Aluma vs UVA

Most Valuable Player 

Amber Williams: Keve Aluma

Aluma has already been listed as Preseason All-ACC and is a finalist for the Karl Malone Award watchlist, which recognizes the top power forward in Division I basketball. Aluma had a stint with the G League Camp at the NBA Draft and was able to practice his skills at a more competitive level. Aluma is an instrumental player for the Hokies and will be looking to finish his final year with the Hokies strong.

Devin Shepard: Keve Aluma

Aluma was the best player on the Hokies’ roster last season in his first season in maroon and orange. His ability to be a threat in the post, as well as the confidence to pop out an occasional three, was the driving force of the Hokies’ offense. With his repertoire as a solid defender and passer, Aluma should only get better this season en route to a likely All-ACC first-team appearance.

Emmanuel Christian: Keve Aluma

Coming off of last season, where he averaged 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds, Keve Aluma is a strong favorite to be the most valuable player for the Hokies. Aluma will look to continue his success and elevate his game as he strives to make it to the professional level. As the leading scorer of the team last season, the Hokies will rely heavily on Aluma’s offense this season. 

 

Defensive Player of the Year

Amber Williams: Hunter Cattoor

Cattoor is heading into his third year with the Hokies and the guard has proven he is essential to Tech’s lineup. Last year, Cattoor appeared in every game for the Hokies and even put up 11 points with three 3-pointers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, proving he can be clutch in high-stakes situations. Cattoor will likely continue his trend of playing in every matchup and will hopefully continue his success for the Hokies.

Devin Shepard: Hunter Cattoor

Cattoor is known more for his role as a sharpshooting guard, but he was also arguably the best defender on the team last season. Leading the team in steals and consistently locking up opposing guards, Cattoor’s quick hands and feet made things difficult for opposing teams last season. With the likes of Isaiah Wong, Michael Devoe, Kihei Clark, Prentiss Hubb, Wendell Moore Jr. and Caleb Love on the schedule, Cattoor will have plenty of opportunities to prove his worth on the defensive side of the ball this season.

Emmanuel Christian: Lynn Kidd

The 6-foot-10 transfer center out of Clemson will be heavily depended on to protect the rim and rebound for the Hokies this season. Kidd, the former four-star recruit, gives the Hokies much needed size and rim protection this season. Put in the defensive anchor role, Kidd should block a lot of shots and alter many more.

 

Freshman of the Year

Amber Williams: Sean Pedulla

Pedulla was a huge win for the Hokies’ recruiting this year. The guard led his high school to three state tournaments and was selected as the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year for 2021. Pedulla is considered the second-best player in Oklahoma and ranks in the top 25 for point guards nationally. Pedulla has a chance to make his mark with the Hokies early in his collegiate career.

Devin Shepard: Sean Pedulla

Pedulla was the highest-rated recruit in the Hokies’ recruiting class this year, and he looks to already be showing his worth in practices this season. The freshman seems to already have claimed his spot as the backup point guard in the lineup and should have plenty of chances to show his ability running with the second unit this year.

Emmanuel Christian: Sean Pedulla

The three-star point guard from Edmond, Oklahoma, is the pride of the Hokies’ recruiting class for 2021. Pedulla averaged 17.6 points per game in his senior season of high school and was named all-state twice in his high school career. Pedulla joins a new look backcourt this year and should be able to make a contribution to the Hokies in his freshman season.

 

Sixth Man of the Year

Amber Williams: John Ojiako

Ojiako is entering his third season with Tech and will be looking for more playing time following a season that was underwhelming for him due to an injury. He missed the first nine games with a knee injury, but was given some opportunities to play later on. Ojiako was not given much playing time, but in his second game where he saw action, he put up a dunk against Wake Forest. If given the chance, Ojiako might be able to replicate that performance.

Devin Shepard: David N’Guessan

N’Guessan brings immense value as a defender; with long arms and constant effort, the 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward proved his ability in limited minutes last season. He also flashed some ability on offense by averaging 10.8 points per 40 minutes last season. In a bigger role this year, N’Guessan will look to take a step as the most experienced player off the bench this season.

Emmanuel Christian: Darius Maddox

Maddox, the sophomore guard from Bowie, Maryland, will look to contribute and make an impact for the Hokies in his second season. Maddox saw limited minutes his freshman year, but should expect more time with the departures of Radford, Cone and Bamisile. With more playing time, Maddox should be a key player off the bench for the Hokies as he looks to prove himself this season.

 

Most Improved Player

Amber Williams: Nahiem Alleyne

In the 22 games Alleyne played in for last season, he started in 21 of the contests. Alleyne created noise on the court most notably in the NCAA Tournament, garnering the second-most points in the tournament game in the history of Virginia Tech. His career-high 28 points showed that he has found a new groove on the court and will hopefully carry that momentum into this season.

Devin Shepard: Nahiem Alleyne

Alleyne has been a fan favorite since his emergence in 2019 as a consistent sharpshooter. He took a step last year with a bigger role and improved as a much more impactful player on both sides of the ball, averaging 11.1 points per game on the season. However, it looked as though Alleyne reached another level in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 28 points against Florida and showing a new confidence and skill level on the court. Alleyne will try to build on his tournament outburst and should be seen as a dark horse contender for ACC player of the year.

Emmanuel Christian: Nahiem Alleyne

Returning junior guard Alleyne looks to improve on an impressive sophomore season, averaging 11.1 points in 22 games. The departures of Radford, Cone and Bamisile should also give Alleyne even more opportunities this year. The solidified starter improved in every statistical category last season, and another big improvement is expected from Alleyne in his third season.

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