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Brooks & Co. Continue Gilded Age Of Virginia Tech Basketball

Don’t take this for granted. You are currently witnessing the Gilded Age of Virginia Tech basketball.

For the second time in two seasons, a Virginia Tech basketball team has earned the right to be called ACC Champions. Kenny Brooks and the women’s team ran the table in Greensboro this week, culminating in a 75-67 win over former ACC powerhouse Louisville.

Sunday’s win featured all of what makes this year’s women’s team elite. Georgia Amoore dropped 25 points, despite shooting just 6-18 from the field. ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley added another 20 points, while the Hokies’ collectively held the Cardinals to just 37.3 percent shooting.

The Hokies are flirting with a 1-seed in the coming NCAA Tournament, something this school has never experienced before.

But if you’ve been paying attention, there have been a lot of things happening in Blacksburg since 2015 that we haven't seen very often.

Jump in the time machine with me as I bring you back to the 2013-2014 basketball year. Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach James Johnson finished his second season of sub .500 basketball, resulting in his dismissal at the end of the year. Dennis Wolff, in charge of the women’s program, led his team to a 14-16 record.

Both of the Hokies’ hardwood programs were sliding further behind their ACC counterparts. Athletic Director Whit Babcock made a serious commitment to his men’s program that offseason, hiring program builder Buzz Williams. Two years later, he hired perennial NCAA Tournament coach Kenny Brooks.

Those two hires changed the course of Virginia Tech’s basketball programs, and they directly led to the most successful time period in the history of Hokies basketball. Allow me to recap…

In the spring of 2016, Williams and his rag tag bunch reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time. It would be the first of three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for Williams’ crew, ending in the Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2019. In Buzz Williams’ last four seasons as Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball coach, the Hokies won 65 percent of their games played.

Williams departed after the season, but Mike Young didn’t take long to put the Hokies back in the hunt. In Year Two, Virginia Tech earned an NCAA Tournament bid, only to follow it up with an ACC Championship and subsequent NCAA Tournament berth.

Brooks arrived in Blacksburg a couple years after his counterpart. Even though Tech struggled in the ACC for the first few seasons under his watch, the program took off in 2019. The Hokies finished the season 21-9 and 11-7 in the ACC, only to have their potential NCAA Tournament bid stolen by the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020.

After a rocky 2020-2021 season, Brooks followed it up with a 23-10 record and Virginia Tech’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006. Tech made the tournament again last year but lost in the opening round.

This year’s conference tournament win not only gives the Hokies their first ACC Championship in program history, but sets up a potential NCAA Tournament run that could go further than the Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1999.

Lost in Virginia Tech’s bevy of team accomplishments are the individual accolades that we’ve seen in recent years. Nickeil Alexander-Walker was drafted in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. Justin Robinson broke the all-time assists record. On the women’s side, the all-time scoring record has been broken twice — first by Aisha Sheppard and this season by Kitley. Kitley is now a two-time ACC Player of the Year and Amoore won ACC Tournament MVP after making 14 three pointers over Tech’s three tournament games, which is an ACC record.

Regardless of what seed the Hokies earn next Sunday in the women’s bracket, this season is forever etched into the Hokie Stone that makes up that beautiful campus nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Time will tell how far this train can go, but it’s important to pause and appreciate how far you’ve come.

Virginia Tech, as a basketball program, both men’s and women's, is nearly unrecognizable as this might be the greatest era of basketball that ever will be in Blacksburg.

We're are all lucky to be witnesses.


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Comments 1

Guest - Betsy on Monday, 06 March 2023 07:13
What’s even better???

Kitley is ACC Scholar Athete of the Year for the second year in a row and Justyn Mutts got that award last year for men’s basketball. Hope he repeats this year, too!

Kitley is ACC Scholar Athete of the Year for the second year in a row and Justyn Mutts got that award last year for men’s basketball. Hope he repeats this year, too!
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Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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