Nov. 12, 2011
– GEORGIA TECH COACH Brian Gregory
Excited to get that first win. It’s great when it’s something you’ll always remember. I told the guys how much I appreciated their effort not only these forty minutes but their effort over the last six months. I’m asking a lot of these guys and they’re doing a good job of trying to respond to it and they’re making some improvements, which is the most important thing. I thought we played with pretty good energy level today. Defended fairly well. Were able to make some adjustments defensively early in the game to take away some of the stuff they hurt us in early in the game and did a great job on the glass throughout the game. Tremendous on the offensive glass offensively. We’re taking some steps forward. I always say to our guys when the games over I want people to say look that team wanted to win and that team wanted to play. I think that happened tonight and if we do that a lot of good things will happen for this program.
On second half free throw shooting
We do a lot of different things in practice and free throw wise; every time we shoot we have to make 80 percent of the baskets. It’s amazing how many of those guys make 80% of the baskets so I told my staff at halftime; I said these guys must not be telling me the truth when they say they hit 80 percent of their free throws because we didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half. I think we can be a pretty good free throw shooting team. I don’t know if it’s the arena and not getting used to it or whatever but I think we’re a good free throw shooting team and when we’re confident at the line and we have a high level of concentration. Mfon (Udofia) is the perfect example of that. Forget the last play and you’ve got to step up to the line with concentration and knock them down. When we do that, we’re pretty good. One of our best free throw shooters, Brandon Reed, was 1 for 4. We were 72 percent for the game. We can be even better than that.
On the defense
I look at how we improve from our first practice and we are getting better defensively there’s no doubt about it. We teach 5 guys cover the ball, you’ve got to be there to help your teammate and to be honest with you guys are historically more selfish on defense than on offense. I got my man, as the other guy goes in and shoots a layup. You’ve got to break that, that’s a habit. That’s something we work on every single day and you have to put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable I our defense if you’re going to be good and that’s hard nowadays to get guys to do that. But when you do it, we can become a very good defensive team especially if we rebound the way we did tonight.
Did you have time to prepare to be without Glen Rice, Jr.
We’ve had sometime to prepare and so have our guys. we’ve got two more game where we’ve got to continue making some improvements and get him back…..It was a team violation and guys are learning that there’s consequences and there’s also going to be growth. We’re going to help him grow through this and then move on from there.
On Julian Royal’s play
He’s a very good free throw shooter. He has a very good skill package, there’s no doubt about that. The pace of the game sometimes gets a little too fast for him. That’s not because he can’t play at that, it’s because he’s not accustomed to that. He’s able to make plays and right now as a freshman so much is coming at him and his mistakes usually are if he’s trying to figure out what he needs to do. What ends up happening is you continue to develop as a player and you recognize things faster and you just make the plays from there. You go through that process of thinking a little too much and then it becomes second nature. Basketball wise he has a chance to get to that point relatively fast. He’s been practicing well and I’m a big believer that the habits that you form everyday usually show up in a game so when guys don’t shoot the ball well, especially if it’s over a couple of games that’s usually because their habits on a daily basis shooting aren’t as good as they need to be.
On the aggression in the low post game
I think they’re still feeling their way on some of that stuff, again with the zone you’re not going to get true post ups per se. They played for a better part of the game in zone. I think there’s times those guys needs to be a little more aggressive but maybe from where they were to now they’re taking some strides to where they’re actually involved and trying to get them the ball a lot. I thought Daniel (Miller) played really well. He was a monster on the offensive glass. I thought Kam (Holsey) gave us some minutes and I thought you saw the development and improvement of Julian and Nate who had 5 defensive rebounds. The one thing I said too is we list every one of those guys as a sophomore or a freshman. They’ve got a lot of room to grow and time to do it.
FLORIDA A&M COACH CLEMON JOHNSON
Needless to say, we lost. Now, why did we lose? Better team. Unfortunately, we gave all we have, I will say that, and it wasn’t good enough for this team tonight.
What do we need to do? We need to find more scorers. We shot about 35, 40 percent and it wasn’t because of the shot-blocking ability of Georgia Tech. We just aren’t putting the ball in the hole right now. We knew that we would lose the battle as far as rebounding with the seven-footers that they had in there, then they go to the bench and bring in another one. Our 6-8 center just got over-powered. We fought in there.
We went zone. Our zone slowed them down for a minute. But then we started giving up things. We were giving up the corner shot, which means the big man was supposed to go out there and cover that, and when he went out there to cover that and the shot was missed, now their big man was allowed to come rebound the basketball…. they had just too many weapons.
That’s where we are at this stage.
On cutting the deficit in the first half
We cut it down, but the difference was I had to go to my bench, unfortunately. They had point guards scoring, wings scoring, throw the ball in the middle and he’s scoring. They spread the ball around a little more. And that made it difficult for us.
On the benefits of playing games like this against BCS-type opponents
Well, needless to say we come to win, but when we don’t win I get the opportunity to play against some of the better coaching. Now what I will do is go back and look at the tape and see if they ran a particular play, that I can “steal” – that’s terminology coaches use.
Our zone defense… we’re going to have to play a zone. Eventually this is going to turn into a very strong team.
I’m gaining knowledge. No one wants to lose in the manner we lost. But again, it’s a learning tactic, a learning opportunity for me, and hopefully it’s a learning opportunity for the guys we’re playing against.
We’ll be much-improved by the time we get into conference (play). We have other pieces. We just weren’t able to bring them here. There are other pieces. We’re hopeful that playing in these games will make us stronger. That’s my take for the players. For the coaching staff, playing these games will make us wiser, stronger.