Tech Talk Live Notes: Wabissa Bede And Mike Young

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Wabissa Bede, Virginia Tech
Wabissa Bede wants to get into coaching when his career is done. (AP Photo / MATT GENRTY, The Roanoke Times, Pool)

Wabissa Bede and Mike Young were Thursday’s guests on Tech Talk Live.

Wabissa Bede

On dealing with COVID-19 protocols…

That was the biggest thing. Nobody was with each other for the first couple of months, everybody was home. Me and John Ojiako were the two players that stayed here, so we were working out every day here. After that, I was happy to have everybody come back. When that happened, we were trying to gel as much as we could and get the show on the road.

It was a weird adjustment because there were a lot more protocols and everything. When you get in the locker room you have to have your mask on, you can’t eat in the locker room either. You just have to take a shower and come right back out. We try to socialize as much as we can because that’s usually how the locker room is, you try to bond and make jokes.

On his education…

Right now, I’m focused on agriculture and life sciences with a concentration in leadership. It’s been going well so far. I’m just learning different ways to be a leader and all different aspects of that. Everybody leads in a different way, so I have to see how I can push them and do that.

On what he wants to do after basketball…

I want to be a coach at the DI level. That was always the goal. The game of basketball changes every single day. Four years ago, it was okay to shoot at the NBA three-point line, but now, if you’re going to shoot from half-court, you better shoot at a high rate.

On whether his career has flown by…

Time has flown by. I remember playing Detroit Mercy like it was yesterday. Buzz [Williams] gave us the scouting report and I was like, oh my gosh, there’s a scouting report? In high school, you would just show up. You would watch a little bit of film, but not much.

On the freshman class…

Those three dudes are going to be each other’s’ best men at their wedding. They’re always cracking jokes with each other. Darius [Maddox] is probably one of the funniest dudes that I’ve met in my life. Joe [Bamisile] is very mellow and low-key with his stuff. I like Joe a lot because he taught me a lot about the mind, body and soul stuff. He’s all about yoga and meditation things.

David [N’Guessan} is just a funny dude. He’s always on me because I’m always on him. Whenever I have a turnover, he lets everybody know it was a turnover. He gets on me. It’s all fun and games with all of them. I love all of them. I just keep telling them to keep playing their role because I was in their position too. I was the 13th man in my freshman year. You have to keep climbing the ladder to the starting spot that you want.

On the team’s immediate goals… 

The biggest thing is to focus on us and stay locked in for 40 minutes. When we get a lead, we need to step on their throats and put them away. The game of basketball is a game of runs, so if they start swinging, we need to swing right back. We can’t keep taking hits because that’s how you get down in a hole. It’s okay if they go on a run because we’re going to come back with our own. That’ll give us a chance to win the game.

Mike Young
Mike Young’s Hokies are 8-2. (Liam Sment)

Mike Young

On Wednesday’s loss to Louisville…

I have gone back and watched it a couple of times. We didn’t play very well, that’s the bottom line. I’ve got my ideas of what to attribute that to, but I’m not going to overreact. I felt really good going into it. I’ll take nothing away from Louisville; they have a good outfit and Chris Mack is a very good basketball coach. We jumped out 11-0 and they come back to make it 11-9. Talk about strides, we have strides to make here in terms of shot selection on the offensive end and we botched some coverages defensively.

We are not defending the way we need to defend right now if we’re going to be one of the best teams in our league. I certainly think we have the opportunity to do that, but Louisville carved us up and shot 47% from the field and we got outrebounded by six.

Having said all of that, we did not play very well, and we gave ourselves a shot. We were down five at the half and had a poor start to the second, down by 14 at one point and came roaring back. Jalen Cone was terrific, and I thought Justyn Mutts played really well in the second. He adhered to who he is. He is a tough guy, an offensive rebounder and a difference-maker with his energy. We had some others that did not play the basketball that we’ve grown accustomed to. We’ll address it tomorrow, and I feel confident hat we’ll play better ball against Notre Dame.

On the point guard situation…

It’s kind of hit and miss right now. I am not terribly concerned about it. Cattoor was a +17 when he was on the floor last night, and I thought he should have played more. He only played 14 minutes, and I think he needs to be around 20 or 22.

Cone lost his mind and kind of kept us in it, especially late in the first half. I started him in the second because of that. He continued on in the second with really good play. We’re going to give up a little bit defensively because of his size, but usually there’s a good match for him. He’s good on the ball too. There’s room for improvement, but do I lay awake at night concerned about the point and getting all of that stuff right? I don’t. 

On players who were a little bit off against Louisville…

Aluma would be the first to tell you that he played poorly. That was as poor of an outing as he has had. He’s a better defensive player than an offensive player, and he’s made himself into a really good offensive player. Jae’Lyn Withers is a seven point per game guy, and he touches us up for 16 points. The kid is 6’8”, what are we jumping through the building for to try and contest a shot? We need to stay down, wall him up and guard him.

I thought Nahiem was really good in the second half, defensively as well as offensively. It was the first time on the road with this team against a very good team. We’ll address it and we’ll make it better. You don’t have to say much to those guys; they know what’s going on and they take it seriously. We’ll make the necessary adjustments.

On playing in front of fans…

Watching it on film today, I can’t say that I recognized it at all. There were some people around us, but I don’t think they had any effect on the game. It’s just life in the ACC. You’re going into another person’s building and we all know how important it is to hold serve at home. Louisville did just that.

On Justyn Mutts…

A couple of his fouls were ill-advised, and I thought one was a bad call. We were managing that throughout the second half. We’ll play Tyrece [Radford] at the four with a combination of Cattoor, Alleyne, Cone and Bede at times, but I don’t like to do that a lot. David N’Guessan needs to play a little bit better. He’s not going to score from the perimeter, but he moves the ball and moves his body and puts himself in good places. He has a liveliness in him that I admire. We’ll get all of that squared away. Every game is different, and you guys know that. We’re still trying to piece it all together.

On Notre Dame…

I haven’t seen a lot of them yet. I like to take the day after, unless it’s a 24-hour turnover like we have next week with Notre Dame on Sunday and then Duke on Tuesday. You have to move along rather quickly. I took today and watched us and looked at other film of our team. They aren’t really deep, they’re only playing about six kids.

Trey Wertz, the young kid from Charlotte, got hurt when his ankle rolled a couple of games back. They can really shoot the ball and can really space you. They do a nice job of driving it, but the minute you collapse, they’re spraying it out to the perimeter for Laszewski, who is shooting the cover off of the ball.

#11 [Juwan Durham] in the post is doing a nice job for them and can shoot it from 15 feet. Hubb is a good point guard who is big, left-handed and can really pass. Their record is quite deceiving at 3-6 because Mike Brey wanted to challenge his team early because he didn’t know how many games they could get in. He’s lost to Purdue, won at Kentucky which is always impressive. They may not be playing very well, but if you roll into Rupp Arena and win, that’s a quality win. They’re desperate and need a win. They had tonight’s game postponed because of virus issues at Georgia Tech. They’ll have a week off in preparation for us, so we’ll have to play awfully well.

On the issues getting ready for games with COVID-19…

We talk about it all of the time. They were really discouraged when the UVA game was postponed. The buses were outside Hahn-Hurst. We were ready to board the bus on Friday after practice, and I found out what was going on. At that moment, it was still up in the air whether we could do it. Soon after, word came from Charlottesville that it would be in our best interest not to make the trip. You better roll with the punches. You can’t get too high or too low with regards to the virus.

I feel very fortunate that we’ve played ten games. There aren’t a lot of people nationally that have played ten games to this point. We’ve got a better opportunity as a league because of all of the testing that we’ve been doing. As I’m sitting here talking to you guys, I got a text that we have another test tomorrow morning. We’re testing three days a week, and we probably have another test on Saturday morning ahead of the game. You test and hold your breath until the results come in around eight or nine o’clock that night. You get the all clear and look forward to competing again.

On flying right out of Blacksburg…

I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. We were back in Blacksburg last night at 11:30. It’s helpful. There’s certainly nothing wrong with going to Roanoke, but unloading the plane, loading the bus and driving 30 or 40 minutes to Blacksburg is tough. It’s a little chilly around midnight or one o’clock, so that’s been helpful. Most of our kids live just a few minutes from the Blacksburg Airport. It’s awfully convenient for them and gets them home a little bit earlier.

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6 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. That last comment by Young is so telling. I was involved in the airport expansion/relocation project and could never understand why they didn’t expand the airport runway long enough to allow for a large enough plane to carry the football team. I am no pilot, nor am I am expert on runways or sizes of commercial planes. But his comments clearly indicate that flying in and out of Roanoke is a PITA.

    I also am aware that other schools have to bus to a nearby airport as well, But why not take the opportunity when the situation arose, to make sure the airport could accommodate the football team? Talk about a competitive advantage that would afford VT.

    I am glad the basketball team can utilize the airport, but I think VT failed in their long term planning in many ways-not just the football team.

    But again, maybe it was just not feasible due to FAA restrictions or whatever. But I was never told that, so I will continue to believe it was just poor planning.

    1. I am a pilot and runway expansions must take in many factors.Extending a runway for commercial aircraft includes having the ownership of the property needed.Not only does the FAA demand many things like installing things like additional radars and a ILS system but you need the additional property for a second runway and room for a new tower and taxi ways.There are many many things that must meet FAA requirements these are just a small sample in a nutshell.

      1. There are a lot of other issues that bringing 737 or A-320 size aircraft into B’burg entail. Things like minimum stress requirements for the runway and ramp areas, rescue and firefighting availability and capabilities. The recent advances in GPS navigation would help with low weather approaches, but would need the procedures to be designed and paid for (pretty sure the FAA is not interested in doing this unless we can get an alumni into a high level position with the FAA). Airport lighting, the aforementioned clearways for both take off and landing, etc.
        It does sound like an easy fix, but like most things its more complicated than you think.

  2. Bede is a leader even if he isn’t a great shooter. He is also a realist. Understands his future in basketball isn’t on the court but on the sidelines. He has learned from two very different head coaches…a good thing. Good transcript. Many thanks.

  3. Appreciate the transcript. Always interesting to read what’s on their minds and how they express their perspective.

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