasn’t been great but even against weak competition, plenty of freshman bigs don’t look that comfortable including Kerry Blackshear last season.

So far, Sy seems to be very comfortable on both ends of the floor, and never seems to feel out of place in the game. Having a freshman big that feels comfortable this early in the season is a big boost for a Virginia Tech team that needs frontcourt help.

Second, Sy has been effective in working on the offensive end in the paint well whether it be with or without the ball. One thing Sy did well against High Point was that he was able to step up to the free throw line and help effective move the ball in and out to try to create space on the perimeter or lanes for Virginia Tech to attack the rim with.

Sy also has proven to be effective on pick and rolls setting solid picks and effectively rolling off the picks to get to the rhythm with their being a couple times in which Sy should have gotten the ball instead of the Hokies’ guard taking it up for a more contested shot. Sy doesn’t have great range in his game but is consistent around the rim being able to handle some contact to make some more challenging layups.

Sy has proven to be a solid rebounder averaging 5 rebounds in only 16 minutes per game which projects out to at least 9 rebounds when playing 30 minutes per game, a state line that is quite good for a young big man. Sy has also been used a lot against other teams’ starters with Sy also being part of Virginia Tech’s starting 5 as well.

Defensively, Sy does have room to grow but this is where his comfort on the basketball floor shows a lot as he knows where to be. Sy has proven to be a capable shot blocker with four blocks in two games while providing some good defense overall and while Sy has given up some bad buckets, Sy has made post players earn their points so far.

Khadim Sy has been the biggest surprise so far this season for the Hokies despite the season only being two games down. Sy’s play has also given Virginia Tech fans confidence that the Hokies will be able to achieve all their goals without Kerry Blackshear for an extended period or the full season.

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