Tech Talk Live Notes: Joe Bamisile And Mike Young

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Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech guard Joe Bamisile has contributed more recently. (Johnnie Izquierdo)

Virginia Tech Guard Joe Bamisile

On his passion for music…

Unfortunately, when I was 14, I got injured and had to sit out of basketball for a little bit. Then, again, as a senior, I elected to get surgery so that I was ready for college. I’ve been into meditation my entire life, and meditating allowed me to see that you’re still a human being and you can still progress forward. I wanted to do that in a different way that wasn’t basketball, because I wasn’t physically capable of playing basketball.

Music became an expression in a sort of way. Basketball is a form of expression, but music is that in of itself, a different form of expression. I create the actual sounds themselves. I’m not stealing beats or anything. Being able to evoke a feeling before ever having to ever put words on the music, almost brings the listener in, in a way. The words are to take you on a journey, but the music is music by itself. Just learning how to create those things and evoke emotion without ever having to say it, is something that I enjoy doing, and I’m glad that I learned to do. I’m still trying to learn more ways to do it now.

On his meditation…

I breath count to 500, currently. I only have like 49 of those left. I was doing 500, 500 times. Previously, I did 250, 250 times. The next one will be 750 breaths, 750 times. The kind of meditation that I do teaches concentration and consistency. When you have consistency in life, that’s when there is a sense of peace and a sense of calmness. There’s something consistent that you know will be there. Being able to have that as something that I can fall back on, that’s really good for me. I think that’s something that’s made me a better human being and a better person. I’m just more introspective.

On Jonathan Kabongo’s music…

Sometimes, I’ll just be tired after practice ended and I’m trying to go home. He’ll call me over and we’ll go from talking about a music video to having a fascinating one-hour conversation about how Kendrick Lamar’s producer produced beats around his voice. I was like, ‘Jon, why do you know this?’

On coming into games and hitting big shots…

It speaks to our practice. I don’t think in practice, Coach Young allows us to BS anything. Everything is real. In a game setting, I do make mistakes, sometimes I turn it over and it makes him a little upset. I think I’m super prepared offensively and defensively. It doesn’t feel foreign to me. The culture has been built since the first day that I’ve been here. Now, since I’ve been here for a few months, it’s a lot easier to reflect on how it’s impacted me, but I think a lot of it’s been because of what we do in practice.

On coming back from injuries…

It wasn’t that difficult for me. I’m not big on social media. Recently, I disabled Twitter and gave my brother my Instagram password and told him to change it. I don’t want to be on it at all. I think the big reason why people do it is because they’re comparing themselves to other people. I think being able to get away from those things and allowing life to be what it actually is and embracing that has made this journey enjoyable and something I love. I wouldn’t want to erase anything that’s happening to me.

On his future…

Truthfully, I’m not a super futuristic person. I’m very momentary. This is probably crazy against your question, but I’m a one-day-at-a-time kind of guy. In the morning, I want to make sure I can go to bed at night and have checked off the boxes of, did I get better today? Did I get stronger today? Did I become a mentally better basketball player? If we had practice today, was I giving my complete effort? If I can answer yes to those questions at the end of each day, then I’m cool. Whatever happens two months from now or next year, I don’t even want to think about it.

Mike Young
Mike Young says his team will play better against Wake Forest. (Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech Head Coach Mike Young

On Joe Bamisile…

He’s mature beyond his years. He’s super smart, too, sometimes too smart for his own good. He comes from a wonderful family. His mom and dad are both doctors; his dad is a psychologist and I think his mom is a psychiatrist or something along those lines. They are a really nice family. Joe played high school basketball for a friend of mine, R.J. Spelsberg, who is an Emory & Henry graduate. I didn’t play with him, but know him well.

I can remember going down early in my time at Virginia Tech. He was a rising senior, and we went down in April. I think we went down maybe two more times before the end of that period. He is going to look you in the eye and articulate thoughts. He’s a good one, and he’s going to be a really good player. We talk about it all of the time. He’s got a long, lean body and can really score the ball. He’s making strides every day. We’ve talked about how the strides that they have to take defensively are much larger than the strides they need to make offensively. Joe is certainly the same way. He’s come on by leaps and bounds. He’s in a position to help us more, and I certainly expect him to do so. He’s going to be really, really good.

On the loss to Georgia Tech…

We had to get back on the floor; win, lose or draw. We had to get going again. I made a comment in our film session today, and I started by saying that we lost our edge and lost our bully mentality defensively. Then, I corrected myself. I think this is one of the few things that I’ve gotten right this year; we didn’t lose it, we misplaced it. I think that’s a byproduct of the pause.

I told our team that we are not going to deflect that loss or blame it on anything other than Georgia Tech outplayed us. It’s a tie game at the half, and we hadn’t played great. I thought we were really good defensively, but it’s funny, I thought we might be able to avoid it and we didn’t. The number of guys that I talked to in the ACC, the state of Virginia and this region all said be careful of the second half. Your conditioning and that layoff can bite you in the rear end, and I certainly saw that. I saw a flatness to our level of tenacity and intensity. That was a high-level game, and we didn’t respond.

We’re going to be a lot better on Saturday. We had to play. I hate that it was a team like Georgia Tech that’s very different. They have good players, too, with Alvarado, Devoe, Wright and Usher. They got us, we move on, and we look forward to Wake Forest. We’d love the opportunity to play the Yellow Jackets another time at another point in the year.

On the runs throughout the season…

It’s amazing, I was watching NC State last night. They’ve had their share of problems, and they went through a stretch there where they couldn’t beat anybody. Now, they’ve rattled off four straight wins on the road. I saw them take down UVA in Charlottesville, and they looked really good. Georgia Tech and Duke are both playing really good basketball. It’s just a season like no other, needless to say.

I had a long conversation with Brad Brownell last Friday. They thought they were playing really good basketball, and I thought we were playing really good basketball. You’re very excited about what’s ahead, and now you get thrown off course a bit. We’ve got ample time to get this thing cranked back up to a high level, playing our best basketball heading into the ACC Tournament, and that is our goal.

On Tyrece Radford…

I thought he played very well with that lay-off. We’re not going to ever get into letting a guy ease back into it. We’re going to throw that rascal back out there and rev him up to get his 36 minutes and do whatever we ask him to do. It was great to have him back. I’m proud of him, I think he scored 11. The time off certainly was telling in some spots, but not in his toughness or his defense on Devoe.

On Cordell Pemsl…

Cordell has made some steady progress over the last couple of weeks and has been feeling better. I hope we can keep him healthy and he can continue to play. He’s old and really smart. He does help our team and gives us an opportunity to get Aluma off of the floor a little bit.

On Radford settling in throughout the game…

He’s just a basketball player. He became more comfortable. I call him the one-man Fastbreak. It’s the most amazing thing, he grabs a rebound and there are eight players between our team and the opposition on the other side of him and he beats everybody down the floor. It’s like he’s playing one-on-one with eight guys between him and the basket. He had that play in the second half where he got fouled and Tyrece got the thing home. It goes without saying, he’s a big part of our team, and it’s great to have him back.

On cutting into the lead…

I thought, here we are. We got a stop in that stretch and had the ball down six. We had a good possession going, but Justyn took an ill-advised shot opposite our bench in the corner. In his defense, the shot clock was at four. He was rolling and asked me if it was a bad shot. I said it wasn’t because the shot clock was going down, but there was probably another rotation in there where we could drive it and try to get fouled. We hung in there and gave ourselves a shot, but it wasn’t meant to be.

On his rotation continuing to change…

I wasn’t comfortable coming out of the Georgia Tech game. Their scheme is so different, so I didn’t feel good about playing Bamisile the minutes that I played him, and I thought Pemsl could’ve played another click. David N’Guessan could have also had another rotation there at the 14-minute mark of the second half. He never disappoints. He always helps our team and he helped us win the game against Wake Forest with his rebounding, and I think he scored 12 points in that game. He’s so responsible and conscientious on the glass. He helps us immensely.

I am still battling that part of it. I do think that will become clearer to me and to us as we head into the stretch. It’s been interesting, let’s put it that way. I don’t know that it’s been difficult, but you pivot and do what you think is best for the team.

On Wake Forest…

They’re doing a lot of different things offensively now. They also have Ian Dubose as well who transferred in and had been hurt. He’s a big, rugged backcourt kid who can score the ball. They needed some help there, and he’s helped out there. We have to guard the arc. I just watched them against Florida State in Tallahassee, they made 13 threes and lost in overtime. We limited them to seven made threes on the road and won. We’ve got another good day of preparation and shootaround on Saturday. The team was terrific in practice, and we look forward to the next opportunity in the Cassell on Saturday.

On Keve Aluma…

I think he continues to evolve as a player. Keve Aluma is and always will be, first and foremost in my eyes, a great defender. He’s not guarding as well as he needs to guard right now. He’s also a terrific rebounder, and he’s rebounding well. He had 14 rebounds against Georgia Tech, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. He is just a more complete player, but we cannot lose sight of what makes him special. He’s scoring the ball well, but what makes him special is that he’s a terrific defender. I know that it’s a matter of mentioning that and bringing that up. He’ll be better with that as he moves along.

On Carter Whitt…

He’s coming on now. He’s probably played ten or twelve games. He is a consummate point guard who can get them in their stuff. He’s a great passer. That’s difficult for any player to come straight out of high school. I don’t know when he started practicing with them, but now you’re thrust into the start of ACC play. Those guys’ teeth are sharp, and they’re ready to go while you are just finding your way. He’s a very good player and will be a very good player in this league. The experience that he gains this year, in a year that doesn’t count against his clock, is very important. I look forward to seeing him progress.

On Isaiah Wilkins…

Good guy, first-class. He did all of the right things here. He’s a great student and thinks the world of Virginia Tech. He needed another start and Wake Forest gave that to him. I don’t know what his plans are, but he’s going to leave there with his undergraduate degree and have another year to play if he chooses to. I think that he will, he’s a good basketball player who can help teams win games. He’s a really great young man from a nice family, and I wish him well.

On Hunter Cattoor…

I think it was as simple as he didn’t have a good game. It’s nothing more than that. That can happen. He has become so consistent, and you know what you’re going to get from him night-in and night-out. He wasn’t great defensively, and his ball-handling was not where it typically is, and he had a hard time getting unglued offensively. I have not missed a second of sleep at night worrying about him. He was the first in the gym the next day. He recognizes that he had a bad game, but he’ll bounce back, have a nice game on Saturday and be the same Hunter Cattoor that we’re used to.

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