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Green and Hudson Follow Similar Paths
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #468, January 21, 2011
In 2009-10, we saw Dorenzo Hudson make a major improvement to his game during the middle of the season. This year we are seeing a similar improvement for Hudson's replacement in the starting lineup, sophomore point guard Erick Green.
Both players have different stories, but each has one critical thing in common: their improved play helped their team improve tremendously.
The Hokies went into that Seton Hall game without Malcolm Delaney, who was out with a sprained ankle. Tech depended on Dorenzo Hudson to not only score, but to play a little point guard as well. He responded with a huge game, scoring 41 points while going an amazing 20-of-21 from the free throw line.
Hudson was a different player after that Seton Hall game. He averaged 18.2 points per game for the rest of the season, and scored in double figures in 19 of those 21 games. Though the Hokies missed the NCAA Tournament, they got as far as they did because of the improved play of Dorenzo Hudson.
This year's Virginia Tech struggled early, thanks to a foot injury to Hudson. Tech's ball movement was poor, and they even failed to score 60 points in four consecutive games from late November through early December.
Finally Seth Greenberg decided to start Erick Green at point guard beginning with the Penn State game, and the experiment has been a major success. Green is averaging 14 points per game in his nine starts, and the team has won eight of those games.
Virginia Tech averaged 64.4 points per game before Erick Green took over the point guard duties. Since Green entered the starting lineup, Tech is averaging 78.4 points per game. That's a substantial difference. Tech's ball movement is much better, their offensive pace is better, and their transition offense is like night and day.
Individually, it has been quite a change for a player who averaged just 2.6 points per game as a freshman last season. His field goal percentage is up from 29.3% to 47.5%, while his free throw shooting has improved from 67.9% to 80.5%. In five ACC games, Green has gone 15-of-16 from the free throw line.
Last season, Green was a player who many thought would never make it in ACC basketball. As a sophomore, he has quickly developed into one of the better point guards in the ACC. His emergence has transformed a 4-4 team that looked destined for the NIT (if that) into a team that has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.
Though the development of Green and Hudson has been similar, their backgrounds were very different. Hudson came to Virginia Tech as one of the top 100 recruits in the nation. He chose the Hokies over scholarship offers Clemson, Indiana, Maryland and other major programs. He was regarded as one of the top scoring recruits of the ACC.
Green's recruitment was much different. He had scholarship offers from George Mason, James Madison and St. Joseph's before the Hokies came in with an offer of their own. It didn't take long for him to commit to Virginia Tech. Considering his other scholarship offers, his development during his college career has been faster than expected.
Next season, Green and Hudson are expected to share the same backcourt with the graduation of Malcolm Delaney. If Green can continue his development, and Hudson can get back to his 2009-10 level of play, the Hokies should be very good in the backcourt yet again.
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