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March 10, 2015

Ahmed Hill

Jalen Hudson

Buzz Williams


Virginia Tech – 81
Wake Forest - 80

Q.  Buzz, what did you like about your team's offensive execution in general, and for both you and Jalen, can you discuss what enabled Jalen to have such a good game today?
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  I'll answer the second question first.  I've said since Thanksgiving that Jalen was our most talented player, but he didn't play hard enough to be that every game.  He knows that.  He's as smart as Christian Beyer is.  When he plays hard, he's really good, and when he doesn't play hard, he's just a 6'4" guard that doesn't play hard.
He's growing up just like the rest of the freshmen are.  I don't think that we strategically did not run a play that we haven't ran in the last three games.  It was just the mentality of how we ran the play.
JALEN HUDSON:  Like Coach Buzz said, it wasn't really a play, it was our mentality.  We all played hard, and coming into this game we had a great week of practice and we had to do our own scouting report, so we knew everything they were going to do before they were going to do it and even better.  Basically our mentality was just to play hard, leave it out on the floor.  We have two seniors that we love, and we just tried to extend their season a little bit longer.  That was about it.

Q.  You guys had a similar scenario at the end of the Duke game and didn't get the fall called when Jalen went to the rim.  Were you concerned about that scenario?
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  It was not the exact same play that we ran against Duke.  It's very similar action at the start of the play.  The ball is to go to Jalen.  His mentality versus Duke at that time was the same mentality that he went with today, and I'll leave it up to you if you thought he was fouled.
JALEN HUDSON:  Like Coach Buzz said, it was a very similar play.  It was to get the ball to me and turn it downhill and if I didn't have an open shot then there was a man in the corner who had another open shot.  This time I tried to free myself up so the player wouldn't get a chance to foul me, so I kind of learned from the Duke game because I know in the last second like that refs don't want to put the game in their hands.  I just tried to finish by avoiding some contact, and I did, and I was able to finish.

Q.  Jalen, you scored 12 of your team's last 15 points.  Where did that come from today?
JALEN HUDSON:  It was just my confidence.  Buzz gave me confidence all week and he gave me confidence today, and I was able to just play hard and the last couple plays were actually for me, so I just decided to make a play for my team, help my team win.

Q.  Jalen, have you been able to identify why your effort level fluctuated throughout the season?  If you hear what coach has been saying for a long time, it seems like you might be able to get performances similar to this more often had you been playing as hard?  Do you know why‑‑
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  Because he's 18, and this was an overwhelming experience, and if it was that easy to do every single day, then everybody would do it.  He's not going to answer that question.  He'll figure it out.  He's a great kid.  I love him.  He knows that.  I coach him really hard, and sometimes that's really hard to endure my coaching and to execute what I'm asking you to do.
But he did it against Duke, and that gave us a chance to win, and what he did today is his mentality, you can tell, because he was 10 of 10 from the line and going into the game I think he was shooting 63 percent from the free‑throw line in ACC play.

Q.  You guys will face a Miami team that beat y'all by 21 points just a few days ago.  How do you take this moment into that game, and what do you think your keys will be in order to get the victory?
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  Well, we were down 29‑26 at Miami at halftime, and I think they outscored us 27 or 24 in the second half.  It was never a game.  I got a technical, my only technical, at the 12‑minute media time‑out.  It was never a game in the last game on Saturday.  They were 10 of 15 from three in the first half, 5 of 10 from three in the second half.  That's incredibly hard to overcome.
The mentality of our team in the second half, we started four freshmen and a walk‑on.  It was better, but it was better because Miami was winning by 25 points and they probably weren't as hooked up in the second half after the demolishing of the first half.  I know they were there watching the game.  They're playing for an NCAA Tournament at‑large bid, great coach, Final Four experience, two sit‑out guys that have had a phenomenal effect, the leading rebounder in the league, playing at a very high clip, and we will have to figure out a way somehow over the next 27 hours to figure out how to slow them down if we can.

Q.  Jalen, you had 10 baskets today.  What was your approach in terms of how you wanted to get your points, attack that Wake defense?
JALEN HUDSON:  I mean, I really wasn't thinking anything like that.  Like Coach Buzz said, it was our mentality, it was just to bring it down their throat.  That's kind of what we were doing all game.  I had some good chances to take it to the basket, which I was able to finish.  That was pretty much it.

Q.  Buzz had you guys do the scouting report for this game.  It's a little bit unusual.  What was that experience like, and do you think it played an impact in the way you kind of focused in tonight?
AHMED HILL:  Yes, it played a big impact.  It made us realize the hard work that assistant coaches do to get the scouting report and everything.  When we did it, we realized what we needed to do and how much time and effort the assistant coach put in, and we just tried to execute everything we wrote up.  That was about it.
JALEN HUDSON:  Exactly what he just said.

Q.  I know that your concentration is 125 percent tomorrow.  Is it possible to just peek into the future?  Next year your leading scorer is coming back and four of your next five players are sophomores and freshmen.  It must make you smile.
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  I've had the time of my life coaching these guys, not because of my ego.  I don't want to win for myself.  The kids have worked incredibly hard every day regardless of the tumultuousness of what we've been through, and that speaks to who raised them for them to be so young and handle it in a such a mature way.  We are two former walk‑ons that are on scholarship, and we have guys that are on scholarship that haven't been a part of our team in conference play.  We've played 57 percent of ACC minutes by freshmen only.  We started four freshmen today.
So from an investment standpoint for the future, you can say, well, everybody is coming back, or you could say everybody is coming back and you won two games.  So is that good enough.  So our spring and our summer and our fall will probably be the most important three seasons of their career because it will dictate/determine where our future is going to be, because these kids along with other freshmen will end up having to be a leaders of our team because we'll have five sophomores, we'll have three freshmen, so again, 65 percent of our team will be comprised of underclassmen.  We'll only have two seniors on the team, Shane Henry and Adam Smith.  We'll have three juniors, but two of them are sitting out.  So when you look at the decisions that were made in April, May and June when we got the job, we designed two freshmen, 'Med and Satch, don't know if that's smart.  We signed‑‑ we kept Jalen and Justin who the previous staff did an unbelievable job recruiting.  They're two of the better freshmen in the league, but they didn't receive a vote for any sort of category, nor did any other player on our team.  And then we signed two sit‑out guys.  So there's six guys that are brand new.
So if you look at next year's team, there will only be three guys on the team that were on the team the day that I was hired.  So long‑term I hope it's the right decision on the decisions that we've made.  I've had a lot of fun because I've learned a lot, and I've learned a lot because of the resiliency and the perseverance of how their parents raised them, and so it's helped me as a dad.

Q.  Following the question you were just answering, how important was it to your program to come down here and get a win in the tournament after the regular season?
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  Well, I agree with what Jalen said.  I don't think you could find two walk‑ons on the same team, and if you add Greg Donlon, the three walk‑ons on the same team.  I asked them 10 days ago to write down in order individually, sign your name, individually rank our 13 players, that counts our walk‑ons, No.1 being who cares the most about winning, and No.13, who cares the least about winning.  And our three walk‑ons, two of which are on scholarship now, were in the top five of every single player's list.
And so I agree with Jalen.  Those kids had not experienced an ACC win since Will Johnson was a freshman, and so I'm glad that the taste in their mouth will be different when they leave Blacksburg specific to that.

Q.  What was your assessment of the play that Beyer and Shane Henry gave you off the bench today?
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  Obviously what Jalen did is a complete game changer from start to finish, but if Jalen is playing at that level, and I thought he did throughout the game, I thought what Shane did was the difference in the game.  Three offensive rebounds, four points, four total rebounds, two blocks in 14 minutes, you'd have to look it up, but I mentioned it in the locker room ‑ sorry for being late, I wanted to shower ‑ I thought his speed and his quickness, even though Devin Thomas demolished all of our guys, just the speed and the quickness that he gave us in transition, offensively and defensively, so, so happy for him, because he's the guy that nobody ever mentions, least‑played guy, JuCo guy, but he works just as hard as anybody in our program.
I'm really happy for him because his esteem fluctuates probably more than these kids because these kids think that they're going to do this the rest of their life, and Shane is smart enough to know that as of now he has however many games left, plus one more year.

Q.  Can you tell me kind of what was going through your mind in the last five seconds?  They get three looks at the basket, kind of freaking out inside I'm guessing?
BUZZ WILLIAMS:  Yeah, well, it's allowed me to hire a couple more positions than they've ever had, and I think it's probably always a question as an administrator why do you need so many guys.  And I think part of the way that we teach, mostly the way of how we work, the responsibility of each person is incredibly important.  Part of it is because of how I function mentally.
One of our administrative assistants this year, every week I have asked him since week No.1 of the season, every time there's a Division I televised game that ends with a put‑back win, we don't say blocking out like your high school coach said if you played.  We call it taking up space.  So most teams are really good at defending the first shot.  But then what happens is when the shot, last second, they're like, I wonder if it's going in.  And because there's no other possession remaining, everybody is charging the rim.
So I think we've shown it six times throughout the season.  Obviously it's a six‑second clip possession here or there, but we've done take‑up‑space game winners, and so the only thing that I was talking to our team about amidst whose ball it is was this is a take‑up‑space game winner.  We know their out‑of‑bounds plays.  You guys know how they're going to defend it.  We'll be fine on that shot.  But it's the next shot.
Another example of how fragile the line is, that they got three, two of the three point‑blank lay‑ups, one by the guy that dominated the game in the post.

Q.  For the players, it's been a tough season for you guys, been a tough several weeks for you guys, so what does it mean to you to come in here and turn things around and win a game in the ACC Tournament?
AHMED HILL:  It means a lot.  You know, we've got two seniors, so we just want to extend their season, keep them rolling, and just to come in here and play harder than anyone else and have incredible energy.  It means a lot, and that's all we're trying to do.
JALEN HUDSON:  That's it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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