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Terrell Bell relishes role with Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech swingman Terrell Bell was once said to be cut out of the mold of Deron Washington. Although Bell might not be as gifted as the former Hokies standout, he has made an impact for Virginia Tech.

Bell is one of the Hokies' key players, someone who epitomizes the team's defense-first attitude and who makes the subtle plays that make a difference. Coach Seth Greenberg has routinely heaped praise on Bell for his contribution this season.

"I like the whole team mentality," Bell said. "I'm not for myself. I do like to get my team involved."

Bell is averaging only 5.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. But Virginia Tech relies on guards Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson for most of its production, and to focus on those sexy statistics is to overlook Bell's contributions that do not show up in a box score.

Bell makes plays that are noticed mostly by coaches who study film. He sets screens, drives for loose balls, fights to tip rebounds to his teammates or hustles back in transition to help set a defense. It is hard to quantify Bell's contributions, but he is the type of selfless presence that can elevate a team.

While working out of the summer, Bell said it dawned on him that Virginia Tech already had scorers and rebounders but was lacking a hustle player.

"Who was going to do the little things?" said Bell, who is 6 feet 6. "I just felt if I'm going to be out there, I might as well use my length."

Bell, a junior, said he still needed a year to improve; he has not been much of a scoring option for the Hokies. But he is making plays that matter. Perhaps his most notable moment this season came in a win over Clemson on Feb. 6.

In that game, Bell had a big hand -- literally -- in a 9-0 second-half run that helped the Hokies push ahead for the win. Bell started the run with an emphatic block on a fastbreak by Clemson's Demontez Stitt. It was a highlight-reel caliber play.

"It just feels really good when you do something sort of our of the ordinary other than score," Bell said.

By Mark Viera  |  February 13, 2010; 2:45 PM ET
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