Mike Young and Virginia Tech have slowly but steadily been adding pieces in recent weeks including the additions of four-star PG Jalen Cone, three-star guard Hunter Cattoor, and Wofford big man Keve Aluma along with the retention of SF Landers Nolley. However, the Hokies still have plenty of scholarships to work with while trying to also retain Wabissa Bede and Kerry Blackshear.
With that said, here’s a few thoughts based on what I’ve seen and how the Hokies’ scholarship situation is playing out.
1. Wabissa Bede Is Likely to Return to Virginia Tech.
Mike Young’s comments on Jon Rothstein’s podcast were just the latest sign that things are trending well for Wabissa Bede to return to Virginia Tech under the Hokies’ new head coach.
Mike Young tells me that he "feels really good" about Wabissa Bede's future moving forward at Virginia Tech. No decisions have officially been made. Bede has been exploring transfer options.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 20, 2019
That sentiment appears apparent from what we’ve heard to Bede having a strong relationship with new assistant Chester Frazier along with familiarity via retained assistant Christian Webster. Additionally, the fact that Bede’s name hasn’t been linked publicly with any other teams despite the fact that he likely has received lots of interest given his proven reputation should be taken as another great sign that Bede is heavily leaning towards a return to Blacksburg.
While all the hype has surrounded the retention of Landers Nolley and addition of Jalen Cone, Bede would be poised to run the show in the backcourt for the Hokies whether at the point or in a Seth Allen off-the-ball role that Allen held alongside Justin Robinson.
Bede is obviously known for his defensive talent, but the offensive skill set is quite apparent, the question is just whether he can consistently play with the aggressiveness and confidence that appeared to be lacking throughout much of last season. If Bede can play with greater aggressiveness and confidence in a larger role, there’s no doubt that Bede can be one of the most improved players in the ACC next season.
Bede is keeping his options open for now, but it wouldn’t be surprising to me if Bede decides to return to Virginia Tech in the relatively near future.
2. John Ojiako Must Be a Top Priority for Virginia Tech.
Regardless of whether Kerry Blackshear returns and whether transfer Keve Aluma pursues a waiver or not, Virginia Tech needs to add a high school big man to this class with John Ojiako being the best option at this point.
While VT has shown interest in former Ole Miss commit Rodney Howard and former Wake Forest commit Charles Coleman, Ojiako remains the most likely and arguably the greatest priority after the Hokies were the first Power 5 team to offer him as he emerged this spring. On top of that, Coleman seems likely bound for Duke after the Blue Devils offered him while Howard seems focused on Georgia Tech with the Yellow Jackets receiving his first visit post-decommitment.
Virginia Tech not only needs Ojiako for a size safety net with PJ Horne’s size clearly limiting his ability at center, but also for their long term frontcourt with VT only having Aluma for two seasons at most (though the timing could help VT) and Blackshear for only one more season should he return to Blacksburg instead of going pro or transferring elsewhere.
Ojiako may or may not be the most talented high school recruit that the Hokies are pursuing, but the position of need he plays should make him the top high school target on the board given their lack of size in this class. Of course, it would preferable to have Ojiako in a backup role behind a veteran big next season whether that’s Blackshear or Aluma but at this point, the Hokies need at least one true center for next season and Ojiako is the best option for VT out of high school currently.
3. Virginia Tech Has a Really Good Chance at Landing SG Nahiem Alleyne
Virginia Tech was patient in offering Nahiem Alleyne clearly not wanting to offer Alleyne unless they were certain on making him a top priority. After offering him recently, the Hokies appear to be the frontrunner with Alleyne having plans to visit Virginia Tech in June and Hofstra being the only other school that Alleyne plans to visit currently.
Part of this comes from the fact that Mike Young personally extended the offer to Alleyne via a phone call not too long ago as an Alleyne told us, he made it clear that he wants to add Alleyne to his 2019 class, but has given him the option to go 2020 if he wants to.
The Hokies also have some opportunity on the wing with VT lacking some on-scholarship depth there beyond Landers Nolley and Isaiah Wilkins (who is flying under the radar after showing lots of promise last season). Alleyne did well recently at the Atlanta EYBL tournament averaging 17 points and 5 rebounds per game, and would be a solid addition to a group of wings that, for the first time in years, is looking for depth.
While Alleyne does have some other quality schools involved like Nebraska and St John’s, Virginia Tech appears to be in the driver’s seat currently with Alleyne.