Virginia Tech men’s basketball is entering a pivotal stretch during their season. The Hokies play four games in the next two weeks, three of which will be inside Cassell Coliseum. On Monday’s Tech Talk Live, Ty Outlaw and Buzz Williams talked about the rest of the season. Here are the highlights.
Playing 35 minutes, scoring 19 points in loss to Louisville
“It was a dream come true, really. Since I’ve been at Tech, it’s been a dream come true. With Chris going down, somebody had to step up and I had no problem with it.” Ty Outlaw
Journey to Virginia Tech
“Started off at UNC Greensboro. First, I’m from a small, country town. Smaller than Blacksburg. It’s pretty much half of Blacksburg without Virginia Tech. I go to UNC Greensboro, transfer to junior college, and end up here. We have nothing in junior college. Maybe $300 a month to eat with, and that runs out in 10 days. We don’t have athletic trainers, so if you get hurt, look it up. I guess Google it. Nice facility, that’s a no-go. Maybe two jerseys. Two coaches, no managers. So when you’re working out, you’ve got to get your own rebound. Just coming here, you have everything you could ever want to be successful. I don’t make excuses, I just find a way.”
Thought of having a game like he did vs. Louisville after dealing with heart issues last season
“You can never know. You can hope, wish and prepare. I definitely hoped I would have a game like that. It happened, and I was ready for it. That’s the big thing. I was happy I was ready for it.”
Putting together Louisville performance on short rest, playing next four games in two weeks
“When you get to this time of the year, you have an emotional gas tank, you have a mental gas tank, you have a physical gas tank. It doesn’t matter if you have 13 healthy scholarship players or not, or if you have seven. You have to manage those three gas tanks. I think it’s incredibly hard. That’s why, you’ve asked me before, when you get to Valentine’s Day, you see a team’s stock that you want to invest in, and you see teams, it’s a stock you would want to get your money out of, because you know it’s going downward. Managing that, in of itself, is really difficult. I’ve said it since Chris’ injury, I love Chris. Chris is my kind of guy. How his motor runs, the athleticism, the speed, the length, the versatility, the ‘switchableness’ that he possesses. We have a completely different team. We’re coaching a different team, and I’m okay with that. That happens. Injury is a part of sports. But when you get to this late of a time period, it’s not me making excuses, whether we win or we lose, I’m not even consumed with the results, I’m consumed with the process and trying to manage those gas tanks relative to, we got a new team, what are we going to do?
“We can’t take Bibbs off the floor. If we take Bibbs off the floor, we’re literally playing 6-5 and under. But Bibbs probably needs to get a drink. If we take (Justin Robinson) off the floor, Seth (Allen) can’t be off the floor. (Ahmed Hill) is the most durable guy, but (Hill) does need to get a drink. Khadim (Sy) is the only one where nothing’s changed. ‘Dream, run over there and then get back to the rim as fast as you can. If they shoot it, try to get a rebound. That’s how you can help us.’ Zach (LeDay), his role has changed. Ty, Ty had career highs in, I would say, every statistical category. We’ve played 14 conference games, he has yet to attempt a free throw. That kind of tells you what his role is on the team, but that’s got to change. Is he going to have 19 and seven, play 35 minutes and lead our team in minutes, probably not.
“So I don’t know. I’m not concerned with how we score. We’ll kind of figure that out, we’re going to have four, sometimes five guys on the floor that have the ability to make something happen. On the other end, when you get to this time of the year, that was the slowest game we’ve played all year. We had 59 possessions. It was the best (Offensive Efficiency Rating) ever at Virginia Tech, in my tenure. It was the highest point per possession game in Division I basketball this year with a loss. I don’t think the issue is can we score, I think we’ll try to figure that out, but how on the other end, how do you score 90 and lose? How do you make 17 threes and lose? It sounds great from one perspective, and then it sounds like incredibly bad from another one. Somehow, we’ve got to bridge that.”
Reasons for Seth Allen’s increased output, specifically shooting
“I think it’s a culmination of a lot of different things. The first thing is, and probably the most important thing, is I don’t think he takes nearly as many bad shots. Seth is very crafty with the ball in his hands, he can make a play when there’s not a play. You’ve got to have one or two, or nine guys like that on your team. He’s for sure the best. He’s been the best since he’s been here. I think his maturity, understanding of time, score and momentum, he’s going to be an incredible coach. If I’m still coaching when his career is over, I’d love to be his assistant, because he’s very gifted. He understands and he can explain it to kids in a way that’s…he’s very similar to Jamie (McNeilly). Jamie has been with me my whole career, Seth is the next generation Jamie. He feels the onus of being a leader not just in words, he’s always been that, but I think he’s much more mature in being a leader in terms of his example. He knows he is a recovering bad shot addict, and we give him grace on occasion, maybe too much grace. That’s what recovering addicts from taking bad shots do, they take that one, but they’re becoming fewer and farther between. I think his numbers offensively are superlative. If he could lower his turnover rate just a little, he would be bordering on elite-level offensively. He’s got to continue to get his turnovers down.
“It’s the same thing with our team. At halftime we had 10 assists and two turnovers, then we have six turnovers in the second half. For the game, we turned the ball over 15 percent of the time, and that’s probably just slightly above average, but Louisville turned it over five percent of the time. When you’re in a one possession game, two possession game, we need more shots. We’re making them, lets just make sure we get one.
“It’s a lot of different things. He’s worked really hard on his game. He loves to be in the gym. He’s a great son, his parents have done an incredible job with him. He has a long-time girlfriend, so he’s not in the streets doing things other guys are doing. He’ll play video games, but not too much. He loves ball, and he could host this radio show or take my position, or commentate that game and be better than most of us. He just loves it. Zach (LeDay) is the same way. Those two guys are basketball savants.”