Photo courtesy of South Florida athletics
Mike Young has found his much-needed big man.
Immediately following Virginia Tech’s 75-70 overtime loss to Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Young mentioned the idea of adding some size this offseason.
He did just that.
The reigning ACC Coach of the Year got a fist-pumping phone call on Wednesday morning. On the other end of the phone was a significant addition.
South Florida transfer Michael Durr informed the third-year head coach he was planning on committing to Virginia Tech to join the Hokies. Blacksburg rejoiced.
It’s not the first time the Hokies have gotten a transfer by way of the Bulls. Program-changer Zach LeDay uprooted from Tampa and took the Hokies to their first NCAA Tournament in 10 seasons in 2017. Former head coach Seth Greenberg also left USF for Virginia Tech in the 2003 offseason. Some tidbits.
Durr’s commitment now evens out the transfer portal for Virginia Tech, as recent defectors Jalen Cone and Joe Bamisile announced their intentions to transfer to Northern Arizona and George Washington, respectively. Young already added one of his former players by way of Wofford transfer guard Storm Murphy. What gives will take.
A Welcomed Sight
It’s almost foreign to see a 7-footer take the floor at Cassell Coliseum, sporting the orange and maroon. Fans will definitely see a new look for Virginia Tech next season.
It’s also a different style from former head coach Buzz Williams. Williams didn’t ever really rely on his big men to produce for his Hokie teams that could shoot the lights out.
Durr, an Atlanta, Ga. native, put up impressive numbers this past season for Bulls. The soon-to-be senior averaged 8.8 points per game and added 7.9 rebounds to lead the team.
He put up similar numbers in the Bulls’ 76-58 setback to Virginia Tech this past season, dropping 10 points and seven rebounds against his new team. That game took place early in the season back in November in Uncasville, Conn. at the Mohegan Sun Resort.
Durr is certainly familiar with manning the paint. He started 85 of the 87 games he played in during his three seasons down in Tampa.
He also isn’t your typical big man from the free throw line either. Durr shot a solid 79% from the charity stripe this past season. That had to be an incentive for Young’s staff to add Durr. His ability to get to the line may be a big part of his game in Blacksburg.
Don’t forget that although he’s a senior, Durr has two years remaining of eligibility, because the NCAA granted a free year to student-athletes competing during the 2020-21 academic year.
What It Means
This is the perfect marriage for Virginia Tech. The profile Durr displays is exactly what’s been wanted in Blacksburg for a long, long time.
Star forward Keve Aluma did enter his name in the 2021 NBA Draft on Wednesday, but he did not sign with an agent. That leads many to believe unless given unexpected feedback, he would return to school next season.
Assuming Aluma does return, Durr creates a three-headed monster down low with himself, Aluma, and breakout Delaware transfer Justyn Mutts.
The funny thing is, none of those guys were recruited out of high school by the Hokies. Aluma followed Young from Wofford after he departed for Blacksburg in April 2019.
Durr likely fits the role of a sixth man. Although he may not be in a position to start at Virginia Tech, he still should see significant minutes and allow Aluma to spend more time at power forward. Young expressed that desire following the loss to the Gators.
Again, assuming Aluma comes back, Virginia Tech’s starting lineup could look somewhat like this:
Murphy at the top of the key, Naheim Alleyne complimenting him on the wing, Tyrece Radford helping them out, and Aluma and Mutts causing terror down low.
Durr and guard Hunter Cattoor should also see significant playing time as well.