Jan. 26, 2010
– ACC Teleconference – January 25, 2010
“Our week was typical of what our season has been. We had a really good win at home against Clemson, and then we went down to Florida State and had a tough loss. Florida State played well. We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end, but was unable to pull it out. Now we’re getting ready to play a Wake Forest team that’s playing as well as anybody in the league right now.”
On the problems that Ishmael Smith causes
“He puts so much pressure on your transition defense. He gets the ball from baseline to baseline faster than anybody else in the league. I haven’t seen anybody in the country that gets the ball from baseline to baseline faster. He’s going to constantly keep pressure on your to get back in transition and also match up. He can be a pest defensively, but that’s the number one thing you look at when you’re playing that team.”
On how wide open the ACC race is
“It is. Somebody will emerge. Somebody will get on a hot streak. The league is very, very wide open, the biggest factor being experienced point guard play. That’s why Wake Forest has a chance to be a really good team, because they have a senior point guard.
On what it will take for a team to separate itself
“Taking care of the ball. That’s the most important thing. Each possession becomes so magnified, especially when you go down the stretch in this league. You take care of the basketball, and you’ll get good shots. Maryland is another team that comes to mind that has experience guard play that has an opportunity to be a factor.”
On the NBA’s one-year rule and its impact on college basketball
“I don’t have a like or dislike about it. We just deal with it. It’s created more parity, I think, because you have programs who get a kid who ends up leaving, especially in the higher-level conferences. It’s tough to tell a senior in high school that this freshman is going to leave before he even plays a game. It does create some of the parity that you see. I don’t think it hurts our game. But it may be something that the NBA and the players association may want to re-think. I’ve never thought that a kid should have to go to college, but I do think it better serves them if they stay two or three years. I wouldn’t be opposed to see a rule that allows a kid to go out of high school. But if he comes to college, he should stay two to three years.”
On how it changes your recruiting mentality
“At Georgia Tech, we try and find kids who can compete in the ACC, but also can compete here academically. I don’t want to say our hands are tied. When you come across a kid like Chris Bosh, who was an honor student, you have to take him. When you have a Thaddeus Young or a Javaris Crittenton, you’ve got to take him and see where it falls. There are some situations where everybody has a young man who everybody has earmarked to be one-and-done, and they’re there when they’re juniors and seniors. You just just try to get the kids that you think fit best into your program, athletically and academically, and then you just deal with it.”
“We’ve kind of gone back to that rotation once we got back to full-time ACC play. I think it was the Duke game where we decided to go with the rotation that we’re using now. Those two young men have been a part of that rotation since then. Hopefully as the season goes on, they get more comfortable and more experienced and continue to have a positive impact n the game.
“I think early in the year, [Udofia] was more comfortable with [playing the point]. Obviously he’s not playing as well as he did early in the year, but some of that has to do with people scouting you and taking certain things away. It’s part of being a young player in this league. He’ll be fine. He’s a very smart player and a tough competitor. He’ll turn it around and start playing better.”
On senior point guards making a difference and the advantage that those teams have
“They’ve just been through so many situations on the court. They know when to take a chance, when not to take a chance. They execute things they need to in order to be successful. You combine that talent level with the experience level, and that makes them a very good player for their team.
“You can try (to simulate in practice what he does). We’ve played against guards like [Smith] over the years. You’ve got to do it each possession. It’s a 40-minute proposition with him. You’ve got to keep him under control for 40 minutes. What he does in transition is the first thing you have to worry about.”
On finishing in the top four in the league to earn a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament
“It’s very important. You want to try and win the league, but the top-four finish is significant because you get the extra day off. I’m not sure, but since the league has gone to 12 teams, I don’t think a team that did not get a first-round bye has won the ACC Tournament. That just puts you, at least statistically, in a good position if you can get in the top four.”