As good as these two have been, it’s hard to ignore Robert Brown’s development as well. Although Brown was more suited to Greenberg’s offense than Eddie and Green may have been, he’s really taken a step forward as a shooter this year, and when that’s paired with Johnson’s high tempo attack, the results have been exceptional.
He’s averaging 13.3 points per game on the season, but in the last two games against Iowa and Oklahoma State, he’s scored 18 points, finishing only behind Green in both cases.
Brown is hitting 39.3 percent of his attempts from behind the arc as well, giving the team three viable outside shooting options, which allows the team to space the floor quite effectively.
However, outside of any one player’s individual performance, the biggest difference about this year’s team is the attitude surrounding the program.
While Greenberg was known to have a bit of a rebellious, antagonistic streak, Johnson is considerably more personable. He gets along with everyone, whether they’re players, reporters or stadium workers.
This new attitude is noticeable even when the players are on the court. They clearly enjoy this new system, and their joy is evident as they gallop up and down the floor.
The way they describe him is also very telling. After Greenberg’s authoritarian coaching style, Johnson’s youth and open personality are clearly the kind of change everyone around the program needed.
All these positives aren’t without a few negatives, however. The team can boast wins over one ranked team in Oklahoma State and another major conference team in Iowa, but outside of them, their toughest competition has been UNC Greensboro.
It’s also hard to tell how the team’s lack of depth will affect them this early in the season. It’s all well and good to sprint up and down the floor now, but when February rolls around, how will this team, which is only nine deep, hold up?
But these concerns are still far off for a team’s that on top of the world. Right now, it’s a new day in Blacksburg, and it’s a pleasure to watch.