#315 R.P.I. Gardner Webb @ #33 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball plays the team from: Boiling Springs, North Carolina in the one-hole! Yes, I had to look that up; and “no”, have no idea what that means sans the Wiki/Google cheatsheet.
The Hokies host the Running Bulldogs who tallied a 14-18 overall record last season with a 9-9 mark in the Big South Conference in 2017-2018. Gardner-Webb is located in Boiling Springs, N.C. with plenty of area attractions within driving distance of campus. One of the most popular places to visit is just three miles from campus, better known as Broad River Greenway. The Broad River offers canoeing, tubing, swimming, fishing, horse trails, etc. Another fun attraction about five miles away from campus is the Shady Side Race Track where visitors can drag race with friends and family. Virginia Tech, however, is ~203.6 miles away and quite frankly the gap seems bigger than that. As this one would be a major upset, Alabama State, O.d.u., V.m.i., Miami Ohio, and J.m.u. notwithstanding. Though you wanna know who will win (VeeTee) and by how much… so read on to find, out!
Gardner-Webb Head Coach: Tim Craft: age=41, 88-78 overall and at G.Webb. Has a rep’ for: not scoring, dee’ing up and glass work and yet somehow willing his way to wins.
$100,000.oo (with a $100k increase per year up to five years, at the school’s leisure)
Quite possibly the lightest weight coach or the least paid coach on an lb. for lb. basis. Seriously, this guy is the Micahel Cooper of coaches, thin, wiry, eat a tree and never gain an oz. of pulp.
Anywho… Tim is head men’s basketball coach at Gardner–Webb University. He was formerly an assistant coach for East Carolina University and Auburn University. Prior to that Webb was the Director of Basketball Operations at Auburn and eventually worked his way up to assistant coach with the Tigers. Webb has also had several very small college tour stops and high schools; plural. So he has brought himself up and earned his own way.
G.Webb has been generally north of Big South competition wise under the feisty little Tim Craft. Middleocore to 2nd place with one C.B.I. Tourney appearance for it; and at least he is north of .5oo as a head coach thus far.
Coach Craft knows his G.Webb tradecraft… having been an assistant with them from 2004-07. During that time, when he helped guide Gardner-Webb to the 2004-05 Big South regular-season championship. He has even put together one Top-50 (no.49) national recruiting class for G.Webb.
Daddy Tim earned his Bachelor of Arts in history with a minor in secondary education from the University of Florida in 2000.
Craft and his wife, Jessica, have three children – Lola, Macy, and Bennett.
Bulldogs at a glance:
- 315th in FT attempts.
- 94th in defensive rebounding.
- 66th fewest fouls “whistled” against.
- 54th in blocked shots.
- As everything else pretty well-checked out average +/- 1 Stand’.Deviation.
- The Bulldogs are about as experienced as they have been in a minute, what with 3 fulltime starters back and no less than five other kids who have started at least one college basketball game thus far.
- In addition to that, the Bulldogs are said to have just inked their best recruiting class in years; quite plural. Some might even have me say in a decade give/take.
- One #11, r-Sr., David Efianayi, lead-G, 6′2″, 185 lbs. and his 17.5 ppg are both back and he is surely the alpha-dawgg here on offense. David is already a two-time all-Big South Conference selection and 2019 figures to be his third of three as the same. D.Efianayi is really more of an undersized Wing, who has flourished at the college FT-line (81%) off the dribble-drive and as a high degree of difficulty shot-maker in the lane. 6.2 FTA’s per game on average says so. David is also the Bulldogs best on-the-ball defender (1.4 spg) and his 38% when dialing long-distance only aids and abets his slashing to the basket when he gets it going from the outside all the more. David has already been named all-Big South pre-season by basically all of my pre-season magazines: (Athlon, Blue Ribbon and Street & Smith’s) among ’em. Tho’ -God Bless- David and his small playing tall style have had a history of missing numerous dinged and dents games per season.
- DJ Laster, PF/SF, 6′6″, (now bulked up) 233 lb. (and 5.4 rpg) is about as good as playing big gets at most small schools on a rebounding pro rata basis. And being named pre-season 2nd team all-conference by Athlon does not suck. Neither does being a pretty athletic and pretty dang strong Three who will have some wing advantages vs. more traditional Four’s. The whispers say that Laster put in a lasting weight-room and S&C summer and is in the best shape of his entire life. And his 14 ppg on 32% long and 51% overall figure to bounce from here. What with DJ being an all chiseled out… it’s always bikini-season case.
- all-Conference and possibly the best Bulldog post ever, P/F Tyrell Neilson and all his box score filling production are all graduated.
- S/F, Laquincy Rideau was Lindy’s twice defensive player of the year for the Big South last season; I’d say that counts. Except now he’s the defensive player of the year for the So.Florida, Bulls.
- Massive true-C, big ole L’Hassane Niangane took all 7′, 245 lbs. of his most intriguing game back (home) to France.
- Accordingly, and as you already guessed, these Bulldogs are more French though not quite miniature Bulldog sized. As a little small school size actually does ball here.
Bulldog Bench: (depth=4)
t-Fr., 6′5″, 195 lb. S/F-Wing, Jose Perez was a pleasant game no.1 surprise with 16 points Tuesday night vs. V.c.u. Perez may or may not know the way to (San) Jose, as he is from the Brox NYC. And his game and his hairstyle alike do not want for… swagg. As House Party just called and said: “it’s not 1990, any, mo'”. A Dominican Republic native, originally, somehow, who has been a Dom.Republic national team member since 2014, a traveling squad member, a Prep’ School member and a high school member somewhere along the way(s). Perez is described as a: “elite scorer” and he did win the Prep’ School national championship a few years back. He is also said to be a clutch shooter from deep and he did have a buncha (big) M.a.c. and M.e.a.c. offers. That, and I could not find out just how old he really is… though I’ma pretty sure I’ma betting the over on 17/18 years of age. So this is a very experienced kid/young man no matter this/that. And Perez sure has the look-n-feel of a firecracker of an outburst scorer.
Jaheam Cornwall is a 6′ 175 lb. Soph. Pt.G, with ~8 ppg who has been tabbed by several publications as a possible breakout player of the year candidate for the Big South. The book on Cornwall says that he is a very gifted passer and ball handler who has also proven to be a dangerous and efficient scorer from long range early in his career. He is also said to be more parts lead-G and less parts pure One mind you. And he too hails from an NYC borough, or Queens by way of Brooklyn in Cornwall’s case.
Other than the intriguing Perez, and the experienced Cornwall… the razor-thin (6′8″, 189 lb.) Francophile (St.Martinique) native P/F Ludovic Dufeal lives here. As does vaguely serviceable backup Pt.G. 6′2″, 195 lb., 3.3 ppg last year and second-year Justin Jenkins… and after them? It’s it because that’s that.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Bulldogs who could start @Tech=1, with maybe 1 in the rotation.
The takeaway here is… that the A-train, Artis Gilmore of nearly Shaft looking 1970’s A.b.A. and subsequent N.b.a. fame has left the… Gardner-Webb station a long long time ago, and he’s prolly not coming back.
The other takeaway is… I really need to get an Eye on the following…
- how much does Buzz have to coach with all of his bench turnover and where will this leave him come April/March?
- Who do we have left up front?
- Where is our leadership and/or do we have a true alpha-closer (like Allen and LeDay (both) were)?
I know we have “experience” and a very decent Top-5 to a Top-7 rotation. Maybe even a little more than that… nevertheless, I am undersold on every single bullet point above that.
That said, 12th to 21st seems at least twice too high to me. Yes to prolly ending up inside the top-64, although I tab us as being R.A.T.T. much closer to 64th than to 12th in my little O&M book.
So, I (accidentally) found out that Gardner-Webb just got beat by V.c.u. as I had thought this to be the season opener for both teams.
From what I could see/read from wire-reports… G.Webb still has a penchant for offensive chilliness no matter the weather outside.
Additionally, coach Kraft somehow finds a way to manufacture wins—to his enormous credit he has never suffered an L’ing season despite never fielding a single elite baller.
That’s coaching the verb folks, although no amount of coaching is gonna upset V.Tech here on the road if you could not upset a now lowercase V.c.u. (58-69) to begin with.
Nonetheless, and all that to say… this one and the next few including the far more real Charleston Classic Tournament games last next week… they are all about Virginia Tech and where does Virginia Tech go from here?
I’m hedging on this team at this moment with this much staffing turnover and this few posting options left on the O&M pine. I thought we were-ver-ra-ted with Clarke and we surely are o-ver-ra-ted sans him.
That reality firmly in place that you can only find, here; I doubt Gardner-Webb provides much real outcome threat power here.
Accordingly, methinks there is not that much to glean here.
(i.e. the real learning/evaluating begins next week)
(96% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=86, Gardner-Webb=54