Has Erick Green gotten better over the years or is it just a product of taking more shots now and having to bear more responsibility for Virginia Tech?
“Well, of course, the second part is a little bit. He’s gotten better every year. I see that and I see Marcus (Paige), Brice (Johnson), Joel (James), and J.P. (Tokoto) and I think well hopefully it’ll be some of that kind of thing. He has gotten better every single year and he is a load right now. I’ve watched every second of that game against Miami Wednesday night. He’s always under control. The jump shot from the 3-point line is effortless. It’s almost like it’s a 12-footer. He takes it to the basket and he can use both hands. He gets fouled and goes to the free throw line. He makes his free throws. I was telling this to Jones (Angell) Wednesday night on the radio show to be leading the nation in scoring and shooting over 50 percent as a guard is just off the charts.”
Have you given any thought on who you might put on Erick Green defensively to try to slow him down?
“Our team. Everybody on our team. We’re thinking about playing box-and-one. Four guys on him and one guy in the middle of the lane. You know but that’s not giving those other guys credit. Jarell Eddie, you’ve got to know where he is because Jarrell shoots the ball in the hole very well. He shoots the same 38 or 39 percent from the 3-point line as Erick (Green) does. Cadarian Raines I thought the other night was a big time force for them in the Miami game. I think (Robert) Brown had a struggle but then made 2-of-3 three’s for them the other night. Erick is the head of the snake. There’s no question about that. If you ignore those other guys then you know they can get points for them also. You’ve got to pay close attention to Erick Green.”
Any update on P.J. Hairston?
“No. Not a thing. He came and sat and watched yesterday. He laughed at some of my jokes during practice so he’s trying to suck up.”
What do you need from Leslie McDonald in his return to the lineup tomorrow?
“If you don’t have P.J. (Hairston) that means you’re losing one of your good shooters. When we lost Leslie, P.J.’s numbers started to pick up with the exception of Maryland where he was for 1-for-8. I think the other games P.J.’s productivity did pick up. Now it’s just a 180 degrees kind of thing. Leslie’s got to give us some points from deep hopefully to stretch their defense. Or if he wants to take it to the basket and dunk it I don’t care but we do need him to score. We also need him to do a good job defensively. He’s not the offensive rebounder that P.J. has been but we need him to play every phase of the game. We need him to come back in and not take any steps back.
“He’s been practicing full time since the last seven or eight practices. He’s been practicing at least the last week and a half. He’s been out there. He’s been running. Do I believe he’ll have some rust? Yes, but it depends on how the guy feels when he goes in there.”
Has J.P. Tokoto taken a step forward in the last three games?
“Yes, I think his last couple of games at home were better. At Boston College, particularly in the first half I didn’t think he played well yet in the second half I thought he really did some things that helped us. I’d have to check the numbers with so many games running together but over the past three or four games I’d say yeah.”
Dexter (Strickland) played one of his best games of the season against Boston College. Can you discuss his role and where he fits into this team?
“Well everybody thinks he played better because he made 6-out-of-6 free throws and made some jump shots. That’s what everyone thinks. The fact of the matter is that it was his best defensive game in…I don't know… pick a number. He was so much more active defensively. He’s got to keep doing the job defensively. That’s the reason he’s in the game and he gives us another ball handler.”
Did the injury set Dexter Strickland back defensively?
“I don’t think he’s the same player defensively at all. I don’t think that he has that burst but I’ll say this that he showed it more against Boston College than any other game this year.”
In what ways have you seen Desmond Hubert improve the most since last season?
“Stronger physically is the biggest thing and it is yet still the biggest thing he has to go. He’s more comfortable out there. He talks more on the defensive end. That’s a huge difference for him. He’s one of our leaders defensively. He’s gotten better offensively but he still has a long way to go there. He and I just talked yesterday and he’s got a long way to go before he’s going to catch Richard Howell or Julian Gamble.”
Thoughts on Coach Sylvia Hatchell attempting to pass the milestone of 900 career wins:
“I think it’s unbelievable to reach 900 wins. The toughness and tenaciousness to have that kind of longevity is off the charts. Of course you have to have good players. You have to have good players you can convince to buy in to what’s best for the team. You have to have the stamina and will to keep doing it every single day, every single month, and every single year. I can’t even perceive that kind of thing. It’s a fantastic achievement. And I’ll be able to take in the game on Sunday against Duke.”