Feb. 1, 2010
“First of all, Gani Lawal continues to have an outstanding season. Over the weekend, he passed over 1000 points for his career at Georgia Tech. We feel like we are playing pretty good ball right now, and look forward to the game on Thursday night.”
Can you talk about Zachery Peacock and how he gives you that third man in your post rotation?
“Zach is obviously an outstanding shooter, good ball handler, and very good passer. So, he is a nice change-up when you go from Derrick and Gani, who are more power guys around the basket. Also, Zach is a very smart basketball player, a senior, who has provided a great deal of leadership for our guys off the bench. And like Gani, he has helped Derrick Favors a lot too in adjusting to college basketball. He has had a great career here, and he is sacrificing a bit this year coming off the bench, but he has taken that role and really made the most of it.”
Your team seems to thrive on playing tough opponents. Talk about how this game against Duke could be your toughest.
“We feel like every team we run into in the ACC is going to be a tough opponent. We are 4-3 right now going into this game, and obviously Duke has got an outstanding team. We are going to have to play really well in order to get a victory.”
I have heard many ACC experts, if you will, that think Georgia Tech is the most talented team in the conference. Is that fair?
“I think we have a talented group, but I think if you look around our league, top to bottom, there are some really talented teams. Our team is pretty young on the perimeter, but Brian Oliver and Glen Rice to me are two of the keys. Also, Iman Shumpert has improved his play, and Derrick has made a pretty good adjustment since the Virginia game. I think the key to our success is how Brian and Glen continue to come along. In the games we have played really well, those guys have come off the bench and given us really quality minutes.
Is the way Duke defended Derrick Favors last time you guys played was something that you have focused on and studied or have you just moved past that game?
“They did a very good job defending him, but I also think that Derrick was still in the phase of adjusting to the physical style of play. And again, I think since that game, he’s made some really good strides. We haven’t talked a lot specifically of how they defended him, but we will start talking about Duke today. I do think Derrick is playing lower and having a better center of gravity. He traveled a few times in that game and I think a lot of that had to do with him being straight up when people bumped him and he would get knocked off balance. They weren’t fouls, but he didn’t have a good base of gravity. I think he had two or three traveling calls in that game that really threw him off.”
In your conversations with Peacock before the season started about his role changing from starting almost every game to coming off the bench, was he receptive to that? How do you think he has dealt with that?
“He was receptive to it, because Zach’s objective has always been about what is best for the team. He saw an opportunity to be a guy that could come off the bench and provide a tremendous lift for our basketball team. He also recognizes that it is more significant to be on the court at the end of the game, and he has been on the court at the end of the games in some big spots and has come through for us. He made the two free throws against Clemson, and he made the big shot at Chapel Hill. I think maybe as a younger player he would not have understood the whole thing about not starting. But as a veteran player that has been through the ACC now for his fourth go-round, I know he knows it is more important who finished the game then who started the game.”
There are some players that don’t adapt very well to that role. Do you look for a certain thing when you look for a good sixth or seventh man?
“Not really, you try to put together a group that will give your team a lift in some area, whether it is offense or defense. At the same time, you think about what is best psychologically for the team. For us we are lucky, we have guys like Zach Peacock, Brian Oliver, and Glen Rice coming off the bench. They give us a lift, and they all bring something positive to the team.”
What does he (Peacock) bring to the game when he enters?
“He is a match up problem. He’s a kid that is 6-8, that can shoot a three, go off the dribble, and is very sound fundamentally on defense. If he doesn’t lead us in charges taken, he is somewhere in the top two or three. He’s a veteran that plays extremely hard all the time. He has been that type of player the whole time he has been here, in terms of a guy that just understands what it takes to win games. And now he has experience on top of that.”