Feb. 8, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech (12-11, 2-8 ACC) rolls on in Atlantic Coast Conference play this week, finishing off a three-game homestand Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against Wake Forest (10-13, 1-10 ACC), then traveling to Clemson (14-9, 7-4 ACC) in the first of two meetings with the Tigers at 2 p.m. Saturday. Both games will be televised on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Georgia). The Yellow Jackets have lost three straight, including a pair of home games last week to Duke and No. 17 Miami.
Following is a transcript of head coach Brian Gregory’s comments during his segment on Monday’s ACC Coaches Teleconference.
On the improvement of Tadric Jackson
“He’s really bought into a couple different things. It takes time for guys to really understand what they need to do, instead of letting the jump shot create other things. This week we really emphasized — and have been for a while — him being able to attack the basket and make plays off the dribble with our post presence and with some quality shooters around, there are some driving opportunities for him. He’s done a good job of that. In yesterday’s game, the drives set up a couple of big threes that he hit, as well. He’s just getting a little more comfortable, making better decisions with the ball and just being a little more aggressive. With young players, it happens — he’s defending much better. We have a little more confidence in him defensively, which put him on the court more. And when you’re on the court more, you have more opportunities, and he’s really taking advantage of it. That was a bright spot for us last week with adding an additional perimeter player that is aggressive and can make offensive plays, but also hasn’t lost the commitment on the defensive end, as well.
On the development of Ben Lammers
“I think he’s got a bright, bright future. He’s not the offensive threat at this point that Nick (Jacobs) or Charles (Mitchell) are, but he’s our best post defender. He can guard the low post. He did a good job on two or three post isolations yesterday with (Tonye) Jekiri, and he was the only guy that could keep him off the glass yesterday. Even though there were a couple fouls that were called in the second half, he guarded (Brandon) Ingram for a lot of that game. Other than those fouls, he held him to a very low percentage. I think he was 3-for-14 from the field. He has a great understanding defensively and a high basketball IQ. We just need him to be a little more aggressive offensively. He needs to really develop the kind of ability to decide when to go for a block. He’s very good in terms of shot blocking. He’s in the upper level of the league without playing a ton of minutes, and the new defensive concept of walling up, leaving your feet, jumping up and not playing for the block and just trying to form a vertical wall in the air, which they allow nowadays. The added strength will help him on that his development has been great. I think he’s going to obviously continue to help us this year, but also the next two years. I think he’s going to be one of the better post players in our league, because he can shoot the ball, too, and that’s one area that we need to maybe utilize a little more is his ability to knock down the 17-18-foot jump shot.”
On if there’s a better distribution of quality freshmen in the ACC than in years past
“Yes, and another thing is I think this league is a little more veteran than we were last year, as well. Although the big numbers of the freshman may not be there, I do think it’s a deep class, freshman-wise. I think all of those guys have been given a little more leeway in terms of their development where they’re not counted on to do so much right away, but they’re still obviously a very talented class.”
On the challenges of blending transfers into the roster
“I think it’s part of college basketball now. If you go through the teams ranked in the top 10, they all have one or two transfers in the starting lineup or are key guys. It’s just part of college basketball now. It’s kind of a new phenomenon when it comes to that, but I do think from the coaching from the coaching side of things, it’s something you have to be aware of in terms of adding somebody that is coming from somewhere else, either for a year, two years or in a lot of cases four years. Louisville starts two fifth-year transfers. Pittsburg at one time when we played them was starting two of them. We have a couple. But if you go down the list and you look at all the top teams, for the most part the majority of them have at least one guy in their playing group — if not in their starting group — that came from another school. And I just think you’re going to see more and more of that, because that’s kind of the trend right now.”