Virginia Tech aiming high despite Clarke’s suspension
When Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams and several of his players arrived at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 24 for ACC media day, the Hokies had learned only a few days earlier they were ranked 15th in the country, tied for the highest spot in program history in the Associated Press preseason poll.
The accolade stemmed from Virginia Tech bringing back five of its top six scorers, including three starters, from a team that last season boasted victories over ACC blue bloods Duke, North Carolina and Virginia and earned a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.
One week after media day, Virginia Tech announced the indefinite suspension of guard Chris Clarke. The athletic department did not disclose circumstances surrounding the suspension of one of the featured members of Williams’s first full recruiting class.
Clarke averaged 8.2 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds last season. He also was a key to last season’s 64-63 home victory over Duke, scoring the final six points including the go-ahead tip-in with four seconds remaining.
“There’s just so many variables that you can’t control,” said Williams, who has not addressed the suspension publicly heading into the season opener Friday night against visiting Gardner-Webb. “And I think sometimes that’s why you wake up a little earlier and try harder the next day.”