March 11, 2011
– GEORGIA TECH COACH Paul Hewitt
“Their zone really bothered us. We got some good looks in the first half and didn’t capitalize on it. And the rim as it happens this time of year, got kind of small on us.”
How bad did it mess up the game plan when Virginia Tech started with a 15-2 run?
“I’m not sure it changed much. We knew they were going to play a 2-3 zone and we had two or three days to prepare for it. We had some looks and didn’t knock them down from three (point range) which is tough to stand but the ones around the basket we have to capitalize. We went high-low a few times there and we either didn’t get a shot or missed the shot and that put a little more pressure on us. Teams can jump out to leads and you can get back into it. I think at 30-19 we had two or three stops in a row maybe but just didn’t capitalize and get ourselves back into the ballgame. We had our opportunities.”
Can you talk about playing Brian Oliver since he had a hand injury?
“Well, he had been working out and he is in pretty good shape. He had actually looked pretty good in practice over the last three days but he just had a poor shooting night.”
On the difficult nature of the last couple of years:
“I thought last year was a pretty good year. We went to the second round of the tournament. I thought it was a pretty good year.”
You had a chance to leave Georgia Tech after last season and didn’t. Do you just chalk it up to the chaotic nature of the industry?
“Last year was last year. This year we didn’t accomplish what I thought we were capable of accomplishing. That’s it.”
What about Virginia Tech’s senior leadership of Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen:
“They played well. They played like seniors. Obviously, they should have gotten into the (NCAA) Tournament last year. They didn’t. But for two kids who have had great careers I really would like to see them reach the NCAA Tournament at least one time before they leave college basketball. They deserve it.”
What did you think your team took from this season that will help them down the road?
“I think as the year went along our shot selection got better. Today you look at the shooting percentage and say what does that mean. I was watching the first half as I was waiting. I would say the four of the first five times we had the ball we got really good looks. We had one turnover and four really good shots. Again, this time of the year you miss some shots and the rim can kind of get small and you have a couple of turnovers and your hands get kind of slick. We didn’t turn the ball over, we only had 12 turnovers, but we just didn’t shoot it well. What I saw as the game went on after (Virginia Tech’s fast) start was we were in-between. One time we had a shot on the baseline and the young man didn’t know whether to dunk it or pull up and shoot it. Those things are going to happen. I think maybe the experience of being in this moment, especially for the younger guys, they understand the next time the situation arises, regardless of what happened the last play, let’s do the same thing we were practicing and hopefully get better results.”
Do you think you were fully embraced by the people in Atlanta?
“There is no situation. I have a good relationship with the media. I have an issue with one person. Can’t we just get along? Absolutely, I was fully embraced.”
GEORGIA TECH GUARD Iman Shumpert
Do you think the guys came out too fired up?
“I thought our effort was good. We had good looks. We just didn’t knock them down.”
Are you going pro and what do you think of the NBA’s labor situation?
“I don’t know. I just played my last game this season.”
VIRGINIA TECH COACH SETH GREENBERG
“I am just real proud of our guys. We talked about just playing ball. We talked about pressure. Pressure isn’t playing a basketball game. Pressure is being a single parent and having to raise a family and work two jobs to put food on the table. This is basketball. You just go out and play ball and have fun, just like you did when you were a kid in the park. I think that’s what these kids did. They went out and really trusted each other, shared the ball and played really hard. I thought our zone was as active as it has been in two weeks. We made the right decisions. It was just a really good team win.”
“The guards did a terrific job of keeping (Iman) Shumpert in front, and our forwards did a great job holding up ball reversals and getting back to the shooters in the corner. We got great bench play. I thought Manny (Atkins) gave us some really good minutes, Ty (Garland) had a big three-point play. It was just a good, solid team win. I probably slowed them down a little bit in the second half. I just didn’t want to have a lot of possessions. But we shared the ball, we trusted each other. For these guys to get 20 wins three of the four years that they’re here and have a chance to build on that – I’m just really, really proud of them, and it’s a credit to them.”
On the advantage of having played a game today, rather than having a bye;
“These guys (Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen) have had the bye two times before, and I’m not sure it helped us or hurt us. We lost those Carolina games, and then last year we had the bye and lost to Miami, which was a talented team. We’ve been to the second day of the tournament every year, so I think having a game under our belt is a good thing. Again, it’s really just about the next 40 minutes. We’ve got to think about the next 40 minutes and playing good basketball against a really good Florida State team that is as long and athletic a team as there is in the country.”
On the importance of starting out the game strong offensively:
“Well, we lost two games in a row. A lot of teams have lost two games in a row. Some have lost four or five in a row. Some have lost eight out of the last nine. It was important to play team basketball. It was important to move the ball and play with confidence. Confidence is such an essential thing, and after the Duke game, our emotional gas tank was on empty. In our past few games, we’ve struggled early, but we’re all human. I’m not sure our team, coming off two losses, was built to play from behind. Getting ahead in the game gave us some energy and some confidence.”
On preparation for the next game against Florida State:
“There’s only so much you can process in 24 hours, and we need to rest our players and get a good night’s sleep. They’re a very good basketball team. They’re deep, they’re athletic, and they’re rebounding the ball and playing with confidence. So, I have a lot of confidence in our guys and I think they’re really looking forward to the opportunity.”
VIRGINIA TECH FORWARD JEFF ALLEN
On the impact of the ankle injury suffered previously in the season:
“It hurt a little bit in the end of the game, but the medicine took care of that. It happened towards the end of the game, and I sort of twisted it a little bit. I just kicked someone’s foot.”
SENIOR GUARD MALCOLM DELANEY
On the importance of advancing as far as possible in the ACC Tournament in regard to a possible NCAA bid:
“We want trying to win the championship (of the ACC Tournament), and the NCAA will speak for itself. We haven’t won the ACC Tournament championship yet, and we’re trying to get there. The last two games we weren’t having fun, but when we play good defense and getting out in transitions like that, that’s when we play fun. We’d just like to keep it going in the ACC Tournament.”
On the team’s ability to win despite only having seven scholarship players:
“We’ve been playing through adversity the whole year. We’ve just got an attitude where we’re going to play with what we have, and we’ve got seven guys that are going to go out and give it their all. Usually, a lot of teams don’t go more than seven deep anyways, and like I said, those two guys coming off the bench just have to follow the game plan and play as hard as they can. Our legs are fine. We got back home and got a chance to rest last week.”
On the key to making a deep run in the tournament:
“It was conditioning in the off-season. We’ve just been motivated to work hard and get better. It’s times like this where we have people trying to play 37 of the 40 available minutes.”
On the importance of this game, regarding a berth towards the NCAA Tournament:
“We didn’t think about it. We just wanted to come out and be aggressive from the start. I didn’t think about the NCAA’s because I’m trying to win a championship here. We know if we win a championship, we automatically go.”