Fresh faces ready to step up in new era of Virginia Tech men's basketball

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Virginia Tech men's basketball coach Mike Young will have just three players at his disposal on opening night who played minutes for the Hokies last year.

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Despite his team's youth and inexperience, he said he's looking forward to seeing how the team progresses as the season unfolds.

"I have to pinch myself from time to time on my way home and at times in that office," Young said at Tuesday's preseason press conference. "It's late October. We've got a long way to go, and every day is an opportunity for growth and an opportunity for this team together to learn and to get better with one another and we're doing that."

One of those newcomers is freshman Jalen Cone, who reclassified from the 2020 high school class to join the Hokies this season.

"I'm really just a guy who wants to win more than anything," Cone said. "Whatever I've got to do for my team to win. Now playing at this level, it's not about individual stats. It's more of a team thing, so I know everybody's goal this year would just be to win games and, of course, win championships. So me, I just bring everything to the table. I know this year I've been working on my defense, so just getting a lot better at that. But, of course, everybody knows I can score the ball real well, especially in the open floor in transition, and I like to make exciting plays."

Another new face is freshman guard Hunter Cattoor, who followed Young from Wofford to Virginia Tech after the ex-Terriers coach took the job in Blacksburg.

"I think we can be a lot better than what people expect us to be at the beginning of the season," Cattoor said. "We have a lot of young players, and not a lot of people know about these players. Me, coming from Wofford, coming to the ACC, it's a big jump. And then we have a couple guys who reclassified up and skipped their senior year of high school, so a lot of people really aren't going to know us, but we're going to work hard every day and at the end of the year, we're going to be a really close team that's going to go out there and fight every night."

With the expanded ACC schedule, Mike Young and Co. will start the season with a conference match-up on the road at Clemson just two weeks from Tuesday.

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