Hokies Underrated In ACC Media Poll While Justyn Mutts, Hunter Cattoor Earn Preseason Recognition

Hokies Underrated In ACC Media Poll While Justyn Mutts, Hunter Cattoor Earn Preseason Recognition
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics

Will Locklin | @@locklin_will

TLP: Writer
Oct 20, 2022

There’s just under three weeks until the lights come on fully in Cassell Coliseum as the Cassell Guard assembles to cheer on the 2022-23 edition of Virginia Tech men’s basketball. The excitement begins when the Hokies take on Delaware State to start a new campaign with their ACC Tournament banner being raised two games later against William & Mary.

However, the accomplishments of a year's past doesn’t always mean success in the present.

In the recent ACC preseason rankings, Virginia Tech was picked to finish seventh in the conference at large. Ahead of the Hokies were two Final Four teams in North Carolina and Duke, also two teams Tech beat en route to the ACC tournament title. Other teams in front of Tech included, arch rival Virginia, Miami, Florida State, and Notre Dame. It is a curious case to why the media is lower on Virginia Tech than they should be.

Yes, the Hokies lost key contributors like Keve Aluma. But at the same time, they returned the likes of Hunter Cattoor and Justyn Mutts. Mike Young added frontcourt depth via the transfer portal with Grant Basile, John Camden and Mylyjael Poteat. Backcourt mates in Sean Pedulla and Darius Maddox seem poised to take steps into stardom after promising 2021-22 seasons.

These Hokies still have their flaws. The depth is still unproven and defensively, Tech will take a step back. But to peg this year’s version of Virginia Tech basketball as a middle of the pack ACC team feels a bit silly. Expect the players and coaches use the ranking as fuel as the season gets going.

In other news, this team's veteran leader and heart and soul Justyn Mutts was awarded with Preseason All-ACC second team honors. Mutts decided to use his last year of eligibility to rejoin the Hokies instead of exploring his options in the pros. Last year, Mutts averaged 10.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 3.4 APG on 53.7% shooting from the field.

Mutts is the Hokies' do-it-all weapon who makes an impact in many ways. With Aluma gone, Mutts will be the best defender on this Tech squad. He has the versatility to defend some opposing guards on the perimeter and often drifts over to the ball to grab steals and take the ball the other way. Mutts' passing is key to the Hokies offense as at 6’7'', Mutts loves to share the rock. It’s a big deal for Virginia Tech to return a player and leader of Mutts' caliber for this season.

The Hokies' other team captain, Hunter Cattoor returns for his senior season. While he didn’t make an All-ACC team, Cattoor did receive one vote for ACC Player of the Year. Cattoor let the college basketball world know how great he can play in last year’s ACC Tournament Championship game where he hurt the Blue Devils for 31 points and seven hits from three point range. The performance was enough to give Cattoor 2022 ACC Tournament MVP honors and propelled Virginia Tech to their first ever ACC title.

If Cattoor can carry on some of that tournament magic back to Cassell, then he very well could be in the mix for ACC Player of the Year.