New Georgia Tech basketball coach Brian Gregory took some time before visiting a recruit Tuesday night to share a bit more about his thoughts on recruiting, refs on Tobacco Road and The Varsity.
Part 2 of the Q&A will appear later in the day.
AJC: So, the day after your introduction, what practical issues do you have to work on? What schedules do you have and notes have you taken?
BG: First and foremost, spending as much time as I can with our current players to make sure they have a feel for the things that are important to me as we move forward together basketball-wise and academically as we got out about our daily business
Recruiting, making sure the guys who signed early with us are comfortable with our situation and to make sure that this is the right place for their future.
Try to set up something with the former players in the next couple of weeks so that I can meet all the former guys that live in the area.
In terms of recruiting also, start touching base and get back on track with some of the 2012 kids that Georgia Tech was recruiting and see who in the 2011 class might be a good fit.
We have two [scholarships] available but only one available for the next year. Have to determine what’s best.
AJC: If they don’t want to honor their commitment, will you grant them their release?
BG: Yes, it’s a kids life we are talking about.
AJC: Some say the ACC has fallen behind other leagues, what do you think?
BG: Every league has ebbs and flows in terms of how strong it is. Maybe this year it wasn’t as strong as it has been in the past. It’s one of, if not the premier basketball conference in the country.
It’ll be right back up there.
AJC: Tech is obviously tough academically. You talked about embracing that challenge on Monday. But what do you think about competing against some schools in the conference that have easier admissions requirements and academic requirements?
BG At times, what it does is it puts you in a position where you have different requirements in your recruiting and different checkpoints you have to take care of during the recruiting process. With that said, you have to find those recruits where the quality of education they are going to receive and where that degree puts them in is very important to them. You have to know that situation and embrace and find people that share the same value for that type of education that Georgia Tech possesses.
AJC: Did you ever dunk over David Robinson when you were at Navy?
BG: No. absolutely not.
AJC: Did you ever try?
BG: No. When you realize you want a career in coaching, you don’t do something that could get you hurt.
AJC: Lots of coaches come to ACC and get a whiff of Tobacco Road officiating and realize they can’t win, what makes you think differently?
BG: I don’t have any opinion on that because I haven’t gone through it. You are talking about two programs whose teams are very, very good. Teams that are good get the benefit of the doubt. I think it has more to do with how good they are more than anything else.
AJC: The Big 10 has a reputation as plodding, beefcake-type teams in past 10 years. What did you see during your time as an assistant?
BG: The Big 10 is a very physical league and so with that physicalness it’s not so much that the offenses are slow-down offenses, it’s just that it’s so physical and so good defensively it’s hard to score in that league sometimes.
AJC: Sweet tea, Coke or water?
BG: I’m a Diet Coke guy.
AJC: Do you think 68 teams in the NCAA tournament is the right amount?
BG: If you take a look around, this year proved it, over the last two-three years has proven it, it’s so hard to secure those at-large bids. There’s probably enough quality teams that could receive at-large teams.
Expanding it would only make it more exciting. One of the teams in the Final Four was possibly one of the last in. Adding to it wouldn’t dilute the product.
AJC: Been to The Varsity yet?
BG: I drove by it and I’ve heard the rumors.
AJC: What are the rumors?
BG: It’s a landmark. It won’t be too long, I’ll be there.
AJC: I’ll buy you a chili dog and an frosted orange.
BG: You got it.
AJC: During the recruiting process, how do you know when a player might be thinking about being a one-and-done? How do you approach that player at that point?
BG: I think you continue to recruit them. Just because it’s a thought process it doesn’t mean it’ll come to pass. Even those players understand the value of the education Georgia Tech provides. They have to have some desire to attend one of the best institutions in the country because if they are in that situation they will have a lot of different choices. At the same time you hope to build the program where even guys that have the ability to leave, whenever that may be, that you’ve been able to create the desire to achieve that and they’ll come back to work on that degree.
Part 2 will be posted later today.
– Doug Roberson, AJC