When Buzz Williams arrived after the 2013-2014 season, Virginia Tech saw their roster change a good amount with a few players either leaving the team or transferring, creating some open scholarship with two of those going to two players that were committed to Marquette in Ahmed Hill and Satchel Pierce.
However, Williams decided to go into the transfer and picked up two players with two years of eligibility left after sitting out a year, Seth Allen and Zach LeDay.
The Allen pickup was seen as a big addition for the Hokies with Allen having made a decent name for himself at Maryland before deciding to transfer to Virginia Tech in a move that happened around the time Maryland left the ACC for the Big 10. Meanwhile, LeDay was a backup big man at USF that hadn’t had that much success and didn’t have high expectations from fans unlike Allen.
Now almost three years into the Buzz Williams era, the Hokies are poised to make their first NCAA Tournament in a decade and much of the credit has to go to what Zach LeDay and Seth Allen have done in Blacksburg.
After having to sit out their first year in Blacksburg, LeDay and Allen touched the floor t Cassell Coliseum and sped up the Buzz Williams rebuild in a 2015-2016 season that helped fans start to forget about the two-year James Johnson era that had left Virginia Tech depleted in terms of talent and helped VT finished in the cellar of the ACC for four-straight seasons including the first year of the Buzz Williams era.
Entering Virginia Tech’s season opener against Alabama State, most of the attention surrounded the debut of Seth Allen but it was Zach LeDay who stole the show that night with 26 points and 15 rebounds in a dominant debut performance that had fans and analysts wondering if this was a one-game fluke or if he could keep this up as an undersized forward.
LeDay proved that his Virginia Tech debut wasn’t a fluke and followed it up with six more double-doubles in non-conference play along with being held in single-digit points twice through all of non-conference play.
When conference play came around, LeDay’s play continued to be at a high level and while facing bigger frontcourts led to LeDay only having three double-doubles in ACC, LeDay continued to have some big performances in big games with LeDay having 22 points and 7 rebounds against a #4 UVA in VT’s first big upset win of the Buzz Williams era along with being held to single-digit points in only four ACC regular season games.
LeDay averaged 15.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks on his way to earning All-ACC Honorable Mention honors in what was one of the biggest breakouts in all of college basketball that made LeDay the star of Virginia Tech basketball.
Meanwhile, Seth Allen didn’t coming flying out of the gates in his debut but had some great performances in big games starting with his 25-point game in a loss to Northwestern followed by 23 in Virginia Tech’s win over NC State to open ACC play. Allen became known for attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line in ACC play with ease at time going 13-for-14 at the line for 26 points in a loss to Louisville and 28 points in a loss at Pitt including 9-for-12 at the free-throw line.
However, Allen’s biggest moments of his season came in the ACC Tournament as Allen shined on his way to 20 points including making 10-of-12 free throws in the Hokies’ opener against Florida State followed by 31 points that included 17-of-18 from the free-throw line against Miami that nearly led to the Hokies’ second upset win over a top 15 Miami team.
LeDay and Allen were critical to Virginia Tech climbing all the way to a six seed in the ACC Tournament and tied for seventh finish in the ACC with a 10-8 record in conference and 19-14 overall record. That performance was enough to send the Hokies to the NIT where they opened with a win over Princeton led by 29 points and 11 rebounds from LeDay followed by a 3-point loss at BYU that included Allen having 22 and LeDay having a double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds).
The duo had led Virginia Tech to its highest level in years in a season in which the hope was to just simply get out of the cellar of the ACC and try to finish .500 overall. Now, a rebuild that seemed likely to take four or five years to produce a team that could make the NCAA Tournament all of a sudden seemed just about over with Virginia Tech bringing a team back that had the talent to return the NCAA Tournament in 2017 for the first time in a decade.
With one regular season game left, Virginia Tech is headed for its first NCAA Tournament in a decade with the chance to climb as high as a 6 or 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament field along with having the potential to be seeded as high as fifth in the ACC Tournament.
The 2016-2017 season has been full of moments and games where Zach LeDay and Seth Allen have built legacies at Virginia Tech that will last a long time and it started in non-conference play at Michigan when the Hokies came from down double-digits in the first half on the road to pull a late comeback led by some big shots from Seth Allen to get what is their signature road win.
Allen and LeDay were commonly used off the bench, but they made a difference in those roles and helped lead Virginia Tech to an impressive non-conference start that had the Hokies pushing for a top 25 spot with only one non-conference loss to Texas A&M in the Wooden Legacy.
Then, the Hokies took down Duke in what may have been the biggest win of the Buzz Williams era to open ACC play with a win that launched Virginia Tech into the top 25 for the first time in several years. That win showed that Virginia Tech was once again relevant on the national stage in college basketball with a team that was driven by seniors Zach LeDay and Seth Allen.
Throughout ACC play, LeDay has continued to be steadily productive with his 7 points against Miami being the only time he hasn’t scored double-figure points while also having some leading games that proved to be important wins including 22 points against Syracuse and 19 points against Clemson that included LeDay being critical down the stretch in helping the Hokies hold on and begin to make their final push away from even the fringe of the bubble.
Meanwhile, Seth Allen didn’t always have a big game, but Allen put together a serious of highlight reel shots and moments that had Virginia Tech fans in awe. You can take a look at all of those shots and moments here. Allen had plenty of big shots, but the biggest were the multiple game-winners he had from the game-winning layup against Georgia Tech to the game-winning three against Clemson.
However, there was no clutch or game-winning shot bigger than his five-footer inside the final four seconds of double OT against Virginia that helped the Hokies finish off a huge upset and give Virginia Tech another signature win that showed that the Hokies were a NCAA Tournament team. That shot will go down as one of the great shots in Virginia Tech history with Allen building a legacy not only with big games, but more with shots that have put VT fans in awe.
More than their individual performances, LeDay and Allen have been leaders on and off the court that have helped Buzz Williams build a winning, hard-working culture that is built on having teams that will outwork any opponent. LeDay and Allen have provided leadership to a young team over the past two years that will have veterans well-prepared for handling the leadership of an ACC team and ready to take this program to the next level led by Buzz.
Allen and LeDay may not be as talented as guys like Dell Curry, Bimbo Coles, or Malcolm Delaney; but they have helped Virginia Tech rebuild faster than anyone could have imagined and has Virginia Tech relevant nationally in year 3 of the Buzz Williams era. Without Allen and LeDay, it’s probably safe to say that Virginia Tech would be a NIT team looking towards next year as their breakthrough year to return to the NCAA Tournament.
When Zach LeDay and Seth Allen arrived at Virginia Tech, no one imagined that LeDay would become a star, that Allen would become arguably the most clutch player in America, and that the Hokies would enter the final home game of LeDay’s and Allen’s collegiate careers safely in the NCAA Tournament in only year 3 of the Buzz Williams era.
Now, LeDay and Allen will take the floor one final time at what will be a packed Cassell Coliseum for a game that two years ago wouldn’t likely have been sold out but instead will almost certainly be sold out with plenty of students ready to delay their spring break an extra day to see the Hokies’ final home game of the year before heading off to Brooklyn and then the NCAA Tournament faster than anyone could have imagined when Buzz Williams era.
When Zach LeDay and Seth Allen stand on the court to receive their Senior Day recognition, they’ll see a reinvigorated basketball program that has risen out of the depths of the ACC to national relevance again and hopefully in that, they’ll see how they have built a legacy that will last for a while with Virginia Tech set to make what will be its first of many NCAA Tournament appearances over the next decade.