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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday, January 24, 2005
by Phil Noftsinger

Tonightís show was broadcast live from Attitudes bar in the Blacksburg Holiday Inn. The guest was Hokie Head Basketball Coach Seth Greenberg.

Seth Greenberg

Roth congratulated an ailing Seth Greenberg on his team's upset of Georgia Tech on the road, mentioning that he wasnít sure if Tech had ever had as big an upset on the road. Coach responded jokingly "YeahÖHowíd we do that?" Overall the team got great guard play, Collins did a great job defending the post, we got inside the defense on the dribble. Bynum was a load, and the guys didnít do a good job defending the dribble drive in the last five minutes of the game. We did a good job in transition except for three possessions. We competed fairly well on the backboard, and we have to improve in that area. To go into that atmosphere, whether they had B.J. Elder or not, and compete and have a chance to win, and then to win, that was very gratifying.

Roth pointed out that the last time a Tech basketball team beat a ranked opponent on the road was 1982 against 17th ranked Louisville in Freedom Hall. Techís last win over a team ranked 12th or higher was 1986, when Tech beat #2 Memphis in Blacksburg. They also beat Memphis ranked 12th in 1984 in Blacksburg. Techís last win over a ranked opponent outside of Blacksburg was in 1995, when they beat #15 UVa at the Roanoke Civic Center. Roth mentioned that membership in the ACC gives the Hokies plenty of opportunities to beat ranked opponents. Greenberg agreed, you have to play ranked opponents to beat them, and playing in the ACC lifts the profile of the program.

Roth mentioned that Greenberg pointed to Deron Washington as the unsung hero of this team, and asked why that is. Coach said that he does all the little things, he screens better, giving up 40lbs and defends the post. He changes ends of the floor quickly and that opens up the guards to make plays. He affects the game a lot of different ways, and gives up a lot of himself to help the team.

Roth asked about Zabian Dowdell cramping up during games, but not in practice. Coach said that after shoot-around Zab didnít drink enough fluids, but a lot of it is internalized pressure. He wants to do well, that he puts so much pressure on him that he cramps himself into exhaustion. It is something we have to address.

Brett from Roanoke called in and congratulated the coach on the win and asked fans to show up to the UVa game on Thursday. Coach said that we have made some progress, and this is a very unforgiving league, so we will see what happens from here on out. If we continue to compete and give ourselves a chance to win, thatís the most important goal right now.

Ryan in Blacksburg wrote in and asked about the intensity the coach is showing during games and asked the coach for an assistant coaching job. Coach said that he hasnít increased his intensity, and getting the technical foul at the NC State game wasnít the best coaching decision.

Jerry from Fredericksburg wrote in and asked about substitutions and whether you keep your five best in during the game. Coach said that the team substitutes a lot on matchups, playing style, defensive assignments. Overall we need to get Zabian, Jamon, and Carlos into the 30 minute range, although Carlos may have to play up to 40 minutes. With Collins we need to get him in more as he gets more healthy. The team needs to get to a nine-man rotation, but thatís not equal opportunity. We want to stay fresh, but also develop a chemistry on the court. We need a pass and catch and cutting team. For example we might need a specific defender for Elton Brown of UVa, and in another game that same guy may not play as many minutes.

Jeff in Salem called in and asked the coach to comment on the guards and asked about "the big man" out of Florida. Hyman Taylor is a good player, with skills, and needs to develop a go-to move. He will be able to spend the whole summer at Tech in the weight room. The guard play in the ACC is determined in the backcourt. One of the strengths of our team is having 5-6 guards that can compete with any team.

Roth asked about the development of Zabianís offensive game. Coach said that Zabian can create space off the dribble, coming off screens, and he has a good pull-up in transition. Heís got to guard someone though, he got beat baseline left and Carlos Dixon got dunked on by Will Bynum for a SportsCenter Top 10 play of the week. Zabian is a capable defender, and the coaches have talked about improving that area of play.

After the break, Roth mentioned that Tucker contributed during the Georgia Tech win as well. Coach said that Chris is a very good position defender, who can really shoot the ball, but is a little nervous. He is fundamentally sound, and is good on defending screen situations.

Kenny in Marion called in and asked about the strategy against UVa on Thursday night. Coach said that they are just starting to put together the strategy, and his sickness has kept him from doing too much more. Coach said that the team needs to do a good job on Elton Brown, and against point guard Sean Singletary in transition. Devon Smith makes a world of difference for their basketball team in rebounds. You canít let J.R. Reynolds catch and shoot, you have to make him make plays. Adrian Joseph and Gary Forbes concerns the coach a little bit and you have to keep them off the glass. There are a lot of decisions to make.

Roth reminded fans that the UVa game starts at 8pm rather than 7pm.

Charles in Roanoke called in and asked about the rebounding on missed free throws, what can we do to get more presence in free throws. Coach said that about 40 lbs is the problem. The biggest thing is we have to pinch down and our guy in the third spot has got to seal a little better. We have to meet them early and drive people out. Coach said that he was torn on the last free throw, thinking Mohammed would make one of the two free throws, so he went small. He missed both and they came over the back. Physically we are sometimes unable to maintain the block-out.

Chris from Alexandria wrote in asking about how Krabbendam and King were feeling. Coach said that Jeff was feeling a lot better after two IVís on Friday. Robert was not feeling to well today. The flu bug is really going through the athletic department, and Mike Imoh was in the treatment room next to the coach today.

Jerome in South Riding wrote in asked about the recruiting trips and how many kids will continue to play two sports. Coach said the recruiting trip was just planting seeds, you have to be dedicated to each and every day. We won this weekend because of our players making plays. We need to acquire ACC talent. We are using our recent success to validate our recruiting message. Now that we have won some of these games we can pitch a player helping us to get to that next level.

Roth mentioned that the Coach has been on several television and radio programs. Coach said that we need to market our program, and we need to get exposure. We need to use the notoriety and exposure of the ACC to build our basketball program. Roth said that eventually Coach would be an analyst. Greenberg said that he hopes it wonít be too soon. Coach said that he doesnít have a favorite analyst, but he felt like an analyst needs to have passion.

Roth asked about guys improving, like Carlos Dixon, and how Coach has encouraged him to avoid the pull-up and drive the lane. Coach said that Carlos can do so many things, and heís a good shooter, so he would sometimes pull-up, rather than getting the best shot. Coach said that they work on that every single day. We put him at four and create a mismatch, and tell him to get to the rim.

Daniel from Chapel Hill asked if the team planned to play zone. Coach said that right now the team does have some zone in, and itís not something the team has spent much time on. The team is so young that they need a foundation, and they have used all their energy to help the team understand the fundamentals of defending their man. The team can play their man as a zone at times, in terms of getting off the help, in a softer gap. Right now the coach wants a foundation of being good at something.

Roth asked if the team is playing as hard as the coach wants them to, when he talks about playing hard and competing. Coach said that they do at times, but they took a few plays off against Georgia Tech. The team needs to play harder, they are a long ways from where they were a month ago, and a long ways away from where they need to be a month from now. They are learning to trust each other, which will lead them to play harder. Itís something that at first the young guys think the coach is certifiable, because they think they are playing as hard as they can. Coach said that it creates a problem the first month of the season. When the light bulb goes on, they understand where the coaches are trying to lead them.

Don in Arlington called in and asked about recruiting and if the coach was looking at any of the players at Oak Hill Academy. Coach said that we canít talk about specific recruits, but some of the underclassmen are eligible for recruiting. Most of the upperclassmen are already committed. Coach said that he has a relationship with Oak Hill coach Steve Smith, and he has been there twice this year already. We will be recruiting players from Oak Hill. Coach said that Steve said, "We are just like an ordinary High School team this year". Coach said he laughed at that.

Steve in Midlothian called in and asked about the games being sold out, and that there arenít as many fans at the games. He asked about setting up a system for fans to get tickets to games. Coach said that they are working on some way to get some type of system to correct that. Coach said that his concerns are recruiting and coaches, and he leaves those issues to the Athletic Department heads. They want to think through the solutions prior to making a decision.

Roth asked the coach to give the listeners the low down on UVa. Coach said that UVa is a very good basketball team. When Devon Smith is healthy they are tough to defend. They are experienced with a go-to player on the block in Elton Brown. Devon Smith can rebound, and they have an exciting point guard in Singletary. They change their defenses a great deal.

Coach says he feels for what Pete Gillen is going through right now, in that there are certain things outside a coachís control. He canít control that Devon Smith misses four or five games. He canít control Jason Clark being academically ineligible. When his team has been healthy they play at a very high level, and it pains Greenberg to hear people who really donít know an X from an O having an opinion on a guy thatís been to the sweet 16 and the elite 8 and won at a lot of tough places. UVa is going to be prepared. They will change up their defenses. We have to handle their zone, contain Singletary in transition, and compete with a game plan to put ourselves in a place to win.

  • Monday was day 60 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 115 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 53 of Virginia Tech's possession of the ACC football championship.

-- Phil


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