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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, December 8, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Bill Roth opened the broadcast with the usual "news of the day" announcements. Former VT men’s basketball coach Chuck Noe passed away. He was a coach at VT from 1955 to 1962 and was instrumental in the initiative to construct Cassell Coliseum. VT men’s basketball player Bryant Matthews was named co-Big East player of the week. George O’Leary was recently named the new head football coach at UCF. The VT men’s basketball team will battle VMI on 12/10 at 7 p.m. in Cassell and then play Radford on 12/13 at 7 p.m. in Cassell.

Finally, although VT and the University of Southern California have agreed to play in the BCA Classic next August 2004 at either FedEx Field or the Meadlowlands, the official details are not final (editor's note: according to the L.A. Times, USC has agreed to play in the game, mostly likely vs. VT, and it will be at either the Meadowlands or FedEx field). Stay tuned for more information on that. The final VT football schedule should be announced on next week's Hokie Hotline broadcast.

Seth Greenberg – Men’s Basketball Coach

After a break, Roth read an e-mail from David in Cloverdale, VA. David urged Jim Weaver and VT fans to not be too excited about scheduling USC for next season. He also said he was disappointed in the overzealous fan reaction after VT defeated Miami this season. David thinks that VT fans and the administration need to "act like they’ve been there before" regarding both situations. Bill Roth took exception to these remarks and stated that the entire Hokie Nation, from the administration to the fans, has every right to be excited about scheduling USC (currently the #1 team in the nation) and beating Miami (then #2 in the nation).

Roth introduced Greenberg and asked him about the past two games (losses to ODU and Ohio State). Greenberg said that VT really played well in the ODU game and the stat sheet proved it. He said that the only real lapses came on defense, but they were few and far between. He said he was really proud of the post defense VT played in the ODU game. Greenberg said that VT played hard in the game against Ohio State as well. However, he said that VT’s play during the last 3-4 minutes of the first half was poor. He said that VT didn’t use good shot selection during that time, and attempted to make too many high risk plays on defense.

Roth brought up the fact that the team must be playing with a lot of heart and determination, given the fact that they are so undermanned. Greenberg agreed and pointed out that they really only have a total of six players. He also said that a lot of the players are being asked to do things that they aren’t accustomed to doing (changing positions, offensive/defensive roles, etc.). Roth then asked Greenberg for his comments on Bryant Matthews’ recent play and recognition. Greenberg said that Matthews is VT’s best player and their hardest worker. He said that Matthews is like the Energizer Bunny, because he keeps going and going hard from whistle to whistle. Greenberg finished by praising Matthews for raising the bar for the rest of the players on the team.

After a break, Roth asked Greenberg for his thoughts on the current BCS controversy in college football. Greenberg said that USC has a legitimate gripe and the only way to avoid controversy would be to switch to some sort of playoff system. He said that if it can be done in basketball, it can be done in football. Roth pointed out that one could make a legitimate argument for each of the teams in question (OU, LSU and USC) to be included in the national championship game, but unfortunately only two can play. Greenberg agreed and added that there would probably be a split national championship this year unless another game was added after the bowls.

Barek from Blacksburg in the audience noted that Greenberg stated that VT’s post defense was improving. Barek asked if VT’s perimeter defense is improving as well. Greenberg admitted that VT’s perimeter defense was not playing nearly as well as the post defense. He reiterated the fact that VT’s perimeter players are taking to many risks and not contesting enough shots. He said the stats speak for themselves in this area, but promised that they're working hard to improve. Roth asked Barek who he thought were the two best teams in college football. Barek pointed out that OU is not even the best team in their conference, and said he would definitely choose LSU and USC to play in the Sugar Bowl.

After a break, Francis in Culpeper (who was a walk on player for VT basketball back in the ‘60’s) called and thanked Greenberg for being open and honest with his comments about the basketball program. He urged the football coaches to take a lesson from Greenberg in this respect. Greenberg thanked Francis for the call and said nothing more.

Scott in VA Beach called and asked if VT would make an effort to play more basketball games in the Tidewater area in coming years (not only against ODU, but against other teams at neutral sites). Greenberg confirmed that he was committed to playing as many future games as possible in the Tidewater area. He said that the Tidewater area is a great recruiting area for VT (in all sports) and needs to be cultivated.

Charles in Roanoke called and asked Greenberg to comment on the current walk on players as well as the idea of the full court defense in VT’s future strategies. Greenberg said that the team doesn’t have enough available players right now to extend the defense to full court play. He said the players are being pushed to their limits of endurance right now just using the standard defensive sets. He said they’re grateful for players like Bob Ritchie who have added "another shirt" out there in practice to keep the managers from taking the court.

After a break, Bill in Lynchburg called and voiced his support for Greenberg and said to keep up the good work and eventually Cassell will be full for every game again. Greenberg thanked Bill and acknowledged that the program will continue to gather support if they keep playing hard and adding quality talent. He said that Beamer told him that Cassell is the loudest building on campus when it is full.

Steve from Blacksburg in the audience asked if Greenberg had given any consideration to Bryan Randall playing for the basketball team after the bowl game. Greenberg said that he had not spoken with any of the football players about helping out. He said that they knew what to do if they were interested. He said it’s not his place to try to recruit players from other sports programs on campus.

Bernie in Nelson County called to give a tribute to Chuck Noe. He said he knew him and Chuck was always a tremendous supporter of VT. He said that Chuck always thought that VT would one day become a top ranked university in both academics and athletics because of the tremendous fans and alumni base.

Bonnie Henrickson – Women’s Basketball Coach

After a break, Roth introduced Henrickson and praised the recent play of the 6-0 undefeated VT women’s basketball team. Henrickson said the team has been playing well early in the season. She characterized the players as unselfish and confident thus far. Roth noted that the team has had to come from behind to win a few games already. Henrickson said these types of games build character for later in the season when things can get tougher and wins are harder to come by.

Roth asked Henrickson if she had any concerns about this team before the season started. Henrickson said the primary concerns were the development of the sophomore players and getting some early November wins against a tough schedule. She said both of those concerns are now behind them, as the sophomores are playing well and the team went undefeated through its early season games. Roth asked if there are any lingering concerns. Henrickson said that the team has 26 overall goals with respect to average statistics. Right now, the tame has only achieved 10 of those goals, so there is a lot of work to do. She also noted that the team sets the goals for themselves, and they are constantly adjusting the goals to make sure they are attainable.

John in Lynchburg called and inquired about the status of heralded freshman Nare Diawara. Henrickson said she has tremendous potential because of her size (6’ 6"), but she needs to continue to develop her skills as an overall player. Diawara is not starting now, but may see more playing time as the season progresses.

Roth noted that the team is now 6-0 without the star player (Ieva Kublina) having a really big game thus far in terms of scoring. Henrickson agreed that all six wins thus far have been "team wins" and said that it’s only a matter of time before Kublina explodes with a few big games for VT. She laughed and said it would be nice for that to happen against Maryland this coming Saturday. Roth asked Henrickson how the team has matched up against some of the big opponents so far (ODU, Alabama, etc.). Henrickson said they feel good about how they’ve played so far against good competition. She said they were fortunate to get these wins and noted that these are teams they could play again later in the NCAA Tournament.

After a break, Roth noted that Coach Beamer couldn’t be on the show because he was out making a visit to a recruit’s home. Roth then spoke briefly with John Ortega of University Travel. John gave a quick update on the Insight Bowl travel packages being offered. He said there are about 20 seats left on the charter flights departing from Roanoke and Richmond. He also noted that this year’s bowl team selections have hurt the travel and hospitality business, with Miami playing in the Orange Bowl and USC playing in the Rose Bowl (fewer fans traveling overall).

Roth then turned the conversation with Henrickson back to the Lady Hokies’ upcoming matchup with Maryland on Saturday. Henrickson urged the fans to show up big for this game at 2pm. She said that VT fans have always supported that Lady Hokies and that support needs to continue growing as they prepare to enter the ACC next season. She said the fan support really helps recruiting. Roth asked Henrickson to comment on the overall strength of the Big East conference this year in women’s hoops. Henrickson said that the Big East might be the best conference in the nation. She noted that a lot of that perceived strength is due to UCONN’s excellent consistency, but the league if very strong top to bottom this year.

After a break, Barek from Blacksburg in the audience asked about the progress of Blacksburg native and VT women’s basketball freshmen Britney Anderson. Henrickson praised Anderson’s early contributions and said she will be an excellent player for VT before it’s all over. She noted that Anderson was a star on her high school team and said it can be tough to make that transition as a college freshman because of the decreased playing time. She said that Anderson has adjusted well and will continue to contribute and get more playing time as her career progresses at VT.

Tom in Christiansburg called and asked how many scholarships VT has to offer incoming freshman players next year. Henrickson said that scholarships will be offered to the three players who have already signed and at least three more scholarships will be offered to other recruits being pursued. Tom asked Henrickson to comment on the three current signees. Henrickson said they are excited about Christie Marrone out of NY, who is an exceptional passer and three point shooter. Brittany Cook and Roshana Jackson are also exciting and athletic players who will help the VT program in the future.

Jake in Richmond called and asked Henrickson how she is able to field such good teams year after year. Henrickson credited the consistency with recruiting good quality talented players year in and year out. She said that all coaches are better coaches when they have talent, and VT has been fortunate in recent years to have talented players in the women’s basketball program. She said that the upcoming move to the ACC will only improve recruiting. Henrickson said it has already opened new doors and expanded their recruiting footprint.

Les and Anita emailed from Rocky Mount and asked Henrickson to comment on the Maryland team that the Lady Hokies will play this Saturday. Henrickson said they have a similar style to VT. She said Maryland likes to run the floor, and they are very talented in the post and skilled on the perimeter. She noted that Maryland played some zone defenses against VT last year (a 60-57 VT road win) but has been playing man more this season on the films they’ve studied. Roth asked Henrickson to comment on the overall growth of women’s collegiate basketball. Henrickson said that the sport is growing by leaps and bounds as more school dedicate money to the programs and facility improvements.

Randy in Roanoke called and also inquired about VT freshman Nare Diawara (6’ 6") and asked if there was a possibility that she might dunk a basketball in a game at some point. Henrickson laughed and noted that Diawara has playfully jumped and hung from the rim in practice at times. However, she needs to develop her jumping ability more because she hasn’t had to jump a lot before because of her height. Henrickson said that they’d much rather develop her low post moves and other skills first, but admitted that if she eventually gets a dunk it will be exciting. She noted that only two or three women basketball players have ever dunked in a game before (at any level).

Roth pointed out that Henrickson has now posted 6 straight 20+ win seasons. He praised that fact that she’d been able to accomplish that even through times of adversity. He used the Rayna Dubose illness as an example. Henrickson said that her motto is, "It’s never as bad as it seems and it’s never as good as it seems." She said that adversity breeds toughness, and you have to finds ways to turn negatives into positives. She mentioned that Coach Beamer has been a terrific role model for her throughout her tenure.

After a break, Greg in Monroe called and asked if there was anything behind USC’s Pete Carroll’s challenge to play the Sugar Bowl winner in next season’s BCA game. Roth said that Carroll was probably just posturing to make sure that everyone knows (including his own team) that they are ranked #1 and still will be if they win the Rose Bowl. Roth admitted that, as much as he wants to the Hokies to play USC next year, such a matchup would be a promoter’s dream. Greg also asked if the proposed VT/USC BCA match up might allow VT to play LSU next season as originally scheduled. Roth said no, adding that Jim Weaver was quoted as saying there was already a contract out for VT to play a home game with another school (other than LSU) next season. That opponent will be announced soon.

Henrickson noted that the interest from VT fans regarding scheduling and recruiting is a tribute to their dedication and enthusiasm.

Nick in Covington called and asked Henrickson about the progress of Kublina in terms of toughness and aggressiveness. Henrickson said that Kublina is a very unselfish player who trusts her teammates a lot. She said that the coaches are always urging her to take charge offensively and defensively when the opportunity presents itself. Henrickson said that overall Kublina is progressing fine and is poised to have some big games this season.

After a break, Roth read an e-mail from Wade that asked Henrickson to explain the duties of new Director of Basketball operations, Trena Anderson. Henrickson explained that Anderson handles all the travel, away accommodations, community service, and academic assistance.

Roth asked Henrickson for some closing comments on the upcoming schedule. Henrickson said the team would practice through exams, but may take a day off here and there depending on the academic responsibilities of the players. She said the upcoming schedule will be challenging as the players juggle exams, the holiday, practice and games, but she had confidence they would do well. She once again encouraged all Hokie fans to come out and support the Lady Hokies as they take on Maryland this Saturday at 2pm at Cassell Coliseum. Roth reminded everyone to also tune into to the ISP Sports radio broadcast of the VT men’s basketball game against VMI Wednesday night (11/10) at 6:30 pm. Roth then thanked Henrickson for her time and signed off.

-- Wayne


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