After an up-and-down freshman season, Erick Green asserted himself as a sophomore, and will be expected to take another leap as a junior.
With the departure of senior scorer Malcolm Delaney, Green will be asked to take a larger scoring role on the team that lacks a true star player.
“Erick Green is basically going from being Robin to being Batman,” said head coach Seth Greenberg. “He’s going to draw the opponent’s best defender — that’s a new role.”
In his first two seasons on campus, Green has been in the shadows on offense, rarely if ever the focus of the defense. With so many younger players on the roster, including five true freshmen that could all see time, Green will have a lot more asked of him in 2011.
Greenberg praised the junior point guard for his hard work.
“I’m really proud of Erick,” Greenberg said. “He gave up his whole summer to be on campus and lift and get in the gym. He worked his tail off in school. He’s embracing the opportunity to be a leader. He feels good about himself.”
That feel-good story will only last as long as the Hokies are winning games. The Hokies haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since the 2006-07 season.
“We need to win the game’s we’re supposed to win this year so there’s no reason for us not to make the tournament,” Green said. “The main thing is to not look ahead, that’s what we’re telling everybody.”
A native of Winchester, Va., Green was not the highest-rated recruit coming out of high school. In his two years as a Hokie, Green has shown he deserves to be considered an elite-level ACC point guard.
Green averaged 12 points per game in ACC contests as a sophomore. His fellow ACC guards know what Green brings to the table.
“I really respect him as a player, and it’s always fun playing against him because he’s such a good player,” said Andre Young, Clemson point guard. “Erick Green is a great player.”
For the Hokies to make it back to the big dance, Green will need to be a big part of everything the Hokies do. In the Hokies’ intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 22, Green poured in 20 points in 20 minutes, a sign that he’s ready to go to the next level.
Each game is critical, and the Hokies will share Green’s attitude in 2011-12.
“The first game is East Tennessee State, and if we don’t bring it, we can take an L in that one,” Green said. “Every game is big for us, we’ve got to take them all like we would UNC and Duke.”