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This edition of the Hokie Hotline featured womenís basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson and menís basketball assistant coach Randy Peele. The discussions covered a number of topics, including the recent performances of each of the teams and the outlook for the upcoming games.
WOMENíS BASKETBALL NOTES
Coach Bonnie Henrickson began by discussing the recent victory over the Georgetown Hoyas, in a game which Bill Roth explained that the team "pounded" Georgetown. She said that she was proud of both the offense and the defense, and that one key to the game was the defensive effort given by Amy Wetzel in defending their toughest offensive player.
The womenís team plays Villanova on Tuesday and has an open date over the weekend. Villanova is a good, balanced team that uses a lot of three-pointers and lay-ups in their offense. Among the players for the Wildcats is Nicole Druckenmiller, the former Hokie quarterbackís sister. She is very physical and strong and averages about seven points and three rebounds per game. One thing to look for from Villanova is a lot of motion in their offense.
The newest womenís college basketball poll was released on Monday and it features Big East teams in the top two positions. Notre Dame is the new number one team in the country after their victory over Connecticut last week, and UConn dropped to second. Coach Henrickson said that this is evidence to her that the Big East is the best conference in the country from top to bottom.
Coach Henrickson said, in response to a question from the audience, that she feels that, in order to continue to improve, the team needs to reduce its turnovers, have the point guards step up and take control of the team, keep up the defensive intensity, and be more aggressive on offense. She said that Lisa Guarneri continues to improve and may eventually evolve to the point that she could call her own plays. At this point, however, she still feels a little "overwhelmed," which coach Henrickson attributes to a very strong emphasis on scouting and film study. Thinking back to Lisa Witherspoon, Roth asked when she had started to call the offensive plays. The coach responded that it had been during her senior season.
A caller mentioned a discussion about Ieva after a recent game. Coach Henrickson said that she thinks she has a chance to be a very good player over the next three years. She said that she has great hands and great touch and that her future is very bright. Since she is from a foreign country, it sometimes takes her longer to learn some of the things that the coaches are trying to teach, but she is also becoming more comfortable as time passes.
This discussion led into another one concerning recruiting of foreign athletes at Virginia Tech. The coach said that she feels that opportunities should always be available for the players in this country, but that there are some advantages to having foreign players, who have a different perspective on many things, in the program. She also said later that she didnít think it would be possible for a student to come to Virginia Tech who could not speak English at all due to some of the tests that would be required.
Misc. Women's BB Notes:
Coach Henrickson mentioned that the four recruits for the program for next year are all having very good years. This group includes the girl that was named the player of the year in the state of Virginia (that player is Erin Gibson of Carroll County).
MENíS BASKETBALL NOTES
Assistant coach Randy Peele joined the broadcast this evening to discuss the menís basketball team. He said that Coach Stokes was in Richmond on a recruiting trip to watch a few players that the Hokies are keeping their eyes on.
In regards to the game on Saturday, he and Bill Roth said that the effort was disappointing, and that Coach Stokes had given the team some time off. Coach Peele said that, to his credit, Coach Stokes stays positive in all situations, which is important for the team during a long season. Among the things that the team is lacking are a go-to player, any seniors who have been through the situations that the team is facing, and a leader who can carry the team on his back during difficult periods.
One caller asked if, among other things, the coaches were emphasizing assists to the players. The coach said that they were doing so and indicated a few areas in which they are trying to improve in this area. These include doing a better job of getting into position to accept the pass and making better passes.
The teamís next opponent is St. Johnís, which has an outstanding freshman point guard named Omar Cook, who was named as a McDonaldís All-American last year. The team as a whole is very talented and includes some other outstanding players besides Cook. The Hokies are looking forward to the game as a chance to play against one of the best teams in the nation.
Misc. Men's BB Notes:
One of the football players being recruited by Tech also plays basketball, and one caller asked if there would be the possibility of having him play for the basketball team as well. While they couldnít discuss the situation, they did say that it is very difficult for any student-athlete to play two sports, especially when academics is a consideration.
Another caller asked if Dennis Mims was enrolled at Virginia Tech for the Spring semester. Coach Peele said that he believed that he was, but there had been no contact. Roth commented that references to him around the basketball program had all been removed.
Vaughn Hebron was recently named the head coach of a minor league football team. Bill Roth mentioned that he thinks he, along with a few other former players, may one day end up coaching at Virginia Tech.
-- Apex Hokie