The Virginia Tech Hokies are in trouble despite the incredible play of Erick Green that’s been carrying the team through its 8-2 record.
Green is the only player in the nation to score at least 20 points every game of the season as the NCAA’s second leading scorer averaging 24.8 points per game.
The 6-foot-3 senior is much more than just a scorer, he sits fifth in the ACC under two stat categories averaging 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals. Green is also shooting impressive averages of 51.7% from the field and 89.8% from the free throw line.
To understand how great the guard’s value is to the Hokies, it simply requires a look at his stat totals compared to the rest of the rest of the team. Green has 49 of the team’s 130 assists, 18 of the 51 Virginia Tech steals and 248 of the 813 total points scored by the Hokies. Meaning he is responsible for 37.6% of the team’s assists, 35.2% of their steals and 30.5% of their scoring.
Green is essentially 1/3 of Virginia Tech’s scoring, playmaking and defense (he also averages 4.4 rebounds).
Despite putting the Hokies on his shoulders every game, the team still has two loses with the most recent coming in an embarrassing defeat to the Georgia Southern Eagles. The loss came on Virginia Tech’s home court and it was a game the team shouldn’t have lost. However, it was one that showed just how much the Hokies rely on Green to carry them.
In the team’s first loss, 68-67 to the West Virginia Mountaineers, the team’s second best player Jarell Eddie was stuck in foul trouble for the majority of the contest. The team still nearly won with Green missing a last second jump shot from the elbow that hit front rim. It was a great look for the talented shooter who immediately fell to the floor in disappointment over missing the potential game winning shot.
Regardless, the team’s performance was still impressive considering they had nearly beaten West Virginia on the Mountaineers home court. The belief after the game was if Eddie was able to contribute more than just five points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, the game’s result would have been much different. After all, Eddie is averaging 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds on the season.
However, the loss to the Eagles proves that even if Eddie is able to score high figures it isn’t going to translate to instant success for Virginia Tech.
Green finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Eddie delivered 21 points and eight rebounds in the loss. However, Green shot 12-22 for 54.5% from the floor while Eddie went 6 for 19 resulting in 31.6% from the field against the Eagles. Along with those shooting percentages, the team’s third leading scorer, Robert Brown, shot 1 for 7 to finish with four points in the loss.
Proving that it doesn’t matter how well Green plays, if his teammates can’t shoot the ball around him then the team is in significant trouble. It doesn’t even matter if Eddie contributes either if he struggles as much as he did from the field.
This is a big warning sign for Virginia Tech as the team prepares for upcoming conference play. If they struggle shooting against the Eagles then how will they fair against the Maryland Terrapins or the Miami (FL) Hurricanes? Two teams that have strong guard play along with intimidating centers that find themselves in the top three for blocks shots in ACC.
If Green can get by Maryland’s Dezmine Wells or Miami’s Shane Larkin to attack the rim, then he’s going to have Alex Len or Reggie Johnson waiting to alter his shot. Not to mention that still leaves the three powers in the state of North Carolina for the senior to worry about.
The defenses he’ll have to face on a nightly bases will be too much for Green to maintain this pace while not receiving enough support. He’ll be able to steal a few games on his own for the Hokies but the ACC is too strong for him to do it consistently while being worn down every game.
This is the beginning of the downfall for Virginia Tech but don’t sleep on Green’s potential. He will steal league games for the Hokies, unfortunately it won’t be nearly enough to keep them close to the top of the conference.
Then again once the calendar turns to March and conference tournaments begin, the guard is the exact type of player that makes a habit of stealing games for his team.