Virginia Tech basketball coach Mike Young talks Hokies, 2019-2020

Virginia TechQ. Coach, just what you could say about your first impressions coming into Virginia Tech, just what your overall thoughts were of the guys that were coming back and just what you can say about the sense of the Hokies moving forward.
MIKE YOUNG: Excited about it. I’m thankful that I have these two. I think of character and the kind of young people I want to build this thing with, that’s a pretty good start, just in terms of their — how much they’ve helped me, their leadership, their appreciation for Virginia Tech — two pretty good pieces to begin your time in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech, and I’m thankful for their contributions.

Proven that it can be done — three straight NCAA Tournaments, Sweet 16. I think the first three consecutive years that they’ve been to the NCAA Tournament, I think. We’ll build it the right way. We’ll build it to last, and we’ll build it with the right pieces, and, again, these two guys are certainly a positive step for me.

Q. Coach, you’re not new to basketball, of course, but you are new to the ACC. Wanted to see if you would share with us your thoughts about offense that you like to play in and what’s your defensive philosophy?
MIKE YOUNG: Without getting into stuff you don’t want to hear, just sharing and being a great teammate and not turning the ball over. Our teams traditionally rank nationally top 25 in assist turnover, top 50 in assist-turnover. Just don’t think you can expect to win at a high level if you’re kicking the ball around 15, 16 times a game.

Good on the glass. Stingy in the half-court defensively. Will we play some zone? Yeah, we will, but you’re not going to see a steady diet of it, at least I don’t think so. We’re trying to lay a foundation with this program that will carry us through this year and into the coming years and a style and a way that we want to fight night in, night out.

Q. First of all, for the players, you heard what Coach young had to say about you and the importance of having you as you move forward here with this team. What were your first impressions of Coach and just what you can say about him as a leader?
MIKE YOUNG: This is a really big question for you guys.

WABISSA BEDE: I was just very excited for him being our head coach. The big thing I thought was like him being at Wofford for 30 years, Coach is a very young dude. So I just know being at a spot for 30 years is like you can kind of say you’re from there. He probably took the same route to practice, to his house, probably like for 30 years. So he kind of knows the roads. So coming to Blacksburg is probably very different to him.

Just learning from him is going to be great, and we’re very excited.

P.J. HORNE: I believe he’s a very great coach on and off the floor. He keeps us in line. He keeps us motivated to want to work on the floor.

Q. Coach, tell us about building your staff, the decisions you made, the core group that you have with you.
MIKE YOUNG: When I walked into that office for the first time after being named a head coach, April 8 — I think it was April 9 — with all these things swirling around and no staff, a lot of things in the air, I knew, and I had the presence of mind I had to get the staff component right. I had to make that right.

After a great deal of work and a lot of thought and a lot of effort, I was able to put together a staff that I could not be more excited about in Chester Frazier, who was a very good player at Illinois. Coached with Bruce Weber at Kansas State the last seven years, I think. Antwon Jackson, been around a long time, started his career at William and Mary, and later, most recently, seven years with Mick Cronin at Cincinnati, and Christian Webster, who’s on Virginia Tech staff, a year ago. I think this is his fourth year at Tech.

Great people. It’s been a great deal of fun to walk in and work with them each day and see things come together within. They’re good coaches. They’re very good on the floor, and have an excellent rapport with our team, which is very important to me.

Q. Coach, you have a couple of scrimmages coming up within the next couple of weeks. Are there some things that you want nailed down by those scrimmages that you want to see from your team?
MIKE YOUNG: Yeah, but a level of patience. You can say that with any team. Sometimes I can get ahead of myself, and I want to see it this way, this way, this way, and it’s kind of spotty. It’s all right. We’re starting the season now in September. I mean, give me a break. We’re going through march, over both academic semesters, both major holidays. We begin in late summer, early fall, finish in spring.

There’s going to be a number of growth opportunities throughout the course of the year. Let’s cool our Jets. I had a team last year, I had a great team. I don’t know what Wabissa and P.J.’s experience was. I think they scrimmaged Liberty. But we went to Knoxville and scrimmaged Belmont, scrimmage Belmont every year, always traditionally a terrific program, and we were terrible. We were awful. I’m saying ugly things and just making an idiot of myself. I think I caught myself on the way home, come on, man, relax. We’re going to figure it out here, and we did.

We’ll be the same thing here. Do I want us to play well? Sure. Do I expect us to be great? No. We will progress at the rate that this team is capable of. I feel very confident of that.

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