Tuesday, March 11th, 1997

Notes from Monday's Hokie Hotline Show

Is it just me, or are things getting REALLY slow around here? Now that the basketball season is done, and Spring football hasn't started yet, there's just not a whole lot going on. I sat and listened to the Hokie Hotline call-in show and didn't come away with a whole lot of solid news. Here are the highlights:

Retro Jersey Retirement? One of the more interesting topics that came up, and Dave Braine and Bill Roth kind of slipped it in without much fanfare, is the idea of, as Dave put it, going back and taking a look at past Hokie basketball heroes and find some way to "pay homage and do honor to them and retire the jerseys without retiring the numbers."

That's pretty much a direct quote, and the idea no doubt came out of the mini-furor that erupted from some quarters when Ace's jersey was retired. Although Ace was a great player for four years, many Hokies wondered aloud why he was more worthy of jersey retirement than, say, Allen Bristow or Dale Solomon. I wonder if the noise that was made got back to Dave Braine and brought this about.

Bill said something about having some sort of ceremony for past players during halftime of a game next year, and Dave said, "That's not a bad idea. Maybe we'll do that."

By the way, the question came up when Ace's jersey was retired about what the procedure is. The procedure is that the coach of the particular sport makes a recommendation to the athletic committee (who comprises that committee, I don't know), who must then approve it. In Ace's case, I clearly heard the P.A. announcer say during the ceremony that the decision was unanimous.

The New Coach Can Dance: Bobby Hussey did the coach's portion of the show, and he displayed a supreme ability to dance around nearly every direct question that callers and Bill Roth asked of him, declining to comment on who his likely starting five is next year and what type of offensive and defensive schemes he's going to run.

In all fairness, Hussey wants to get all of the players together before deciding who the big 5 will be, and along the same lines, he wants to take a look at what his players can do before he decides on his defensive and offensive schemes.

In other words, he's going to generate the best scheme for his players, and not force his players to fit a certain scheme. Many Hokies were upset that Bill Foster often promised a running, pressing team, but never delivered it in the six years he was here. At least Hussey's not making public statements about what he's going to do.

He did, however, give his thoughts on some of next year's players that we haven't seen yet. Here they are:

  • Jenis Grindstaff (incoming freshman, 6-2 guard): "can score in a lot of different ways. Scored 38 points and had 11 rebounds in a sectional playoff game, in a tough situation against tough competition."
  • Jesus Rodriquez (redshirt freshman, 6-8 forward): "has quick feet, has a quick jump, is an inside scorer who doesn't yet have great perimeter skills."
  • Clint McPherson (incoming freshman, 6-9 center): "athletic player who runs, jumps, and blocks shots well. Has an inside mentality - not interested in going outside." Hussey was implying that the inside attitude is a good thing.
  • Rolan Roberts (incoming freshman, 6-7 forward): "strong, explosive, 6-7, 235. I went to see him play last week at Hargrave (Military Academy), and he displayed better passing skills than I previously thought he possessed. He's a lot like Smitty (Shawn Smith), in that respect, but he's a lot more physical. Also has an inside mentality." My early suggestion for a nickname for Roberts: "The Sherriff."

If you look over the stats on Tech's incoming class, and you look at the redshirt talent (Rodriquez), and then you consider how well Russ Wheeler and Brendan Dunlop played this past year, I think that Tech has the potential to put the best team they've had on the floor in the past ten years. They may not be more talented than the starting five that won the NIT, but they can be, and probably will be, just as talented, and certainly deeper.

All of this is assuming that all of the press clippings and all of the hype are true.

Miscellaneous Tidbits: Rector field house has been painted and new turf has been laid. The old turf was 21 years old. The project cost half a million dollars, and Bill Roth gushed that "it looks like a brand-new football facility."

Tech sold 2,278 basketball season tickets last year.


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