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Coaches from around the conference, including Miami Head Coach Jim Larranaga, spoke to the media about the state's of their respective teams, as well as looking ahead to this week's games.
Coach Larranaga started things out talking about the wild week that was. Larranaga called his team "fortunate" to come out unscathed.
On his history as an Assistant Coach at Virginia:
"Coach Holland gave me my first chance to coach. When I took the job one of the first things I did was try to recruit Ralph Sampson, and when I was told that Ralph had committed some place else, I felt bad. It turned out it wasn't true, and when Ralph committed to the University of Virginia, we were immediately projected in the top 25."
At this point Coach L advised the call he didn't want to take too much time on the subject and would speak more on on it another time. Coach clearly has a special spot in his heart for his time at UVA.
On Shane Larkin being a sophomore amongst seniors:
"It started last year. Shane is all about winning and he deferred to the upperclassmen. He developed a very good relationship with those guys off the court. And they respected what he could do on the court. It was our upperclassmen that encouraged him to do more and be more aggressive. At the same time Shane is very willing to give up the ball."
On the quick turnaround playing Tuesday after Sunday:
"Normally a day like today would be a day off but we can't. We need to be very careful to not overtax the players. The most important thing is to play well tomorrow at 9pm."
On the most surreal moment of this season:
"Last night was one of the most surreal moments, having come back from down 4 with a minute to go. My feeling is that every game is special. There's something weird that pops up every day either on the court or off the court. I feel lucky to be doing what I love."
On the media exposure:
"We tell our team we have a job to do and the media has a job to do. One thing should not interfere with the other. The kind of attention we get now is the kind of attention Duke and North Carolina get every year. Our players have looked at that in the past and wished they got that type of attention. Now that they get it, you can't shy away from it."
Notes from the rest of the ACC:
- Wake Forest Coach Jeff Bzdelik talked about his team's resiliency being tested after two close losses to Georgia Tech and BC. With a full week to prepare for Miami Bzdelik talked about taking care of the little things and stressing getting better at every aspect of their own game, rather then focusing solely on the 'Canes. He mentioned UM's "confidence and swagger" coupled with experience and talent as reasons for Miami's success.
- James Johnson of Virginia Tech spoke about the positives despite the disappointment of losing a close game at NC State. "Productivity" was given as the main reason for a cut in minutes to Jarell Eddie's minutes. But Johnson seemed pleased with how Eddie responded. Johnson mentioned Marshall Wood as a bright spot, and that coming off injury, improved conditioning was a key to his 16 rebound performance against the Wolfpack.
- Tony Bennett Virginia's skipper, talked about playing Miami as a "measuring stick" and hoped his team was ready for the challenge. Bennett talked about the 'Canes size along with Shane Larkin and Durand Scott being match-ups that concerned him. Bennett also praised Joe Harris for his leadership and willingness to do anything asked by the coaches. He emphasized "good spacing" for UVA's recent scoring burst.
- Mark Gottfried of NC State was pleased by his team's 2 game winning streak, but felt keeping it going would be a challenge against FSU. Gottfried praised Richard Howell's rebounding, but said the most impressive thing about Howell was his "consistent competitive nature." He also said that PG Lorenzo Brown was "close to 90 percent" right now, but still favored his injured ankle some. Gottfried also praised Va Tech's Erick Green, and felt he deserved consideration for ACC Player of the Year, despite the Hokies conference record.
- Roy Williams of North Carolina spoke about the gauntlet of playing Miami, Duke, and Virginia in 3 consecutive games. Williams also talked about the "drastic change" of the game over his 35 years due to more and more underclassmen leaving early, and the challenges it poses in teaching a system. In regards to PJ Hairston's promotion to the starting line-up, Williams explained Hairston's consistency and matching up with smaller line-ups were the reasons. Additionally Joel James was ruled out for tomorrow's game against Georgia Tech.
- Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon spoke about not letting down coming off the Duke win. When asked Turgeon did not comment on Coach K's opinion on the Terps leaving the ACC. He stressed that playing at BC would be a great challenge, noting that both Duke and Miami survived close contests recently against the Eagles. Turgeon said Alex Len has been working hard on his low post game, and his performance was the best he had seen in a long time from Len. He also advised that Pe'Shon Howard, who missed the Duke game for disciplinary reasons, would play against BC.
- Brian Gregory of Georgia Tech was pleased with his team's effort Saturday at Wake Forest, and emphasized his team's toughness and execution as key. Gregory also gave his freshman players credit for growing up on the floor. He talked about his team's upcoming match-up with UNC and said even though the Heels had gone to a smaller line-up, their wings (PJ Hairston, Reggie Bullock, and Leslie McDonald) were still big,strong, and a lot to handle.
- Leonard Hamilton of Florida State felt his team played well against Miami, but that the difference was his team did not have an answer for Shane Larkin down the stretch. He said Larkin was one of the top 5 point guards in the country and was like a "coach on the floor." He also said his team was fortunate to get past a "very improved Boston College" team. On Terrance Shannon's injury, he advised Shannon had seen one of the top spine specialists in the country, but his status for the remainder of this season was still uncertain. Hamilton also spoke on big man Michael Ojo's future. He advised that Ojo's limited experience was a factor, but that he was working hard and had a bright future once he translated his success in practice to the games.
- Mike Krzyzewski, Duke's legendary Coach, called Erick Green a "terrific player" and a "scoring machine." In terms of defending Green, Krzyzewski said that it was especially difficult because of the variety in his game. He stressed that despite the loss to Maryland his team was doing a terrific job competing, and playing at a high level despite the loss of Ryan Kelly. Coach K said that while there was no timetable yet on Kelly's return, they still believed he would play again this season.
- Clemson Coach Brad Brownell, was disappointed in his team's loss to Miami, but was proud of their effort, particularly Jordan Roper. Brownell called the last 2 losses to UM and NC State "excruciating" but that his team needed to stay the course. He felt that the team being off until Saturday would probably help them with all the highs and lows the team has recently encountered.
- Steve Donahue, of Boston College, was pleased with the improvement of his team and their development and felt improving on the defensive end was a key to winning more consistently. In regards to his team's upcoming game against Maryland, Donahue mentioned Alex Len's abilities as a "basketball player" and how he passed off double teams as challenges. He felt his team would need to be "grittier and tougher" to defeat the Terps. He said Dennis Clifford was getting healthier and hoped he would give them more minutes.
Be sure to stay tuned as we bring you updates through out the season. The ACC Coaches Teleconference takes places every Monday morning.