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October 10, 2011

Men's Basketball Profiles

By: Jimmy Robertson

#5 Dorenzo Hudson

Class: R-Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 6-5
Weight: 220
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Inside the numbers: Played in nine games, starting eight, before missing the remainder of last season after undergoing surgery on his right foot … Received a medical hardship waiver that allowed him to return for a fifth season … Averaged 10.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in those nine games … Shot 42.7 percent from the floor, but just 22.2 percent from beyond the 3-point arc … Started 33 games at shooting guard as a junior, missing one game because of an ankle injury … Averaged 15.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game that season.

Analyzing Hudson’s game: Hudson was easily the Hokies’ most improved player during his junior season, and the question now is can he return to that form after missing nearly all of last season with a foot injury? When healthy, he displays a varied offensive game, with the ability to shoot mid-range jumpers, and also being able to create his own shot off the dribble. He plays solid defense as well. He’ll need to be a leader on a young squad.

Greenberg’s take: “I expect Dorenzo to have an outstanding senior season. He’s in the best shape of his life. He’s worked hard in the offseason to return to the form of his junior year. He has energy, and he’s a cagey veteran that we’re going to count on for leadership, toughness and ability to score the ball.”

#33 JT Thompson

Class: R-Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-6
Weight: 225
Hometown: Monroe, N.C.

Inside the numbers: Missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in a pickup game during the summer and received a medical hardship waiver … Played in 34 games his junior season, starting three of those … Averaged 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game … Shot 47.8 percent from the floor, including 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

Analyzing Thompson’s game: Thompson excelled his first three seasons as a “sixth” man, but will probably be a starter in his final season, provided he overcomes any lingering effects from the ACL tear. He sat out the final game on Tech’s exhibition trip to Canada as a precaution because of soreness. When healthy, Thompson brings energy and passion. He does a lot of the dirty work that many college players shun. He’s more of an offensive rebounder than a polished post player, and defensively, he’s willing to guard anyone. He knows his role and embraces it.

Greenberg’s take: “JT’s had more significant injuries than any player I’ve ever coached. When you look back at his career, he’s overcome a hernia, an ankle operation, and an ACL and yet he never complains. That bulldog mentality will help him as he comes back for the third time in his five-year career at Virginia Tech. We need his toughness, his ability to make plays, his energy and his experience. He’ll be an integral part of the success of this basketball team.”

#14 Victor Davila

Class: Senior
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 242
Hometown: Canovanas, Puerto Rico

Inside the numbers: Started all 34 games last season, averaging a career-high 7.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game … Shot 57.1 percent from the floor, but just 46.4 percent from the free-throw line … Also blocked 41 shots … His best scoring games were 14-point performances in home games against Wake and Maryland … Scored in double figures nine times a year ago.

Analyzing Davila’s game: Davila possesses a nice array of offensive skills, with good footwork on his moves and decent range on his shot. He also gives Tech much-needed size inside. But he needs to rebound better – he had two double-figure rebounding games all of last season. In fact, he’s started 77 games in his career and has just three double-figure rebounding games. However, Davila’s numbers figure to go up, with Jeff Allen having departed.

Greenberg’s take: “Victor has been a four-year starter, and we’re expecting more from him this year. He’ll be the focal point of our offense in the basket area. He’s got a soft jump hook, and he has the ability to shoot the ball. We need Victor to rebound the ball consistently. He’s a player whom we’re expecting big things from this season. If he’s productive, we’re going to have an outstanding season.”

#11 Erick Green

Class: Junior
Position: Guard
Height: 6-3
Weight: 185
Hometown: Winchester, Va.

Inside the numbers: Played in 32 games last season, starting 26 of those … Averaged 11.6 points, 2.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game … Shot 41.4 percent from the floor, but just 24.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc … Made 77.7 percent of his free throws … Had 56 steals … Scored in double figures in 23 games, including nine straight at one stretch.

Analyzing Green’s game: Green took advantage of Hudson’s injury to become the biggest surprise of last season. He finished third on the team in scoring and tied for first in steals, showing both offensive and defensive skills. He’s a very good passer who excels at getting others involved, but he also can score. He needs to work on his perimeter shooting, as evidenced by a poor 3-point percentage a year ago.

Greenberg’s take: “Erick is one of the elite guards in the ACC. He’s sneaky quick. He has the ability to defend the ball and the length to disrupt the opposing team’s offense. I expect him to be a much-improved 3-point shooter. His feel for the game and his understanding of playing with good pace sets him apart. He’ll be one of the elite players in our conference this year.”

#4 Cadarian Raines

Class: R-sophomore
Position: Forward
Height: 6-9
Weight: 238
Hometown: Petersburg, Va.

Inside the numbers: Played in four games last season, but missed the rest of the year after suffering effects from a surgery the previous April to repair the fifth metatarsal of his left foot and received a medical hardship waiver … Scored one basket and grabbed two rebounds in those four games … As a freshman, he played in 21 games … Averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game … Shot 35.3 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the free-throw line … Blocked 16 shots and had four steals.

Analyzing Raines’ game: Raines possesses unbelievable size and strength, but two surgeries to his left foot leave everyone guessing as to how effective he can be. When healthy, he can be a presence in the interior and uses his shot-blocking ability to protect the basket. He still needs to polish his offensive skills and work on finishing around the basket. The Hokies could use a physical presence up front. Can he be the guy?

Greenberg’s take: “I’m excited that Cadarian is healthy and will have a huge impact on our basketball team. His commitment to the weight room and getting stronger has been outstanding. He’ll give us a physical low post defender and a player who can protect the front of the rim. He’s still a developing offensive player.”

#31 Jarell Eddie

Class: Sophomore
Position: Guard/Forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 218
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Inside the numbers: Played in 27 games a year ago and averaged 2.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game … Shot 36.8 percent from the floor and 21.9 percent from the 3-point line … Made 68.8 percent of his free throws … Also had nine blocked shots and four steals … Scored in double figures twice, including a 17-point outburst at Wake Forest.

Analyzing Eddie’s game: Eddie displayed his talent late in the season against Wake when he scored 17 points and made all six of his shots from the floor, including all three 3-pointers. He can really shoot the ball despite last year’s percentages, and he rebounds well, but he needs to get tougher on defense. He’s a top candidate for a breakout season.

Greenberg’s take: “I expect Jarell to have a breakout season. He shoots the ball as well as anyone in our program and has deep range. We’re going to ask a lot of him. We’re going to ask him to play more than one position and create match-up problems at the 4 spot as well as the 3. He’s worked extremely hard on his conditioning and bought into my philosophy that you can’t improve unless you’re in shape.”

#21 Tyrone Garland

Class: Sophomore
Position: Guard
Height: 6-1
Weight: 180
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.

Inside the numbers: Played in 30 games a year ago, averaging 2.7 points per game … Shot 37.8 percent from the floor and 30.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc … Connected on 73.7 percent of his free-throw attempts … Grabbed eight rebounds and dished out 13 assists … Sixteen of his 80 points for the season came in Tech’s win over Mount St. Mary’s.

Analyzing Garland’s game: Garland came to Tech with the reputation of being the typical Philly guard – someone who plays with toughness and who can score in a variety of ways, particularly off the dribble. But Garland seemed overwhelmed at times last year. He possesses a good feel for the game, and he loves to compete. Tech’s coaches expect improvement after a year of learning.

Greenberg’s take: “We expect Tyrone to have an outstanding sophomore season. He worked extremely hard this summer. He’s explosive off the dribble. He has the ability to break his defender down, which will be an asset in the dribble-drive offense. He has the potential to be an outstanding defensive player. I’m going to challenge him to put more pressure on the basketball and be more aggressive and tougher on the defensive end. On the offensive end, he’s an attacking player.”

#15 Dorian Finney-Smith

Class: Freshman
Position: Forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 192
Hometown: Portsmouth, Va.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 18 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game his senior season in leading I.C. Norcom High to its second straight state title … Scored 19 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked three shots in the state title game … Averaged 19.7 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots as a junior.

Analyzing Finney-Smith’s game: There is a lot to like about this young man, who may be the best player ever recruited by Greenberg. He possesses the length and skills to play multiple positions. He handles the ball well and passes it well. He can run the break, and he’s a tremendous offensive rebounder. He creates matchup nightmares for opponents.

Greenberg’s take: “As good a player as Dorian is, he’s an even better person. He’s a terrific teammate with great energy and great passion with an understanding of what it takes to win. That’s exemplified by back-to-back state championships. His feel for the game is well above his years. He’s a facilitator. He makes other players better. He’s a sneaky offensive rebounder and can play any of four positions.”

#10 Marquis Rankin

Class: Freshman
Position: Point guard
Height: 6-1
Weight: 165
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 16 points, nine assists and four steals last season for Hargrave Military Academy … Averaged 13.6 points, seven assists and 4.4 rebounds for Vance High School his junior season … Averaged 12 points per game as a sophomore at Vance High.

Analyzing Rankin’s game: Rankin gives the Hokies a terrific athlete at the point guard position, with an ability to dunk while standing just a shade over 6-feet. He excels in a fullcourt game, but at Hargrave, he learned how to run a halfcourt offense and made better overall decisions. He continues to work on his jumper, but unlike many freshmen, he really plays good defense. He’ll push for playing time.

Greenberg’s take: “Marquis is a winner. He’s a player who gets people to follow him. He understands the game, and he’s extremely unselfish. He’s as good of an on-ball defender as we’ve had here since Jamon Gordon. The key for him is to remain healthy. Offensively, he’s unselfish, he distributes the ball and is a capable shooter.”

#1 Robert Brown

Class: Freshman
Position: Guard
Height: 6-5
Weight: 190
Hometown: Clermont, Fla.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 18 points and seven rebounds last season at Hargrave Military Academy … Averaged 21 points per game his junior season at East Ridge High … Earned fourth-team All-Class 6A honors in Florida by Florida sports writers following his junior season … Averaged 19 points per game as a sophomore and 16 as a freshman. … Played for Team USA in the Team Florida vs. USA Hardwood Classic in March of 2011, and scored four points, dished out two assists, grabbed two rebounds and had two steals in Team USA’s 102-97 win.

Analyzing Brown’s game: Brown possesses a similar body type to former Hokie player Terrell Bell, with a tall, skinny frame and long arms, but Brown should be more explosive offensively. He shoots it really well – probably the best among the freshmen – and he also knows how to get to the basket and finish. If he defends like Bell, then he could be a special player.

Greenberg’s take: “Robert Brown is a gifted offensive player. He’s long. He’s quick. He’s athletic. He has an ability to make shots. He has the potential to be an outstanding defensive player. He’s going to have to learn how to compete at this level and be consistent with his effort, but his potential is undeniable.”

#42 C.J. Barksdale

Class: Freshman
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-8
Weight: 232
Hometown: Danville, Va.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds last season for Hargrave Military Academy … Averaged 19 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks for George Washington High School his junior season … Earned second-team All-Group AAA honors as a junior.

Analyzing Barksdale’s game: Barksdale projects more as a post player given the Hokies’ depth on the perimeter, and with his long wingspan, he could be an effective force inside. He has nice touch around the basket and runs the court well for a big man. Potential is the buzzword with Barksdale, and how quickly he develops his will determine how much he plays.

Greenberg’s take: “C.J. is a soft-handed, skilled frontcourt player with a knack for basketball. He’s a sneaky offensive rebounder and has an array of different ways to score around the basket. He’s gaining strength and power each and every day, and learning how to compete at this level. At 6-8, he has the potential to give us a presence at the power forward position.”

#2 Joey Van Zegeren

Class: Freshman

Position: Forward

Height: 6-10

Weight: 206

Hometown: Hoogeveen, The Netherlands

Inside the numbers: Averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Canarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands.

Analyzing van Zegeren’s game: Van Zegeren is the perfect sleeper type of prospect. He’s tall, with a long wingspan, and he loves to block shots. Offensively, he attacks the glass, and he shows some potential as a face-up shooter. He needs to get stronger and get used to the physical style of play he’ll see in the ACC. But two years from now, he could be a solid starter for Tech.

Greenberg’s take: “Joey is a long, skilled developing post player. He has the ability to protect the front of the rim and block shots. He has excellent hands, and as his lower body gains strength, he’ll be a more explosive low post scorer. He has a good feel for the game and has a chance to be an outstanding player.”