Tech Talk Live Notes for February 25, 2013

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on February 26, 2013
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James Johnson

The win was a long time coming, but he’s proud of his players and his staff for hanging in there and continuing to work hard.  The Hokies really needed to hit free throws down the stretch, and they did it.

Tech had a solid defensive effort against Florida State.  Marquis Rankin did a great job against Michael Snaer, and the Hokies kept FSU off the offensive glass.  Robert Brown came in and gave the Hokies a spark off the bench.  C.J. Barksdale had a big game and he had some energy range.

This point of the season is tough for freshmen.  In high school, their season was done at this point.  In college they are still playing, and there is a lot more pressure.

Erick Green will become the first Hokie to score 700 points in a season since Bimbo Coles.  The stats say he should win ACC Player of the Year, but history says it will go to a player on a team with a winning record.  This year the coaches have a vote, and JJ thinks the coaches will vote for Green.  They understand that defensive gameplans focus on him, and he’s still been able to put up big numbers.

Green really struggled as a freshman.  He didn’t shoot well, he didn’t score, and by the end of the season he wasn’t playing as well as he wanted to be.  He has shown that hard work has paid off over the years.  He stayed in the gym and worked on his game.

Leonard Hamilton started fouling early.  He wanted to slow the game down.  It was a bit of a gamble, but they wanted to get the ball out of Erick Green’s hands.  It backfired on them, because Tech hit 16-of-18 free throws down the stretch.

Johnson thinks that five ACC teams are in the NCAA Tournament right now.  He thinks Virginia is in, but Maryland has some work to do.

Johnson’s All-Opponent team this season is: Shane Larkin, Markus Smart, Tyler Haws, Joe Harris and C.J. Leslie.  Richard Howell is also a very good player.  A lot of players these days don’t want to do the little things, but Howell does them.

Tech has to face Miami with the Canes coming off their first ACC loss.  The players will be fired up, but the Miami staff is treating it as every other game.  It will be business as usual.  They are 12-0 at home.

Shane Larkin is the key to Miami.  He scores, and he makes everybody around him better.  Their offense runs through him.

Johnson likes that football is switching to a postseason tournament format.  It will be good for the sport.  Johnson played safety in high school.  He had four interceptions in one game because he got mad when he saw his girlfriend walking around the field with a guy from the other school.  He was recruited by JMU and Richmond for football.

Erick Green got frustrated after the Duke game.  He felt like he was doing all he could do, but his teammates weren’t fighting through adversity and doing the little things right.  His teammates seemed to get that message against Florida State.

C.J. Barksdale has been working on his game, plus with the way Marshall Wood played against NC State, that will obviously inspire the starter to play better.  Johnson feels good about his depth at that position.

Everyone needs to be in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday for Erick Green’s Senior Night.  That’s going to be an emotional night.  Johnson has known Green since he was 15.  It really feels good to see him having this year.  He’s put himself in the position to be a Player of the Year candidate.  He’s had an amazing year.

The NBA scouts like Green a lot.  They like his size as a point guard and his ability to score.  They like his vision on the court, and they like his ability to make basketball plays.

Marquis Rankin was throwing up at halftime of the FSU game.  He had some “stomach problems that spilled over to the floor” during Johnson’s halftime speech.  He was ok on Monday.  He’ll probably be on Shane Larkin on Wednesday.  He’s quick and strong through screens.

Monday day 3,013 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup!

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