With Christmas coming up later this week, I decided to get in the spirit of giving by handing
out college basketball awards for Virginia for the non-conference portion of the schedule.
With conference play around the corner, we took a look back at the good (presents) and the
bad (coal) of college hoops in the Commonwealth for the 2014 part of the 14-15 season.
MVP: Trey Freeman ODU
The junior guard is averaging 17.1 PPG and 3.1 APG, both which lead the team. Freeman
has led the Monarchs to a 9-1 record, which is good for first place in Conference USA. ODU
has 6 wins against the top 100 RPI team, including wins against LSU, rival VCU and
Richmond. Freeman played at Campbell in 2012-13 season and made the second team all-
Big South , but had to sit out last year after his waiver to transfer immediately was denied.
ODU could have used him as they went 16-17 (9-7 C-USA) . This season Freeman has
played with a vengeance and scored over 20 points in 4 of the ten games thus far. ODU
was decent last season, but the addition of Freeman has made the Monarchs to take the
next step to being a contender in the C-USA.
Most Improved : Justin Anderson UVA
The Wahoos are 10-0 despite losing current Cleveland Cavalier Joe Harris and Akil
Mitchell. The defending ACC champs have not fallen due in large part to the improvement
of Anderson. He has improved in nearly every scoring category, jumping from 7.8 PPG to
15.8, 50.7% shooting to 56.7% and improved his three point shooting from 29.4% to an
astounding 59.5%. Anderson doesnt take bad shots and has a great stroke to go along with
his superb leaping ability that lead to many highlight dunks. Many season previews labeled
Malcolm Brogdon as the man who UVA would look to score the ball because he was the
leading scorer last season, but Anderson has filled that role admirably.
Freshmen of year: Justin Bibbs Virginia Tech
Bibbs is the Hokies’ leading scorer 12.2 ppg . Bibbs knew he had the opportunity to play
alot this season because 4 players left the team after former coach James Johnson was
fired. Buzz Williams knew it would be a tough task to rebuild the Hokies basketball program
coming off a 9-22 (2-16 ACC) season. It has not been a quick fix at all for Tech as they
have gotten off to a 5-4 start that includes losses to Radford and Appalachian State. Bibbs
signed his letter of intent under Johnson and decided to stay in the program. His loyalty has
been rewarded from an individual perspective as he has been bright spot of Tech’s season.
His best game was when he scored 22 points on 5-6 three point shooting against Miami of
Most disappointing team: VCU
It feels funny to call a team that is 7-3 with the second hardest strength of schedule in the
country a disappointment, but that is what the Rams have been thus far. After beginning the
season ranked #15 in the country and welcoming a consensus top 15 recruiting class to
Richmond, the results have been less than stellar. It is not the fact that they have lost, but it
has been the margin of defeat in each loss in their big games. VCU lost to Villanova by 24,
UVA by 17 at home and to ODU by 6 in a game that they were trailing by double digits most
of the game. However, the heralded freshmen have been playing better lately and if they
continue to develop the Rams could still be a dangerous team come March.
Most under the radar: William and Mary
William and Mary was picked to finish second in the CAA preseason coaches poll and
senior guard Marcus Thornton was the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. The Tribe also
returned last season’s CAA rookie of the year in Omar Prewitt. The team has lived up to
their preseason accolades by getting off to a solid 6-3 start. Thornton has picked up right
where he left off ,averaging 18.9 PPG after averaging 18.7 last season and 18.8 the year
prior. Despite having a strong team, they are not talked about outside of Williamsburg. They
are a contender to win the CAA tournament and would be a good upset pick if they get the
right matchup in the NCAA tournament.
Most irrelevant: George Mason
It seems like a seven seasons ago that George Mason made the Final Four. Jim Larranaga
wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum of a Final Four run the way Shaka Smart has
been able to sustain a consistent NCAA tournament team. Paul Hewitt hasn’t been able to
recapture any of the former glory since being hired in 2011. Hewitt hasnt attracted elite
talent to Mason despite being close to the DC/Baltimore recruiting hotbed. In thier inaugural
season in the A-10 last year the Patriots went 11-20 (4-12 A-10). This season they are off to
a 3-6 start this season and don’t appear to be close to being in the discussion of the top
teams in Virginia for quite some time.
Photos courtesy of Creative Commons
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Kris Mason is a senior psychology and economics double major at Virginia Commonwealth University. He
also is a staff writer for VCU's student paper, The Commonwealth Times.