Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 1/23/06

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The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
When: every Monday from 7:00-9:00 during football season, 7:00-8:00 during basketball season.
Click here for a list of radio stations, and to find the link for listening to the show on the Internet (look to the right on the page that loads when you click the link). You can also watch the archive on

Seth Greenberg

Greenberg said the team came out and did a great job in the first half against Maryland. They played hard and fought hard and got up by one point at halftime. They did a good job of getting the ball inside when Maryland tried to press them, and Zabian Dowdell did a great job of getting into the lane and making shots. Not having Jamon Gordon for all 40 minutes certainly hurt. Nik Caner-Medley took over the game for Maryland at one point, and the one point lead quickly became a seven point deficit.

Roth asked about Jamon Gordon’s injury. Greenberg said that obviously it is a huge concern. He didn’t practice on Monday and he is in a walking boot. He has no trouble walking, but has trouble pushing off. Gordon has told Greenberg that he is definitely playing on Thursday however.

Since Tech will play Duke on Thursday, and two days later must travel to Wake Forest, they are preparing for both teams right now. It is difficult because the gameplan for each team is totally different. Against Duke you have to spread the court and attack the gaps. Greenberg stayed on D.C. on Sunday to watch Nigel Munson play, and he came up with the plan for the week of preparing for two teams at the same time.

Roth brought up Maryland guard Chris McCray, who scored 21 points against Virginia Tech on Saturday, but was ruled academically ineligible on Monday. The Terps knew it going into the Tech game, but they didn’t have to sit him out until this week, which is when Maryland’s spring semester begins. Greenberg said he is their best on-ball defender, he is the best free throw shooter in the conference, and he is a big part of the team. It is a huge loss for Maryland.

Greenberg mentioned that Deron Washington played a bit at small forward against Maryland. Wynton Witherspoon had a bad game. He played scared and didn’t attempt to attack the Maryland defense. They would like to play Washington more at small forward, but then there is the matter of finding another inside player. The Hokies are without Robert Krabbendam, Terrance Vinson and Allen Calloway on the inside, so there aren’t a lot of options.

Greenberg said the team isn’t going to get down on themselves and they aren’t going to throw a pity party. The only thing they can do right now is continue to work hard, and that is what they are going to do. There is only one way to solve problems and that is to continue to work. They have to remain focused and not get down on themselves.

A fan emailed and asked how coaches find out about high school prospects. Greenberg said there are a number of different ways. First of all, you evaluate all of the tournaments during the summer to find players that fit your system. There are scouting services you can subscribe to, but Greenberg said he generally does not rely on those. He said he has first heard about certain players as early as seventh or eighth grade, but you really don’t start putting players on your radar screen until ninth grade.

Roth asked Greenberg about Nigel Munson. Greenberg said he isn’t as fast as Chris Paul, but he really plays like him. He likes to run the ball up the floor. The fans will love him because he is a great free throw shooter. He is very unselfish and likes to distribute the basketball. He has to get stronger and get his shot off quicker, but he has great leadership skills and he has won everywhere he has been. He has been a four-year starter at DeMatha, one of the best high school programs in the nation.

A caller asked who does the scheduling for the basketball team. Greenberg said that the staff generally handles their own scheduling. Tennessee and South Carolina are two teams that the staff has mentioned as possible future opponents. Next year the Hokies are working on a high profile game against either Florida in Miami before the Orange Bowl, or going to California to play UCLA on CBS.

A fan emailed the show and asked about the shooting form of A.D. Vassallo and Wynton Witherspoon. Greenberg said Vassallo is a shooter and he is hitting his shots very well in practice. Thus far that hasn’t translated into games, but it will come with time. Witherspoon has a bad habit of sometimes not sliding his elbow underneath the basketball at times. Greenberg said the staff really doesn’t want to mess with Vassallo’s form. There have been times in shoot arounds where he has hit about 25 three-pointers in a row. Right now he is pressing because he isn’t getting a lot of attempts or minutes.

Greenberg said he has been preparing for Duke the past 36 hours, and their offense isn’t difficult to figure out. They will spread the court and get it inside to Sheldon Williams. If someone comes down to help, he will kick it out. If he gets a one-on-one matchup, he will shoot. And if the ball gets in J.J. Redick’s hands, it is probably going in the basket. It resembles an NBA offense. When you have a team of seven McDonald’s All-Americans, you can do that.

Roth commented that this is the second year in a row that the Hokies will play Duke at home when the Blue Devils were coming off a loss. Greenberg said he hoped history would repeat itself. But Duke is Duke no matter when you play them or where you play them. They play the same way every game and that is why they have enjoyed so much success under Coach K. You know what you are getting from Duke every single game. You have to match their intensity, match their toughness and take care of the basketball.

Greenberg said he thinks the team’s biggest dilemma is giving up second chance shots. That happens at times when you give up 40 pounds at the power forward spot, but overall the Hokies just have to become a better rebounding team. They are making up for it by playing great defense. No team has shot over 50% against VT this season. They are close, but just not quite there yet.

Greenberg was asked why so many big men have had success against Duke this year. Greenberg said Shelden Williams is a great defender, but he is very aware of trying to block shots. When he goes to block shots, there are angles to get to the offensive glass. Also, people are trying to take him off the dribble rather than post him up and go through him. He isn’t as effective when you take him off the dribble. Greenberg said he expects to get Williams’ best shot on Thursday. He will be reminded all week that he only scored four points in the loss to Georgetown, and that Coleman Collins has had two great games against him.

  • Monday was day 423 Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup and day 479 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.
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