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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday, January 17, 2005
by Phil Noftsinger

Tonightís show was broadcast live from Attitudes Bar at the Holiday Inn in Blacksburg. The guest for tonightís show was menís basketball head coach Seth Greenberg.

News of the Day:

  • Spyridon Jullien became Techís first track and field Performer of the Week, and is ranked #1 in the country in the weight throw.
  • Steve Borja was the ACC Wrestler of the week, and Tech is 1st place in the ACC in Wrestling after defeating Duke Saturday.
  • Tech moved up to #23 in the AP womenís basketball poll.

Seth Greenberg

Roth congratulated Coach Greenberg on bringing Tech its first ever ACC basketball victory. Coach said that the real trivia question is what player has the first ACC basketball and ACC football victories at Tech; the answer is obviously Jeff King. Roth mentioned that the game wasnít particularly pretty, but the expectation was that there would be a lot of steals and sloppy passing. Greenberg said that Clemson plays a very aggressive style of defense, up the line, denying basketballs, in passing lanes, and trying to take you out of your offense. Coach said that early the Hokies were stubborn and tried to stick with some things they were doing on offense. Later they tried to spread the floor and that seemed to work better for their offense. Fortunately we have a couple players with quick hands and anticipation. Coach said that the team competed at an ACC level, similar to what the team did late last year.

Roth said that Deron Washington played his best game of the season. Greenberg said that he was really active and got his hands on a lot of balls. He made some big plays, including an offensive rebound, similar to some of the plays we saw from Bryant Matthews last year. Deron plays hard, still needs to run the floor more consistently, but heís playing hard right now.

Cody in Blades Springs called in and asked how good the team expected to play against NC State. Coach said that he hoped we would do pretty good, practice has been spirited, and when you win a couple games in a row, you start to see that extra step in practices. NC State is coming off a huge win over Georgia Tech, and they have the pre-season player of the year in Julius Hodge. They are a team that can shoot the ball with range. Our guys are excited about defending the Cassell.

Pam in Culpeper wrote in and asked how much time would be spent on three point shooting this week, and asked the team to not foul the three point shooters of NC State, they really hurt Georgia Tech with that. Coach said that you donít want to ever foul the jump shooter. We are going to contest the three. In terms of shooting the three, we have guys that should and guys that shouldnít. Carlos Dixon and Zabian Dowdell are the two main three point shooters. Jamon Gordon off the kickout will shoot some.

Roth said that Coach mentioned that he wants to get more minutes for Marquie Cooke and Witherspoon, and itís hard to come by when the starters have been playing so well. Roth asked how the coach has handled these kids who also want to play. Coach said that 35-37 minutes are too many for any one player, so we need to spread those around and get more young guys experience.

Roth asked about Robert Krabbendam, who has been sick. Coach said that he had a really good practice, and he has some matchups this week that we will need him in the game. Heís going to be a good player, who has to get used to the speed of the American game.

Linda from Christiansburg wrote in and asked how it feels to have his first ACC win. Coach said that it feels good, we thought we had a good shot at Florida State and that was disappointing. Coach said that itís more how we won the game, we were tough, competitive. When you watch Duke play, they never lose to a team they are supposed to beat. They may get down, but they find a way to fight their way back. Coach said that he has to get his guys to think like that. Itís tough when you have a team with some self doubt after getting a couple bloody noses.

Roth asked if the staff is that good that they can make major adjustments at halftime. Coach said that maybe they are resilient, scrappy, and have a chip on their shoulder. He said he hadnít lost his mind at half-time yet. We talk about three or four simple things, intensity, defensive principals, transition, and we talk about one or two things we have to do to win the game. Itís not rocket science, you block shots, get baskets in transitions, and make good shots.

Jason from Charlotte wrote in and asked about the ACC tournament and where it would be in 2006. Coach said that the tournament would return to Greensboro in '06, go to Tampa in '07, Charlotte in '08, Atlanta in '09, and Greensboro in '10.

Brett in Roanoke called in and asked about the NC State offense and is it different to prepare for. Coach said that itís very similar to the offense run by Princeton, except that itís run by Julius Hodge and a couple of McDonalds All-Americans. They run a two guard front, or two perimeter players, lots of back cuts and flare screens, hard basket cuts, dribble hand offs. You have to have very skilled players, pass and catch well, and when they run well, itís a very nice offense to watch. They can get you stretched out and they can spread the floor and make shots.

Roth asked if they are similar to West Virginia. Coach said that itís similar except that WVU used their post player more to shoot the basketball. They are more predictable than NC State and they donít have as many good players. They donít have a 6í10" freshman that can drain threes.

James in Charlottesville asked if we were trying to slow the game down on Saturday, and if we can see more of this offense. Coach said that we really want to push the offense hard, and Zabian made two tremendous passes in transition. We want to push the ball as hard as we can, but Clemson was overplaying so hard, we had a choice of backcutting or an open offense, which is a penetrate and kick. Because they are denying the wing so hard, they are trying to get in the lane and force someone to help. If you watch ACC basketball, Wake Forest, Duke, UNC, Georgia Tech and Clemson, will overplay hard, and teams run out of spacing rather than of sets. Reversing the ball is difficult.

Jeffrey in Lake Springs called in asked about how Coach felt about his victory over Clemson. Coach said that it felt good for about an hour, and then he got on a plane to go recruiting. Coach was really happy for the players, and we ask so much of them, with a long season. All of a sudden you play a Top-20 team like Mississippi State, and youíre in a position to win and you donít. Then you do the same thing again against Florida State, and all of a sudden itís human nature that you start to lose motivation. Now we have the monkey off our back a little bit.

Coach said that when Carlos jumped into that lane against Clemson, it was like slow motion. Hamilton was trying to turn the corner on Dixon and takes an angle to cut him off, and being the pessimist, Greenberg was praying Dixon wouldnít bang it off the back of the rim. After missing the wide-open three right before that, for him to have the composure to come back and make that play was great.

Lost in the action was the last shot that Clemson got, which there was a small defensive collapse on. The shot was still contested, but VT had to move quickly to get back into position. If that had gone in, there would be a different tone right now. Thatís what itís all about, is finding a way to win close games. What is lost in this is the play of Collins on defense in the 2nd half.

Roth asked if Seth had ever gone into a game and just thought this team is just too good, and no game plan will be sufficient. Coach said that he would never admit that. Coach said you feel overwhelmed, but you always try to find a way to win. A key for Tech is to keep care of the basketball and turn over the opponent.

Jim in Radford wrote in and asked if the recruiting budget is enough to recruit at the highest level of the ACC. Coach said it is enough, because he doesnít even know what it is. He tells his staff not to abuse the budget, and the administration has been extremely supportive. The recruiting effort is a process and everything worthwhile takes time, and it will be easier to sell the ACC membership this year than last. Kids will start to see that thereís something special going on at VT and in the Cassell.

Deborah in Chesterfield Co called in and asked if Shawn Harris would be getting more minutes. Coach said that the speed of the game Clemson was not really conducive to Shawnís game, as his approach is more of a physical player which comes off screens. Wyton Witherspoon is more of a slashing player, as is Marquie Cooke. When a team is overplaying hard, you need players to get into the lane and make plays.

After the break, Roth mentioned that Seth Greenberg would be a guest on ESPNís Cold Pizza. Coach said that itís good exposure for the program. Roth asked if morning shows are different. Coach said that Roth isnít even up when those shows are on.

Ryan e-mailed in and asked about a student basketball committee, where the coach said that he wanted a crazy type environment in the Cassell. Ryan mentioned that he doesnít really see that type of environment in the Cassell yet. Coach said that the students have been out, and they are back. This will be the first game with the students back on campus, and heís hoping the students will come out and create the Lane Stadium atmosphere. We need an ACC environment, which is part of ACCepting the opportunity of being in the ACC. Itís a process of getting on the social calendar of the students, just as is the process of building a program.

A couple questions regarding the football schedule were submitted, and Roth said that the schedule would be released on Wednesday.

Mark in Ontario asked about the West Side progress, and Roth said that construction is still progressing timely and everything is still a go for the Fall. Roth suggested that fans check out the webcam for actual footage.

Pam wrote in and asked what the biggest challenge is with NC State. Coach said they are a very well balanced team that can shoot the ball well. Tony Bethel should be back for that game. Brackman can play, and he can throw a 95 mph fast ball. We have to contain Hodge, get out to their shooters, and be very alert defensively, because they cut so hard. Defensively they will switch a lot and extend their defense. They are good basketball team and we have some decisions to make in the next week.

Bob in Powathan called in and asked Roth about season tickets holders who are not going to all the games. The announced crowd was 9,000, but the Cassell was only half full. Bob asked if there is anything that Tech is doing to take care of the people that are not coming and selling those tickets to other people. Roth said that itís a common problem of schools around the country for weeknight games, and thatís a problem that the AD will address in the off-year. Coach said that there was about 6,500, and if we had our normal student turn-out it looks a lot better. For those who canít make it back for the game you can donate those tickets to youth organizations in Blacksburg who can get young people to the games who may not have an opportunity to go to the game otherwise. (See TSL's Big Brothers Big Sisters donation info.)

  • The Hokies battle NC State on Wednesday at home, at 7:00 pm. ( will have a preview and roster card.)
  • Monday was day 53 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 108 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 46 of Virginia Tech's possession of the ACC football championship.

-- Phil


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