The Virginia Tech basketball team has been busy trying to add pieces to Mike Young’s first roster with multiple scholarships still open while also figuring out their schedule for the 2019-2020 season. Here’s the latest news on the Hokies as they head towards the first season of the Mike Young era.
Virginia Tech Will Not Play in the 2019 ACC-Big 10 Challenge
For the first time since the 2013-14 season, Virginia Tech will not participate in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. A Virginia Tech spokesman released the following statement on their reasoning for not participating.
“Between logistics surrounding the Maui trip travel and the 20 game ACC schedule, we volunteered to sit this one out.”
The move seems surprising even with that given the fact that Virginia Tech was more than likely to host a Big 10 team after travelling to Penn State last season. However, it’s possible that the Hokies were told that they were going to be sent on the road for the second-straight season should they participate.
If that was the case, then this move appears to be the responsible decision as playing a road game in the Midwest less than a week after returning from the Maui Invitational would have not only been a major logistical challenge, but also take an unnecessary toll physically on the Virginia Tech basketball team.
It is definitely a disappointment not to see the Hokies playing in an additional major non-conference game, especially with the high possibility that this one would have been in Blacksburg, but it will be interesting to see how the Hokies will build their non-conference schedule around the Maui Invitational and with the ACC expanding to 20 conference games this season.
John Ojiako Includes Virginia Tech in His Final 3
According to Corey Evans of Rivals, Virginia Tech has made the final 3 for three-star big man John Ojiako along with LSU and Georgia. Ojiako has emerged as one of Virginia Tech’s top targets in the 2019 class and is a priority for Mike Young’s first class of high school graduates that currently lacks a big man along with a wing (Nahiem Alleyne is a name to keep an eye on).
Ojiako was recently rated as a three-star recruit by 247 Sports as well and while other schools may try to get involved, it would be very surprising if he doesn’t end up at one of these three programs.
The Hokies may have a significant advantage here as Corey Evans of Rivals noted that assistant Chester Frazier was recruiting Ojiako while he was at Kansas State this past season. That relationship could prove valuable especially given how quickly his recruitment has taken off over the past several weeks.
Virginia Tech may also be able to benefit from the fact that Ojiako has opportunity to play early along with having a clear path to becoming the Hokies’ starting center in the not too distant future in Blacksburg given the current roster construction. That combined with the opportunity to play at a program that not only has had lots of recent success but also doesn’t have some of the controversy that Will Wade has had at LSU makes the Hokies look like the favorite on paper at this point.
However, what will be critical now is for the Hokies to get Ojiako on campus, something that may not be so simple with VT’s official visit number situation.
Kerry Blackshear Visits Florida
Kerry Blackshear is taking his first visit to a potential transfer destination today, visiting his home state Florida Gators as first reported by Corey Evans of Rivals yesterday evening.
Big one for Florida tomorrow as they will host arguably the top grad-transfer available this spring in Virginia Tech’s Kerry Blackshear, sources confirm with @Rivals @RussHoops @GatorsTerritory https://t.co/v2MSpiG22g
— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) June 6, 2019
No one should be surprised that Blackshear is visiting the Gators as Florida has been considered one of the top contenders for Blackshear’s services next season alongside Kentucky, Texas A&M, and a return to Virginia Tech. It will be interesting to see how Blackshear’s visit schedule plays out not only with public visits to the various SEC teams showing interest but also in-home visits that are likely to be aplenty from all four of these programs.
All four of these schools also bring something unique to the table as the Hokies bring familiarity with the environment and a portion of the coaching staff, Florida provides the opportunity to play in his home state as his brother makes his collegiate at Florida Atlantic this fall, Kentucky provides major prestige and likely the best chance to compete for a national title, and Texas A&M provides the most coaching familiarity with Buzz Williams and his staff.
Whatever the case may be, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Blackshear make a decision within the next couple weeks especially as he takes visits to the schools looking to poach him away from Virginia Tech.