Coming off an ACC Tournament championship winning season, the Virginia Tech Hokies will look to reload the roster with a talented recruiting class heading into the 2022-23 season. Currently, Virginia Tech is ranked 29th nationally and 8th in the ACC in terms of the 2022 high school class rankings. This is certainly a rebound from last year’s class which mainly featured Sean Pedulla and was ranked 13rd in the ACC.
After nabbing John Camden from Memphis, Virginia Tech dipped their feet even farther into the transfer portal with the commitment of Grant Basile from Wright State. The 6’9 225 pound redshirt senior will come and look to be a key cog in the Hokies revamped frontcourt. Basile averaged 18.4 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game in the 2021-22 season. He also won all-conference honors in the Horizon League in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Basile looks to be a “tweener” (multi-positional player) who can play in the post and beyond the three-point arc. His offensive game is a little bit similar to one of the players he’s replacing in Keve Aluma. But let’s see what the film tells us about how he can help Virginia Tech men’s basketball in 2022-23.
Post Work/Back-to-the-Basket game
After watching five full games of Basile, his best traits come from his work down low in the post. On all 196 possessions in the post, Basile scored 0.985 PPP (points per possession) which ranks in the 80th percentile according to Synergy Sports data. And when you watch him play, the film more than backs up the numbers.
Grant Basile is one of the more skilled and polished post scorers in college basketball. He can win a one-on-one matchup on either side and against different kinds of opposing bigs. He’s just as comfortable backing down his man on the right block as he is on the left block.
In both clips, he uses raw power and physicality to back his defender down and rises with a pretty-looking hook shot. Basile is also patient to recognize help defenders lurking and flow into his shot when the time is right. The hook shot is a specialty of his post-game.
Here’s a great example of Basile’s post-game against one of the best interior defenders in college basketball. Christian Koloko of Arizona was a force last year and is touted as a potential first-round NBA draft pick.
Here, Basile wins this rep as he gets the side cleared out and goes to work from outside the paint. After a couple of jabs, he backs down the bigger Koloko and rises into a hook shot over his right shoulder. Basile ranked in the 99th percentile for post-up shots over the right shoulder, but on the left block side at 1.6 PPP.
In addition to brilliant touch on his post shots, Basile’s footwork is impeccable. It’s a big key for his post-ups against defenders who outmatch him in the size and strength departments.
This play shows Basile starting in a straight-line drive and then restoring to his back to the basket game. His handle was a bit shaken with another defender stunting out for a steal but he recovered well. Basile grinds his body forward and uses a step-through move to get the basket. It’s especially impressive how he’s able to keep his pivot foot on the ground despite being so off-balance.
Another part of good footwork for a post player comes before they even have the ball. Grant Basile does plenty of dirty work to gain good positioning on his defender. In the first clip, we see Basile put his hands in the air for the ball but not receive an entry pass.
But that doesn’t detract him from sealing his man a few seconds later and this time, he gets the post touch. The feverous call for the ball is rewarded as Basile goes to one dribble fake to the right and baseline spin through contact. The second clip shows more of his ability to actively seal off his man and in this play, he gets an easy catch and finish.
Basile has a strong and fundamentally sound base for his post-game, but the polish comes from his bag of scoring counters. In this play, the defender is playing him to one side and anticipating a back down towards the middle of the floor. Basile takes advantage of this overplay with a decisive baseline spin move to get his man out of position. Then to finish off the play, Basile uses a small up-fake to get him to bite and finishes with a clean layup.
Here, he would’ve been met by a double team had he committed to his inside drive. A shot at the rim is just a block waiting to happen with the extra help defender. Instead, Basile spins and pivots his way out of the potential double team and hits a wild one-legged fadeaway. Decisions like these are important because it shows us Basile can react and adjust on the fly to how defenses play him.
Earlier, we saw Basile twist out of a double team but this time, he puts his head down and charges straight through one. As the double team approaches, Basile dips his shoulder to get by his defender and avoid being blocked off from the rim. This shows good patience and feel as a scorer of knowing when to attack.
The fadeaway is a shot that Basile has briefly flashed from my watch and it could become a nice skill to develop at Virginia Tech. In these plays, Basile gets stuck on his initial back down. Both times, Basile can’t get an advantage through strength or craftiness so he uses tough shot-making as a clutch bailout. The first clip shows how that range on his hook stretches pretty far out considering it’s a hook shot. And in the second, we see a smooth turnaround jumper that’s highly contested.
Grant Basile’s three-point shooting is an interesting case study. He shot a scorching 47% from downtown on just 1.8 attempts in his sophomore season. Now contrast that to the 28% from three on 3.8 attempts he shot last year and we have something to unpack.
One reason for the shooting drop-off could be due to an increase in offensive load. From 2021 to 2022, the Raiders lost Loudon Love who was the team's leading scorer two seasons ago. Their shooting and floor spacing as a team took a nosedive, shooting 37% in 2021 versus 33% in 2022.
Additionally, Wright State had three other above 40% three-point shooters other than Basile his sophomore year compared to none last season. Looking at his shot profile, Basile was asked to take a lot more jumpers with worse court spacing around him which resulted in the raw percentage dropping off. With that said, Basile will certainly make an impact as an outside threat for his position
From a shooting mechanics standpoint, Basile checks a lot of boxes. He sets his feet well pre-shot and gets a good arc on his open threes. He has a quick release, a clean elbow dip, and solid follow-through.
In the first two clips, he’s shooting over the top of a 1-2-2 zone defense. The defense commits to another player but when Basile is positioned one pass away, that results in an efficient shot. In the second clip, I like how he slightly relocates to the ball which can actually help shooters with their rhythm for setting up their shot.
The most important way Basile’s shooting can help Virginia Tech is through his ability to pick and pop out of setting screens. Basile isn’t much of a traditional role man as he is a popper to the three-point line.
In the first clip, Basile isn’t popping out of a regular ball screen. Instead, he’s faking a side screen for a shooter but then flashes out to cash in the triple. In clip two, we see him go into a dribble handoff which he twists out of and turns into a clean look from long range. In the final clip, we see Basile set a traditional ball screen and with the screeners' defender in drop coverage, Basile burns them with a pick and pop jumper.
According to Synergy Sports data, Grant Basile scored 0.91 PPP on pick and pop shots out of the traditional P&R. This ranked in the 57th percentile which is good considering he did so at a moderately high volume.
This play perfectly displays how the threat of Basile’s pick and pop prowess can open up better shots for his P&R ball handler. Since they were just hurt with a Basile three a few possessions earlier, Bryant pays more attention to the threat of his jumper by positioning the big closer to the level of the screen.
This attention gives the handler enough space to shoot a comfortable mid-range shot. The ability to pull defenders away from ball handlers like Basile will help the likes of Sean Pedulla when they run screen and roll actions next year.
Statistically speaking, Basile's profile shows he’s very good at making flash cuts into the middle of the floor. He scores 1.038 PPP off flash cuts to the rim which ranks in the 79th percentile. The film too backs up the high standing on these kinds of cuts.
Here, we see Basile make a flash cut to the center of the court. He’s involved in the same designed set where he sets a side ball screen only to flip the pass back and cuts down off a back screen. It’s a series of well-run actions that results in a good post-up touch for Basile both times. It will be interesting to see how Mike Young involves Grant Basile in his playbook of designed sets with multiple screening actions.
Next up in the off-ball department are two more intuitive cuts that aren’t directly part of set plays. The first clip starts with a very well-placed entry pass from Basile. He then takes advantage of his man leaving him to help back on the ball by sharply cutting into open space. To finish it off, Basile jams home the free dunk in a game where he had everything rolling.
In the next clip, Basile doesn’t get the ball but his process speaks volumes. After running a dribble handoff action, he starts to flash closer to the paint for a post touch but wisely backs out once he sees the ball handler drive. He relocates to the three-point line and is wide open. Again, the result isn’t there but smart off-ball movement will be rewarded more times than not.
Off-the-Dribble Shot Creation
This clip does a good job of combining a few of the elements discussed above. Basile actively moves without the ball. The threat of a three-point jumper gets his man to bite on a shot fake and allows Basile to take the ball inside off the dribble.
Basile then goes back to a little of his post-game as he backs down his defender. Then he explodes past him with a burst of athleticism and finishes with a ferocious rim rocker. The ability to attack closeouts to his outside shots will be a critical part of his game and even Tech’s offense as a whole.
Finally, we see more of Basile’s attacks of a closeout in the first clip. He’s being used as a pick and pop shooter again but instead of shooting, he drives. Basile has impressive stride control, balance, and an extended finish. When defenders do play Basile's pop three, then he can attack their closeouts for a better shot.
In the next clip, Basile uses an effective head fake and drives into a crowded lane. Instead of going all the way inside to the rim, Basile stops to knock down a floater with good balance and touch.
Check out all of Will's insightful scouting reports on Virginia Tech's 2023 recruiting class and Memphis transfer John Camden here.