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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday
, February 23, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

The Hokie Hotline was broadcast live from Beamerís Restaurant in Christiansburg.

Bill Roth opened the show by reviewing the Hokie News of the Day:

  • After 2 days and 2 rounds the Hokie golfers are tied for 8th with Texas, in the Puerto Rico Classic. This golf tournament precedes the NCAA championship, which Tech will host, at the Homestead Resort. The current leader board in the Puerto Rico Classic is Oklahoma, Florida, Clemson, NC State, Georgia, Minnesota, and UVA (just one stroke ahead of the Hokies).
  • In Hokie Swimming, Brazil native Gus Calado was named 2004 Menís Most Outstanding Swimmer of the week for his 1:45:52 time in the 200 meter butterfly.
  • In Hokie Softball, Kelly Brown was named Big East Co-Player of the Week.
  • The Big East Track and Field Championships has finished up in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse. VT Men finished 5th and the Women finished 12th.
  • VT Menís basketball will face Boston College away on Wednesday, and the Hokies will play in front of a sold out home crowd as they face WVU on Saturday.

Seth Greenberg

Roth began the interview portion of the show with Coach Seth Greenberg, by recapping the Hokies' performance against St. John's last Saturday evening at the Cassell. Greenberg described the overall performance as "ugly". He was happy they found a way to win, but he felt like the team was playing not to lose rather than playing to win. St. John's had a good strategy by defending the inside and making the Hokies score from three-point range, as Tech's shooting percentage hasnít been very good. Even as bad as the game was from a performance standpoint, VT did force 4 St. John's turnovers in the last 3 minutes of the game. When the Hokies needed to make a play they did, and now itís history.

Roth asked about Bryan Randall, who was named player of the game by the broadcast crew. Randall, off the bench, came out and hit two three pointers to get the Hokies back into the game, as well as had a critical steal from St. Johnís point guard Darryll Hill. Randall was also the architect of the game-winning basket, which was the result of him grabbing his own rebound after a missed free throw.

Greenberg added that Randall is just a strong player; he commented that on the steal from Hill, he actually took the ball and the opponent off the floor. He simply used his strength to wrestle the ball free, and there was no way Hill could hang onto it. Coach said that Randall is a leader that the team can rally around, he has a competitive spirit, and the kids look up to him because of the way he lives his life on and off the court.

Roth asked Greenberg if he expected to get as much production from Bryan as he has. Coach said that he didnít have any expectations for Randall, because he hadnít seen him play. He did know that the intangibles that he saw in Bryan were already going to help his team. Intangibles such as leadership, a voice in the locker room, competitive spirit, and maturity, were all things this team desperately needed. Roth theorized that without Bryan Randall, this team probably wouldnít be one game under .500.

After the break, Roth asked Coach to address the situation with suspended Hokie player Fabian Davis. Greenberg said that heís met with Fabian, and that they both agreed that he would finish out his semester this spring, and then move on to another program. There havenít been any discussions as to where he would go, but we certainly wish him the best, Greenberg said. Greenberg said that Fabian is a good player, whoís strong and shoots well, and has been un-lucky in the injury department.

Roth moved on to Justin Holt, another Hokie who currently is not on the roster for the Hokies, but not for disciplinary reasons. Greenberg said that Holt is doing well in practices, and he is probably the leading scorer in practice. Coach said that he needs to focus his play on his strengths and play within the system. Greenberg did mention that Holt will not be eligible to play until the end of the Fall semester 2004.

Melody in Tazewell called in and asked if Roth would say Happy Birthday to her father next Wednesday at the home game against Rutgers. To which Roth agreed. Greenberg added that he hoped we would also be able to score prior to the 10-minute mark in the game against Rutgers this time.

Roth then asked about the play on Saturday against St. John's where it appeared that Bryant Matthews had rolled his ankle. Greenberg said that he was concerned when he saw the play, but that Matthews is bionic. He rolled the ankle completely over, and the next day there was no swelling. Coach said the ankle is a little sore, but there was no need for a walking boot. He did hold Bryant out of practice today just to give him a rest, but it was not related to his ankle at all. Coach wants Matthews well rested because he faces two big frontcourt players this Wednesday at Boston College.

Roth asked if the team was tired overall, with all the playing time that many of the guys have to contribute. Greenberg seemed to indicate that because these guys are freshmen, they seem to "hit the wall and bounce back up", that they get tired easily, but are back up and ready very quickly. He pointed out that these kids are used to high school basketball, but they have had to quickly adjust to starting in the college game, and in one of the toughest conferences in the country.

Greenberg said that they gave them Sunday off, Monday they watched some film and worked on a couple techniques, Tuesday they will travel and practice, as well as Wednesday. Coach said there are a lot of things we need to learn, so the coaching staff picks out one or two items each practice to get better on. They are just trying to take things one step at a time, and not overload the guys.

Brett in Roanoke called in wondering exactly when Greenberg will begin preparing for the ACC teams. Greenberg said that obviously right now they are focusing on the task at hand, which is Boston College, but after the season is over, they will begin compiling scouting tapes on the ACC teams. From those they will determine teams and coaches tendencies and techniques. This will give them some material to work with when preparing the weekly game plan against each opponent. Greenberg continued to say that the ACC is a competitive league with professional level players. They are all strong and everybody can make a play. The ACC produces more professional players than any other league.

Roth asked Coach Greenberg about Bryant Matthews chances to make 1st team All Big East this year. Greenberg said that obviously he feels Matthews deserves it, but that unfortunately a coach cannot vote for his own players. Each coach has his opinion, and there are many good players to choose from. However, Matthews is putting up great stats and has to play more minutes and take more abuse than some of the other Big East stars. Also, Matthews had to play five games without the player who leads the Big East in steals, the Hokies Jamon Gordon.

Roth mentioned that Jamon should certainly be considered for the All Freshman Big East team, and added that Zabian Dowdell, who is 2nd among Freshman for steals, should also make that list. Greenberg agreed that it is possible that both could make the list. Coach added that Zabian has been a little more erratic and Jamon needs to be more effective off the ball. Heís excellent on the ball.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and asked about the coachís strategy regarding how he selects who will be the starting point guard. Greenberg responded by saying that Zabian is the starting point guard, but that we are playing a three-guard set, to maximize our ability to get turnovers. The strategy is to hopefully have more possessions through turnovers and not turning it over, to give Tech a competitive edge. When we bring the ball down the court on offense, though, Zabian is setting things up.

Mike in the audience asked the coach if he felt that Matthews was getting the respect from the officials that other star players receive. Greenberg joked that Matthews, for such a graceful individual, just trips a lot, rather than get fouled. Seriously though, Coach said that the tension on the court is reaching a high level as teams compete to make the tournament and compete for placement and seeding. He feels that the officials are simply letting the teams play, as the physicality of the game increases. Coach said that itís not a good time to challenge the officials right now. We need to be more concerned with our play than good or bad calls at this stage.

Roth pointed out that the Hokies, Miami and Georgetown are all three battling for two spots in the Big East Tournament. Greenberg stated that we canít be worried about Seton Hall and Miami tomorrow night, we need to worry about VT. We need to compete on Wednesday, come home to a raucous crowd on Saturday, and take care of business. He did say that this is great for our fans to have this goal to shoot for, and have reason to be interested in the Seton Hall v Miami game, but that the team is purely focused on BC right now.

Margerie in Blacksburg called in and wanted Greenberg to give an update on new recruits. Coach said that Marquis Cooke is still playing at a very high level, and itís possible he may be the Norfolk Player of the Year. Deron Washington is a Bryant Matthews in the making, heís wiry, quick, and very competitive. Tech's recruits give the Hokies a very solid offense, but next year, every single game will be a battle in the ACC. Coach reminded those anxious fans that this is a process, and we will have to recruit to be effective in the ACC.

Charles in Roanoke was the final caller with a question regarding recruiting efforts on the West Coast. Greenberg said that they are sending a coach out there on Thursday to look at a couple of recruits. Coach said that being in the ACC is a calling card that opens up the entire country.

Roth wrapped up the show by asking the coach to give us the breakdown on the Boston College team. Greenberg pointed to BC forward Jared Dudley who had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals last game. He also pointed out that this guy is their 3rd best forward. The two best forwards for BC are 6-7 Craig Smith and 6-8 Uka Agbai.

Coach said this is mostly a young team, but that Agbai is a 5th year senior. Greenberg elaborated that BCís perimeter play is very strong, they donít really shoot many three pointers, but work the ball around using their Flex offense. The Flex offensive scheme uses successive screens, which move from the low post up towards the elbow near the foul line. These screens attempt to move the defense around enough to open up a shot. The Eagles are a good ball team, and they are like a silent assassin. They can get after you before you know whatís hit you.

-- Phil

          

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