March 11, 2013
THE FLATS – Head coach Brian Gregory talks about the ACC Tournament, previews Georgia tech’s first-round matchup with Boston College and talks about other topics in his weekly chat on the ACC Coaches Teleconference.
The Yellow Jackets (16-14, 7-12 ACC) have a rematch against Boston College (15-16, 7-11 ACC) in the ACC Tournament first round at 12 noon Thursday. The winner advances to face regular-season champion Miami at 12 noon Friday.
Kind of interesting and strange, you haven’t played a team the entire season and now play them twice in five days. Give Steve credit for building the program and have to Boston College a ton of credit, I thought they did everything they needed to do to be successful, kind of what they have done all year long. A lot of young guys, they play well together, they share the ball extremely well to get to the foul line, because they are aggressive on offense.
We just were not able to close the deal and finish the game up on Saturday. Some of it but a lot of it was what Boston College did well. It will be a great challenge to bounce back. You would hope that our guys are motivated playing the team that just beat them. I’m sure their guys are confident because they are playing a team they just beat.
And it was a challenging week, the highs and lows in college basketball. We played the three games in six days, a Sunday night game, a late Wednesday game and an early Saturday game, and it was really for our young team, an eye-opening experience in terms of the focus that you need to have, the ability to finish off a game Wednesday night in a tough environment, and then having to bounce right back.
We just were not able to sustain the level of intensity and concentration over 40 minutes, but that sometimes happens. We just need to grow from it and now it’s a new season. We did a lot of good things and now we just need to keep moving forward.
Q. You mentioned about sustaining the effort and concentration after a big win. That’s been true throughout the ACC the year. Almost any time anybody has upset Miami or Duke, they lost the next game. Is that a function of investing too much or not knowing how to handle success?
COACH GREGORY: I think a little bit of both. I think again, what we get caught up in, I don’t think we give the next opponent — when I say we, I’m talking maybe — I know the teams do and I know for sure the coaches do but I don’t think that maybe people outside give the next team you’re playing enough credit.
You know, Boston College has done that, I think three or four times, playing the team that just came off a big win, and people can’t understand, well, how can you not beat Boston College. They are a much-improved team and they have got good players.
Yes, I think you invest a lot as much physically, maybe more so emotionally, in some of those games, and that they are draining. It will be interesting to see what the turnaround time on some of those games are so now you have a physical element into it, as well.
Human nature would say that maybe the guys relax a little bit or take a deep breath and exhale a little bit. You can’t do that in this league. If you don’t — no matter where you’re playing, especially in you’re playing on the road, and that’s the thing, I think unfortunately right now, other leagues get credit when you lose a road game if it was on the road. I think it’s the same for us, even though maybe not enough credit is given in those type of situations.
Q. You’ve been the poster child for win one, lose one down the stretch. Does that concern that you have not been able to follow up success — you have not won two in a row since New Year’s.
COACH GREGORY: I think, youth has a little bit to do with that. I don’t think there’s any question regarding that. I think at times guys do have an easier time in our situation where our guys have not had great success the last few years, our upper classmen have not had a lot of success.
Sometimes with younger players, handling success is harder than getting them revved up after going to the floor. That’s why you take about sustaining and maintaining and consistency and different things like that; youth served shows that inconsistency quite a bit.
And you know, with Miami has been the most consistent, obviously that’s why they won, and Duke has been the second most consistent, and those two teams are led by upper classmen that have shown great consistency over their careers.
Q. Chris Bolden is averaging two points a game more in ACC games than he is overall. How has his game progressed, especially during conference play?
COACH GREGORY: Well, I think he’s been more aggressive during conference play. I think a little more comfortable in where the shots are coming from, but also more comfortable in creating some shots, as well.
I think he has a chance to be an exceptional offensive player in this league, because he can score off the dribble, and he’s a very good shooter. I think he has not shot the ball even as well as I think he’s going to in the future for us.
He needs to be over 45 percent from the field, and probably over 40 percent from the three to get to where I think he can get to. But, you know, we have done a better job during the ACC play of just getting comfortable with our offense, and at times it’s been very good in terms of moving the ball and making the extra pass. And he’s benefitted quite a bit from that, and plus our post guys are good passers and they are not selfish players and they will kick the ball out if they are trapped or defense is swarming down on them and so forth.
So I think you’re just seeing a glimpse of what Chris will be able to do down the road offensively. He’s had some big games for us, a couple 20-point games, both on the road. And you know, it’s funny sometimes, younger guys in some cases perform better on the road because one of the things that’s always a challenge with young players is handling some of the distractions that occur during the season and so forth, and sometimes on the road when you’re separated, a lot of guys just have a little more focus because it’s just the game.
I think his comfort level, his aggressiveness has been a key factor in that.
Q. I just wanted to ask about Michael Snaer in that game, I think everyone knew he was going to get the ball and you guys had the defender on you wanted; what makes him so tough in those situations?
COACH GREGORY: Well, I’d probably rather not talk about that particular play, because you know, I think everybody saw that play, you know what I mean, and so you can’t really defend what happened, you know, but I can talk about Michael Snaer in general.
He’s just one of those guys, he has the ability to be able to knock down jumpshots off the dribble, which a lot of times and in game situations, you have to do, and he’s able to create space when he drives the ball to the basket.
He’s got a very good mid-range game in terms of those floaters and runners that guards have to be able to shoot, and a lot of times, those are the shots that you end up having to take at the end of the game that defenses converge to you.
All of those things are important that the physical ability to create a shot, create space, create a little separation, you know, he’s able to do; at the same time, there’s a mentality that he has that he doesn’t care if he misses it. I think that’s the biggest thing. He’s not thinking about necessarily winning the game.
I think he has the mentality that he’s okay if they lose it with the ball in his hands. I think that’s the big difference. I think that’s what separates him from other guys that have made big shots. His continual ability to make it is because he’s not afraid to miss it.