Former top 100 recruit Lynn Kidd arrived at Virginia Tech after a quiet year at Clemson with plenty of excitement around him externally given his pedigree as a former high-end recruit.
However, Kidd struggled in his first year at Virginia Tech barely playing while being buried on the depth chart. The few appearances that he did make came in clear garbage time situations with in many cases, Kidd coming in with diehard fan favorite walk-ons.
After his struggles, most externally wondered if Kidd would ever make an impact for the Hokies or if we might see him in the transfer portal soon.
Even Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young recently shared that he had his concerns that Kidd just wasn't going to be able to put it together in Blacksburg.
"He wasn't even close to helping us last year. He wasn't close. I guess he was fifth on that depth chart and I didn't have a whole lot of confidence to be honest coming into the spring and summer," Young said.
However, Kidd had an offseason to remember where he made the commitment to himself to unleashing the potential he had and begin developing into the big time college basketball player he could become impressing everyone in the process including Mike Young.
"I'm not sure I've seen a person any more serious from the end of last year like the lights came on. He had a conversation with himself 'I'm going to be a really good player, I've got it.' He's got the tools, he looks like a statue and he can run, he's strong, he watched a lot of film, he worked out constantly. He still works out and he'll work out and he's in a full blown sweat an hour before our practice every day working at it," Young said.
So far, Kidd has been arguably VT's best backup big man getting the start in the opener with Justyn Mutts suspended for a game due to a NCAA violation for playing in a tournament for players considering the NBA Draft. His productivity has been quite good as he's averaging 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 16.0 minutes per game so far this season.
As veteran leader Hunter Cattoor said, his maturing has played a big factor with the work he put in this offseason due in part to his maturation making people take notice of his talent.
"I think it was him maturing. He didn't play much last year and I think this summer, he had a conversation with himself saying like 'if I want to play, I have a great opportunity here. We got a lot of new guys coming in for me to make my mark and make my impact.' So he was in the gym, in the weight room working out everyday so props to him because you put in the work, you get out what you put in. So I think he's just doing a great job before practices working out, getting upstairs on off day with the coaches watching film and stuff like that. The hard work he's put in is really showing and everyone else is noticing now," Cattoor said.
Part of what has impressed me with Kidd the most is what he's done on the glass especially on the offensive glass where he has been a menace at times averaging 2 offensive rebounds per game in his first 3 games with 2 offensive boards against William & Mary that turned into points on the Hokies' third shot attempt of that possession.
In many ways, Kidd is unleashing the potential that he's had since being a top 100 recruit and competing in camps alongside talented players like Darius Maddox who got to see Kidd's potential first hand. Because of that, Maddox isn't exactly surprised to see Kidd start to have success this season and feels he was overdue for his success.
"So I played in a couple Nike Top 100 camps with Lynn in high school so I always thought the world of him. I know he was kind of in some unfortunate situations with the rosters at Clemson and then at Tech last year, just having all these bigs here. I'm really proud of him and the amount of work he put in. I feel like he's overdue for his time to really show what he can do on the floor so I'm really proud of him," Maddox said.
After his struggles last year, it seemed like Kidd didn't have much of a long term future in Blacksburg especially with Tech signing another center in Pat Wessler along with the transfer portal addition of bigs like Mylyjael Poteat who had a similar amount of eligibility remaining. However, Kidd has gone from looking like someone who didn't have a future in Blacksburg to my projected starting center for the Hokies in 2023-24 with All-ACC potential long term in Blacksburg.
In the meantime, Mike Young is thrilled to see Kidd have a breakthrough year and become a reliable contributor that they can rely on every night.
"I'm thrilled with him. He is playing very good basketball for us and is one that we can count on night in and night out."