Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015-16 Hoops Schedule

The first glance at the 2015-16 schedule, per The schedule features 29 games in all, 14 of which will be played at Cameron Hall. The Keydets will visit or host three Big South opponents, and the home opener Nov. 17 againt Division-II Tusculum, the first coaching job of he-who-shall-not-be-named. Like last year, we begin SoCon play with a bevvy of road games before a three-game homestand in late January. Interestingly the SoCon opted not to go with the two early conf. games in December, and instead will play all eighteen league contests in succession. The conference will continue the Thursday-Saturday format, with the occasional Monday matinee.

We'll play The Citadel first on the road on January 30th, after a date with Mercer. The Bulldogs will return the favor on Senior Day (Feb. 27) as Duggar Baucom returns to the venue he called home for ten years. This will also be succeeded by a Thursday game with Mercer, and the SoCon tournament will get started the following Friday, March 4th.

As for the non-conference schedule, VMI will have its home opener on Nov. 17th, against Divsion II (SAC) Tusculum College. We will also do battle with three of our old Big South foe; first, Presbyterian, at home on November 24th; then Campbell on the road during Thanksigiving; and finally, on the road at Gardner-Webb on December 21st. Also, Navy will be giving us their "return game" from last year on Sat., December 12th.

It was reported in mid-March that we will play Ohio State for the first time since 2011, on December 5th. As has been rumored for quite some time, the All-Military Classic will not be continued. VMI faired fairly well in the tournament, going 4-4 in all games with one title (2013), six players named to the All-Tournament team (Okoye, Gabriel, Glasgow 2, Peterson 2), and one tournament MVP (Peterson, 2013).

UPDATE 7/26: The Keydets will travel to Indianapolis on December 7th to play Butler University. The two schools have never met before. Last year, Butler went 23-11 in the Big East last season, and were ranked #23 in the final AP Poll. They fell to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tourney Round of 32. Butler will also play The Citadel to open their regular season.

UPDATE 8/4: It was announced earlier today that VMI will open the year with Dan Earl's alma mater, Penn State, on the road. The contest is set for Saturday, November 14. It will be the first time the Keydets have not opened the season on a Friday since 2005. The game will be played at the 15,000-seat Bryce Jordan Center, the same court where Coach Earl once played after the team moved there from the Rec Hall in '95-96. Earl was the Nitanny Lions' starting PG from 1993-97 and is among the all-time school leaders in scoring and assists. He also coached PSU as an assistant for five seasons from 2006 to 2011.

UPDATE 8/5: Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times confirmed that VMI will be playing Va. Tech this season. The date of the game is yet to be announced, though it is likely to be played in late November, perhaps sometime between Nov. 19th-22nd. It will be the fourth straight year the Keydets and Hokies have met on the hardwood.

UPDATE 8/27: The official schedule was released on the school's athletic website. Added to the schedule were home matchups against Tusculum (Nov. 17), D-III Central Penn (Dec. 2), and a road matinee at former Big South foe Campbell (Nov. 30). The Keydets are 3-0 against Central Penn all-time, with the last meeting coming on Nov. 13, 2012, a 116-81 win. VMI played Campbell five times in the Big South, as the two teams were Northern division opponents for two seasons. VMI went 2-3 against the Camels, with all three losses coming on the road. The Keydets have never played Tusculum before.

Nov. 14 @ Penn State

Tue, Nov. 17 Tusculum

Nov. 21 @ Virginia Tech

Tue, Nov. 24 Presbyterian

Mon, Nov. 30 @ Campbell

Wed, Dec. 2 Central Penn

Sat, Dec. 5 @ Ohio State

Mon, Dec. 7 @ Butler

Sat, Dec. 12 Navy

Mon, Dec. 21 @ Gardner-Webb

Wed, Dec. 30 Bridgewater

Sat, Jan. 2 @ Furman*

Tue, Jan. 5 Wofford*

Sat, Jan. 9 @ Western Carolina*

Mon, Jan. 11 @ ETSU*

Sat, Jan. 16 @ UNCG*

Thu, Jan. 21 Samford*

Sat, Jan. 23 Chattanooga*

Mon, Jan. 25 Furman*

Thu, Jan. 28 @ Mercer*

Sat, Jan. 30 @ The Citadel*

Thu, Feb. 4 ETSU*

Sat, Feb. 6 Western Carolina*

Mon, Feb. 8 @ Wofford*

Thu, Feb. 11 UNCG*

Thu, Feb. 18 @ Chattanooga*

Sat, Feb. 20 @ Samford*

Thu, Feb. 25 Mercer*

Sat, Feb. 27 The Citadel*

Mar. 4-7 @ SoCon Tourney (Asheville, NC)

Home games in bold
*-conference game

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hinton Transferring to App. State

Rising junior forward Craig Hinton will be transferring to Appalachian State, according to Brant Wilkerson-New of the Winston-Salem Journal.

As mentioned, Hinton averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13 minutes of action last season. He missed the All-Military Classic with a foot injury but played in every subsequent game and started twice (home vs. The Citadel and Western Carolina). Other than that, his only minutes were off the bench. He scored in double figures three times, all in November, including an incredible 23-point performance against Maryland where he shot 6-of-6 from three and 8-of-9 from the field. From there, though, his averages dipped down and his shooting stroke was wildly inconsistent. He shot 3-of-14 and 1-of-11 from three against WCU in January, and shot 2-of-11 the final five games as his minutes and production decreased. He ended up shooting 40% overall and 35% from behind the arc.

In his freshman year Hinton started 8 games and played in 24 but was again hampered by injury early in the year. He averaged 2.6 PPG on 33% shooting in limited action. He was notable for finishing second in the High School Slam Dunk Contest back in 2013.

Hinton, who is listed as a small forward at 6'7, came from East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, NC. The town is only about 90 minutes from Boone, where he will be playing. Hinton was recruited by former VMI assistant Jason Allison, who is now at ASU. We can assume that Allison tried to pick up Hinton, and that Coach Earl found no place for him in his sytem. It should be noted that App State was one of Hinton's top choices as a recruit, but Coach Baucom and staff won him over as he signed in November of 2012.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Hinton will sit out the 2015-16 season but should have two years of eligibility left after that. He will not cost the Mountaineers a scholarship this season, but they can offer him one next year if the coaching staff likes what they see.

As for VMI, Hinton's departure shakes up the depth chart quite a bit. We should see much more of freshman D'Andre Mahaffey at SF, as well as junior Trey Chapman and sophomore Armani Branch. Mahaffey is probably the most athletic of the three, but Trey by far the most experienced, having logged significant minutes his first two seasons as well as 19 starts. Branch played little his freshman year and was suspended the remainder of the year following the home loss to UNC Greensboro on February 3rd. If Coach Earl chooses not to employ three guards as Baucom often did, those three players should receive significant playing time this season. We are also now down to 11 scholarships, two under the NCAA maximum.