Hokies getting ready for next phase of hoops season

Story by Chris Graham

A 9-6 record heading into the start of the ACC season proper isn’t bad for this Virginia Tech basketball team, considering the losses – Zabian Dowdell, Jamon Gordon, Coleman Collins – that coach Seth Greenberg had to account to graduation from his 2006-2007 team that played into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Our basketball team is still a work in progress,” Greenberg said yesterday in his weekly teleconference. “We’re still kind of identifying who we are and getting guys to understand their roles and how hard they need to play and what it takes to be successful at this level. But I like our team. I like our young players. I think that we’ve made pretty good progress.”

The Hokies have technically already begun their ACC season – falling 77-75 at Wake Forest on Dec. 23. But now is when the rubber has to hit the road.

“We’re excited about the start of league play to see exactly where we are,” Greenberg said. “I think that our group is competitive. I think that we obviously have to continue to get better and be a little bit tougher. My major concern is that we have not taken care of the ball as we have in the past, and that’s something that we’ve got to get better at.”

A reporter asked about the pressure that is on the shoulders of senior forward Deron Washington given that he is pretty much the experience that Greenberg has to count on. Greenberg, for his part, doesn’t buy into the notion that Washington has to bear any more of the load than anybody else in that respect.

“I don’t think it’s on Deron. It’s on our team. I think it’s unfair to put it on one guy. I think that as a team everybody’s got to be a little bit better. They’ve got to be a little stronger with the ball. They’ve got to be a little tougher. They’ve got to have a little greater sense of urgency. They’ve got to pay attention to the little things,” Greenberg said.
“When you have such a young team like we have, the one thing that our guys are not used to is the intensity each and every day. You know, we’re going to get into league play, and every single game is going to be an event. A lot of these guys are coming from situations where they played two or three or four tough games a year where they’ve really got to take it to another level, and here if you slip up in the least bit, you’re going to lose,” Greenberg said.

“Our guys need to understand how to practice hard and how to prepare. That’s part of the process of developing the program. And it’s not like we have a ton of upperclassmen to educate our young guys right now,” Greenberg said.

Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.

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