Tech Talk Live returned on Monday night, with a full focus on Virginia Tech basketball. Forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. and head coach Buzz Williams joined as guests, talking about the Hokies’ upset of Virginia over the weekend, and how the team has focused more on defense in their last two wins. Here are the highlights.
Virginia Tech Forward Kerry Blackshear Jr.
Emotion after hitting the game-winner to beat Virginia on Saturday
“I was playing really bad, so it was nice to see something finally go in the rim for me. I got kind of energetic because my teammates were hyping me up. I was really glad to hit the big basket.”
Reasons for poor shooting night vs. Virginia (finished 3-10 from the field and 0-6 on three-pointers)
“I think I got some good looks and was just missing a lot of them. I had a lot of open ones, and everybody was coming up to me like, ‘Just keep shooting.’ That’s why I missed so many, so it was their fault.”
Improved team defense in recent games
“Yeah, definitely. In the past couple games, we’ve been playing better team defense, we think. Just jumping to the ball, helping out a man, just being our brother’s keeper, just staying engaged on both ends of the floor and when we get stops, we can score with anybody.”
Psyche of Virginia Tech following loss to Miami on Feb. 3
“Before (Buzz Williams) even sad anything, we were all talking like, ‘We’ve got to get this next one. Like, be us.’ That was the biggest thing that we got from that game. That game wasn’t us, so coming into these last few games that we’ve been playing, we wanted to be us, and that’s on both ends of the court. Like our energy, and just making the other team feel us early on.”
Devin Wilson’s impact in Virginia Tech’s last two wins (started vs. NC State and Virginia)
“He’s definitely a leader. Like, we really appreciate him. Ever since I’ve gotten here, he’s been like the floor leader, even if he’s off the floor. Devin is someone who handles his business on and off the court. Really good student, just the consummate leader and we love having him on the floor on both ends.”
Being the only real “big man” in the rotation
“It’s fun, it means I get to play a little more. It’s fun.”
Virginia Tech Head Coach Buzz Williams
Emotion after beating Virginia on Saturday
“No, you can’t articulate it. It’s the only reason I do it anymore. For them to have something that will be a lifetime memory is so cool and so awesome. I was explaining to them today in early bird, they don’t have enough wisdom to understand it, nor should they, because they haven’t had enough experiences to understand. But even though this sounds wrong, it’s right — it’s not about the result and the memory of the result, and KJ’s play, and play after play after play, but the lesson in it is where we were last Monday morning at early bird, and their willingness to accept what it was we had to do in order to have a chance for success, and the work and the sacrifice. Minutes have changed, roles have changed and our team, last week, was in a state of metamorphosis. And for that to happen in the second week of February, and to be 18-21 years old and willing to push all the chips in and say, ‘Okay, that’s what we’re going to do,’ the same with the staff for that matter. In the end, that’s the lesson, and that’s the wisdom that comes from it.
“There will be other opportunities where the result won’t be the same. But the sacrifice and the work, and the time and the energy and the effort will be the same, and how you have to be willing to go through all of that, not knowing what the result is going to be, and that’s against human nature, but it speaks to the character of the staff and the character of the players and their willingness to do that.”
Calling timeout before Virginia Tech’s 17-0 run vs. Virginia in the first half
“Well, I think the line was 12, and they’re the slowest team in the country. I don’t mean that to negatively recruit, we don’t recruit the same guys so I’m not saying it to disparage anybody. It’s their style of play. But 12 points is 32 points in how we play, so that tells you what the odds were, relative to the smart people that decide those things. Thirteen to five is eight. Against another team, maybe I don’t call a timeout. Maybe I see how it plays out. Eight points against them, that’s a million miles.
“Our response, obviously we made some shots. We made multiple threes. They missed multiple threes in that stretch. But like we talked about in pregame… we were going to give up a lot of threes, and we will play another game at some point down the stretch where we’re going to give up those same shots and they’re going to make them. But I thought that run in how we closed the half really gave credence, gave confidence to the plan and, ‘this is what we’re sticking to, regardless if it’s 13-5 or 17-0.’”
How the Virginia Tech rotation will look moving forward, and if Ahmed Hill will see an increased role
“Ahmed handled last week just as well as Devin (Wilson) has handled his weeks prior to. I think it’s kind of hard to calculate, unless you kind of bend through the vibe of it, the flow of it. Normally, a team goes through a metamorphosis, somehow personnel-specific. Normally, it’s an injury. Chris (Clarke) gets hurt, ‘Ty (Outlaw), you’ve got to play every minute. And you haven’t been playing, and we need to completely change what we’re doing.’ Chris (Clarke) gets hurt his freshman year. It’s normally personnel-specific, or this kid’s been out from a long ankle sprain and he’s coming back. ‘How do we fit that in?’
“Normally, the metamorphosis is because of something like that. It’s not because of what we’re going through. Having said that, even though it doesn’t seem like it’s a long time to go, it’s a long time to go, right? We still have 33 percent of the conference race left. And not to minimize what’s happened since the last time we had Tech Talk Live, but it was a seven-day picture, and in seven days there’s a lot of pictures we want to hang on the wall, but there’s still a long season left. So what you want to do as a coach — ‘This is the priority now.’ I think that’s what’s changed in what we’re doing. There’s not, ‘These things are the priorities, it’s ‘this thing.’ And everything, from managers to me, it’s this thing. That’s it. The only two guys that are not involved in this thing in practice is whoever’s scout it is, and they’re just back there drawing up their play, and that’s it.
“Specific to the players, and the grouping, the role disbursement or the minute disbursement, it’s all going to trend in that same direction, but we scored 61 points in 45 minutes. Like, it was completely a rock fight. And where we’re going Wednesday (Duke), it’s not going to be that slow. So we’re going to have to score points. Obviously Ahmed can score points. But when you think about PJ (Horne)’s eight points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes against Miami, next chance, we’ve got to build on that. ‘(Tyrie Jackson), a little bit up and down relative to your minutes, I know you want to play at Georgia Tech because that’s where you’re from, and it’s against your brother, but man, however many minutes it is, they’re really important.’ ‘Ahmed, sorry you didn’t get to play much last week, thankful we won, you are too, but this is the priority. Within that priority, we need all of you to continue to grow and get better because we’re going to need all of you.’
“The margin hasn’t changed. Our margin hasn’t changed, our margin isn’t going to change. (Khadim Sy) isn’t going to play, Ty (Outlaw) isn’t going to play, we’re vulnerable relative to foul trouble, we’re vulnerable relative to multiple things, specific to the margin. But the priority’s not going to change. Can the minutes change? It sure would help us, as long as the priority doesn’t suffer because of it.”
How Grayson Allen’s role has changed throughout his career at Duke
“I guess numerically, he doesn’t take the same volume of shots. They’re the same types of shots. They’re a different team. Obviously, they’re losing guys annually to the league. I think his role, in the importance of what he brings, the toughness that he brings, the experience of playing in this league, at this level, I think is probably hard to quantify. But his importance, I don’t think, has changed.”
Virginia Tech has held the Commonwealth Cup for 4825 days. #Hokies
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Virginia Tech has held the Black Diamond Trophy for 4881 days. #Hokies
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