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Quick Scout: Keve Aluma declares for NBA Draft, will keep options open

Following an All-ACC season, Virginia Tech power forward/center Keve Aluma has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft. Aluma, however, will maintain his college eligibility; the door remains open for a return to Blacksburg.

During the 2020-21 season, Aluma averaged 15.2 points (26.3 percent usage) 7.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

After mostly working as a rebounder/screener for two seasons at Wofford, Aluma followed Mike Young to Virginia Tech and put his redshirt season to good use. (Over his first two seasons at Wofford, Aluma averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, on 11.8 percent usage.)

As the season went on, Virginia Tech continued to run more of its guard-oriented/motion offense through Aluma. Young would screen the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Aluma down to the low block, space out Tech’s shooters and let the big fella go to work.

Aluma scored 0.94 points per post-up possession (46.3 FG%) this season, per Synergy Sports. Among ACC players with 50+ post-up possessions, this ranked fourth in the league in terms of efficiency — behind Matthew Hurt, Justin Champagnie and Ody Oguama.

According to KenPom, Aluma ranked inside the top 12 of the ACC in a variety of metrics during league play: usage (26.9%), offensive rebound rate (9.8%), defensive rebound rate (22.7%), turnover rate (10.9%), block rate (5.9%) and fouls drawn per 40 minutes (5.5).

Aluma filled it up from every level of the floor, too. He shot 60 percent at the rim (14 dunks), 43.6 percent on long 2s and 35.1 percent from beyond the arc (20-of-57 3PA). During his two seasons at Wofford, Aluma attempted only one 3-pointer. Aluma even showed the ability to space out and attack defenders off the bounce.

This is a great opportunity for Aluma to go through the draft process, workout with teams and get feedback. At this stage, Aluma is a deep prospect. While a great player, he’s highly unlikely to be drafted, if he remained in the pool. (Of course, Aluma could just decide to start his pro career, regardless. Aluma could absolutely crack a G League roster or play professionally in Europe.)

Aluma projects as a college returnee; however, you never quite know how this process could work out. Aluma doesn’t have elite size or length; he’s not a super explosive vertical athlete. But Aluma moves well and he can shoot.

If Aluma returns, Virginia Tech has the chance to be very good next season. The lose of Jalen Cone stings, but the addition of Storm Murphy is massive.

Once again, Aluma and Justyn Mutts could hold down the frontcourt; Murphy, Hunter Cattoor (super underrated player) and Nahiem Alleyne loom as one of the top 3-point shooting trios in the country. Tyrece Radford could also return as one of the top slashers in the ACC — and the straw that stirs the drink.

With this roster of players, Virginia Tech would have a real shot to win the league next season.

 

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