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 hokiesports.com page that loads when you click the link). You can also watch the archive on hokietv.com.
Roth began the show by talking about the close games that the Hokies have had recently. Greenberg said that’s just the way it is in the major conferences, but probably more so in the ACC than in any other league. NC State has double overtime games, they’ve gone down to the wire with Georgia Tech, etc. If you look at each and every game, excluding maybe Duke games, most games are one or two possession games. In ACC games you have to make plays, you have to be able to take people off the dribble, and you have to be able to make the extra pass.
Then Greenberg spoke on Coleman Collins’ situation. Jackson Collins, Coleman’s father, passed away early Monday morning. It’s a situation that has been hanging over the team and the Collins family for probably two months. He was a wonderful man and he was in a lot of pain. He had no quality of life at the end. It’s sad, but in the end it’s a good thing because everyone will be more at ease.
Greenberg said Coleman was being himself. He doesn’t say a lot, but he reflects and thinks a lot. Greenberg said that he was concerned that Collins would keep everything bottled up inside him and that he needs to let some of that out. All you have to do is look in his eyes and you’ll see that he is not all there right now. He has been that way for about two and a half months. The team is trying to be supportive right now, but there really isn’t much they can do. Greenberg told Collins that the most important thing to do right now was to just let it out. He needs someone to communicate with. He’s doing a lot of writing right now because that’s the way he likes to express himself. Greenberg cancelled practice on Monday and gave the team the day off.
Collins is still in Blacksburg. He is with the team and he is going to class. Greenberg said he isn’t sure what his status will be on Saturday. At times he thinks they are asking too much of Collins. His family has wanted him to play, and Greenberg said he has continued to play him hoping that something great will happen for him. Everyone seems to be hanging on to the hope that he is going to let everything out and have a special game as a tribute to his dad, but that’s not fair to Coleman.
Greenberg said Jamon Gordon has been playing at a very high level. Excluding shooting the three-pointer, he is doing everything well. He is rebounding, penetrating and defending. He is doing a great job of attacking the defense. It’s too bad J.J. Redick had an incredible week, because Gordon was certainly deserving of ACC Player of the Week honors.
Greenberg said A.D. Vassallo has taken his game to another level. He started the season with tendonitis, then had a bad hip flexor which set him back for another week. When he finally returned to action, he scored a basket for the wrong team at the end of the game. That set him back in terms of confidence. He started to practice better, and he finally got a chance to shine against Wake Forest. His biggest problem has been defensively, but when the Hokies go small he is able to matchup against inside players, and that is a better matchup for him.
The team is disappointed right now. They compete very hard, they practice hard every day and they want to be successful. There has been an emotional toll that has been taken on this team. They have had a lot happen to them this season. But they are also excited about the end of the season and the opportunity to close the season strong. They have some guys that are playing at a high level. It would be one thing if Tech wasn’t “in” games, but they are very close. The team knows that they are very, very close, and that is keeping them focused.
Greenberg was asked about the shooting ability of the incoming recruits. Greenberg said Nigel Munson is a great free throw shooter. He wouldn’t call him a great shooter, but he does hit his open shots. Of the players that are coming back, A.D. Vassallo is a great shooter and Wynton Witherspoon has the potential to be a very good shooter. Zabian Dowdell shot a higher percentage from the three-point line than J.J. Redick last season. The Hokies have some players capable of hitting the outside shot. The lack of an inside game is really hurting Tech’s outside shooting ability. If you can’t get the ball to the inside, the defense is going to extend to the perimeter.
Roth asked how the team was doing right now. Greenberg said they were fine. They were working hard. He gave them the day off, and they still stuck around Cassell to shoot. They are a competitive group. They want to do well and they take pride in doing well. They take pride in building this program. When the lights come on on Saturday afternoon, they will come out and compete. That is the thing Greenberg is most proud of. They’ve played hard through everything this year.
Greenberg answered questions regarding offensive philosophy. He said the offense Tech runs right now is built around their team strengths. They have guards who can get to the basket, so that is what their offense revolves around. He doesn’t want to run a complicated offense that might result in a lot of turnovers. The Hokies don’t have the manpower or the bodies to overcome that on the defensive end. The problem is that Tech just hasn’t hit enough shots at times. At mid-season the team had to change everything they were doing because of the personnel losses they were experiencing. That isn’t going to result in an efficient offense.
He later defended the Hokies taking quick three-pointers. He said when Duke pushes the ball upcourt and kicks it out to Dockery or Melchionni for a three-pointer, that’s interpreted as Coach K empowering his players and being aggressive. But for some reason when the Hokies do that, people think they are being impatient. He always tells the players that if they get a good look, just shoot the ball. They just need to be themselves.
A caller asked why Collins didn’t start against UVA. Greenberg said they didn’t start Collins because the lineup they did start has been playing pretty well. On a game-by-game basis, it is tough to figure out if Coleman is totally in the present. In hindsight, he probably played too many minutes against UVA. A.D. Vassallo has been shooting the ball well and he creates a matchup problem.
Greenberg mentioned that the Hokies were 1-of-11 from three-point range in the first half against UVA. Of those 11 shots, probably eight were good looks. In the second half they were much more aggressive in getting dribble penetration and that is a big reason why the Hokies got back in the game. Shot selection didn’t cost VT the game. They didn’t make enough shots and they didn’t get enough stops. That is why they lost.
Greenberg said at this point he believes that Jeff Allen will end up at Hargrave Military Academy next season. He will get himself solidified academically. He is doing very well in the classroom at Oak Hill. The Oak Hill coaches are really impressed with him and his work ethic. He will be a Hokie. Greenberg said he has heard that some fans are worried that Allen could end up somewhere else, but that won’t happen.
Greenberg also mentioned that Tech has a commitment from a players who has a chance to be very good. (Greenberg can’t mention his name because of NCAA regulations, but the player is Tyrone Appleton-Miller). He is currently at a prep school. Next year’s team should have a lot of depth. They will add new players, Robert Krabbendam will be back at 250 lbs., and hopefully Terrance Vinson will be able to get healthy. Tech is developing good depth, and it should be on full display next season.
Greenberg said it is good to have a week off before playing NC State. Their offense is so different from everyone else’s, as is their defense. They play in the gaps and they can overextend because they are a terrific help defense team. Greenberg said he was surprised that Georgia Tech was able to beat them off the dribble. It is tough to play zone against them because they shoot it so well, but you have to play some zone just to keep them off balance. On any given night, six guys can score in double figures for them. They are the most balanced team in the league and one of the toughest matchups.
- Monday was day 437 Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup and day 493 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.