Tech Talk Live Notes: Hunter Cattoor And Mike Young

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Virginia Tech, Hunter Cattoor
Hunter Cattoor made an appearance on Tech Talk Live. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

Virginia Tech guard Hunter Cattoor and head coach Mike Young were Thursday’s guests.

Hunter Cattoor

On games being postponed…

It’s tough. Coming into the season, you want to play as many games as possible, [we] but understand what’s going on with COVID. We knew that some games were going to get postponed or cancelled. Having back-to-back games get postponed has been tough.

On his game-tying shot against Miami…

They came down and hit a big three-pointer to go up. Going in, our energy kind of just left us when that three went down. We had a play drawn up, but the ball got knocked out of bounds and moved up to half court. We got another play drawn up and had a great play call, a great pass from Bede, a great screen from Keve [Aluma] and I just made a shot.

On game-winning shots…

We came back from Louisville and the next day, I was in there working and I had the managers put 5.1 seconds on the shot clock and I just did the same thing I did in the game. I went through it and made it five times just to mentally allow me to move on, so I know that I can make that shot if I have to in the future.

On drawing charges…

I was just playing on-ball defense and they kicked it out and got another drive. I felt like I was in good position to make a play and take a charge. I just stepped up and took it. Going down, I knew those were big free throws as well to seal the game. I just knocked them down.

On the craze around his charges…

At first, I didn’t know about it, but I’m getting tagged in stuff a lot more and it’s cool to see after games.

On the offseason…

After the season, you kind of reflect on the past season and see what went well and what didn’t go well. I sat down with the coaches and talked to them, and the biggest thing from everybody was that now that I’m used to the speed, I need to get a little bit stronger and quicker. I also watched a lot of film to try and help the game slow down. That was the biggest thing was seeing what I did in games and then taking it out on the practice court and working on those things. You also want to try to improve and add to your game.

On Joe Bamisile’s in-bounds pass that was tipped out of bounds…

I do feel like I could have made a better pass, but he also set me up to make the shot, so I’m all good with it.

On Bamisile’s growth…

We definitely see it in practice, so it’s great to see. He’s in the gym every day working on his game and trying to get better. He’s been a great teammate too even when he’s not in the game. He keeps the energy up on the bench and supports all of us. You see clips of him doing crazy stuff on the bench. It’s great though that when his name is called, he’s ready to go out there and help us out.

On his release on shots…

I’ve always had a quick release, but I worked on it a lot during the offseason. I wanted to get my feet set and get my balance better. In the ACC, there’s a lot of taller guards, so you have to get that shot off quicker.

On playing seven of eight games on the road…

Honestly, I didn’t even realize that. It’s been different not being able to play in Cassell. Obviously, the fans aren’t there, but there is something different about playing in Cassell. Going away is tough, sleeping in the hotel and traveling, but that’s something that you have to do. You’ve got to win on the road and find a way to win. I know we have North Carolina and Florida State on the road next week and then we have Georgia Tech at home, so whenever that day comes, we’ll be excited to play again at home.

On going on Packer and Durham…

It was a lot of fun, especially after, to be able to have a text from my mom and people from back home saying they saw me on TV. It’s always cool to see and it’s a great experience. You see a lot of athletes go on there and talk to them, so it was cool to be able to do it.

On playing more point guard…

In high school I played point guard, and I did for my AAU team too, so coming into college, I knew I could be that combo guard. It’s been a good transition. I played a lot off of the ball last year, but with Cartier (Diarra) going out, I’ve moved over to the one and it’s been great.

On his dunk that was wiped away against UVA…

I wish it counted. I had the ball with four or five seconds and tried to go make a play. I was just half a second too late. It was crazy looking back on the video and seeing Bede’s reaction and Joe rolling on the floor.

On his family attending the game against Miami…

It was cool going through warm-ups and having them come down from the stands. It’s always good to see family at the games, especially during times like this when you don’t get to see them a lot. It was really good to see them before and after the game.

Virginia Tech
Mike Young and Virginia Tech are 14-4. (Jon Fleming)

Mike Young

On games being postponed…

We’ve had some practice with it at this point. We just roll with the punches. It’s disappointing because I want to play and our team wants to play, but it’s the times that we’re living through. You’ve got one response and that’s to hang in there and continue to practice.

It makes it difficult because we’re into mid-February. You just fall into a routine of playing twice a week and preparing for the next opponent. You wake up and you’ve missed a couple of games because of problems within your opponent’s program. I love the additional time on the practice floor to improve on some things and keep them healthy, but it is a challenge. You put your head down and keep chopping wood.

On beating Miami…

We really needed to win that game for a number of reasons. We knew it was going to be a tough one with those guards; Wong, McGusty and Olaniyi. The Brooks kid played a good game for them as well. He’s kind of like Durham at Notre Dame, when he plays well, their team has played well throughout the year. Brooks is such a presence in the post.

To be up 11 and in good shape and then botch some things. They started throwing them in left and right. I thought we guarded well during that stretch and had shots contested. They rose up and got them in the hole. We hung in there and fought. Hunter gets a big basket down. It was just a great individual play. Wabissa had a great ball fake, Keve screened it and Hunter did the rest. Then, they had a good look about them as they came over to me before overtime. They took off, handled their business and did quite well.

On Bamisile’s big game…

He played really well. We needed somebody to come on, and it was his time and his opportunity. He made the most of it. I’ve made the point before; you don’t get ready when I call your number to put you in the game. You get ready in the practices leading up to that game. If you’re over there feeling sorry for yourself, your time comes and you’re not ready to play, you botch it and that hurts our team.

Joe continues to work at it really hard. His preparation was quite good. We spent an inordinate amount of time on knowing who you’re guarding, his number and his game. He did a really good job in that area. He’s going to be really, really good. He took a big step forward against the Hurricanes.

On Justyn Mutts…

He was ready for the day. He’s put together a really good year for us. I think, maybe as a unit, we’ve continued to come together over the last couple of weeks, and he’s been a big part of that. He had 17 at Pittsburgh and 22 at Miami. His turnovers have been down, he has one a game where you’re wondering, ‘Holy cow, Justyn, where are you going?’

The positives far outweigh the negatives with that guy. What you don’t see as much as I do going back and watching it on film, he’s doing a really nice job for our team defensively. He’s super smart and really a smart basketball player. He’s going to probably guard Garrison Brooks for us on Tuesday at North Carolina. He is certainly a valuable member of this team, and I’m thrilled he’s a Hokie.

On Hunter Cattoor…

He’s serious, and it’s important to him. He’s a consummate teammate. I can remember seeing that guy the summer before his senior year, and I just liked his game. He has a high IQ, can really shoot it, and he’s tough. Last time I checked; those guys turn out to be pretty good college players.

He’s done a really good job for us this year. He put together a really nice freshman year. He’s just gotten so much bigger and stronger, and his defensive abilities have improved because of that. He’s a good Hokie and a good basketball player. I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity to coach him.

On the final sequence of regulation against Miami…

You catch a break with all of these reviews. I had one timeout, and I was going to use it, but I knew they were going to look at it. I had no idea that it was going to be our ball. We thought that it was, so we’re drawing up what we’re going to do with the ball on the end line. As well as Joe Bamisile played, he threw a horrific pass. You’ll never see Joe in that situation again. It reminded me of old Billy Kilmer, the old Redskins quarterback, and his wounded ducks that he’d throw in the air. Joe threw maybe the worst pass in basketball history. It’s fluttering through the air, and we caught a break because it comes towards our bench and Keve and a Miami player converge on it at the same time. The Miami player hit it out of bounds.

Now, we have it at midcourt with two seconds to play. I called a timeout there and used our last one. True story, we used that play back in the late 90’s when I was an assistant. I don’t remember the outcome of that one, but I’ve always had that one in the back of my head. It couldn’t have worked out better. Wabissa Bede had to do a good job getting Gak off of the sideline. He had his right foot on the sideline and was not going to allow us to go down into the corner. The ball fake pulled him just enough so we could sneak it down there. Keve truly screened two guys on the play, his man who wanted to switch onto Hunter and the defender that was on Hunter to start the play. Good players take over, and he rises up to get it into the basket and to overtime we go.

On maintaining composure in big moments…

I don’t know, I’ve just been doing it for too long. I’m not going to get too fired up about anything other than when we take a charge or when Mutts and Bede go face-first into the floor for a ball right in front of me. Those team plays are really critical for us, and to me, always have been. The other thing that goes along with that is that we have good players. He puts the time in, they all do, for opportunities like that. Good basketball players make good basketball plays, and Hunter made a good basketball play, as did Bede and the rest of the group.

On struggles in transition…

We’ve slowed down because I don’t think we’re really good in transition. Without Tyrece [Radford], who is the one-man fast break that we’ve got. He just takes the ball off of the glass and outruns everybody to the other end. It really started with Virginia. Giving up transition baskets is a big no-no, but with where we are and down a couple of guys, I want Aluma and Mutts to be able to get into the frontcourt. I don’t want to micromanage, that’s not what I’m trying to do, but I think I’ve got a really good half court team that can beat you in a number of ways. I don’t think we’re nearly as good in transition as we are in the half court.

On turning the page to UNC…

I haven’t yet. I wanted everybody to take a break from it. Coach Webster and Coach Nadeau have that game. We’re going to spend an inordinate amount of time on those scouts because it’s a big part of our program and there’s a lot of work that goes into it. It’s time-consuming, but it’s important work. I wanted our team to take a break because it’s like you’re watching film every day. I don’t beat them up with it. We watch 15-20 minutes and talk personnel and actions and how we’re going to guard it. At this point in the year, you’ve seen so many things, so it’s rare that you’re going to find a surprise.

I know their team, but I just haven’t started getting down to the nitty-gritty at this point. I’ll watch two games tomorrow and then really get into it Saturday and Sunday. They’re humungous on the front-line and are killing people on the glass. I think their best offense is to throw it up on the rim and let Brooks and Sharpe and Bacot and those guys go get it. We’ll have our hands full and we look forward to the challenge.

On staying in game mode…

We really back off of the contact at this time of the year for obvious reasons. I don’t want to get somebody nicked up in practice. I want to go to North Carolina on Tuesday as healthy as we can be. We shoot the ball a lot; before practice, during practice and after practice. They’re with David [Jackson] three or four days a week, and he’s pounding on them in the weight room and keeping them sharp. You just have to maintain your timing and your sharpness defensively. We don’t practice very long, we’re probably there just over an hour, and twenty minutes of that is contact. We keep them sharp and ready to roll.

On playing a lot of games on the road…

I’ve spent half of my life on that bus. There’s a lot of things about the virus that aren’t fair. We’re talking about a basketball team for crying out loud. We’re going to be just fine. Seven of eight is unusual and could be considered unfair, but Louisville had an issue and we couldn’t play. We’ve lost three home games and the UVA game on the road. We hope to make up one or two of those. The Louisville game has already been rescheduled, so we’ll get that one. As my grandmother used to say, there’s no use in crying over spilt milk, move on. That’s what we’re going to do.

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3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. “On game-winning shots…

    We came back from Louisville and the next day, I was in there working and I had the managers put 5.1 seconds on the shot clock and I just did the same thing I did in the game. I went through it and made it five times just to mentally allow me to move on, so I know that I can make that shot if I have to in the future.”

    Love it.

  2. I was looking forward to the L’ville game tomorrow, now with over a week between games I hope the team can keep their edge. Coach Young keep ’em busy and keep ’em sharp.

    GO HOKIES!!!

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