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Tony Akins Chats Live On ESPN.com

Tony Akins: I am here and ready for your questions. Let’s get started.

Phil (GaTech): Tony- what are you feelings on the season so far, and how do you feel you you need to motivate and lead the freshmen into playing a team game and getting back to the postseason?

Tony Akins: Right now we are starting off slow, we are 2-3.

I just have to help the freshman mature by helping them realize what is going to happen ahead of time. I have to help teach them stuff that will make the game easier for them. I also have to be tough on them to help them grow up a little faster.

Paul (Flanders): How has the Illinois game changed the attitude of the team?

Tony Akins: Especially the freshman, they realize this isn’t high school anymore and they can’t just go one-on-one. We have to play better defense and we realize we are a long way from where we want to be. It has made us practice a lot harder.

MIKE (BRUNSWICK MAINE: Tony, I am from GA and I am in the Navy in Brunswick Maine. I love GT. I am happy with what you bring to this young GT team. You are the man. Keep up the good work and I know that Georgia Tech will be in the NCAAs this year because of your leadership. How do you feel about your chances.

Tony Akins: I feel very good about our chances because we have so much talent in our freshman. We have to help them mature. Their main problem is that they think they can just play off their athleticism. But they have to learn how to play basketball.

Chel(Oakland): You are an extraordinary player and I would like to know how you and the rest of the squad are going to bounce back from that St.Louis loss.

Tony Akins: That loss hurt us a lot. It is making us test our will to fight. This afternoon’s practice will be very tough getting back into it and getting ready for Wisconsin. But I think the loss will help us and will make us hungrier for our game on Wednesday.

Denver, CO: Tony,

How would you compare the overall talent level of this team compared to last years team?

How fast do you think this team can mature and play to their potential?

Greg D.

Tony Akins: Overall level, we are at a much higher level. But no one’s talent level is any where near. Alvin Jones. Nobody can bring the rebounding and defense that he brought. He was our security net on defense.

SAM, Jacksonville: What is it like now not having Alvin Jones in the paint this year?

Tony Akins: It is harder. We have to rebound as a team, meaning no one can leak out for fastbreaks. If someone penetrates, we don’t have a true shotblocker. Once again, he was our saftey net on defense.

Evan (Washington DC): It seems like there are a lot of potential guys in the mix. How do you see playing time shaking out during the season. Which of the new guys do you feel are most likely to step up into major contributors?

Tony Akins: I see us going 10-deep every game. All our freshman are really good and can’t really say which one is better. Any of them can step up and contribute on any given night. Now they just have to get tougher.

Jerome Akins(Detroit): Hello Tony,With such A young team,How will you prepare this team Mature for the ACC.

Tony Akins: As everyone knows, the ACC is very tough. The best way to prepare them is hard work and pushing them everyday in practice and make it as tough as possible because that is how it is on the road in the ACC.

Jamar (Brooklyn): Hey Tony, who is the best point guard that you have faced in your college career?

Tony Akins: It would be a toss up between Steve Francis and Jason Williams. They both have so much offense and they just play hard for 40 minutes. They can both shoot, penetrate and are strong. They don’t really have any weaknesses to their game.

Marty: Hello Tony, How good can Georgia Tech be this season if the teams plays up to it’s full potential?

Tony Akins: Their is no limit. We have athlete, after athlete, after athlete. With our potential, we could press the whole game and not lose any intensity. I think we are the fastest team in the country but it is just getting our guys to do it. It is all about commitment.

Jay Wong (Diamond Bar): Hi Tony. Just wanted to say hi and ask how your team is handling the situation with Mike being diagnosed with Lukemia? Also, any plans yet for after graduation?

Tony Akins: When the news first hit us we were very sad and had trouble believing it. But now he is doing much better and is out of the hospital and at home. We try and talk to him once a week and the older guys have dedicated the season to him.

After I graduate, I would like to play professionally somewhere, hopefully in the U. S.

Rick (Atlanta): Hi Tony, do you consider this team possibly being a sleeper team and tripping up some teams in the ACC?

Tony Akins: Definitely because their is no telling which team will show up.

timmy: Who do forsee in the final four this year?

Tony Akins: That is tough. Definitely Duke and Maryland because they have to represent the ACC. There will be a Big Ten team in there, so I will say Illinois. Lastly, probably someone from the Pac-10. Maybe Arizona, they remind me of our team a lot. They are young and athletic.

Daniel Burapavong (GT): Tony, what do you think of the students being on the floor this year? I think coach Hewitt did a great job in getting that done so our homecourt advantage is stronger!

Tony Akins: I love it. When we are playing in tight games you can feel the intensity. I think we will be able to feel it even more when we play those big games at home. It is great.

Tony Akins: That’s all the time I have for now. I just want to say, don’t count us out and go Tech!

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