Branden Johnson (right) is joining Virginia Tech as a transfer from Alabama State.

A 6-foot-8 center from the Southwestern Athletic Conference is joining the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team.

Branden Johnson, a graduate transfer from Alabama State, announced Monday on Twitter that he has decided to play for the Hokies. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

As a graduate transfer, Johnson can play in the upcoming season without having to sit out a year.

The 6-8, 205-pound Johnson averaged 4.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 16.9 minutes in 31 games as a fourth-year junior last season. He started 15 games, including nine SWAC games.

He had two points and 11 rebounds in a November defeat at Iowa State and had six points and six rebounds in a November loss at Iowa.

The Garfield Heights, Ohio, native started all 31 games for Alabama State in the 2017-18 season, when he averaged 7.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 24.3 minutes.

He blocked 48 shots. He had seven points and six rebounds against Mississippi State. He had 13 points and seven rebounds against Iowa.

Tech coach Mike Young was in great need of another post player as he restocks a depleted roster. The only other post players set for the 2019-20 roster are P.J. Horne, a 6-5 rising junior, and Keve Aluma, a 6-9 Wofford transfer who must sit out the upcoming season.

There are now 11 players set for the 2019-20 roster, including returning walk-on Brendan Palmer and spring recruits Johnson, Aluma, Jalen Cone and Hunter Cattoor.


No bid for UVa

Virginia did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament Monday.

UVa, which went 32-24 overall and 14-16 in ACC play, was left out of the NCAAs for the second straight year. The Cavaliers lost their final three games, including the regular-season finale at Virginia Tech and two games in the ACC tournament.

Liberty received an automatic bid as the Atlantic Sun champion. The Flames (42-19) were assigned to a four-team, double-elimination regional at the University of North Carolina.

Liberty, the No. 3 seed in the regional, will face second-seeded Tennessee on Friday. The Tar Heels will host UNC Wilmington in Friday’s other game. UNC is the top seed in the regional and the No. 14 overall seed in the 64-team field.

UNC is one of eight ACC teams in the field.

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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