Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 1/10/05

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Tonight’s
show was broadcast from the ISP Sports Studios in Blacksburg. Basketball season
is in full swing now with the show moving to one hour. The buzz on this show was
about a new King in the Cassell, with Tech tight end Jeff King following in
Bryan Randall’s footsteps and playing basketball for the Hokies.

Seth Greenberg

On Wednesday Tech will take on Bethune-Cookman
and on Saturday they will play Clemson. Tech tight end Jeff King has made the
transition to basketball, and practiced with the team today. Roth said that it
seems the Jeff is fitting right in with the team.

Greenberg said that the guys are upbeat and
enthusiastic and there has been some growth over the last 10-12 days. Coach said
that you learn from the last game and that’s what you have to do to compete in
this league. When you have as many freshmen and sophomores playing as the Hokies
do, it’s a process.

Roth pointed out that the Hokies were up by three
late in the game against Florida State, only to lose in the final minutes. After
the game Seth Greenberg spoke about toughness during the post game interview.
Coach said that he’s not always talking about physical toughness, but mental
toughness as well. There is a toughness not to let another team take you out of
your offense or defense. Coach said that they went through each of the plays
where the game changed momentum and talked about toughness to stay with your
game plan. If you go through the shots that were made, the team contested them,
they just didn’t contest them with enough toughness. These are all things with
a young team that you see. The team is getting healthier, and we see players
like Coleman starting to play better. He’s only 70% healthy.

Cody from Blade Spring
called in and wanted to know what was wrong with the team down the stretch.
Coach said that what happened down the stretch they were a little tougher, and
our shot selection wasn’t as good as it needed to be. We didn’t fight as
hard as we needed to down the stretch. Those are errors the team needs to
improve on and they will continue to work on.



After the break Roth asked Coach Greenberg about
his new player, Jeff King. Coach said that he’s only been with the team for
one day, but that he’s got a presence and he’s a big body. He’s not shy
about getting some shots up, and he will add to the toughness in the front
court. The good thing is that he’s used to watching film. He will get into
shape quickly, as basketball requires a different set of physical skills as
well. Roth asked if he gets into games quickly. Coach said that’s something he
has to evaluate, and that he really just has the base package today. He picked
them up pretty good, and we are expecting some slippage. He’s not Bryan
Randall, he’s a different person, and will bring different things to the game.
Roth said that he’s creating space when going up for those rebounds with his
size, in practice.

Brett in Roanoke
called in and wanted to encourage Hokie fans to fill up the Coliseum on
Saturday. Coach said that he doesn’t want to build in excuses, but that we
have to continue to execute, come to practice and get better, and continue to
acquire talent. We are going to continue to work hard and play hard. Coach said
that we are coming closer to competing at a level that he’s comfortable with.

Roth said that Coach is a guy who loves
toughness, and we are seeing more of that now. Greenberg said that defining
playing hard for a college freshman and a high school senior are very different.
Probably in high school, there wasn’t a lot of time spent on defining what
toughness is. Football has a process where you redshirt, play special teams, and
start when you’re a junior. Our freshmen come in and they have to play right
away in the ACC. It takes time, but the guys are starting to understand what it
means to compete, play hard, and play the whole game. Your seniors and juniors
to educate your freshman and sophomores, we are asking our sophomores to play
hard and help out their fellow sophomores and lead the freshman.

Demetrius in Whitestone
called in and said that too many fans are saying negative things about Hokie
basketball, he continued to state that the team hasn’t settled down in the
half court offense, and that he is only about two or three plays away from this
team going somewhere. Coach said that there’s no doubt that there’s a talent
differential. We need to continue to develop the talent we have, and recruit ACC
level talent. The team also needs to stay healthy. It’s a process where the
team is not happy with where they are, and we are developing a foundation for
the future.

Jeff in Damascus
called in and wanted to know why Jeff King went from football to basketball.
Coach said that he’s not giving up football, and he’s appreciative of Coach
Beamer for letting him play. Jeff was an accomplished basketball player in high
school and they are happy to have him help out. Coach said that you will see
Jeff lining up in the spring game.

Barek in Blacksburg
called in and asked what are some of Bethune-Cookman’s strengths and
weaknesses. Coach said they are an athletic team that’s on a three-game
winning streak and played Oregon to a six-point game. They shoot the ball well
from the three point line, and you will want to watch #22 Lemond who can shoot
the ball well. You will also want to watch Williams, and #2 Webb. They are a
good solid basketball team with a shot a winning the MEAC this year. Roth said
they have only played one home game, and they are 5-6.

Jeff in Lynchburg
wrote in and asked why Marquie Cooke didn’t play against Florida State. Coach
said that Marquie is a very good player, and he’s going to be a great player
for us. He got back late from the New Year’s break and coach didn’t think it
was right for him to play when everyone else made it back on time. He
understands that and has a clean slate. He will play on Wednesday.

Ray from Ashland
wrote in mentioning that Deron Washington is a player whose offensive production
seems to have dropped off a little bit, why is that? Coach said that in the
earlier games he was probably the most gifted player on the floor. The quality
of the teams we are playing now is much different than those earlier in the
year. The other night was a shame, the game is tied up, he does a great job of
cutting from the baseline and takes a charge right in his chest and gets called
for the foul. After reviewing the film, coach said that he was right in
contesting the call. He’s giving up about 40-50 pounds each game, and he’s
taking lots of charges, that’s the toughness we are looking for. It’s a long
season for these guys, and practice has never been as physical as it is now.

Aubry in Gretna
called in and asked about recruiting a player through his high school coach or
his AAU summer league team. Coach said that in a perfect world he would want to
recruit him through his high school coach and his parents. Unfortunately with
basketball, some of these kids leave the last week of June and don’t come home
until the first week of August. Coach said he has tremendous respect for a high
school coach, and that’s who ideally he would like to work through.

Pam from Culpeper
wrote in asking how often the team practices during mid-week games and how much
time is spent on free throws? Coach said that they practice every day after
giving one day off after the preceding game. During each practice transition
(from play to film), they practice free throws. Today they had a competitive
game for free throwing, where the team plays for points for making free throws.
If you miss you get more negative points, and less for a make. If you get to
twenty and you make your free throw, you win; if not, you’re back to zero. We
spend time on that and technique.

Howard from California, PA
wrote in and said that in order to win in the ACC the team needs to get the ball
into Dowdell’s hands more. Coach said that he appreciates that input, Zabian
is a very good player, but in the last few minutes of the Fla State game he had
the ball in his hands almost every offensive play. However, they got up into us
a little bit, and we turned it over. We out-rebounded Florida State and had more
turnovers, so we want Zabian to get touches, but we need to establish ourselves
at the end of the game with an inside-outside offense.

Mike in Blacksburg
called in and asked about two players which have signed and how many places they
have left. Coach said that they have the ability to sign one more player, and
that they are looking for a front court player.

Roth said that having that inside player would
change the game plan so much for the Hokies, just his presence would create more
opportunities for other players. Coach said that in league play we are forcing
the turnovers, but that what’s happening is that we are a help-oriented
defensive team. We need to buy time for some of our players to get to their
fronts. We could gimmick this thing a little bit and maybe win a game or two,
but we are building a foundation. In a big picture, we need to stay with the
stable sets, and stay with defensive fundamentals so in the future we have
something to build on. When you’re the young team, you don’t want to try to
trick them.

After the break Roth asked what we should watch
for against Clemson. Coach said that Robinson is a good perimeter defender. Ford
is a very good low post defender, and Hamilton does a good job pressuring the
basketball. They play up the line. They are young like us, but they have a few
more veteran type players. They are talented, and Hammonds is playing the best
of their freshman. Perry is a good undersized inside player. They have a better
understanding of ACC play, and they did a very good job against Duke.

Roth asked if the coach sees any similarities
between this year and last year, pointing out the recent out-rebounding of teams
and the turnovers. Roth asked if coach is seeing these small steps being made.
Coach said that he thinks we are getting better, now whether that will equate to
wins we will have to see. We lack a player like Bryant Matthews, who if we need
a basket, that’s our guy. Coleman is doing some good things and getting
healthier. We are improving defensively. You start looking at that schedule, it’s
a war, but coach is happy with the progress we are making. He’s not going to
get down on these kids, he understand the obstacles ahead. There’s no quick
fix or magic formula. It’s not an easy thing or a quick thing, but you need a
foundation and plan.

Roth asked if Coach is looking forward to having
ACC games with the students in town. Coach asked the fans to please support
these kids, they are giving all they have. Understand where they are at, but if
you can stay behind these kids, not be unrealistic, a lot of good things are in
our future. The kids are excited about what’s coming up, and sure they have some
anxiety. Their attitude in practice has been very good.

Monday was day 46 of Virginia Tech’s continuous
possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 101 of Virginia Tech’s continuous
possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 39 of Virginia Tech’s possession
of the ACC football championship.

Phil

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