Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 3/6/06

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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.

Where: 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

Seth Greenberg said the team is putting all their focus on Thursday night’s game against UVA. That’s what they have to play for right now. The team had a great practice on Monday. The players are really excited about playing in the ACC Tournament. The team will travel to Greensboro on Tuesday. The Hokies will hold their open practice, which can be attended by fans and the media for free, on Wednesday at 2 pm.

Greenberg said everyone is excited that the Hokies are playing Virginia in the first round. But the fact that it’s the ACC Tournament makes it even bigger. Being in the ACC is great because Tech will get a chance to play UVA three times this season, rather than just once, like in the old Big East/A-10/Metro days. UVA has excellent guards and very functional frontcourt players. They have a good team and they will be ready to play.

Greenberg said he doesn’t think his technical cost Tech the game against Clemson, but it might have cost them a chance to get back in the game. Missing free throws and letting the Tigers shoot 11-of-14 from three-point range in the second half is what lost the game. But Greenberg then said he wasn’t part of the solution, and that was unacceptable. As a result, he will donate $1,000 to the Hokie Club for each technical foul called on him this season. If he has any more technicals called on him this season, he will donate $2,000. Greenberg has been given four technical fouls this year, so he will donate $4,000 to the Hokie Club.

A caller asked if Jamon Gordon could play small forward next season with Nigel Munson coming in to play point guard. Greenberg said they have a lot of options at small forward, including Gordon, A.D. Vassallo, Wynton Witherspoon and Deron Washington. They will try a number of different combinations.

The caller also asked about Cheick Diakite. Greenberg said they are seeing Diakite improve before their eyes. He is a very hard worker, and a very good person. He will be a good player, it’s just a question of when. Roth pointed out that Diakite came to American not knowing a word of English, and had to teach himself the language after he arrived in the United States. Things aren’t going to happen overnight for him.

Greenberg said it sickens him that Jamon Gordon wasn’t named to an All-ACC team. He was named to the All-Defensive team, but he deserved more than that. He had an unbelievable season. He’s a winning player and a great competitor. He changes the game in so many different ways. Hopefully the snub will take his energy to another level.

A fan asked Seth what he was doing when he put his face in his hands during a game. Is he trying to get the players going, or is he just thinking “here we go again”? Greenberg said that generally he is just thinking. He is trying to refocus himself. He is resetting his mind. He is trying to envision what they need to do next during the game. Or sometimes, he is trying to keep himself from getting into it with the officials.

Greenberg said it is important that the Hokies play hard enough to get the neutral fans on their side. He’s hoping that the Carolina people and Duke people feel good about the Hokies on Thursday night, appreciate how hard they are playing, and they become Virginia Tech fans for one night.

Greenberg was asked what can be done to get the fans involved in the game, rather than sitting quietly and not making any noise. Greenberg said it’s a process that will take time. He feels Virginia Tech is making great progress in the fan base and on their roster. They will have a full roster for the first time next season. The program is far ahead of schedule in some areas. As far as the fans are concerned, it is a process as well to get them educated on ACC basketball and what it’s all about. It will just take time to get people totally immersed in the ACC culture of basketball.

Greenberg was asked about his team getting their hands up on defense, because it doesn’t seem like they get their hands out and deflect a lot of passes. Greenberg disagreed, saying VT is third in the league in steals. Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell are near the top of the ACC in steals. Tech’s problem on defense is defending the three-pointer. That is the main thing they have to work on. The caller also asked about recruiting in southwest Virginia. Greenberg said the Hokies signed Lewis Witcher, the best player in the region, and he will be a terrific player.

Greenberg said there are a number of very dangerous teams in the ACC Tournament besides the top seeded teams. Clemson is playing at a very high level right now, but beating Duke will be tough for them if they get past Miami. Florida State is playing very confident right now. They had a great road win over Miami this past weekend. Maryland would match up well with Boston College because they have size and depth up front.

Greenberg said he doesn’t think all the close losses this year will have an affect on next season. Time heals, plus next year’s team will be different. There will be five or six new players, with new recruits coming in and Krabbendam and Vinson coming off redshirt seasons. There will be a lot more depth. The team has gone through a lot this year, on the court and off the court. People really have no idea what has gone on with the team this year. On Wednesday night, Terrance Vinson had to go home because his grandmother passed away. He was in tears and took a flight home that night.

Greenberg said the selection committee has a very difficult job this season. There are so many good teams this year, and a lot of teams have figured out exactly how to schedule to raise their RPI. The teams in the Missouri Valley Conference and the Colonial have done excellent jobs in creating their schedules. Missouri State, Wichita State, Northern Iowa, Creighton, Southern Illinois and Bradley are all rated ahead of Florida State and Maryland in the RPI.

Greenberg talked about scheduling. He said it is difficult to decide whom to play. If the Hokies went 8-8 in the ACC and won a total of 16 games against a brutal schedule, they probably wouldn’t get in the NCAA Tournament. But if they went 8-8 in the ACC and won 18 total games against an easier schedule, they would probably get in. Tough decisions have to be made. He thinks the talent on the roster is there for the Hokies to do something special. It was tough to go 8-8 in the league last year. Greenberg said VT probably wasn’t as good as their record indicated last year, but they aren’t as bad as their record says this year.

Roth pointed out that 12 of Virginia Tech’s losses this year were by six points or less or in overtime. Nine of their 29 games have been decided at the buzzer. Those are remarkable numbers.

Greenberg said stopping Reynolds and Singletary is the key to beating UVA, but at the same time you can’t let someone else step up, whether it be Adrian Joseph, Jason Cain, or anyone else. VT has to rebound the basketball and guard the ball screens. They must extend the screens deep to keep UVA out of range.

  • Monday was day 458 Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup and day 515 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.
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