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@GTMBB Brian Gregory - ACC Teleconference

Jan. 11, 2016

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech (11-5, 1-2 ACC) continues Atlantic Coast Conference play this week with games against Notre Dame (10-5, 1-2 ACC) at 9 p.m. Wednesday night (ACC Network) and Virginia Tech (10-6, 2-1 ACC) at 12 noon Saturday (RSN) at McCamish Pavilion. Tech will host its annual Letterwinners Game following the Virginia Tech game Saturday.

Tech split its two games last week, dropping an 89-84 decision at No. 24 Pittsburgh and defeating No. 4 Virginia 68-64 on Saturday. Notre Dame is coming off an 86-82 homecourt loss to Pitt, while the Hokies fell 82-58 at Duke Saturday.

Following it a transcript of head coach Brian Gregory’s segment on Monday’s ACC Coaches Teleconference. Audio link is at the bottom.

On how much of a difference it makes to have Adam Smith on this year’s team

“A lot. It’s had a huge impact. Obviously, you always look better offensively when the ball goes in the basket. In this league, you’re going to have to have some plays made during games where guys just make shots – where it’s not a set play or maybe he’s not wide open. You’ve got to be able to put the ball in the basket. You’ve got to have play makers and shot makers, and he’s obviously added to that because that’s what he does. The ripple effect is our post action is better. It opens up the driving lines for Marcus (Georges-Hunt). The other day I said – and maybe I haven’t communicated well enough – is that it just adds an extra layer of confidence to the other guys when they shoot. You can’t ever underestimate the mind of an 18-to-22-year-old and the pressure like last year when we’d get good shots and just couldn’t make any of them – the next shot there’s even more pressure. So just the lack of either pressure or the ease that guys feel when they shoot the ball knowing that every shot isn’t the end of the world – whether it goes in or out – due to the fact that we know we have a guy that’s going to make some for us. I think it’s impacted so many other areas. Again – I talked about it last week – it’s impacted our defense in a lot of ways, too – for example, on Saturday. It’s always better and always a little easier to get down in a defensive stance and do what you need to do defensively after you make a basket. We like to, as coaches, think it’s not, but that’s just reality. So when you make them, you obviously have a better chance of getting back on defense, securing your defense and playing better defense.”

On what makes Adam Smith such a good shooter

“I told the guys there’s not a lot of question or wonder why he’s one of the best three-point shooters in the league. He’s in our gym every morning at 9 a.m. getting 500 jump shots up. Sometimes I have to kick him out of here. Sometimes I have to meet him at the door and tell him to turn around. He puts in the time, and the one thing that he’s done since the summer when he started with us is working on other aspects of the game – those shots off the dribble that he’s making, he’s passing the ball and using ball screens better. That’s one of the big things we talked about – for a guard his size you have to be able to use ball screens. He’s getting better on that. He puts in the time, he’s a student of the game and it comes as no surprise that he’s one of the best not only in the league, but in the country. Obviously, there’s an innate ability to make shots, but you also have to spend time. And he has no problem doing that.” On the importance of winning games such as Saturday’s against Virginia

“I think obviously you can say last season is past and all that, but it’s still a reality that we went through that last year. And the year before you have 60 games lost due to injury or whatever, so everybody’s human. Our guys have constantly said that’s in the past, that’s not who we are and everything’s different. And we showed it on Saturday. I said after the game – sometimes you’ve got to keep believing even when you don’t see the tangible evidence of it. Somehow or someway, you have to break through. The thing is, in this league, one game doesn’t break you through. You’ve got to keep doing it, and you’re going to have opportunities to do it because you’ve seen, just in the week-and-a-half or full week of the season, there are going to be a lot of close games, and you’ve got to be able to get the stops and rebounds and make some plays on the offensive end in order to be successful, and I think our guys understand that. Our guys have embraced that and know it’s coming and are preparing for it every day.”

On Quinton Stephens

“Obviously he responded extremely well, and I though James White responded well. I think Josh Heath and Nick (Jacobs) responded well to coming off the bench and, as I said afterwards, maybe our starting lineup will be fluid in some situations depending on either offensive or defensive matchups, and our guys have to be okay with that. One of the things we really emphasize is what you do on a daily basis – in practice and off the court just in terms of being a great teammate and doing the things that are important in this program. And he’s always done that. He took advantage of an opportunity that was presented to him.”

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