Tech Talk Live Notes: Mike Young And Kevin Giltner Recap Charleston

Virginia Tech and Mike Young are 5-1. (Kate Haas)

On Wednesday night, Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Mike Young and assistant coach Kevin Giltner joined Zach Mackey and Mike Burnop on Tech Talk Live. They recapped Charleston, the first six games of the season, chatted about Thanksgiving and more.

Mike Young

Takeaways from Charleston:

I felt a lot better about our team coming out. While I was disappointed with Sunday’s outcome, going back and watching all three of those games Monday, Tuesday, here’s the bottom line: if we can stay healthy, we’ve got another very good basketball team. We’ve gone through Sunday’s game with a fine tooth comb, up seven with five and a half to play. Come back to the media timeout, under four, and it’s tied. We botched some things. Hunter Cattoor, he’s as sure handed is any we’ve ever had, he had a bad turnover up seven with the ball. Grant [Basile] had a bad turnover, [Sean] Pedulla had a bad shot, which is essentially a turnover.

I know this team well enough already that they absorbed, they will learn from it. I told him yesterday in practice, really the first day we really came back and and stepped on the gas and practiced hard, we’re gonna have about 20 of those games, and our decision-making, our readiness and toughness defensively has got to take a real step forward, and it will. MJ Collins, who is going to be a very, very good defender, is in his gap where he suppose to be. We talk about strong side threes, you can’t give up a strong side three. So if I’m dribbling the ball at you and you’re in that gap, that ball can’t go to your man for a catch-and-shoot three, and it did to number two down in front of Charleston’s bench, Basile had one of the top of the key on number 10. You just can’t give up those baskets, and we did. Again, we’ll learn from it. We’ll get better.

How important is that tournament experience?

Zach, I think it’s very important. I wish to heck I didn’t have to play the host school on their home floor. I did that for 17 years at Wofford, I don’t want to do that at Virginia Tech. But again, that that atmosphere will serve as well. There will be other games on the road in this league that will be full and raucous and you gotta hang in there. You’ve got to hang in there make make the plays you’ve got to make to to win. We didn’t do that on Sunday. We’ll do it in the future.

TD Arena was rocking:

Again, I’ve been there. I’ve done it for 17 years now. I told our team before the game, “To these people, the Dallas Cowboys are in Charleston for a for a ballgame. And it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be loud. We’re going to have to make some plays,” and we played pretty well, fellas, we played a pretty good basketball game. And one that would have really helped us with the analytics and all that had we won. We got beat by two. We’ll get better.

Rebounding vs. Old Dominion:

Well, they don’t shoot worth a nickel. So they send they send the calvary to the to the offensive glass. It’s like the old roller derby. You older folks remember the roller derby on television, they swing that guy to the right, across the rails and so on? Well, that’s what it looked like with Old Dominion. They’ve got tough kids and Jeff Jones is a terrific coach. We went up 20 in the first half or early second half. This team is a great group of folks, they understand what it’s all about. But we dropped our shoulders a little bit in the William & Mary game in the second half up big, and then in the Old Dominion game, and then you got to make some plays down the stretch. I always thought we were in good shape. But that was a good win to get, now. I think Jeff’s got a got a pretty good outfit down there.


Going into the Charleston game, we were sixth in the country in assist-turnover ratio, which is what we expect. Our teams are typically top 25 in the country, even when I was at Wofford, top 25 in the country in the number of assists compared to the number of turnovers. We’re typically two-to-one, three-to-one. We had 13 against College of Charleston, 12 assists, which are not our numbers. Charleston did a pretty good job of guarding and guarding us. But I don’t care. Football, you turn it over, you’re gonna get beat. If you have base on balls in baseball, you’re going to get beat. If you kick the thing around as a basketball team… victory favors the team making the fewest mistakes, and we made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes.

Sean Pedulla’s handled the ball well for the Hokies this year. (Ivan Morozov)

Sean Pedulla’s development:

He’s doing great, very proud of him. He is a very good basketball player. We talked about some things today. He’s got to make the easier play at times, a two-on-one break, make the make the right play, but very little to be critical of Sean through six games. He’s doing it night and night out. Very proud of him.

Rodney Rice update:

Rodney saw his surgeon in D.C. on Monday, we flew him from Charleston to D.C. He got a very good report. The doctor and his physical therapist think it’s a little premature to really step on the gas. He is working out, and that will continue to ramp up to full speed. He’s still a couple of weeks away, maybe three weeks away, from being full contact, playing five-on-five, playing one-on-one. We just want to make sure that he’s squared away health-wise and he’s comfortable with that ankle. But he worked out today, looked great. He shot the heck out of the ball and was moving very well. He has the conditioning of some of the older folks in here who’ve been on the shelf for so long. But he’s young and he’s a basketball player, and he’ll get back squared away here very, very soon.

Ball-handling has been solid so far this year:

[We’re] playing with fire a little bit. [Hunter] Cattoor is just so important for us off the ball. He’s our best screener, he’s our best cutter, he’s our best receiver, all sorts of things. When you move him to the backcourt, put the ball in his hands, that’s another load that I’m putting on his shoulders. I need to get Sean off the floor a little bit more, I see some fatigue, more on the defensive end than on the offensive end. But I’ve got him loaded up, Sean that is, and we’re gonna get Rice back soon. He’s in practice and he’s getting the reps, again, no contact. But that’s was dicey [when Cattoor and Pedulla each had two fouls vs. Penn State].

Now, that’s dangerous territory. I’ve got friends of mine, colleagues that I admire greatly, that will not play a person with two fouls in the first half. I’ve never been that guy. I just think sitting over there, it’s hard to get ramped back up to start the second half. So I’ll play him, and I’m saying after every media timeout, “Don’t foul, don’t foul.” And he picked up his third one and that’s tricky. But we made it through just fine. But I would be less than honest with you, Zach, if I told you it’s all ice cream and rainbows right now. It’s not. It’s something that we’re juggling and trying to manage every every game, it seems like.

Cattoor’s defense on Penn State’s Jalen Pickett:

The Pickett kid, No. 22 for Penn State, their point guard – Chester Frazier, who’s in the same league, was with us for two years, now at Illinois, told me this summer. He said, “They’ve got a point guard that’s big and he’s strong and he posts up.” And then I watched them play the first round against Furman and then watched some on film in preparation for the Penn State game and I’m thinking, “Hunter Cattoor’s going to guard him, but I don’t know how we’re going to do that.” This guy is a man, he’s a beast. He’s a big guy, looks like a NFL free safety. Long arms. And Cattoor was just exceptional. He was physical. But that was the matchup of the game.

I thought we played a very good basketball game. And I think Penn State has a good outfit, a very good outfit actually. I just marvel… I said to our team yesterday in film, we never say anything about Cattoor in our film stuff. We may brag on this one, we may brag on this defensive stance and position and shot contest. We never say anything about Cattoor, and we could say something positive about him on every possession. He’s just so responsible and smart, and he’s tougher than a $2 dollar steak. He’s terrific.

What makes someone so good at playing defense?

I was pointing out to one of our players today, a young player and I won’t tell you who it is. He’s really good player. I said, “Listen, buddy. There’s hope for all of us. Hunter Cattoor couldn’t guard anything when he first got here.” And he couldn’t, he couldn’t guard anything. Unprepared, foot speed, foot quickness. But he worked and he worked and he’s brilliant. It was Hunter Cattoor in the timeout, last possession of the game, Coach [Micah] Shrewsberry had called timeout with 4.7, I believe. And they put somebody in the way back. We talked a little bit about it and I saw how they were aligned and I called timeout. Be prepared for this. We want to switch this blah, blah, blah.

Cattoor popped up and said, “If something breaks down, that kid in the backcourt is going to come racing into the frontcourt and they’re going to try to get him downhill,” and that’s like trying to stop a speeding bullet, number 11. And lo and behold, we break all that down and here comes number 11 into the frontcourt, going 100 miles an hour. Cattoor was in his gap, got his hands on the ball, dislodged it. The thing went off the kid’s chest out of bounds, we win. He’s brilliant. He wants to coach. I try to talk him out of it every day. I tried to talk him out of it again today. He comes by and he has lunch every day. He might sit at my desk, which I could care less, and we just talk. We talked about his coaching career a little bit today. There will be a place for him in Blacksburg, I can assure you that.

What goes through your mind in the late-game moments?

It’s a bit chaotic and I want peace, I don’t want all these voices coming at me. Just quick snippets as you’re getting it all together. You can’t give the team all of this, alright? Be prepared for this offensively, defensively. And you rely on on on intelligent, high IQ basketball players, and when you’re dealing with the likes of Justyn Mutts, Pedulla’s a sharp kid, Cattoor. Those guys are smart. Those guys have seen a lot of plays, too.

Mike Young said individually, this is one of the smartest basketball teams he’s ever coached. (Kate Haas)

Is this one of the smartest teams you’ve had from a basketball IQ standpoint?

I don’t know about collectively. Individually [yes]. I’ll ask Mutts and hunter a lot of times during a lead up to the next game, “How do you think we should guard it?” And they won’t tell me how we should guard it, they tell me how we’re going to guard it. That’s true. And I’m good with that. I’m down the road here guys, been doing it a long time. For those young people to feel ownership and to feel like they’ve got input. I’ve said it all along, I’ve said it so many times, those guys are making the plays. And those guys that are making the plays have seen a lot of them. They are better versed in how exactly our team should guard that than I am. Those two guys have a lot of input, they all have a lot of input. But those two guys, certainly, with all of the basketball they’ve played.

Your technical foul vs. College of Charleston:

It was a really bad call. I’ve had six in my 21 years. The guy that called it is a friend of mine, Jeff Anderson. He is a terrific official. He missed the call. And here’s the bottom line. You say the same thing about football. College basketball is a very hard sport to call. It’s physical, it’s fast. So much of the game is played above the rim and there are bodies flying everywhere. The hardest call in the game is a block/charge, that was a block charge. I thought he botched it. I don’t say a lot to them, traditionally. They’ve got a job to do and so to I, and if I’m out there ranting and raving about this call and that, call my focus is way away from where it should be, on my team.

Those guys are friends. I mean, those guys are friends of mine. I can honestly tell you that there’s not one that I don’t admire. It was John Higgins, John’s awesome, John gave me the technical and he’s coming back out at halftime and he said, “You know I had to get you.” I said, “I don’t care, John. I knew you had to. I was standing over top of midcourt, I knew you had you had to do something, but I could care less.” I told him, “Shoot, man, I’ll go to my grave knowing John Higgins gave me my six technical foul of my career, that’s a feather in my hat.” I feel good about it.

The team rallied around it:

I just thought we were about ready to break loose and get some things going. We mishandled some things and Charleston got on a little run. Games of that magnitude, on the road like that, there will be some peaks and valleys. They went up I think 13 and right back we came and played very, very well in doing so. Good resolve from from our bunch.

How do you get to the free throw line more?

You put more pressure on people. And we will, we’ll get there, that’s disappointing. We didn’t get to the free throw line a whole lot last year either and I don’t like that. I think that that’ll flip here soon because of Pedulla’s ability to drive it and Mutts’s ability around the around the basket. I find that quite hard to believe [3-of-5 from the free-throw line at Charleston] and that was a very good officiating crew, a really good officiating crew. That’s a final four crew. But man, Charleston’s physical. Again, going to the roller derby on TV back in the 70s, just bodies going everywhere. And we shoot five foul shots? I just find that perplexing.

MJ Collins and the bench:

I thought he maybe came of age a little bit in the second half when he had a nice finish in transition for a basket and got fouled. He spells the first three letters of the word “defense” right now. Sometime soon, and he played 25 minutes against Charleston, he’s playing good minutes every night, he’s going to be he’s gonna be a really, really good defensive player and one that we can count on in any situation. We do need more production, matchups were not great for Mylyjael Poteat and Lynn Kidd in that in that game because of their ability to put it on the floor a little bit. They played a little bit smaller in stages. But we had those same issues at times this time last year and we got it figure it out. I think this team will get it figured out, we’ll get it figured out together.

Upcoming games: Charleston Southern on Friday, Minnesota on Monday:

I just watched Charleston, they’ve got some guys that can really score. I just watched the Tulane game and Tulane has a good basketball team and Charleston Southern played a very fine game against the Green Wave. They beat Bethune-Cookman last night. We’ve got our hands, we’re going to have to play well. Well, I don’t know anything about Minnesota, ask Coach [Kevin] Giltner, he’s got that scout, I’m sure he’s got a pretty good handle on them already. I know Ben Johnson, their head coach, is a good friend of mine. Their assistant up there is a dear friend, coached Jamar Diggs and Cameron Rundles, two of the best players I’ve ever had in my life at Wofford, at DeLaSalle [High School]. Inner City, private school in Minneapolis. Great Dave Thorson, great coach,

Grant Basile’s defense continues to improve. (Jon Fleming)

Grant Basile’s defense:

Basile’s going to be fine. Grant Basile, he’s a really good basketball player. He’s conscientious. He needs to develop another level of trust in himself. He so desperately wants to be right and play the right way and do exactly what we ask him. I think it paralyzes him a little bit at times, and his readiness and his edginess and his preparedness to one pass after the other shot goes, up box out. He’s doing great offensively. He’s got strides to make here defensively but he’s got the want to. We’ve got to do a better job of coaching him and put him in better spots.

Kevin Giltner

What’s the last week been like?

Kind of getting back to us. It’s been so scout-oriented. We have six games in 13 days. So it’s been prepare for the next game, prepare for the next game, rest prepare for the next game, rest. Today, we focused a lot on ourselves. We did touch on Charleston Southern a little bit, which was needed, but yesterday we got a lot of shots up schoolwork got in the weight room, which I think was is a big deal. David Jackson does a great job with our guys in season. So [it’s been] go back to us, if you will.

Preparing for teams in a tournament is extremely challenging:

The ACC tournament makes it a little bit easier because we’ve seen them all year long. Maybe played them twice. But that tournament, I mean, we don’t know anything about Colorado State. You don’t know anything about Davidson. So it does make it tough. But that day in between was heaven. My wife, my daughter, my mom all went down there and I didn’t really see him. That’s just because you’re trying to dial up what’s coming.

How do we prepare? What are we running? How do we stop on all the intricacies of the game? It’s a lot of film, but we love it. I mean, that’s what we do for us to compete. So no complaints, we’re staying in a nice place, we played in a nice tournament on ESPN, it’s hard to complain at all, but it was nice to get back home Saturday, Sunday night, Monday, kind of catch our breath.

How does picking scouts work?

We try to repeat as much as we can from the previous year. So I guess we almost kind of work backwards with the ACC schedule, when that thing comes out, that’s like the very first thing we do. It’s kind of fun. We all sit in there and we say, “This makes sense for you to take that one so you don’t have the back-to-back. And you try to do it, “Coach Webster, Coach Jones, me,” especially because Jones makes so you get a little bit of space, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. But it that is a big part of it. And it’s those video edits. Those things don’t just make themselves, you know, it takes some time to put them together. We’ve got an unbelievable crew of GAs and support staff that helped with the graphics on the scouting reports and the video. And then we have an incredible scout team. You guys know that.

Those guys who are on our scout team are a huge deal to our program. We always say that those guys run it just as good, if not better, than the team that we’re playing runs their actions. So that’s a big look into what we do, at least for us, the way we do things we put a lot into the scouting, we put a lot into the preparation for Charleston or for Penn State, we tried to do a lot of reps with what they run day of the game, day before the game. So it’s a big deal for us. Those scouts are time consuming, but they’re also really fun to kind of like gameplan, how you want to attack the team.

How has your role changed over time with the Hokies?

I’m vocal, probably too much. It’s probably like, “Shut up, KG.” But Coach Young gives all of us an incredible voice. And he enables us to kind of express what we see. I was an assistant coach at Wofford for a long time. So coming up here that first year and not being an assistant, but being a special assistant to the head coach, that was different. It was different. But also everything at Virginia Tech was different.

We went from a small staff, private school to a big staff, big public school in the ACC, so everything was different. That first year was just incredibly eye opening for me, learned a lot. But we’ve kind of got our feet on the ground, knock on wood if you can. So I feel a little bit more comfortable every single year here and I feel really comfortable with coach and coach feels really comfortable me. Jumping up a level was easier knowing who I’m with. I wasn’t jumping up a level to a stranger, so it helped in that regard.

What was your perspective as a player at Wofford, and how’s it changed as a coach?

Incredibly different. Had no idea what coaches did. Coaches just coached, right? I thought it was 90%, “Let’s draw up some cool plays and figure out what we’re doing for practice.” Not at all. It’s it’s very little that actually, that’s kind of the easier part. It’s the recruiting, it’s the compliance is the academics, it’s the travel schedule. How does all that work in the organization between all that? My first year was ops and I was just blown away like wow.

I didn’t know all this went into it, and as a player, you kind of take that for granted because you’re just worried about the games, you show up and the food’s there. You know that your jersey’s sitting in your locker, put it on go play the game, the scout’s ready. But to see the other side of it was incredibly eye opening and I love it. I loved it and I knew I wanted to get into coaching in college when I was playing and I was so fortunate to be able to jump up on staff with coach when I wasn’t playing. Timing is everything, especially in this business and, man, I got lucky.

Kevin Giltner is in his fourth year at Virginia Tech, just like Mike Young. (Jon Fleming)

You played a year of professional basketball in Iceland:

Bad basketball, low-level professional basketball, got my beak wet, realized really quickly that I wasn’t gonna make a lot of money playing professional basketball, so I better start coaching. And like I said, timing worked out where coach had a spot on his staff that next year and I jumped on board, but [Iceland] it was really cool. I’m glad I did. It was experience where you get to see another culture, another place and different style of basketball, but it wasn’t going to be long run. And I knew that and I wanted to get into coaching all along and I felt like I was missing out kind of the whole time. So glad I was able to kind of get back into coaching quickly.

They speak English?

Very well. Food was great. Yeah, of course. I mean, I love fish, but fish is everything there. Everything. And luckily I was I was cool with that. But it’s every meal is fish, you know, but very, very good English. As far as culture shock, it wasn’t that big. American movies, American TV, they had a KFC right down the road. It was a different culture, but at the same time, it wasn’t too far from America.

Grant Basile’s recruitment:

Well, first and foremost, he had unbelievable numbers and he was on a winning team. Obviously, that sent the red light flashing, “All right, let’s start getting to know this kid”. And we’ve had a couple of guys from Wisconsin, obviously, Storm Murphy and others up in that area. So had some connections and knew some people and did some character calls and those types of things. But Grant could shoot the ball. Obviously, he was a versatile guy, like he could score inside and out. I’m not at all comparing him to Keve Aluma, but in that regard, he could do a little bit of both, right? And we like to play with that versatile forward, like him and Justyn Mutts together. Man, that’s, that’s pretty tough to guard because both of them can score inside. Both of them are very, very skilled, good passers, high IQ.

So we saw that on the tape, but the big thing was, he was a winner, like his teams have always kind of won at his high school level and at Wright State. So super excited to have him. He’s a great kid. Every single call we made about him, everybody was raving, including his Wright State coaches, who could have been kind of upset, but he’d been there for four years, he graduated and did his time and they loved him. Once we found out that he was a great kid, and a good student already graduated and got to know his family, it was full steam ahead, let’s go get him, and thank God we got him.

The transfer portal has changed everything:

It’s incredible. Man, May used to be pretty chill for a coach, May used to be pretty relaxing like, “Okay, let’s take a deep breath.” I think the transfer portal has changed a lot. We don’t want to live by the transfer portal, but you also don’t want to die by the transfer portal. I mean, some of the guys we got in are great examples of that. Justyn Mutts came out of the the transfer portal and he’s obviously Mr. Virginia Tech, right? Grant Basile, obviously, and then Mylyjael Poteat, those guys. I could go on and on, but you can’t ignore it. But you don’t want to build your roster solely by it. So we’re going to continue to put emphasis on finding freshmen, and then kind of fitting in the pieces as they go, you got to win now. Right? You got to win now.

Sometimes the best way to do that is to get old and get experienced and find somebody who’s proven. So it’s a little bit of a game you got to play roster management. I mean, how do you replace Justyn Mutts? How do you replace the production that Justyn gives our team? I’m not sure you can do that with any freshmen in America, so you got to figure out a way to do that. Sometimes the transfer portal might be the way to go. And I’m not saying we’re going to do that. But that’s an example of a guy that you can’t replace that with a freshman.

17 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I always thought of Catoor becoming a coach someday. You can tell he’s a smart player. Also loved CMY’s description of Catoor as “tougher than a $2 dollar steak.” I’ll be using that phrase.

    1. DC is transcribing spoken word, on the fly, live, on a holiday week, after 6 games in 13 days. I can handle a typo or two. These guys have been putting in work.

      1. I presume there is some sort of electronic transcription device so the whole thing gets laid down quickly but those aren’t perfect as one would know watching “live” CC on tv. So, I imagine he has to go over that while listening to the recording. I’ve noticed a few repeated words which are awfully tough to catch, the mind kind of blows over over those while reading. (See what I did there)

        Totally agree on the typos though, did I understand everything here? yes, I did and understand this is on the fast corner of the fast-good-cheap triangle and really getting all three. As an aside, people that pick on typos often do it to avoid the main point of an argument they don’t want to agree with. Yeah, typos come with the territory of our speed oriented electronic world.

  2. Rice 2-3 weeks!???? WTH? Not sure I like “his” guys saying he’s not ready. This isn’t the NBA & load management, etc; we only play 28 more games or so MAX.

    We heard 10 days-2 weeks TWO WEEKS AGO?!

    1. he is a legitimate nba prospect…you will see. If Mike forces him before his surgeon’s fully release for contact you can forget about future top 50 recruits at vT.

    2. Cool your jets dude. 2 weeks ago CMY said he would be “back”. I assume that meant back to limited practice. He’s been doing that. You don’t go from not dressing for games to playing in just a few days. We know very little about the extent of the injury or surgery. Trust the true professionals here.

  3. If Catoor is their best defender, why wasn’t he on #15 in the last possession the other night? CMY had a 270 pd Poteat guarding him which was a bad mistake. No guarantee Catoor would have stopped the guy but I like our chances much better!

    1. They got the switch they were looking for. The real question is great we had time to slide mutts up or slide someone like cattoor up, potent down…. It can be done.

      1. There wasn’t any switch…Poteat ran with #15 all the way to where he caught the ball at the top of the key. No pick by at all

        1. You are correct, there was no switch. I don’t recall who Catoor was guarding but, I imagine there is a distinct possibility his assignment was another guy who could beat VT if given the proper match up. C of C made the play to win this time but, I think CMY and his staff have pretty good situational awareness and they will file that end game situation for use to their benefit in a later game.

  4. Wow, after reading this I am so impressed with Coach Young. I loved his comments about getting that 6th technical foul in his career. This guy is a great coach and individual. I’m so impressed with our bb coaches and the great job they are doing. Someone made the right hire here. I just pray it carries over to fb although the early signs are disappointing………..but there’s hope.

    1. Whitt definitely got this BB hire right!I also believe he got the Football hire right!Love CMY’S euphemism’s.”Tougher than a $2 steak”and”couldn’t guard a hobo from taking a sandwich”Gotta root for a guy like that!Va Tech Basketball is in good hands!

      1. Whit said he wasn’t sure at first in the selection process, sort of a “too good to be true” scenario with a local guy so he kept looking around and then finally (I guess) trusted his instinct and came back to CMY

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