Tech Talk Live Notes: Mike Young And Jalen Cone

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Virginia Tech
Jalen Cone has provided a shooting spark for Virginia Tech. (Rachel Pincus, ACC Pool)

Jalen Cone

On his daughter…

She’s talking a lot and starting to put some sentences together. She’s definitely having a better understanding of Hokie basketball. Her humor is everything. She’s constantly smiling, laughing and talking. It’s really cool, she’s started to say ‘Go Hokies.’ It surprised me because I’m usually on the court when she says it. We were driving on the highway and you can see campus. She sees it and says, ‘Daddy, look, Go Hokies!’ Now every time we drive past the facility or drive past Cassell, she says it. Before our trip to Wake Forest, she looked at me with all of my VT bags and said, ‘Go Hokies?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I have a game today.’ She said, ‘Go Hokies!’

On juggling parenting, academics and basketball…

I’m very busy. There’s basically no time that I have to myself until late nights, but of course, I’m going to bed because I’m exhausted and have to be ready to have a good day the next day. I love everything that’s going on in my day-to-day life; being in the gym, being around my teammates, being with our academic advisor and being able to spend time with my daughter and my fiancé. I love it.

On his daughter’s name, Ivy Faith Cone…

It’s a beautiful name. It was a joint decision between me and her mom. She really thought of the idea for the name. We thought that combination was a good choice for her.

On his father…

I hear about everything from my teammates; the way he talks and the way he tweets is just funny. Bede recently screenshotted one of his tweets and sent it in the group chat. I think the most recent one they talked about was about Slam High School, who has millions of followers on their page.

My dad coaches a high school team, and they recently just played Mikey Williams who is a high school all-star. He comes into the gym and my dad is talking trash into the camera and saying how Mikey isn’t going to be ready. Then, it shows the after with Mikey getting a fast-break windmill. It was the funniest thing ever. My brothers and I were clowning him for it, but he loves it. He loves sports and he loves the game of basketball, so he’s always trying to get people on edge and get people to compete more. He just wants people to be excited about the game.

On winning without Tyrece Radford…

It was very cool. Guys knew that they had to step up and play bigger roles. Nahiem [Alleyne] did a good job with nine rebounds. He was trying to get that last one to get the double-double. We had a lot of guys step up last game. That shows why our team is so good. Missing a key player like Boots, we were still able to take care of business on the road in a conference game. When I had to sit out the first three games at the beginning of the season, we beat Villanova. We have a good team, so when we’re missing one piece, we have good players that can step up and take on that role to take care of that person’s roles and get us the win.

On his recent shooting slump…

Really the slump thing is just a mental thing. I just have to bring myself out of it. Sometimes, during games, I’ll get frustrated, thinking that nothing is going my way, but our coaching staff and my teammates are constantly telling me to shoot the next one. I know how many reps I get up and how I’m constantly in the gym. I know soon, I’ll be able to start knocking down shots again and helping the team win.

On his high school career…

Life in Walkertown is like that movie, hometown feeling. There’s not much to do. All you can do is hangout with friends and go fishing and spend time outdoors. It’s really about being with friends. It’s home and everyone knows each other. I had some pretty good talent on my team. They were all good athletes that played football, and basketball wasn’t their main focus.

My teammates couldn’t knock down a lot of the shots when games got tight, so they always relied on me. Teams always double or triple teamed me, so all of my shots in high school were off of the dribble. I come to college and it’s a lot of catch-and-shoot threes. I had another teammate named Jalen Ware who’s about 6’7” and he’s at a JuCo now. He was pretty good on my team, too, so I had some help.

On his refusal to dunk…

I’ll be honest, the first one was a miscommunication because I had Mutts ahead of me and I know that Mutts was really athletic, so I wanted to give the crowd something to see. I was trying to give him a lob off of the backboard. My second opportunity was against Duke, and Duke plays fast. Normally, I can go ten or more minutes without asking for a sub, but I was in for like three or four minutes and felt like I had played 40 already. I just thought I had to take the safe basket. That game was so exciting, playing against Duke and Coach K and a team from my home state, so I was just very excited and didn’t preserve my energy the right way. Maybe this week.

On his nickname being, ‘The Microwave’…

I’m cool with it. I first heard that term last year. Our nutritionist’s dad comes up to me and calls me that. This year on Twitter, I’ve seen it everywhere, so I’ve just been rolling with it.

Virginia Tech
Mike Young’s Virginia Tech team is 12-3. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Young

On the women’s team beating NC State…

I’m happy for those guys. They’ve had some tough rolls, but for them to hang in there and keep coming back against the number two team in the country, I’m so happy for Kenny [Brooks] and his staff. You’re around their athletes, and I think so much of those young ladies. For them to have that win today, good for them. They have great players and that’s a great win. I’m proud of them.

On the win over Notre Dame…

I am thrilled that we won, but I’m just as thrilled that we got home. Flying into Roanoke, that snow blowing by us, I had some concerns. I was just waiting on that reroute to Greensboro or something like that. We made it in. We were very good defensively, and on the glass, last night. Notre Dame only had one offensive rebound in the first half last night. That had been a real sore spot for all of us after Wake Forest touched us up on the glass and Syracuse outrebounded us.

I’ll tell you, Notre Dame has a lot of guys that can really score the ball; Laszewski, Wertz, and I really like Dane Goodwin. We were engaged, we were tough, and we were really hard to score on. We kept a body on a body, and I thought we did really well on dribble penetration. To come off of a tough loss against Syracuse and bounce back in a game we really needed to win, that’s easier said than done. To bounce back and play a pretty good ballgame and win was exciting to win.

On Tyrece Radford…

The first thing you want to see is that he’s contrite. He recognizes it, and he’s a good man. He made a poor decision, needless to say. We’re working through some things. There are a lot of things that I can’t talk about here. I love that man, and I will not turn my back on him. I believe in him. I feel awful and Tyrece Radford feels awful. We will support him and hang in there with him. Time will tell how it all plays out. His best interests are at heart as we try to work through this.

On Nahiem Alleyne…

He played well at Syracuse as well. We need all hands on deck. I thought Joe Bamisile helped our team win, especially in the second half. He came in and had a rocky start in the first half and just made a mistake and had a turnover. He came back in in the second half and he made the most of that opportunity. He had three or four minutes in that run. I thought our guys acquitted themselves quite well. Nahiem’s nine rebounds is a big deal. Cattoor was good again. They were all good on the defensive end. Anytime you rebound and defend at a really high level, you give yourself a chance to win. We got out of there with a great one.

On Justyn Mutts and Keve Aluma’s struggles finishing at the rim…

I thought Keve had two tough nights against Wake Forest and Syracuse. He’s so explosive and athletic around the rim. I thought I detected a little bit of a passive play on his part, he was a little hesitant. We didn’t do much in practice other than point that out. Be Keve Aluma, be a man and get through contact. There’s going to be contact because of who he is. I thought he did a much better job of that in the second half against the Irish. Justyn scores it quite well down there as well. I thought he had a better look about him in the second half as well.

On Bede’s defense on Prentiss Hubb…

He did a whale of a job. I pointed that out in the locker room to our team. He did a heck of a job. Hubb had 22, but Wabissa made him work and, I thought, frustrated Prentiss a little bit during stretches of the second half. I thought he took a couple of ill-advised shots which got us going in transition. Wabissa Bede is one of those guys that I wouldn’t want him guarding me. He’s disruptive, he’s physical and it’s important to him. He keeps that ball right in the middle of his chest. It’s hard to get anything by him.

On Mike Brey…

I think the world of Coach Brey. You look at those banners up there with the amount of NCAA Tournaments and Sweet Sixteens and Elite Eights. What he’s done in South Bend over a long, storied career is pretty remarkable. He is a terrific coach and a fine gentleman. That’s what we’re trying to get to. I think we’re well on our way. We’ve got steps left to take as we put all of this together. I don’t want teams to look forward to playing Virginia Tech. I want opposing teams to say, ‘I hate playing those guys.’ We are getting closer in those categories.

On Virginia…

It’s like they pivoted about the time we were supposed to play them. They were solid as all get out then. They’ve really hit their stride. We can’t use what we scouted on them offensively. They’ve flipped that much with a couple of different actions that put Clark and Huff and Hauser in an action together. It’s driving people crazy. They tweaked their ball-screen coverages to keep Huff on the five and not getting him strung out as much.

They’re playing really good basketball. I watched them against Syracuse, they were making shots. I just watched them play Notre Dame. They’re making a ton of shots. Murphy can really shoot the ball, Kihei Clark is Kihei Clark. He’s a really physical, terrific point guard. Huff is shooting at a high level, if he shoots from the top of the floor, that thing is going in the basket. They’re doing more things around the basket too. The Hauser kid from Marquette has come into his own over the last two or three weeks. He’s playing very good basketball as well. They’re good, we’ve got our hands full. We’ll have them ready, and we’re looking forward to the competition.

On Virginia’s improvement…

Diakite and Key were special defensive players, but this Virginia team is really sharing the ball. They have a number of guys that can ring the bell and get you stretched out. They give you a lot of problems in a lot of areas. We’ll have to be really sharp defensively.

On the trio of Hauser, Huff and Clark…

Clark involved in that does not allow you to switch on anything. You can’t put a point guard on Jay Huff, that’s not going to end well for the Hokies. So, you’re navigating that. You show with Bede or whoever’s guarding Clark, and now he’s popping on the perimeter and you have a long close out. All that kid needs is a blink and he’s by you with his quickness and his physicality. I think it’s been quite some time since Coach Bennett has employed this type of style offensively, but they’ve found something that’s been good for them. They’re playing as well as anybody in our league.

On the offense’s struggles…

We’re still massaging things and tweaking things. We’re not doing very well in transition. Not that our decisions are bad, but they need to be better. Aluma has struggled, he was better last night. We need to hang in there with it. I’d love to see Cone, Nahiem and Cattoor all shoot the ball well in a couple of games here coming up. I don’t think there’s any better way to reference it than we are stuck here a little bit. I see in our film study of our team some things that will allow us to open it up a bit. We’ll need to be good on that end on Saturday night.

On Jalen Cone…

What do you do to get Jalen Cone going? You tell him to never turn one down, that’s when I’ll take him out of the game. That guy is a basketball player. He’s a feel guy, and we ran something for him to start the game on Wednesday, he’s wide open and he missed it. I thought I detected a little bit of him dropping his shoulders. I want to get that out of him. His light is more green than Burnop’s back in his high school days. I’ll never say anything to him, just let it fly. We all know that he could make seven on them on Saturday and make us look good. I’ll be laying down tonight thinking about some things I’m worried about, and Jalen Cone’s shooting is not going to be one of them. Never will be during his time here as a Hokie.

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7 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Captain Obvious notes that VT is going to need breakout games from several players to win the “rugby” match with Virginia. I hate games where the theory is to foul every possession because the refs will only blow the whistle so much. I hope we have a better result that the Wahoos recent victims, but they are going to have to really run the offense with high efficiency and keep the ball in front of them on defense. I will be screaming at the TV – Go Hokies!

  2. CMY’s absolute confidence in his players is inspiring. Cone’s Dad is also on Twitter. Great to hear the guys talk about their kids. It’s life, baby!

    1. Agreed. Redemption is better than condemnation. We all make mistakes and being forgiven and learning from our mistakes is the best way forward.

    2. His comment about “not going back to Louisiana” is telling, He’s not a knucklehead, he recognizes the problems and what he needs to do, just that, like the song says, the past is close behind. so yeah, there’s hope here.

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