Wabissa Bede will be back in the Virginia Tech backcourt next season.
Bede, who had entered the transfer portal last month after Buzz Williams stepped down as the Tech men’s basketball coach, has decided to remain a Hokie.
“He’s going to have certainly an expanded role here,” Hokies coach Mike Young said Thursday in a phone interview. “He worked really hard this spring from the time we got here. An important piece for this coming year, so significant news. Excited to have Wabissa back.”
Bede, a point guard who started 26 games for Tech as a sophomore last season, called Young on Wednesday night to inform him of his decision.
Bede entered the transfer portal on April 5, two days after Williams left to take the Texas A&M job. The North Andover, Massachusetts, native left the door open to remaining a Hokie.
Young stepped down as Wofford’s coach on April 7 to take the Tech job. Young met with Bede’s father in Blacksburg this month and flew to Massachusetts to meet with Bede’s mother. Young also spent time with Bede’s former AAU coach.
“I felt good about [Bede staying] for a long time,” Young said. “I never wanted him to feel like I was pressuring him into telling us.”
Bede started 17 of Tech’s final 18 games last season. He was one of the team’s better defenders.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Bede averaged 3.8 points and 25.3 minutes last season, when he had 82 assists and 38 steals. He had 10 points in the Sweet 16 loss to Duke.
“He is the biggest, most physical, experienced guy we have back there,” Young said. “Anytime you can put a bulldog-type guy on the ball as a point guard, that kind of sets a tone for you.”
Jalen Cone, a standout high school point guard, announced earlier this month that he planned to graduate a year early and play for the Hokies in the upcoming season.
Young has no problem playing two point guards together in the backcourt.
“I have done that repeatedly in my career,” he said. “Why would there be an issue playing two point guards? … You’ve got to find a way to get your best players on the floor. If two point guards are two of your better players, get them out there.”
Young is still waiting to learn whether or not Kerry Blackshear Jr. will remain a Hokie. Last month, Blackshear entered both the transfer portal and the NBA draft. The deadline for withdrawing from the draft is May 29.
Blackshear, who made the All-ACC second team as a fourth-year junior, has graduated from Tech. So he could join a new school as a graduate transfer and play in the 2019-20 season without having to sit out the year.
“He has the opportunity to decide what is best for him and his basketball career, his academic career,” Young said. “Whatever he does, I will be completely supportive.
“I hope like hell he comes back.”
Bede’s decision helps Young restock a depleted roster.
There are only 10 players set for the 2019-20 roster, including returning walk-on Brendan Palmer and three spring recruits. One of those spring recruits, Wofford transfer Keve Aluma, will have to sit out the 2019-20 season.
“It was not the best hand I could’ve been dealt when we walked in,” Young said. “Nobody’s fault. You scratch and claw and make the best of it.
“We never had that kind of turnover in my previous spot; we only had one [Wofford scholarship] to fill in the spring. I’ve never had seven to fill.”
Young is continuing to recruit for the upcoming season. But Tech doesn’t have many official visits left to dole out in the 2018-19 recruiting year; Williams had already used most of them. An official visit means that Tech pays for the recruit’s expenses.
“Recruiting’s hard enough. I have to explain to a young man, ‘We really want you, but you’re going to have to come to campus on your own dime,’ that’s tricky,” Young said.