Photo Credit: Liam Sment
Kenny Brooks has turned to the transfer market plenty over the past couple of years to land talent adding grad transfers Taja Cole and Lydia Rivers plus USC transfer Asiah Jones last offseason and Wofford grad transfer Da'Ja Green so far this offseason. Overnight, Brooks added his fifth transfer over the past two years in Duke's Azana Baines.
Baines comes to Virginia Tech after a solid freshman season at Duke during which she averaged 4.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game while shooting 36.8% from the field. She will have to sit out next season and have three years of eligibility remaining after though that is dependent on whether the NCAA approves a new one-time transfer immediately eligibility rule or not.
Baines becomes the Hokies' third addition since the end of the season after the Hokies added Wofford grad transfer Da'Ja Green and JUCO PF/C D'Asia Gregg.
Azana Baines was a highly-regarded recruit coming out of high school with ESPN ranking her as the 61st best player and 17th best guard in the 2019 class. She'll come into a Virginia Tech backcourt full of competition with plenty of young wings looking to pair with Aisha Sheppard and the aforementioned Wofford PG grad transfer Da'Ja Green, especially after Dara Mabrey chose to transfer.
While Baines should be able to compete immediately for playing time and maybe a starting role if the one-time immediately eligibility transfer rule passes, a redshirt year may not be a bad idea. That's partly due to how VT would have four wings in that class if one didn't redshirt and the fact that Baines didn't have the best shooting year this past season and a redshirt year could allow her to refine some more parts of her game.
Long term, the Hokies have a glut of options to compete on the wing with Baines, Makayla Ennis, Cayla King, and Taylor Geiman being among those at the top of the list in addition to the Hokies' incoming wings. That competition should be fascinating to watch while the Hokies have an established star in Aisha Sheppard to lean on this upcoming season as they look to reach their first contested NCAA Tournament in more than 15 years (after being bound for this year's NCAA Tourney prior to its cancellation).
Kenny Brooks continues to use the transfer portal to supplement his roster as the Hokies look to continue build on what should have been their first NCAA Tournament appearance under Brooks if not for the cancellation of the Tournament due to the COVID-10 pandemic.