To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Virginia PF Mike Tobey about winning a gold medal last year.
You grew up in New York: what made you choose Virginia? Virginia was the first school to really recruit me, and I really liked it after getting to know the coaches. I was also attracted to their great combination of athletics and academics.
You play for Coach Tony Bennett. What makes him such a great coach, and what is the most important thing that you ever learned from him? He has a good history of winning and sticks to his “Five Pillars”. He is a high-character guy who focuses on defense and recruits a lot of high-character players.
In November 2012 you joined Justin Anderson and Taylor Barnette as the first Virginia freshman trio to start a season opener. How much pressure is there on you to be a leader now that Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell have graduated? I hope I can step into a leadership role, but we do a good job of spreading out the leadership among many guys so there is not that much pressure on any 1 guy. A lot of guys are eager to pick up the slack now that Joe and Akil are gone.
In 2013 you were a member of team USA at the FIBA U-19 World Championships in Prague: what did it mean to you to win a gold medal? It was a great experience that I never thought I would have in my life. It was phenomenal, especially to have Coach Bennett there to share it with.
Last spring you clinched your school’s first ACC tourney title in 38 years by winning three games in three days: what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? It was amazing: the students and faculty gave us a lot of support, as did the whole city of Charlottesville. It gives us a lot of motivation to repeat because it was such a great feeling.
In the 2014 Sweet 16 you suffered a 2-point loss to Michigan State. How close did you come to winning the game, and what did you learn from that game that you think can help you this year? It was a learning experience for a lot of us because we did not have any prior NCAA tourney experience. We can take a lot away from that game: the Spartans were an older team who made some veteran moves down the stretch, so hopefully we can have that mentality ourselves this year.
You are a career 50% 3-point shooter despite standing 6’11”. What is your secret for making shots from behind the arc, and any chance Coach Bennett will let you take a few more this year?! My secret the past two years was not to take too many of them! I have been working on my 3-point shot a lot this summer so hopefully I can work that into the offense.
Your non-conference schedule includes games against Maryland, VCU, and Harvard: which of these games do you feel will present your biggest test? All three of those teams will be a really good test. We have never played Harvard, but we had a tough loss to the other 2 teams last year so we are excited for a chance at revenge.
Your father Ken played college basketball: who is the best athlete in the family? My sister is probably the most athletic (she is heading to Delaware to play volleyball), but I would like to think it is myself!
What are your goals for the upcoming season, and what are your expectations for the upcoming season? The goal is to win another ACC title and hopefully go a step further in the NCAA tourney. Last year we made a good run, but now that we know what it takes we will not get complacent.