Things you learn reading press guides: Freshman center Satchel Pierce of Virginia Tech was named after legendary baseball pitcher Satchel Paige, who is famous for saying, among other things, “Don't look back. They may be gaining on you.”
Hokies coach Buzz Williams would like to see some gains from Pierce, but he isn't pressing, even though Pierce is the only true big man Williams has right now. Williams started the 7-footer in the first-round victory Tuesday over Wake Forest because, as Williams explained, “At least he looks like a guy who could guard Devin Thomas.”
Turns out, he wasn't. Pierce picked up two fouls before the game was three minutes old and sat for the rest of the first half. Less than two minutes into the second half, Pierce got his third foul and took a permanent seat on the bench for the afternoon, with 6-7 former walk-on Christian Beyer and 6-8 transfer Shane Henry taking over in the middle. It all worked out, mostly because freshman guard Jalen Hudson went off for a career-high 32 points in the Hokies' 81-80 win over the Deacons.
Virginia Tech plays Miami at 9 p.m. Wednesday night.
Pierece has averaged 13 minutes of playing time this season, making six starts and averaging 3.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He's not exactly a project, but he is green.
Williams isn't panicking about his freshman center. He said he's gotten better over the years at coaching big men and passed on some advice he gleaned from longtime coach George Raveling, one of his mentors.
“George said don't pay any attention to them in terms of production until after their third semester,” Williams said. “But coach them like it's their last semester. I just think there's time invested there.”