Virginia Tech men’s basketball has won four of their last five games and has almost assuredly secured an NCAA Tournament bid. The Hokies will honor their four seniors on Saturday against Wake Forest during the last game of the regular season. Head Coach Buzz Williams reflected on those four seniors on Wednesday night’s Tech Talk Live, while Ahmed Hill talked about his redshirt season.
How team feels after last few games
“We’re feeling really good. Our bodies are feeling good, Buzz is getting us right with massages, he knows how to mend our bodies and give us the time we need off. Everybody is feeling good and these last couple of games have been very huge for us.”
Redshirting last season and advice Hill can give to Chris Clarke and Kerry Blackshear Jr.
“It was a very difficult and mental thing, just to sit out and watch guys do very good. Last year, they did a tremendous job and I just felt kind of left out. I didn’t help at all. I helped in practice, but not on the floor. The advice I would give Chris and (Blackshear) is to take this time to work on their game and work on their mental side of how they want to play, their leadership. I would tell them to workout, watch as much film as possible, get in the weight room and change their bodies. This is like a timeout for them, they can stop and work on anything they want to before they come back.”
How offense has changed with Chris Clarke injured
“Chris is a tremendous player. He can pretty much do everything on the floor. He did everything for us — rebound, push in transition, run point guard. Once he went out, Ty (Outlaw) came in and stepped up very big for us. Our team shrunk a lot, that’s a very big piece we’re missing. I think he averaged like nine-something rebounds. Guys just got to fill that role, step up, grab one or two rebounds more. We just kind of morphed into a more-together team. Now everybody is just ten toes in, everybody is all in.”
Being motivated by daughter
“She just turned two on Feb. 18. That’s another reason why I’m so hard on myself. I had her in my freshman year of college and it was a very young age. I saw her when we played Miami, I see her every time I go home on break for Christmas and Thanksgiving and over the summertime. I try to get her to come to a couple of games every year, but her mother has an internship in Atlanta so it’s hard to see her. I FaceTime her probably three times a week. She’s always happy to see me and that’s the best feeling ever.”
How badly team needed off days after recent stretch of schedule
“As rough as the schedule has been in the month of February, maybe what was meant for harm will be good for us. To be able to play the quick turnaround, from BC to Miami and then off Tuesday. We had early bird this morning and nothing this afternoon. I anticipate tomorrow, when we get back going, that everybody, including me, will have a bit more juice. I think I’m going to be like some, most of these other head coaches that give their media responsibilities to their assistants in preparation for when they become head coaches because after a game, I’m spent. I want to do a good job and I want to have the right tone of voice and use the right words and make sure I’m magnifying the people that need to be magnified, but particularly Monday, I’m done. It’s hard to manufacture energy.”
Ty Outlaw’s recent success since getting more playing time
“I think Ty is deserving of whatever recognition he’s getting. I just want to make sure that in the ways I describe him, that it’s much deeper than, ‘He’s made some shots.’ Obviously we have needed those shots and I don’t want to discount his skill set as a shooter, and he’s turning into our second-best defender. We don’t have many defenders, but he’s doing a good job with that. Most of the time, the JUCO guys that we’ve signed in my career have been really good for us. We haven’t been here long enough for that to come to fruition, but Ty played in the same junior college I was a manager in. That’s the same junior college conference that Jimmy Butler played in. That’s the same junior college conference that Joe Fulce, who’s a graduate assistant for us, who played for us, played in. It’s the best JUCO league in the country, in my opinion.
“I’m partial, because that’s where I’m from, but how he has handled his 20 months here I think speaks to who he is as a human being. He has been exemplary as a student, I think he’s represented our program, whether he’s had a uniform or not, relative to what we want to be about. I honestly believe the good things that are happening to him on the floor are a residual impact of what he has done prior to have been given this opportunity. I love stories like that. I cheer for people, not sports people, any person, who has a story like that because they’re lovable from the outset. Ty never blinks when you talk to him. It doesn’t matter the language you use or the tone of voice that you use, he has had 1,000 percent ownership in what we’ve been about since he’s been here. I never saw Ty play in junior college, I never recruited Ty. I never called Ty. I never wrote him a letter. That’s been the way with most of the JUCO kids that we’ve signed. For whatever reason, I’m not saying that’s the right way to go about recruiting, but for whatever reason, I think it adds to the level of hunger they have to prove that they belong. I think what Ty has been able to do over the last five games, hopefully there’s five, six or eight more left and that he can keep doing it at that clip. Honestly, we need it.”
Justin Robinson being named to All-ACC Academic team
“I almost tweeted that out and what I was going to say in the tweet is, ‘I’m starting to be old, because I think that’s really cool.’ Not that I’ve ever been against education, my whole life I have grown up in education, it’s the only place I’ve ever made a living. It’s the only place that both of my parents ever were employed. My entire upbringing was in education and obviously, that’s all I’ve done in my career. I’ve always been for education and I live that and I’ve mentored that in all the right way, but when (Bill) Dyer texted me that today, I was like, ‘Man, that is really cool. Now, I need to think of something silly to say on Twitter and attach that.’ I texted him back like 10 minutes later and I go, ‘Dyer, you going to tweet that out?’
“I was like, ‘That is really good.’ To be in your third semester of college and we need to get some more guys doing that. Anyway, yes, congratulations. I’m happy for (Robinson). He’s a really good student, will become a better student I believe. We have some other guys that are pretty close to that same grouping that (Robinson) is in. But I started feeling like a Dad/old man and like, ‘Yeah, this is what it’s really about.’ I know that comes across in the wrong vein but actually it was in the right vein I thought.”
How much seniors (Seth Allen, Zach LeDay, Matt Galloway, Greg Donlon) have meant to Buzz and the program as a whole
“Greg Donlon is the absolute best teammate I have ever been around. This is my 23rd year as a college coach. I have never seen a better teammate ever. We’re going to try and figure out a way to keep him around in some capacity. It won’t be as a coach. He’s the only player that I know in my career, this is my third year coaching him, he has participated in absolutely zero part of practice. He gets the practice gear, the practice shoes, he’s there, he’s energetic. We do a little deal that lasts about 25 seconds, then he’s done for the day. He just becomes the best cheerleader ever.
“Matt [Galloway], I have never had a story like his. He was a Division III player out of high school. When I got the job here, he wanted to come here because he wanted to learn how to coach. He was a manager. There are layers, because I’m a former manager, I’m relatively in my opinion too hard on those guys. Lyle (Wolf) has taken that over and there’s kind of an itinerary they have to follow and graduate from in order to ever get to the floor, because he knows once they get to the floor, sometimes I’m not nice to them. Matt never graduated to the floor. He stayed up above on the balcony level and then asked if he could walk-on. He obviously wanted to be a part of it as a player. He’s been fantastic. He’s very close, just like Greg, to several of the guys on our team. They’ll be lifelong friends and be in each other’s wedding.
“Seth was the first official visit of our tenure here. He had just left UVa. on an official visit and his dad called. I had talked to his Dad and Mom once. I had talked to Seth on campus at Maryland once. I had never seen him play, knew nothing about him. They called as they were leaving UVa. and said, ‘Coach, we’re on our way down there now.’ At that time, it was only me and one assistant employed at Virginia Tech. He was here seven hours and on their way home, they committed.
“I’ve known Zach since he was young. He’s from Texas, (Steve Roccaforte) recruited Zach at South Florida. That was when we were at Marquette. I didn’t think we needed that position at Marquette, so we didn’t recruit him. He went to South Florida and then obviously when I hired (Roccaforte) and all that was going on at South Florida, Zach wanted to come here. Zach did not take an official visit here, he just showed up. That was the end of his recruitment story.
“But those four guys, Matt and Greg have obviously finished their course work. Seth and Zach are in great shape, they just need to close down this semester, but if we can continue, relative to the character and the teammates and the spirit and the ownership and the work ethic that those guys have given us from day one, if we can continue on that path with guys that are going to end up replacing them as time transpires, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Virginia Tech has held the Commonwealth Cup for 4477 days. #Hokies
— Commonwealth Cup (@CommonwlthCup) March 1, 2017