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October 16, 2013

Brian Gregory


THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory.
Let's set where with this team is right now.  How do you feel about heading into the season?
COACH GREGORY:  I like the progress we've made.  I said sometimes you go into the second year of a rebuilding job, rebuilding phase, you're worried you're going to have to take a step backwards in order to take two or three steps forward later.  You have your first recruiting class.  Those freshmen are going to play.  We started three freshmen.
But I felt good starting those three freshmen, then having some guys play different roles than they've ever played before.  I thought they took a step forward before.  I thought we were able to become more solid on the defensive end, rebounding‑wise, did some good things.
Our inconsistency was a big key.  I think we lost five games in the league in the last minute and a half of the game.  We were able to put forth a challenge to the guys and say, These things are working, these are things we need to improve on.  I think our guys really embraced that.
THE MODERATOR:  Four returning starters.  That puts you in a good position.
COACH GREGORY:  It really does.  When you look at it, the three freshmen that are now sophomores, they need to make a big jump in their game.  Daniel Miller as a senior was asked and challenged last year to move away from being kind of a complementary player and be a main focus of both our defensive game plan and some offensive stuff.  He's All‑ACC on the defensive end.  I thought he did a great job.
We benefit from the fact of having Kam Holsey, who is start of a sixth starter.  He has starter production a lot of times.  I do like the fact that nucleus is back and poised to continue to move forward.
THE MODERATOR:  A couple fans have asked about Trae Golden.
COACH GREGORY:  No news yet.  All the paperwork is in.  We wanted to make sure that everything was done to its utmost in terms of the information and so forth.  The NCAA is just waiting to kind of go through it.
I would hope probably within another week or two before our last exhibition game.  But someone asked, Has it been a challenge in practice?  It really hasn't been because those first two weeks that we've just completed, all we've been doing is competing against each other as opposed to who is in a starting lineup.  It was more we got 13 scholarship guys, six on one team, seven on the other, let's get after it.  I think he's helped that.
We'll just have to wait and see.
THE MODERATOR:  Obviously you develop a bond with these guys over time.  Who do think Coach Gregory is?
COACH GREGORY:  Hopefully a really good guy (smiling).
I think now you look at someone like Daniel or Kam, this is their third year of playing for me, I think they understand I'm a demanding coach, that I want the best for them, will give them every resource and tool needed to become the very best.  But with that, their responsibility is to meet us halfway and give great effort.
I think they do understand that I believe that the excellence I want them to achieve is more of a daily habit.  Those two guys in particular have really grown in terms of their daily approach to becoming not only a great player, but both those guys are going to graduate this year.  All three of our seniors are going to graduate.
I know they know there's an attention to detail that I want them to live their life by.
THE MODERATOR:  Last year, our set had every school's name on the back.  As you were walking up, you were looking specifically to see where Georgia Tech was up there.
COACH GREGORY:  It was in the corner.
THE MODERATOR:  We realized you were looking to make sure Georgia Tech was prominently placed.
COACH GREGORY:  The other thing we really try to stress, there's a great pride in putting on a Georgia Tech uniform, when you look at the guys that have worn those uniforms in the past.  There's a great pride in playing in this league.  This is the best basketball league in the country by far.  To play in this league, you have to make sure that every single day you're striving to become a little bit better and you're ready to go.  If not, this league is going to eat you up.
That's the way it should be.  Our guys have a great pride in wearing that uniform.  They take great pride in playing in this league.
THE MODERATOR:  You talked about how tough this conference is.  It's gotten tougher.  1 through 15, this is a battle for you every night.
COACH GREGORY:  Every single night.  I think as a program, we're in the same position with other programs like Wake Forest, Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, Florida State, Virginia, schools fighting to take another step along the process, knowing that three tremendous premiere, elite programs in the country have just joined the league.
As we've moved forward, it's going to be interesting to see how far and in comparison, because right now from top to bottom, the markings of a great league is not only to be strong up top, but also for the emerging teams to continue to improve and not only be successful in the league, but also have post‑season success.  I think this league is poised to do that.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Last year you were talking about the renovation of your arena, the emphasis on bringing back a lot of the former players, getting them involved with the tradition of the program.  Can you update us on how that's going?
COACH GREGORY:  The arena is wonderful.  We get compliments on it every single day.  Every opposing coach has enjoyed playing there in terms of just the new facility.  I know they enjoy the new locker rooms that they have.  They don't have to walk a mile‑and‑a‑half to get from the locker room to the court.
Our attempt to get our history and our former players back involved over the last two years I think has been met with tremendous success.  I appreciate them because they've had to take some steps, too.  We can reach out.  Unless they want to be part of the program, want to continue to help us rebuild the program, then it's not going to work.
They're passionate about Georgia Tech.  I saw a tweet last week from Kenny Anderson.  He said, There's only one school for me, Georgia Tech took care of me.  That's what you want to see.  We're starting to build that.
One of the most important things is for our current guys to understand that, that they're part of something special, to see the special guys that have been here in the past.
THE MODERATOR:  Are you putting a number on wins?  How do you recognize success for the season?
COACH GREGORY:  Again, the question mark is the change in those 18 games you're playing.  In addition, what we've done, because I felt we were going to be a better team, and there's no question we're a better team right now, better than at any point than last year.  What does that end up being in terms of wins and losses?  How does that translate?  That's going to be the question.
But I think everybody in our program is excited about us taking another step forward.  With that comes hopefully more wins.
THE MODERATOR:  You're in a big city that has a lot of great basketball at the high school level.  Seems like you've focused on making Georgia Tech.
COACH GREGORY:  You can't have everybody from the state of Georgia, but you can try.  I think that's one thing we've done in our first two years.  We are going to make Georgia Tech an option for the best players in the state of Georgia, that understand that playing in the ACC, what that means, going to school at Georgia Tech, what that means, where those two combined place you during your career at the next step, then your career after you're done playing basketball.  We've had pretty good success in doing that.
At the same time Georgia Tech and the ACC has a national brand as well.  Being able to recruit out of that footprint, in different states, is something that we've been working hard on, as well.
THE MODERATOR:  Good luck this season.  Thanks for coming through.
COACH GREGORY:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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