No team in the country will have to replace a more pivotal point man than Virginia Tech. The Hokies said goodbye to combo point guard Erick Green last season, the senior who led the nation in scoring (25.0 PPG) in 2012-13. With his departure the Hokies were hoping to get Green replaced in part by Malik Mueller, a 19-year-old from Germany.
But the NCAA decided on Monday that Mueller would be ineligible this season, according to the Washington Post. The reason? Academics. Tough break for Va. Tech, which finished at the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference last year.
The year-long delay for Mueller to play doesn't mean he won't be able to practice with the team. He'll factor in there, perhaps bolstering the Hokies behind the scenes in the rebuilding process, making them an improved squad for the 2014-15 season. So what will Virginia Tech do to fill Green's void?
Junior Marquis Rankin, freshman Devin Wilson and UNC Wilmington transfer Adam Smith will likely all be in the mix to fill the team's point-guard void going forward.
“I am extremely disappointed for Malik, “ Johnson said in a school-issued statement. “This young man has worked very hard this summer both in workouts and in the classroom. I know that Malik will use this year to improve as a better basketball player and will continue his strong work in his academics. He will help this team in practice and from the sidelines.”
Mueller is the second player from Johnson's first full recruiting class to deal with eligibility issues. The program's top 2013 recruit, guard Donte Clark, was not admitted to Virginia Tech this past summer for academic reasons. Clark later signed with Massachusetts, although he has been ruled a non-qualifier by the NCAA clearinghouse and will also have to redshirt this season.
It's going to be a rough go for the Hokies this season. Here at CBSSports.com, everyone but me has them finishing last -- and I've got them winding up 14 out of 15.