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October 26, 2016

Josh Pastner

Charlotte, North Carolina

JOSH PASTNER: I'm sure when the four Hall-of-Famers were here the room was packed. I come in, and everyone exits, but I get it.

Two quick things here. Coach Cremins is here, and obviously people have asked me about the Georgia Tech job, and it's real interesting. I've told everybody that what's excited me about Georgia Tech is what Coach Cremins did there for that long of a time and the success that has been done, and the people are -- no, it's been done. He's done it. He's been at the highest level, and the players that he's coached and recruited and the wins that he's had. So the people, the alumni, the faculty, the former players, just fans in general want to see Georgia Tech basketball back to where Coach Cremins had it.

So I feel very honored that I've been given that trust to try to bring it back and get it back. It's going to take some time. I don't know if we'll ever be able to do it like Coach Cremins did it, but to have some of that success that he had, in time, I believe we can get there.

Obviously Coach Odom there who I've known and respected and admired for so long, I've known him for a while and I've gotten to know him more personally lately. And I appreciate you being here, Coach. Very successful, as well, too, and I hope to have the same type of success that he's had, again, just in the little bit that we can have, I would be excited about that.

I think Georgia Tech, the opportunity to be the head coach here, as I mentioned, is a great privilege, honor. You're in the ACC. That, besides the NBA, is the best basketball league in the country. Georgia Tech is a special place. You've got Atlanta, which is right now the epicenter of the hip-hop world, it's becoming the epicenter of the TV industry. Besides Chicago and New York, it's the third largest for Fortune 500 companies. There's just a lot going on in that city, which is great. They love basketball. It's a fertile ground for recruiting.

You've got a very good school. One of every six graduates from Georgia Tech end up becoming a millionaire, which is a great stat. One of every six graduates become a millionaire that graduate from Georgia Tech, so you've got a strong academic brand.

And then as I mentioned, you've got the ACC. I kind of call it the triple A -- academics, Atlanta, and the ACC. You've got all three of those.

And right now we've got a chance to offer playing time. We've got a chance to really offer a lot of playing time for recruits. I understand this is a rebuild. It's going to take some time. It's not going to happen overnight. We're going to have to have great patience and go through some things that maybe I've never experienced or gone through in my coaching career, so it's going to be new for me.

But our guys have worked, have battled, have competed every day in practice, and we're looking forward to the journey as we move forward.

Q. Athletic directors have a 100-day plan, 365-day plan. What kind of time frame did you give yourself to get where you needed to be by the time the start of the season hit?
JOSH PASTNER: You know, when I got hired, Mike Bobinski at the time who hired me, he's now the athletic director at Purdue, he told me that it's going to take some time. He just said, hey, we're going to -- this is what he literally told me. We're going to hit the restart button, we're going to blow it up and we've got to get it back, we've got to get it back to where Coach Cremins had it. And he said, it's going to take time.

His big thing to me was: Are you going to be able to handle the first couple years of what you're going to go through that you've never experienced? Can you have that temperament to handle that? Because I need -- he said he needs someone that's going to remain very positive, upbeat and except the challenges as an opportunity.

And so I told him I'm the man for that opportunity and for the job for that.

I mean, look, we're the least experienced team in all of college basketball going into this season. We're going to be picked -- most publications have us picked last. So what I'm excited about that is not in a negative way, you get to kind of build something from ground zero and put your own footprint on it.

When Mike Bobinski left, Todd Stansbury, the new athletic director that they hired at Georgia Tech, I was able to meet with him for a short amount of time, and he was there with Coach Cremins, and he said to me, man, I was there with Coach Cremins. I saw what basketball meant to Georgia Tech and to the city. And he goes, I know where we're at. I know we're far from getting to that point, but I want us to somehow in time, doing it the right way but through building it the right way, get that back, that excitement, that energy, that enthusiasm.

People want the success of what Georgia Tech basketball is about, what Coach Cremins had, and so my -- how long it's going to take, I don't want to put a timetable on it. We're going to have multiple recruiting classes. But the great thing in basketball is you get one or two guys you get a break on recruiting, they end up being a stud, you can change your fortunes in a hurry.

We're going to recruit, we're going to play, hard play the right way, and I think in time and a couple classes here, we'll get the thing turned back around.

Q. If you had to put a plan together, what's the first step, and how far are you along?
JOSH PASTNER: Well, I think the first part of the plan was hiring a great staff. I hired a great staff. I hired three guys who have been -- one, Eric Reveno, who was a former head coach at Portland for 10 years, was also a long-time assistant at Stanford, played at Stanford. He's a great big man coach.

I hired Tavaras Hardy who played at Northwestern, coached at Northwestern and then was a coach at Georgetown. And hired Darryl LaBarrie who played at Georgia Tech and also worked at Georgia Tech as an assistant.

I've hired three guys who know the academic world, as well, too, and have been in that way. So I think the first order of business in building something back is hiring great staff. I think, too, is scheduling. I think we've got to schedule properly. Look, we've got to schedule accordingly to make sure we're getting enough confidence and building some confidence and excitement for the fan base and for our team as we move forward in the coming years, and then I think more than recruiting, obviously we all know recruiting, but evaluation is just as important in recruiting.

We all can pick out the best top 20, 15 kids in the country. It's the evaluation prospect of it. Do we see a kid that maybe is underneath the radar, but, man, he's good enough that with through development he can be an All-ACC guy or he's better than people have seen or think, so I think the evaluation part is going to be really critical for us instead of just -- in part of the process of building it back.

Q. They say sometimes the student-athletes are the reflection of their coach -- style, demeanor, tempo. We've seen you wear out some sidelines at Memphis. What about your personality, what about that type of character that the team might take on this year?
JOSH PASTNER: No, I'm all about competitive excellence. I have such a distaste for losing. I want our culture to be a self-motivated culture. I want guys who are internally driven, guys who just have a desire for success and want to be great at everything that they do. You know, so I want our culture to be a self-motivated culture. I want our culture to be an attitude of gratitude, where guys have an attitude of appreciation, not entitlement. I think all that stuff is important.

I've learned from my time at Memphis. I'm a better coach today than I was when I took over. When you're coaching at Memphis and following John Calipari, you're thrown -- I'm 31, you're just thrown into it. And after seven years I was under such an intense microscope of every move and decision I made, and it was debated for seven years -- I was definitely good for the Memphis media economy because I gave them something to talk about all the time.

I learned and got better. There were some things I did well. You look at it, and we won 70 percent of our games there. We were able to be the fastest to get to 150 wins in Memphis history, some other great stats.

So all those things that I felt we did well, and some other areas where I felt, man, we need to do better in those areas, I'll be able to learn and take that going into this new opportunity here at Georgia Tech.

Q. You're a student of basketball; are there places you're really looking forward to playing this year because you've been able to follow these programs?
JOSH PASTNER: You know, well, I would like for some of the away games Coach Cremins to come back to be the head coach and I'll be the associate head coach. But, no, I mean, look; they were talking about this year we could have 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament from this league. I mean, it's going to be a dogfight every night, whether it's home or away. I understand that. I know that.

More than just any particular venue, just I'm excited for us to -- can we get better from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, do we play the right way, do we improve. I think that's -- you're going to be judged on scoreboard, and that's why you're in it, because there's a winner and a loser, but for this year we should be judged based on do we get better more so than the actual win or loss of the game. Do we get better as the year progresses, and it gives me a chance to go through the ACC and have a better feel.

I've studied the league since I've gotten the job, watched a lot of tape and studied stats, but until you're coaching in it do you have a better feel on things. And this year is going to be good not only for me and my staff, our current team, and a lot of guys are going to get a lot of playing time that have not played; that they'll be better for it as we enter into year two of this program to have them have a great experience.

Q. Josh Heath was in here earlier and talked about some of the new guys in the program are fast, athletic, and you've been encouraging them to go into attack mode, really get into the paint, attack the basket. Can you talk about your style a little bit?
JOSH PASTNER: Yeah, you know, I've -- I believe in attacking. I believe in creating gaps and having great spacing. One thing that you literally study the league, and Coach Cremins knows this better than anybody, one thing where Georgia Tech has been so successful, they've had great guard play, and the league has tons of great guards.

So based on how I like to play and how I want to play, I've been very fortunate for the most part, whether an assistant or a head coach, been around some great guards.

So I want us to play with great pace and play fast and play downhill and play in attack mode. Maybe for our personnel this year is maybe not the best thing for it, but how we want to establish our culture and what we want to do, we need to do that this year. So we want to play up tempo, we want to be in attack. Everything is attack mentality. I really believe in conditioning, as well, too. We've got to be in great shape.

But we've got to make sure that our guards, as we continue to move forward, we've got to get -- sign great guards that can score the ball, that can put constant pressure on the defense, is a key element in our recruiting and evaluation focus.

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