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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
When: every Tuesday from 7:05-8:30
Station:  AM 910 in Richmond

Monday, December 10, 2001
by Apex Hokie

Monday night was the first Hokie Hotline for the 2001-2002 basketball season. Joining Bill Roth for the broadcast were Bonnie Henrickson and Ricky Stokes to discuss the womenís and menís basketball teams as they begin the season.

Unfortunately, I missed the first few minutes of the broadcast, so by the time I tuned in, Coach Henrickson was already talking about her womenís team. Hopefully, I didnít miss too much.

Coach Bonnie Henrickson

The first question that I heard dealt with next yearís recruiting class. Coach Henrickson said that she had signed four perimeter players for next year, including a player from Kevin Jonesí high school in Pennsylvania (Cardinal O'Hara in Chester, PA). Several of the players are very highly rated nationally, and one chose Virginia Tech over both Rutgers and Virginia.

The freshman on this yearís team include Rayna DuBose, Fran Recchia, and Erin Gibson, and they represent a recruiting class that was rated between seventh and eleventh in the country. Rayna has seen some action this year already, and Erin is very athletic and has demonstrated a very short learning curve, which has impressed the coaches.

On the general play of the team so far, Coach Henrickson noted that steals are down this year and that itís an area that theyíre addressing in practice. She also commented that the team needs to continue to be aggressive and dictate the tempo to their opponents, as well as commenting on a few of the players specifically, including Chrystal Starling, Ieva Kublina and Sarah Hicks.

She pointed out that Chrystal is now starting and that she is handling the transition well. Ieva is doing much better, especially in the LSU tournament and the Virginia game, after struggling early in the season. The coach attributed that to an increased role for her from last season. She needs to continue to gain confidence and work on her strengths, which are defense and rebounding. Sarah Hicks has moved into a leadership role for the team. She is self-confident and is helping the young players on the court.

Among former players, Coach Henrickson announced that Amy Wetzel recently got engaged and that sheís applying to medical schools. Tere Williams has been traveling throughout Europe trying to find a team, but sheís now back in Blacksburg and, along with Amy Wetzel, is participating in some practices, as allowed by the NCAA.

On the injury front, a caller asked if Amy Lingenfelder, who is out for the season with a knee injury, would be able to gain another year of eligibility. Coach Henrickson said that she wouldnít and that she would have two years of eligibility remaining at Virginia Tech after she recovers.

The womenís team plays at Radford on Wednesday and then plays at JMU on December 21. There will also be the womenís holiday tournament on December 28 and 29 at Casssell Coliseum, which fans can attend prior to leaving for the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.

Coach Ricky Stokes

Coach Stokes began his segment by reviewing the recent performance of his menís team. He commented that they didnít play well at times, but that at times they were showing the effort that he likes to see. He admitted that turnovers were critical in the games and that the team canít be successful if they turn the ball over that much. One reason that he gave for the number of turnovers was the absence of injured point guard Eric Branham, who is supposed to be one of the teamís primary ball-handlers.

On the injury front for the menís team, Branham re-fractured his hand and could be out for four weeks. Carlos Dixon sustained no further damage to the stress fracture in the middle of his foot, but he has been fitted with an orthotic that he uses to reduce the pressure on his foot. At the moment, the injuries are creating a situation in which the team is often short-handed, particularly at the point guard position, where Brian Chase had to play all 45 minutes of the game on Saturday, but Coach Stokes believes that it will ultimately make the team much deeper.

Several segments were devoted to newcomer Terry Taylor. Terry was signed out of Allegany Junior College, which Coach Stokes described as a good program that produces good players and good people on and off the court. Heís a big player who was among the top 150 players in the nation coming out of high school. In addition to being a quality inside player, Terry is a spokesman for the team and was elected as one of the captains, despite only being in the program a short time. He called a team meeting following the game this past Friday and made statements to the media concerning the teamís play.

Another player that was discussed briefly was Bryant Matthews. In response to a question from the audience, Coach Stokes admitted that Bryant is a little moody, but that itís easy to become moody when the team isnít performing well and that it happens to a lot of people. He said that his heart is in the right place and that they are starting to see improvement. Someone recently commented that when he has the ball, you always know that something is going to happen. Itís not always going to be good, but heís beginning to capitalize on a promising sophomore season.

Coach Stokes mentioned two recruits for next season: Markus Sailes, a 6í-4" or 6í-5" point guard who distributes the ball well, and Philip McCandies, a 6'-9", 200-pound forward from Parkland HS in Winston-Salem NC. McCandies attended Marylandís basketball camp, where the Maryland coaches were very impressed. Bill Roth mentioned the possibility of another player joining the team at the semester break (DiMari Thompkins), but Coach Stokes didnít make any comments other than theyíd have to "wait and see."

The menís team plays Western Michigan next on Wednesday at Cassell Coliseum. Western Michigan, who is coming off a win over the Michigan Wolverines, has a perimeter-oriented team that likes to shoot from the outside. Tech will be bigger on the inside, so this should be a battle of opposite styles. On Saturday, the menís team will play Radford at home, where the team is undefeated in front of the home fans.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Andre Davis has been named as a first team Academic All-American. (Congratulations to Andre!)
  • Virginia Tech has sold its current allotment of approximately 13,000 Gator Bowl tickets and has requested more from the bowl organizers.
  • There will be a fund raiser for the Lane Stadium expansion project sponsored by some of the local Hokie Clubs. Several Tech coaches will be in attendance, but none of the football coaches was mentioned.
  • Monday was Day 800 in Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- Apex Hokie


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