Tech Talk Live Notes for January 21, 2013

Kurt Kanaskie (basketball assistant coach)

College basketball is a crazy sport. Anything can happen. Tech wasn’t playing well, and all of a sudden they win two games in a row by making plays at the end. They just have to keep hanging in there and getting better.

Getting Marshall Wood back would help. They have to get better defensively, and they have to execute better on offense.

Kanaskie joked that they need to tell Robert Brown that it’s the end of the game at the beginning of the game. He’s really made big plays down the stretch in Tech’s last two games.

Kanaskie feels like Tech snuck up on some people early in the season, but with enough film out there now, there are no secrets.

Tech has been screening better in their last few games, and that has helped them in the halfcourt offense.

It was frustrating to allow so many offensive rebounds against Wake in the first half. The coaches made it a big deal at halftime, and the players did a much better job in the second half of pursuing the ball.

Tech used Jarell Eddie to set ball screens. That put Eddie in a position to receive passes, and he could shoot or drive. He was able to make Wake Forest pay for how they defended Erick Green.

Kanaskie believes that Robert Brown’s problems are mental. He’s a decent shooter, but he’s been off recently, and it’s snowballed. However, he’s had a short term memory and he’s been able to make plays at the end of the last two games.

Cadarian Raines has had two good games in a row. His effort has been very good, and he’s letting the game come to him. He’s taking what’s there, and he’s not trying to make something happen all the time. Joey van Zegeren is getting better, and competition makes everyone better.

Erick Green

The last two games have been very exciting. From a fan’s perspective it was probably tough, but Green likes playing in games like that.

Tech went on a tough losing streak, but they kept it together by staying positive. They had team meetings, the captains got together, and they got back on track.

Green gets a lot of bruises on his legs. When bigs run out and “blitz” him outside the three-point line, they throw their legs in front of him, and he always has some big Charley Horses at the end of games.

Green feels like he’s really hard to guard in the open court when he’s at full speed, so he always tries to beat his man up the court.

On Thursday night, Green will be guarded by UVA’s Jontel Evans. He’s very quick. The two have known each other since high school. It will be a battle on Thursday.

At the start of each game, Green tries to read how the defense is coming off ball screens, and that lets him know how he can score. He makes his main adjustments at halftime.

Green is having a lot of fun this season. It’s his last year of college basketball, so he really wants to go all out.

The UVA game means a lot. The Tech players put pride in their school. They love putting on that jersey. The Hokies are going to play very hard.

UVA plays great defense. They really get in the gaps, and they are really “handsy”. They block shots inside, and they make you shoot jumpers. They like to hold the ball on offense and keep the scoring low.

Green thinks Tech can make some noise this year. They let one get away against Boston College, but they are starting to get it together.

Tech needs to play harder and tougher than UVA on Thursday. Green knows that Tech fans will make Cassell energetic. It will be good to get the students back.

Pete Hughes

You don’t even have to look at the forecast … it always seems to snow when it’s time for the baseball team to start practicing.

Hughes has bigger expectations for this team. They always have the same goal every year. He likes his team. You’ve got to stay healthy, stay hot, and get lucky at the right time. They have to focus on getting the pitch count of their pitchers up.

Tech’s goal every year is to make it to Omaha. They owe it to themselves and they owe it to the school and town. Tech opens the season at Kent State, who made it to Omaha last season. There is a lot of parity in college baseball these days.

The Hokies play in the ACC, and that makes them battle tested. The ACC is a great baseball league. Hughes is looking forward to getting tested early in the season with some very good non-conference opponents.

Joe Mantiply has a ton of experience, and he will anchor the top of Tech’s rotation. He will get the ball on Friday nights against ACC teams. He’s had a lot of success and experience. He got drafted last year, but he decided to come back, get his degree and try and get better. He’s got a chip on his shoulder.

Tech has a strong hitting lineup this year. Tyler Horan tied a Cape Cod League record with 16 homers this summer. Andrew Rash is returning. Hughes feels like Tech has enough firepower to create a cushion for some growing pains in the pitching staff. He thinks they might have the best hitting lineup returning in the ACC, and that’s saying something.

Baseball Night in Blacksburg is coming up on February 8. Franklin Stubbs and Brad Clotz will be back, and they will be the special guests that night.

James Johnson

Johnson arrived at TTL late. He had been up around Dayton doing some recruiting.

Tech’s players are showing a lot of fight right now. They’ve pulled off two close wins, and that says a lot about the players.

Johnson would like to get away from some of these close wins. He’d prefer to be up by 11 or 13 points, but he’s happy that they fought and won. As he told the team afterwards, he knows they are better than they are playing. However, good teams find ways to win, and the Hokies found a way.

Cadarian Raines gave WVU a clear path to the basket on their game-winning play back in December. He learned from his mistake and contested C.J. Harris of Wake Forest when he drove the lane on the final possession this past Saturday.

Tech didn’t think about going zone late in the game. It was all man-to-man, and they were going to switch everything.

Putting Jarell Eddie out on the ball screen really helped, particularly when Tech trailed 62-59. The Hokies were able to pass it back to Eddie for an open three-pointer that tied the game. Even if they do switch off and guard Eddie in that situation, it gives Erick Green a one-on-one situation.

Jontel Evans is one of the best on-ball defenders in the ACC. Johnson knows he’ll be fired up to get a chance to guard Erick Green.

Everybody tries to speed up UVA, but it rarely works. It’s a tough task. Tech might try to press them a little bit. Johnson would like to create more possessions. UVA is second nationally in points allowed, and opposing teams are shooting just 36% from the field through 17 games.

UVA has very skilled players who make the extra pass. They pass up a good shot to take a great shot.

Marshall Wood has been doing more things in practice. He’s close to returning, though Johnson isn’t sure they’ll see him on Thursday against UVA.

Monday was Day 2,978 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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