Jan. 7, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory answers questions from the media each Monday on the weekly ACC Coaches Teleconference. The Yellow Jackets began Monday preparing to play 23rd-ranked NC State, Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Tech is heads into the week with a 10-3 overall record, 0-1 in the ACC following a 62-49 loss to Miami at home Saturday.
“We played a very good team on Saturday. Miami has had a couple of weeks to adjust to missing the big fellow inside and I though they played extremely well. They were very good defensively and I thought we did some good things, but in this league you’ve got to do them for 40 minutes and make some shots. With younger guys at times we are going to struggle making some of those shots and plays you need to make.
“In this league you have to move on, and now we go to Raleigh and play a very, very talented and explosive team in North Carolina State. Again, this most important thing is we look at today and take advantage of today and continue to improve.”
On the Poole brothers joining over the school break
“With Stacey, we didn’t have a choice of when we added him. He transferred mid-semester last year and sat out and got all his things I place academically. He did a great job both in the summer and in the fall semester in the classroom. He’s in a tough situation in that he didn’t play much his first year and a half at Kentucky and then obviously sat out a year for us. It’s been two and a half years since he’s really been a factor and where how he played was important to the team.
“With that, he’s played some minutes and played in the first half of the game on Saturday. He needs to constantly everyday in practice catch up to speed in terms of what we’re trying to get done and how we do it. It’s difficult mid-semester transfers because when he came last year you’re already engrossed in the season. He misses the whole first part of practice and so forth. He’s a tough kid. Right now we really need him to play great defense, run the court for us, get on the glass, and let the offense kind of come to him.
“With Solomon, it’s a different situation. He’s a kid who wanted to graduate early and get a head start on the college game. We discussed back and forth what was best for him and what he wanted to do in terms of potentially redshirting this year in terms of practice and getting his feet wet in college and so forth. He, his family, and I have talked and they said even if he plays four or five minutes a game right now in this first month to kind of see where he’s at, that’s only going to benefit him in the years to come. I see them playing more as they get accustomed more to how we do things. Obviously you’re throwing them in the mix in a great basketball conference. Every possession is important and sometimes when a guy hasn’t played much for a high school kid they’re difficult challenges. They both understand it and I think both of them look at the big picture as opposed to right now.”
On Solomon Poole as a point guard seeing more minutes towards season’s end
“Well I think that remains to be seen. He plays the point for us and was a big scorer in high school and out on the circuit. He really wants to learn how to play at this level with the ball in his hand and making good decisions and things like that. As he continues to progress, then that role may definitely increase.”
Where have you seen NC State improve month to month?
“With NC State, again, sometimes expectations are difficult to meet. I think Mark has done a great job, they’re 12-2, it’s not like they are 6-8. The two losses were on a neutral court at the time to a then top 25 team at Oklahoma State and number 2 or 3 Michigan. Either one of those would not be considered bad losses. They have an upper class that is considered tremendous in Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood, C.J. Leslie, and Richard Howell, and they’ve done a nice job of adding the freshman to the mix. Those guys have impacted the program as well.
“You have a team that has six guys averaging double figures and is so explosive offensively. Adding those three new guys does take some time and some adjustment and I think you’re starting to see that over the last three to four weeks. They are really starting to hit on all cylinders. You can say they had a close game on Saturday, and on the road those are games that you have to win. The veteran teams and the teams that understand it is a possession-by-possession game and that every possession is important I think clearly demonstrated that on Saturday with the win over Boston College.”
Are you surprised that your top two scorers are freshman?
“Maybe a little bit, but those guys are logging some minutes and we brought them in here to play. I think our upperclassmen if you go down the list are all playing extremely well for us. That’s probably why we’re 10-3 right now. I think Daniel Miller, Mfon Udofia, and Kam (Holsey) have done a really good job and at times Brandon Reed has really filled in in terms of his role and doing a good job in that.
“With Marcus (Georges-Hunt) and Robert (Carter, Jr), we knew that those guys were freshmen that could make an impact for us. They’re taking advantage of the opportunities there, they are learning everyday, and they are getting better every day. They are much improved on both ends of the court since we started. They made plays defensively and offensively against a very good team in Miami Saturday that they just weren’t capable of making in our first game against a Tulane team. I like the development of the freshmen, I like the progress that they are making, and in this league it’s hard sometimes to rely on freshmen and that’s why our upperclassmen are so important to us.
On Marcus Georges-Hunt
“I thought he maybe did not get enough hype as other guys around the league but I felt by day 1 that he would be one of the premier freshmen in our league. I think he lost about 15 pounds from his senior year to when he entered Georgia Tech and got in great shape. He has a high basketball IQ, has a great motor, and basketball is very important to him. He’s in the gym non-stop, and when you’ve got a guy like that who has the physical tools and you add his high IQ to it and his feel for the game and the different ways that he can impact the game, I felt he would really make a big impact for us. I just loved everything about his game and the best part is he’s only scratched the surface. I think he can improve in some key areas that I think is going to make him before its all said and done one of the best players in this league.”
On Tech’s defense
“I thought we played pretty darn good defense on Saturday. If you had told me we were going to hold their starters to 12 or 13 of 39 from the field, and 3 of 13 from the three, I’d say I’ll take it.
“The problem is we let (Rion) Brown loose on a couple of plays and give him credit that was a big game for him. His dad played at Georgia Tech and was one of our great players here. We told our guys he always has a little extra juice. I wasn’t here during the recruitment of him, and I don’t even know if Georgia Tech recruited him or not but at the same time he has always played well against us. He’s streaky but he still plays with great confidence.
“Overall our defense has been pretty good, I still think it’s an area we can continue to improve in and most important thing with our defense is guarding the dribble and keeping the ball in front of you and defending with five guys. I think our guys have done a great job with that team concept of not only buying into, but then also going out there and executing. A senior point guard in Mfon sets the tone for that and then you’ve got a pretty good anchor in Daniel Miller who is in the top 3 or 4 in blocks. If we can continue to do a better job on the defensive glass that’s going to help out every aspect of our game. “