The Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball team opens up their third season under Mike Young on November 9th against Maine. This is a team that looks to flirt with an AP ranking throughout the year as they seek to achieve an NCAA tournament victory for the first time since 2019.
The Hokies had a few key departures, but also new additions that will immediately be inserted in the rotation and will play significant minutes.
Tyrece Radford – Guard
Jalen Cone – Guard
Wabissa Bede – Guard
Cordell Pemsl - Forward
Radford was an energetic guard that was a menace on the offensive glass and provided switchability on defense despite his lack of size. He also provided some of the best poster dunks in Virginia Tech history so he will be missed on the team’s highlight reel this season.
Jalen Cone transferred to Northern Arizona after his sophomore year was cut short due to an injury, and he likely was going to lose minutes to some of the newcomers this year. Bede was a solid floor general but the offense suffered at points due to his inability to shoot the ball as a point guard.
Pemsl was a backup big man that provided energy on the bench but like Bede, he graduated.
Sean Pedulla (Fr.) – Guard
Storm Murphy (Transfer via Wofford) – Guard
Lynn Kid (Transfer via Clemson) - Center
Jalen Haynes (Fr.) – Forward
We’ll get into each new player as we move through the position groups.
- Sean Pedulla (Fr.)
- Storm Murphy (Graduate Transfer)
- Naheim Alleyne (Jr.)
- Hunter Cattoor (Jr.)
- Darius Maddox (So.)
- Camden Johnson (Fr.)
- Ben Varga (Fr.)
Due to Bede’s graduation, the Hokies will start a new point guard and that player will most likely be a newcomer. Storm Murphy, who briefly played at Wofford under Mike Young, is in line to bring shooting to the point guard position which we haven’t seen since Justin Robinson was in Blacksburg – and Murphy might be an even better shooter, as he hit the 40 percent mark from three each of his four years at Wofford.
Sean Pedulla will likely take over point guard responsibilities in his minutes on the floor when Murphy needs a breather. Pedulla, a three star recruit from Oklahoma, figures to provide just as much shooting off the bench but we will see just how much Young trusts his young players when he has veterans readily available. In his first two years, Young has played his young guys out of necessity but it may not necessarily be the case this season.
The starting backcourt will be rounded out with juniors Naheim Alleyne and Hunter Cattoor. Alleyne, a skilled scorer that can get it done at all three levels, had a breakout performance in the NCAA tournament last year, putting up 28 points in an overtime heartbreaker against Florida.
Cattoor made huge strides during his sophomore year, becoming a plus defender and elite spot up shooter that could heat up at any point in the game. He was also able to take over playmaking duties when Bede was on the bench last year but that’s not his strong suit. Cattoor has the potential to be one of the best three-and-D players in the conference this year.
Maddox, one of Tech’s two sophomores, was a former top-100 recruit in the nation and looks to become more developed in his second year in order to crack the rotation consistently. He shot 3-of-7 from three in limited minutes last season. At 6-5 with good athleticism, he has the potential to be a very good wing player should he develop into what Mike Young wants him to be.
Camden Johnson and Ben Varga are both freshmen that probably won’t play much after December this season. We will likely get our first glimpse at them during a non-competitive game early in the season.
- David N’Guessan (So.)
- Jalen Haynes (Fr.)
- Justyn Mutts (Gr.)
- Keve Aluma (R-Sr.)
Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts provided strong front court play for the Hokies last season, something that was lacking in Mike Young’s first season with the team. Aluma was voted into the preseason all-ACC first team, with the expectation that he will once again be one of the best players in the conference. Averaging 15.2 points and 8 rebounds a game last season, Aluma also has the ability to shoot from range, something Mike Young will endorse in order to space the floor for the guards to penetrate.
Mutts was a transfer from in 2020 and like Aluma, he exceeded all expectations. An effective finisher in the paint, the graduate transfer ended 2020 averaging 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He also flashed the ability to be the team’s leading scorer, with three games over 17 points over the Hokies’ last six contests to end the season.
David N’Guessan played some pivotal moments when Mutts or Aluma were in foul trouble. Against Wake Forest, N’Guessan chipped in with 13 critical points in a 64-60 win. Originally from the Netherlands, he appears to be the third forward off the bench in the rotation and will probably get anywhere from eight to fifteen minutes of action depending on the game.
Haynes is a freshman recruit that has good length and athleticism. We will see early on if he has the requisite range and defensive ability to earn minutes his freshman year.
- John Ojiako (Jr.)
- Lynn Kidd (So.)
Ojiako is enters his third season with the Hokies, and while he was productive and promising as a freshman, Aluma’s arrival pushed Ojiako to the bench in his sophomore year. Young has mentioned he wants Aluma to play the four, meaning Ojiako has a chance to start should he keep developing. He showed potential to dominate the glass and affect the game as a shot blocker, something very valuable during conference play in a league with exceptional big men.
Lynn Kidd transferred to Blacksburg from Clemson this offseason after head coach Brad Brownell was not giving him minutes. A former four star recruit, Kidd is a 6-10 athletic center with the ability to control the paint. Virginia Tech has suffered over the last five or six years with a lack of depth in the front court, and a player like Kidd addresses that issue.
- G – Storm Murphy
- G – Naheim Alleyne
- G – Hunter Cattoor
- F – Justyn Mutts
- F – Keve Aluma