Tyrece Radford’s Return Comes Not a Moment Too Soon

When Virginia Tech lost Tyrece Radford due to off-the-field issues about a month ago, it seemed like Radford’s season was over.

It looked like the Hokies would have to completely reform their offensive scheme without their best perimeter player. Radford created a lot of shots from the wing, and efficient shot creation isn’t a skill that’s in abundance these days.

But with the talented Nahiem Alleyne still on the roster, it was easy to figure that Alleyne could help lessen that blow. After all, Alleyne can create his own shot and has been moderately effective as a secondary scoring option.

But since Radford’s exit, Alleyne has struggled at times. Radford returned to the lineup vs. Georgia Tech Tuesday night, but it was more of the same from Alleyne. And it resulted in a deflating 69-53 loss.

To be fair — Virginia Tech hadn’t played an actual game of basketball since Feb. 6. Two-and-a-half weeks is a long time to go without doing anything. Take two weeks off from, say, your golf game and see how good your putting and short game are.

But Tech’s struggles were the same sorts of struggles we’ve seen since Radford was suspended originally. The Hokies offense is not nearly as efficient when Alleyne is the primary scoring option on the perimeter.

Tech’s first game without Radford was a successful one for Alleyne — he shot 7-14 from the floor, dished five assists and grabbed nine rebounds.  But since then, Alleyne hasn’t been nearly as efficient.

  • Jan. 30 vs. Virginia: three points on 1-of-4 shooting, one assist
  • Feb. 3 vs. Pitt: four points on 1-8 shooting, three assists
  • Feb. 6 vs. Miami: 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, two assists
  • Feb. 23 vs. Georgia Tech: 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting, zero assists

Averages: 7.3 points per game, 30 percent from the field, 1.5 assists per game

Over that four-game span, Alleyne’s scoring percentage dropped on fewer shots per game than he was taking before Radford was suspended. That’s less than ideal.

Radford was efficient on Tuesday —he made four-of-six shots, hit all three free throws and scored 11 points with no turnovers — but Tech didn’t feature him enough in the offensive gameplan. It doesn’t matter if he hasn’t played in nearly three weeks. If he’s being that efficient, you work him like he’s in a rhythm.

This goes to a larger point — Mike Young should have recognized Alleyne’s struggles and tailored his offense to get other players more looks. Justyn Mutts has vastly improved as Tech has transitioned into conference play. Hunter Cattoor has shown to be an efficient shooter and all-around guard. Tech’s coaching staff believes in Joe Bamisile‘s long-term ability, but they’ve been reluctant to get him uber-involved in the offense.