This past weekend, Mike Young picked up his second commit for the 2022 class when Combine Academy center Patrick Wessler pledged to the Hokies. Patrick graciously took the time to speak with me earlier today.
Excited to announce that I have committed to @HokiesMBB to further my basketball and academic pursuits. Appreciate @CoachMKYoung and the rest of the Hokie staff for the great weekend. Let's go Hokies!🦃🏀🔥 @CombineMbb @CCEliteBBall pic.twitter.com/QSPoDsgBpg— Patrick D. Wessler (@BigPatWessler) September 19, 2021
HW: First of all, congratulations!
Patrick Wessler: Thank you.
HW: We'll start off with some measurables. Where does your height/weight/wingspan come in at right now?
PW: 7'0", 255 pounds, 7'0" wingspan
HW: How long have you been "Big Pat"?
PW: Since my first year of high school. That was when I hit 7', so people just started calling me that.
HW: Had you been playing basketball long before that?
PW: I started playing when I was 7 or 8.
HW: Long time, then! Were you always bigger than your teammates?
PW: For sure. I've always been one of the biggest.
HW: Did you play any other sports growing up, or was it always basketball? Was there a moment, an event, or a person who made you say, "this is what I want to do"?
PW: I played baseball as well up until sophomore year when I decided to focus on basketball. Nothing really specific happened. I just eventually figured out I really loved to play basketball whereas I just played baseball because I was good at it.
HW: Oh wow! What position did you play in baseball? What were your strengths on the diamond?
PW: I played pitcher and first base. I was a pretty good pitcher, but other than that I wasn't very good at anything else just because I didn't practice baseball hardly at all. I was always at basketball things.
HW: What was your pitch arsenal? What was your best or punch-out pitch? I promise we'll get to basketball next, this is just really interesting to me.
PW: My fastball was decently quick, but it wasn't blindingly fast at all, so I threw mostly off-speed pitches. My best pitch was my curveball, for sure. I think it also helped that most hitters expected me to be a flamethrower just off of my size, so it kind of caught people off guard.
HW: [laughs] yeah if I had 7 feet staring me down in the box, it would be in my head, too. So, in your own words, give me the scouting report on Big Pat... for basketball, of course.
PW: I was about to give a baseball breakdown [laughs]
HW: I'll take that, too, if you have time!
PW: Lots of breaking balls trying to keep the hitter guessing as much as possible. I tried to avoid throwing two fastballs in a row as much as possible.
For basketball, I'm a primary post scorer, but I'm also effective working off the elbows and stepping out as a shooter. On defense I'm a rim protector and rebounder.
HW: What parts of your game are you looking forward to improving next season and as you step on campus in Blacksburg?
PW: Improving my right hand finishes on offense. I'm decent with my off hand right now, but I need to get better because I know I won't be able to get to my left hand every time at the next level. On defense, the main thing I want to get better at is lateral quickness. Other than that, I'm just looking to continue getting quicker, faster, and stronger as much as possible to prepare for the jump to college.
HW: I love it when a player knows exactly where they need to work. You're good with that left hand, though!
Is there a player past or present you model your game after? Or someone you just like to watch? Why?
PW: I really like to watch Jokic. I would say I model parts of my game after him, but not completely.
HW: So, in general, what was the whole recruiting process like? Were there aspects or things that surprised you? What did you learn about yourself?
PW: Once you get deep into it you kind of get a feeling for who really wants you and who doesn't. One thing that I learned about myself was that the relationship with the coaches really, really mattered. I'd never really thought about that until I started doing it with some different coaches, and it became a pretty important factor in the process.
HW: For sure. Basketball is a relationships business. Talking about Virginia Tech specifically, what did you know about Virginia Tech and/or Mike Young growing up? When did either first appear on your radar?
PW: Well my dad has known Coach Young for about 20 years now from when he was a college coach so he's had a pretty good relationship with my entire family. For me personally, it was watching Wofford play when Coach Young was there. One of my dad's players he coached in high school went to play for Coach Young at Wofford [Aerris Smith] so we always watched them when we could. So I knew he was a great coach.
HW: Oh awesome! Your dad was at Vance and Butler High Schools as a head coach, right? [note: you can read more about Kurt Wessler's impressive coaching and educational resume here]
PW: Yes, sir.
HW: Lot of years, lot of success!
How would you describe Coach Young and your relationship with him and Coach Giltner?
PW: Coach Giltner was the main assistant recruiting me. I really like our relationship because we talk all the time and all the coaches just are really genuine. Another big thing for me was the honesty. They didn't promise me all these crazy things. They told me the truth that there was opportunity, but they didn't make any crazy promises.
HW: Sounds refreshing. We're so proud of the way they run our program. What else stood out about Virginia Tech?
PW: I think the system fit is extremely good for my play style. That was another big factor. I also really loved campus and especially my interactions with the rest of the team.
HW: You had an unofficial visit at the end of June and took your OV this past weekend. What was your favorite part of those visits? Photo shoot? Tour? Did you play a pickup game?
PW: I did play pickup. That was definitely fun. My favorite part was just hanging out with the team and getting to know them. That was huge because they'll be my future teammates. That was what sealed the deal for me- how much I liked hanging out with them.
HW: Anybody in particular you vibed well with?
PW: The two I was with the most were the freshmen Sean [Pedulla] and Jalen [Haynes]. I really liked hanging out with them. Both great dudes. The whole team was awesome, but those two and Storm kind of stood out to me as the ones I vibed with the most.
HW: [laughs] Yeah, those guys are a trip. We're big fans.
I remember Mom and Dad got to make the trip up in June, and the whole family was up for the official visit. How did they enjoy it? What were their questions going in? What was their takeaway?
PW: They all loved it. I think the main questions from them were just the fit, and my mom in particular wanted to know more about the housing and campus and things like that. Every thing was exactly what we were looking for.
HW: Did you ever cross paths playing against or talking to future Hokie teammate MJ Collins out of Westminster Catawba (SC)?
PW: I played against him this year on the UAA circuit. I don't really know him, but I know of him through one of his teammates who is also a good friend of mine. Seems like a great dude.
7'0" 2022 Patrick Wessler of Combine Academy (NC) photoshoot on his visit to Virginia Tech #AbsoluteBasketball Player Profile 👉 https://t.co/Z3WiU0Rtko pic.twitter.com/dNEeUqABt0— Jamie Shaw (@JamieShaw5) June 29, 2021
HW: How does it feel now that your recruiting process is over?
PW: Honestly, it's kind of a relief. I feel great because I know I made the right choice and that VT is the right place for me.
HW: Maybe the phone will get a little more of a break!
Are you recruiting anybody else? Put on your scouting hat- any names we should know about coming up you've played against?
PW: Well, personally, I really like Noah Clowney. I played against him during the high school season, and I think our skillsets complete each other very well. I think we would play well on the floor together.
HW: I'm with you on that. Noah's high on our list, for sure.
Do you have any superstitions or rituals you want to share? Lucky jersey number? Pregame snack or meal? Lucky piece of clothing?
PW: I'm not a very superstitious guy, to be honest, but one thing I have gotten pretty attached to is the number 5. It's kind of become part of my identity, so I'd say that's my lucky number.
HW: Being pretty close to Charlotte, are you a fan of all the CLT pro teams or are there others?
PW: I'm all over the place. NBA, I like the Nuggets because of Jokic. NFL, I like the Steelers because my dad is a big fan. MLB, I like the Yankees because my mom grew up a fan in New York.
HW: Between school and basketball, I'm sure it doesn't leave a lot of free time, but when you're left to your own devices, what do you do for fun?
PW: I like to keep it low-key, hanging out with a few friends, stuff like that. Big video game guy, too. That's about all I have time for, really. I'm a PlayStation guy. I really like the sports games- Madden 2K, MLB The Show, all of those.
HW: So, if the whole family has some time off for a vacation or just an evening out, what are you guys doing?
PW: For a quick family vacation, the beach is definitely the way to go with us. Myrtle Beach is only a 2 1/2 hour drive, so it's fairly easy to go up there for a weekend.
HW: Favorite TV show, movie, and book?
PW: My favorite show is NCIS. Favorite movie is Remember the Titans. I really like the book Moneyball. That's probably my favorite
HW: Set us straight, as a person from North Carolina: BBQ. Western or Eastern Carolina style?
PW: I like Western better, but it really doesn't matter. Both are excellent.
HW: Cake or pie?
HW: My man. What kind?
PW: Any kind, but my favorite is probably pumpkin.
HW: What's one thing people may not know about you off the court you would like to share?
PW: I'm pretty laid back. I like to mess around and have fun. I try to always keep a smile on my face, and I like to make people laugh.
HW: [laughs] Yeah, you're going to fit right in with this crew, I'm sure. But you know that!
Last question I have to wrap it up: What are your goals for this upcoming season and as you enroll at VT?
PW: Well, first-off, to help my team win, but on a more individual level, just to continue getting better as much as I can overall to be ready for the jump.
HW: Awesome. Well, thanks again for taking the time to talk with me because this was fun! I am really looking forward to watching your career progress with us! Congratulations!
june: No problem. Enjoyed it! Thank you.