Tech Talk Live Notes for February 24, 2016

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Kerry Blackshear

Tech’s flight was canceled last night, so they had to fly back today.  Blackshear doesn’t like to fly, and the weather wasn’t good, so it was a rough flight.

The BC win was big.  The team really wanted to win that game.  Blackshear wanted to bring energy off the bench, and he thought he did that.

The biggest adjustment to playing in the ACC is staying prepared each game.  Every team is good, and every team is coached differently. That makes it tough.

Playing against seniors and juniors makes Blackshear realize what he can be after a couple of years in the program.  He’s trying to avoid hitting the dreaded freshman wall.

Blackshear feels like he’s a lot different than he was when he first enrolled.  He’s more seasoned, and he has more confidence in himself.  He has a better understanding of what it takes to win.

Blackshear is a Business major.  It’s not easy to balance that major with basketball.  He’s learning to be a better time manager.

Both of Blackshear’s parents played basketball at Stetson, and his father played overseas for a long time.  His sister and his brother also played basketball.  However, he feels that he’s the best basketball player in the family.  He trained and worked with his father his whole life.

Spain is Blackshear’s favorite vacation destination.  He lived there when his father played in that country.  He really enjoyed the culture and the people, as well as the food.

Blackshear’s AAU team won the National Championship in the 5th grade.  That was really exciting.  He was only about 5-7 back then, but they had a 6-foot tall player on that team who was better than everybody else at the time.  His name was Mickey Mitchell, and he now plays at Ohio State.

Seeing basketball overseas and growing up with his parents was huge in Blackshear’s development.  His dad was a guard, so he’s able to see the game from a guard’s perspective.  Blackshear also played soccer when he was younger.

Buzz Williams

Williams thought he saw some growth on Tuesday night.  He thought his assistants did a great job preparing the team, and he thought the team took a big step.  They played with the lead, and they controlled the game.  They understood time, score and momentum.  Collectively they recognized what the coaching staff was trying to do, and why they wanted to do it.

As he’s gotten older, Williams doesn’t say much after a game, win or lose.  It’s emotion-based, and he wants to make sure he doesn’t say anything he regrets.

Tuesday night turned into a long night. They went to the airport, their flight got canceled, and then they had to go back to the hotel to spend the night.

The Hokies are always just trying to win the next game.  Tech still isn’t good enough to talk about “trap games” or overlooking opponents.  He feels like the team recognized that last night.  He didn’t tell them they had to win on Tuesday because BC was winless in ACC play.

When talking to the team, he tries to stay away from opinions and stick to facts.  When they stink, he tells them they stink.  When they are good, he tells them they are good.

There are only about 20 at-large spots to the NIT these days.  It’s a harder tournament to make.  The only thing the Hokies can control is their attitude and their preparation.  You can’t get lost in what’s happening elsewhere.  Building is a process, and you have to stay within that process.  Tech might not win another game, or they might win all their games.  They can’t predict it, but they can be accountable for their growth.

Tech is 2-6 in their ACC road games, and that’s not good.  That shouldn’t be the ultimate goal.  However, they are accruing positive things on the path to improvement.  You have to be invested, and it’s hard to value something unless you are invested.  Everything has to be about the next possession, or about the next day.  Tech’s energy level has been good.

The freshman wall is not a myth.  A lot of guys have walls.  A lot of coaches have walls.  So much goes into it…games, practice, workouts, school, injuries, girlfriends, family situations, etc.  It’s all about managing all that.  Freshmen generally hit the wall sooner because they aren’t used to dealing with all of it.  When Kerry Blackshear is good, Tech has a chance.  When he isn’t good, they probably don’t.  It’s probably the same with Justin Robinson.

Buzz doesn’t think he’s a good coach, but he knows he’s really good at having the pulse of his players.  Kerry Blackshear had a terrible practice on Monday, and a terrible shootaround on Tuesday.  Buzz didn’t say anything to him about it until he first put him in the game.  He told him all he had to do during the game was rebound.  He ended up with 10 points and five rebounds.

The most important thing a leader can do is to find out how to best serve his people.  He always wants to be aware of that.  The Hokies have a really close group of players.  He didn’t anticipate them being as close as they are because of their youth.  He was very transparent when he was recruiting those players.  They knew what they were walking into.  They want to get it right.  He hammers them as much academically as he does on the court.  Tech didn’t have any juice at Pitt.  They didn’t compete.  Going to Syracuse, he felt like his emotions were intimidating them.  He decided to dial it down a bit after the Pitt game.  He wrote things down on a card during the Syracuse game to keep himself calm.  He wanted the team to see him calm.  At this time of the year, the leader has to be very cognizant of the team’s gas tank.  He has to coach them in different ways at times, depending on where they are emotionally.

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7 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. If you have the BC game recorded, you can go back and watch CBW talking to Kerry at length at the scorers table right before he goes in for the first time (while the game is going on). Pretty interesting to put the comments to the footage…

    Funny fight comment below!

  2. Great interview with both Coach and Kerry. Thanks CC for the good recount.
    The last 3 paragraphs are amazing. The depth of mind that Coach shows us over and over again in post-games interviews, etc. and his transparency are something I’ve never read or heard before.
    Wow! O wow! Are we blessed to have Coach as our coach!!
    (Btw: I did have my hand up – but I’m an eternal O&M optimist in every game and in between games as well)

    Go Hokies! NIT us!

  3. Chris, Tech’s fight was definitely NOT cancelled last night. They had plenty of fight from what I saw.

    Hope they had a good flight home.

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