VT Men Basketball vs Pittsburgh

Hokies coach Mike Young calling out a play, Feb. 18 2023

With Virginia Tech men’s basketball (18–13, 8–12 ACC) set to begin their 2023 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament run against Notre Dame (11–20, 3–17 ACC) on Tuesday at 7 p.m., we caught up with Hokies head coach Mike Young to discuss some hot-button topics for the week ahead.


For a team coming in as the No. 11 seed, the Hokies have received an inordinate amount of attention coming into the conference tournament.

Coming off the heels of last year’s historic run that saw the Hokies beat two eventual Final Four teams en route to the school’s first ever ACC title, one might assume the man at the helm for the Hokies would use that as motivation for his team to do it all again.

However, Young appears to be tempering his team's expectations headed into Greensboro.

“Win tomorrow, that’s the only thing that matters,” Young said. “Don’t talk about how all of that transpired … just play a good ball game tomorrow.”

Young also made it clear that he held the same “one game at a time” mentality during last year’s tournament run when the Hokies had to win four games in four nights to secure a bid in the national tournament.

Now, the Hokies will have to win five games in five nights, hoping Young’s approach can help them spark another improbable run.

Hunter Cattoor

As Young was fielding questions from reporters on the first-floor concourse of Greensboro Coliseum, a familiar face snuck up from behind the media members, phone in hand, to ask the Hokies’ coach a very pressing question.

“What is it like to coach a fine young man like Hunter Cattoor?” asked Hokies senior guard Hunter Cattoor.

Young, with a smirk on his face, gave his reply. “It’s been the biggest pain in the ass of my life.”

This informal interaction is indicative of the deep bond that Young has formed with Cattoor over the course of his four years as a Hokie.

Cattoor, a former Wofford commit who followed Young to Virginia Tech after he was hired as the Hokies’ coach in 2019, received nothing but praise from his coach regarding willingness to learn.

“He’s a curious person,” Young said. “Most times after practice, they (the players) want to get away from you, but he wants more, he wants to watch film … he’s just a great person, I love him.”

Young also talked about Cattoor’s desire to get into coaching once his playing days are over, a desire that comes through in his leadership on the team.

“He is as close to serving as a player-coach as I’ve ever had,” Young said. “He will stop things in practice to go ‘I think we should guard it like this’ (snaps) we’re guarding it like that.”

With the Hokies’ national tournament hopes dependent on winning the ACC tournament once again, any given game could be Cattoor’s last in maroon and orange. While he can come back due to his extra year of eligibility from the pandemic, his participation in the Hokies’ senior night this past Saturday casts some doubt on that possibility.

Regardless of what happens, Cattoor has been instrumental in establishing the foundation for Young’s program and he will also be pivotal in the Hokies’ performance this upcoming week.

Notre Dame

In their lone matchup of the season against the Fighting Irish, the Hokies came out of South Bend, Indiana with a 93–87 win in a game that was an offensive shoot-out from whistle to whistle.

The Hokies were led by forward Grant Basile who had 33 points while Justyn Mutts was right behind him with 19 points. Meanwhile, Irish forward Nate Laszewski matched Basile in the scoring column with 33 points while Cormac Ryan had 17 points. Both squads shot over 54% from the floor and over 42% from 3-point range.

Young had nothing but praise for Irish head coach Mike Brey and his team, making it clear he doesn’t intend to take any opponent lightly regardless of their inferior conference record.

“I saw Mike Brey’s team play last week against Pittsburgh and they were terrific,” Young said. “Great respect for the Fighting Irish and Dane Goodwin, Cormac Ryan and Nate Laszewki.”

Young doesn’t mind who the opponent is, only that his team puts up a valiant effort.

“We have an opportunity to compete tomorrow, and we’re going to compete and play well,” he said.

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