Every solid building and every magnificent structure begins with a foundation. And every foundation begins with a single block.
That’s how Virginia Tech basketball fans need to view this offseason. Rome certainly wasn’t built in a single day, and the new version of Hokies hoops won’t be built that way either. But head coach Mike Young has his first two building blocks in place — forward Landers Nolley and guard Hunter Cattoor.
Nolley is a piece that Hokies fans are somewhat already familiar with. The 6-foot-7 and 230-pound forward was a part of Buzz Williams’ Class of 2018, but thanks to questions about his ACT score, Nolley was never declared eligible for this past season.
After Williams’ departure for Texas A&M, Nolley entered the NCAA’s new transfer portal. Nolley announced on Wednesday that he would be returning to Blacksburg.
“The things I’ve went through and heard (this) past week have been eye opening and I’m grateful for everyone who reached out to me,” Nolley wrote on Instagram. “After talking to my family and just taking everything in we’ve realized that there’s no place like the ACC. But more deeply there’s no place like Virginia Tech. The new staff loves me and has showed that they care and want me to stay here and make this my home.”
Retaining Nolley gives Young his cornerstone for the foreseeable future. Nolley can switch between the three and the four for Virginia Tech, giving them a versatile and offensively-inclined player to build their sets around.
“We’ve got a plan in place for him on the floor in our program to help us win games and he’ll be a big piece of that,” Young told Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times. “I love his versatility, his ability to shoot.”
Nolley is an unknown commodity, but he was a top-50 player in the 2018 class per Rivals. He held all sorts of Power 5 offers, including programs like Auburn, UCONN, Florida State, Saint Louis and Vanderbilt. He’s a guy with a ton of upside and when you’re looking to basically reboot a program, he’s the kind of guy you want to build around.
Young earned his first real “commitment” on Saturday, as Cattoor, a former Wofford commit, took to Twitter to announce his decision.
— Hunter Cattoor (@CattoorHunter) April 20, 2019
Cattoor is a completely different prospect than Nolley. The 6-foot-2 point guard from Orlando, Fla. holds all sorts of offers from mid-major programs like Davidson, Florida Atlantic and Lipscomb. But Cattoor’s first Power 5 offer came from Tech’s Young, the coach he committed to at Wofford.
Cattoor comes with few accolades. He’s unranked by Rivals and 247Sports and isn’t a highly-touted recruit. But when you watch his highlight tape, you can see why Young wants him to follow his footsteps to Blacksburg.
Cattoor has a smooth jumper and can knock it down off the dribble. He’s attacks the rim well and finds ways to score over taller defenders. He’s skilled in the mid-range game and is more than just a pick-and-roll guard. Cattoor isn’t a stellar athlete, but the guy gets the job done and is a willing defender.
Nolley and Cattoor give Mike Young two of his building blocks moving forward. Young is working on other parts of the foundation too, hiring Kansas State assistant Chester Frazier and Cincinnati assistant Antwon Jackson while retaining Tech assistant Christian Webster.
But building the roster will ultimately determine Young’s ability to get this thing off the ground. He’s got his first two pieces in place and the foundation is being built. But there’s plenty of work to do before we know if this new building will stand the test of the ACC.