Tech Talk Live Notes: Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech Reflect on NCAA Tournament Selection

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Virginia Tech Talk Live

Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop hosted a special edition of Tech Talk Live on Sunday night from inside Cassell Coliseum, as Virginia Tech earned its first NCAA Tournament selection since 2007. After the watch party that was hosted inside Cassell, the show kicked off with a few players, before Buzz Williams appeared on the show. Here are the highlights from Sunday’s Tech Talk Live.

Whit Babcock

Journey from Buzz Williams’ hire to making first NCAA Tournament in 10 years

“Yeah, three years ago… and I love the direction the program is going in. You guys see it nearly every day as well. While our goal and expectation was always to get into the NCAA Tournament, I was not hung up on it happening in three years. I’ve been a big fan of Buzz and his staff, and our players this year, whether we made it or not, but thankfully we did so people ask, ‘Are you pleasantly surprised?’ Of course I am, but at the same time, it’s what we had in mind and expected, but you don’t take it for granted. So three years ago, we were back at square one. With this fan base, this coaching staff and these players, I think the future is incredibly bright.”

How relationship works between Babcock and Williams

“I’m grateful to Buzz, Corey and the family. He came here and they had never seen the campus. We were finishing last in the league, and for him to take a chance on Virginia Tech and for him to get us started, I’ll always be indebted to him. What he presented to me was, this job, since we had not exactly been a basketball powerhouse traditionally, he said, ‘The best thing I know about going in there is because you’ll say hey, I’ve never known any other way Buzz, it’s a clean campus and we let him create.’ He’s very intelligent and he loves our players, and he coaches his tail off. His way, I’m very pleased with, but there’s no pressure to have to follow anyone else necessarily. I believe that’s what he means by doing it his own way, but I love working with him, we have an honest relationship, and I’m really grateful for them being here.”

Seth Allen

Feeling of getting into NCAA Tournament

“It was a great experience. I’m never going to forget it. I loved experiencing it with all the Hokie fans and my teammates.”

Journey from arriving to Virginia Tech to making tournament

“Yeah, I trusted him from day one. Knowing that I could come into a program like this, that hadn’t had any success prior to, it was just taking a shot in the dark, trying to change the program around with him. Being a part of that was a shot in the dark like I said, but it was worth it. Every second was worth it, every sprint we ran was worth it. I just couldn’t be happier for our team.”

How game has improved since redshirting first season at Virginia Tech

“It’s been a journey. It went fast. That’s one things a lot of guys don’t realize, how fast college goes. I’ve been here an extra year and it went fast. Sitting out a year where Zach and I couldn’t play, it was really emotional because we couldn’t go out there. We came to every game and we weren’t winning that many games. We just felt like we couldn’t help and couldn’t do anything from the bench. Practice was kind of our games.

Last year, we had the biggest turnaround in ACC history — an eight-game improvement, winning 10 games in the ACC, back-to-back 20-win seasons this year. You couldn’t really look and see that in the future from day one. You really couldn’t picture that. Just sticking together through everything, never looking behind you, no matter what happened, just keep looking in front of you and keep on digging, keep on working. Never getting happy with the results, just keep going and that’s really what we’ve learned through this whole process.”

Special memories from playing inside Cassell Coliseum

“I’m never going to forget playing at Tech. This was such an experience for me. I got a lot of experiences here. I just love how the crowd kept growing and growing throughout our time here. I remember our first year, there wasn’t that many people and then we have sellout games this year and it’s loud in here — it turns out being the toughest conference ever that we’re in. Everything happens for a reason. I can’t put my finger on one exact moment, but there are a lot of experiences here.

One I like is when Ty hit all those threes. That was great to be a part of.”

2017.01.10. Basketball. Men. Syracuse University (Orange) at Virginia Tech (Hokies). Cassell Coliseum, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. Final score: Virginia Tech 83, SU 73. Officials: Bill Covington Jr., Michael Stephens, Gene Steratore. Attendance: 6,047.
Seth Allen, Zach LeDay and the Virginia Tech Hokies are going dancing. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Justin Bibbs

Finding out Virginia Tech was in the tournament

“I just couldn’t believe our name was called. I was the kind of guy who couldn’t believe it. I’m extremely happy for what we’ve done and I’m ready to go to work.”

Bond and relationship between teammates

“We’re like brothers. We literally go everywhere together. A lot comes with that — arguing, fighting, but also love. It’s just the little things that bring us together. It’s a pod. That’s what we created, what Buzz created.”

Pride in helping to build up Virginia Tech basketball

“It’s huge. As a player, we feel it, we like when people come out to see us. It’s always nice to see people fill up these seats and cheer for us. Hopefully you guys come out next year.”

Zach LeDay

What casual fans should know about Virginia Tech basketball

“That we’re going to go out there and play really, really hard. We’ll do anything to win. I want them to feel how hard we play through the TV, when they watch. I want them to be like, ‘Yo, we need to pick them in our brackets because they’re going to play extremely hard.’ I feel that and I’m not even there.’”

Mindset of constantly playing taller post players

“It’s been like that since I’ve been in college. When I went to USF, we didn’t have a five, so they just put me at the five because I was naturally tough enough to play there. Then we recruited a five and I was playing the four, then I came here. I really been going up against the bigger guys my whole life, it’s nothing new. All of them are different — some of them are physical, some of them aren’t. Some of them are finesse, so you’ve got to just learn how to play against them.”

Memories from playing inside Cassell

“I’ll remember when we beat Duke. I remember being ready for that game, coming out and how ready everybody was, how focused everybody was. I feel like it will be the same when we go into this tournament. Everybody’s focus will be right there. I remember that game vividly. There’s been a lot of moments. I’m thankful I was able to come here and make memories and share them with everybody, as well as among ourselves.”

Ty Outlaw

Hearing Seth Allen say he’ll always remember Outlaw setting school record for threes vs. Miami

“Seth is one guy from the beginning that has always believed in me… for him to have that faith in me, the whole team to have faith in me, it gives you a load of confidence.”

Coming back from heart issues and playing a big role on the team

“It’s really like someone handing you a plate with everything you want on it, that you’ve been asking for. Everyone knows I wanted it, Coach knows I wanted it, and when it was time for me to except it, I was ready for it. (Buzz) always tells me God has a plan.”

Buzz Williams

Feeling after hearing Virginia Tech’s name called on Selection Sunday

“Youthful, that’s a good adjective. As I mentioned afterwards, back with the print media, none of our kids have done it. Not my biological children, my children think that’s what you’re supposed to do. But our players, none of them had ever been. Chasing something that they’ve always dreamed of, yet not having a firm grasp on what it takes. They understand that when there’s not any emotion involved, they understand it when you’re not pushing them to the extreme, but when there is emotion and you are pushing them to the extreme, and you’re trying to articulate, ‘Guys, this is what we have to do, this is what it takes,’ when they have no evidence of what it takes. That’s hard, and I think that’s why the teams that win, win and the teams that lose, lose. Whether that’s in sports, whether that’s in business, any time you see a flip, when you see the change, the people that created the change, that’s what’s so hard to bottle up. I think that’s the beauty of all of this. It’s not to mean the others weren’t important, so many former players have been texting me since the show and all of that’s really cool, but for the guys that are a part of this as managers, as staff members and as players, and they’ve never experienced it, from now on, they know. I think that’s the hardest thing to get. It was youthful, for sure.”

Note: Sunday’s Tech Talk Live is scheduled to be the last edition of the year. If that changes, we will certainly make it known.

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2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. This is a very special group of players with an extremely special group of coaches (including the assistant coaches and staff). Buzz is one in a million. The culmination of the last three years is the end of nothing and the beginning of everything.

  2. This elderly alum loves this team Zach, Seth, 5, Bibbs, all of them. Love their heart and work ethic! Love me some Buzz and all his interesting tangents, quirks and sideline behavior (always positive). Good luck against the Badgers!

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