November 25, 2020
ACC notebook: Kenny Brooks extended at Virginia Tech
Miami guard Mykea Gray will miss the season
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Kenny Brooks extended at Virginia Tech through 2026
Kenny Brooks can get comfortable in Blacksburg. He’ll be there a while.
Virginia Tech announced Tuesday that it had signed Brooks to a four-year contract extension that will keep him as head coach of the Hokies through the 2025-26 season.
Brooks has led Virginia Tech since the 2016-17 season. In each of his previous four seasons, the Hokies have won at least 20 games. The Hokies made runs in the WNIT in Brooks’ first three seasons on the job – finishing as runners-up in 2018 – but last season seemed poised to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006. The coronavirus dashed the Hokies’ dreams of seeing their name pop up on the bracket, but they finished the year with a program-best 11 wins in the ACC and a 21-9 overall record.
“We’re energized about the trajectory of our women’s basketball program under the leadership of Kenny Brooks,” Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement. “Virginia Tech women’s basketball is in good hands with Coach Brooks at the helm. Kenny is a Virginia native who is well-respected across the region and has been adept at bringing talent to Blacksburg and developing players in the nation’s top basketball conference. He is a proven winner and a fantastic representative of Virginia Tech.”
Dating back to his time at James Madison, Brooks is riding a 15-year streak of posting 20-win seasons. From 2002 through 2016, he won 337 games at James Madison, leading the Dukes to six NCAA tournament appearances.
At Virginia Tech, the 51-year-old Brooks has an 86-49 record.
“I’d like to thank Dr. Sands and Whit Babcock for the opportunity and the trust they display in me to lead the women’s basketball program at Virginia Tech,” Brooks said. “When you take over a program, you will endure many challenges. Their support has allowed us to put Virginia Tech women’s basketball in a position to compete on and off the court for national prominence.
“Over the last four years, I’ve grown as a coach competing in the best conference in the country. Our continued success and growth were made possible because of a collaborative effort between staff and players.”
The Hokies this season bring back reigning ACC Freshman of the Year Elizabeth Kitley and First Team All-ACC selection Aisha Sheppard. The Hokies were picked to finish seventh in the ACC preseason poll.
Virginia Tech begins its season on Wednesday at 4 p.m., hosting Richmond.
Miami’s Mykea Gray will miss season with ACL injury
Mykea Gray seemed like a player that the Miami Hurricanes would lean heavily on this season.
An All-ACC Defensive Team selection a season ago, she led the conference in steals with 97 and was second for the Canes in scoring with 12.7 points per-game.
But Katie Meier will now have to find another player to step up and fill Gray’s shoes. She won’t be playing this season after suffering an ACL injury in a recent practice, Miami announced Tuesday.
“Obviously, this is a tremendous loss for our team as Mykea is truly one of our gamers and an incredibly fun player to coach,” Meier said in a statement. “Even though she won’t be on the court this season, Mykea continues to bring a positive energy to practice and has already started to coach and lead from the sidelines. We wish her a safe and speedy recovery and will be supporting her every step of the way.”
A 5-foot-4 native of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Gray was pegged as a key returner for the Hurricanes this season. She has started in each of the 96 games she has played in for Miami. Last season, she also led the team in free throw percentage with an 80.6% mark and was second on the team in assists with 90.
Miami’s season begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. vs. Jacksonville.
Pitt returns 83.2% of its scoring and 91.8% of its rebounding from a season ago. Toss in a decent recruiting class, two transfers in Jayla Everett (New Mexico) and Destiny Strother (Marquette), and the Panthers seem to be on track to be improved this season. Lance White’s third season at the helm begins Wednesday at noon vs. George Mason.
Also, Pitt is doing a cool thing with its uniforms:
Virginia’s Amandine Toi is a redshirt sophomore on the court, but is on track to receive her B.A. in French in May. She missed the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with knee injuries. She’s healthy this season and is one of just two regular contributors to return for the ‘Hoos, averaging 4.3 points and 1.1 rebounds per-game while shooting 32.1% from beyond the arc across 28 starts last year.
Former Virginia guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas has joined Towson. She is not yet listed on the Tigers’ roster and it’s unclear if she will be eligible to play this season. A native of Camden, Delaware, Kornegay-Lucas was sixth in scoring and third in rebounding last year for UVA as a true freshman.
Duke returns only 37.7% of its scoring from a year ago, which is the fewest amount of scoring to return for a Blue Devil squad in school history. In the ACC, only Virginia and UNC return a lesser amount of scoring from last season.
Jiselee Havas was a late addition to this year’s Duke squad as a walk-on, but she will not be eligible to play this season due to NCAA transfer rules. Havas previously played at Lafayette College of the Patriot League, but transferred to Duke for academic reasons. She is majoring in mechanical engineering at Duke and has two years of eligibility remaining.
Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli will have the call for the ACC Network for No. 8 N.C. State’s home opener Wednesday at 2 p.m. vs. North Florida. The Wolfpack returns five of its top six scorers and is aiming for its 18th straight season-opening win.
Oh, um, Jeff Walz needs another game, y’all: