Part of what has enabled Virginia Tech's strong 11-2 start to the 2022-23 season is the fact that the Hokies have their deepest frontcourt in a long time with a reliable pair of backup big men in Mylyjael Poteat and Lynn Kidd.
Going into the season, Mike Young was obviously hoping this team would have greater depth but this duo has stepped even more than Young may have expected with the Hokies' head coach having a simple goal for them every game, to produce a combined 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Young dove into the 10 and 6 duo and goal initially in Brooklyn a couple weeks ago following the win over Oklahoma State where Poteat and Kidd combined for 10 points and 8 rebounds including 8 points and 6 rebounds from Poteat who had the bigger night among the duo in that contest. Take a look at what he had to say about the duo following that victory when asked about Poteat's strong performance in that game.
"Well we're getting it just about every night from that combination. We are getting almost every night 10 and 6 from Mylyjael and Lynn combined. We got 10 and 8 tonight. They played a little bit more because of (Justyn) Mutts' fouls, but it's a real luxury. Our frontcourt depth and the quality of depth is better than we've had in my time in Blacksburg and they're really helping our team win," Young said.
So far, the duo has averaged 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game which may not be meeting that high bar every night, but is giving Tech a significant boost. They haven't always hit that high bar but they've done well and gotten close if not hit it in some big games including 10 points and 3 rebounds against Dayton, 12 points and 4 rebounds against Minnesota, 8 points and 1 rebound against Penn State, and 7 rebounds with 1 point at Boston College.
Grambling was another game where the 10 and 6 duo once again stepped up as they combined for 11 points and 6 rebounds in that one as Kidd bested Poteat with points compared to 4 for the Rice transfer. Young dove further into the 10 and 6 duo following the victory over Grambling.
"We couldn't do it our first three (years), it just gives me great flexibility. They both play really, really hard. They're both very sharp and they can dribble handoff, and they can screen. It's a real luxury. It's a real benefit to this team," Young said.
It's not too often that we've seen both Poteat and Kidd on the floor together, but they can work together when they are. They are also both more old-school post players at this point in their developments and fit well off the bench with fellow bigs Justyn Mutts and Grant Basile who can both operate at the 4 given their abilities to stretch the floor, preserving spacing while maintaining a quality inside presence.
Kidd also has great length that he can bring to the table as a rebounder and defender while Poteat may be a little shorter but at 260+ pounds, he is a force defensively to try to backdown in the post. Poteat's post defense proved crucial in throwing off Oklahoma State's bigs in the second half in Brooklyn with OSU bigs trying to back down yet running into a wall simply because of Poteat's size which he used quite effectively in that game.
Sports-Reference has something interesting analytic stats that showcase how good Poteat and Kidd have been off the bench. Poteat currently has an average plus/minus per 100 possessions of 2.3 including 1.0 on the defensive end while Kidd is at 4.1 including 2.0 on the defensive end. Poteat has a win shares per 40 minutes of .238 while Kidd is at .216 which is quite good given that an average player is .100.
One half of the 10 and 6 duo Lynn Kidd had this to say on how him and Poteat have been able to get the job done in part because they know what they need to do to contribute to Tech playing high level, winning basketball.
"Everyone knows their role, and me and Mylyjael understand what we have to do when we come in the game and I think we've been good at that so far. We have to continue that and I think everyone is doing their part and when everyone does their part, we come out with wins," Kidd said.
So did Mike Young expect that he would be getting this type of production from the duo of Poteat and Kidd?
"No I didn't (expect it). I don't know (how much I was expecting), less than what I'm getting. They've been such a godsend, such a pleasant surprise. I knew they were both good players, Lynn's been around here. But man it's like they just make positive plays time and time again. They get their hands on balls. They box out. They do their job and help others do theirs. That's a sign of a great teammate."
Mylyjael Poteat and Lynn Kidd may not be the stars of this team, but the high-level play they are providing backing up Justyn Mutts and Grant Basile is a big reason why Virginia Tech is currently 11-2 and a top 5 ACC team.