Feb. 27, 2012
ATLANTA – Following are head coach Brian Gregory’s comments to the ACC media Monday morning. Georgia Tech closes out the regular season with a road game against Boston College (7 p.m. Wednesday) and a home game against Wake Forest (12 noon Saturday).
“I was pleased with our effort on Saturday afternoon against a very good Maryland team. I thought our guys did a great job in terms of the key objectives for that game and doing a pretty good job on the glass, taking care of the ball and getting the ball inside and playing inside out. When you do that, a lot of good things happen, especially when you can make some shots on some of those kick outs and that is exactly what we did. I thought we took a step forward.
“We needed some rest, there was no doubt about it that stretch the week before was tough, we did not play well on Tuesday night, we just didn’t really have anything in our tank. Being able to have a day off and get some shorter, harder practices in to get ready for Saturday, I thought our guys responded extremely well. We have a big week ahead of us – tough road game at Boston College, and finishing up at home against Wake Forest – but hopefully we will be able to build on some of the good things that we have done over the last couple of weeks.”
On maintaining the intensity and emotions and the gratification of success like on Saturday: “Well, we’ve talked about it. If you have any character at all, and if the game is important enough to you, and if the school and what you are trying to do is important enough to you, you stick to it. There are days when the cloud is a little darker than normal, but we keep telling our guys, this is a process that we are under. It’s not going to be easy. I think some of the preliminary stuff before the season helped these guys kind of understand what they were under, and they have to look at the big picture of what we are trying to get done.
“The hardest part for young guys is that there is not the instant gratification. Are they working harder, are they trying to play harder, are they trying to do the right things in other areas as well, and why don’t they just automatically get rewarded for it? Well, it just doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t. But if you do that long enough, the other things are going to change. Again, you give the guys credit in terms of their resiliency and ability to kind of stick with it, because I thought you saw that on Saturday, I thought you saw it the Saturday before. Tuesday, you just have to throw out, we had nothing left.
“You look at two of those last three games, effort-wise, intensity-wise, energy-wise, chemistry-wise, probably as good as we have had in our time here. We might have played better in some other games, but those other intangible things are what makes good programs and you need to highlight.”
On the importance of the last two games:
“I think it is important. We talked about it that you wanted to end the season playing better, competing even with greater energy, having some momentum going into the ACC tournament. Also, to be honest with you, to have some momentum heading into spring workouts and the summer workouts when you add now with the incoming guys you have. You have to keep looking at the big picture. It is important, an opportunity with one win or two wins, if you can get them. If you won two, you’d end the second half of the season in the ACC 4-4. Again, for me, my evaluation is, if we can continue to play with that intensity, energy, chemistry, the unselfishness that we played in two of the last three games.
On Kammeon Holsey and his improvement:
“Again, if you take a look at the progression through the season, I think it is one of the things that I am most excited about. Our guys have improved as the season has moved along. There may be no greater example than Kam. Not only his improvement in some of the things he can do, his improvement in his consistency, which is so important. He is very aggressive offensively. I think one of our big developments is our ability to get the ball inside and Daniel’s ability to score around the basket, Julian’s ability to score a little bit inside, a little bit more outside puts the defense in a tough situation when Kam gets the ball.
“I like the fact that he is demanding the ball in there. I like his aggressiveness. He gets a couple of garbage baskets a game either on the break or on the offensive glass. His overall progress and his ability to really focus on how we need to get things done has really improved him, and because of that, his consistency as a player has gotten better.”
On the difference in Udofia’s distributing ability:
“It just a growth within the season has been a pleasure to watch. There are still some backslides once in a while, but just getting a better feel for the decision-making that needs to be done. I tell our guys, if you have a 50-50 shot, shoot it every time. If it is a 50-50 pass, don’t throw it. Even decisions that are unselfish aren’t always the right decisions. I think he is just getting a better understanding of that. I think he is starting to feel confident, maybe a little greater confidence in his leadership.
“I always say it is hard to lead if you are not comfortable with who you are as a player or your role, and I think as he has gotten more comfortable, and knows that I believe in him, his ability to lead others and make plays for others has improved. The nine assists I think he had is the second time this year I believe that he has set a personal record for assists in a game. He has a long way to go, I think that is one of the best things about Mfon is he knows that, but he is a competitive kid, and that fire of competitiveness has obviously helped us out quite a bit.”