Chat with ACC basketball coaches
Mark Turgeon brings a career record of 249-158 to Maryland.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday we'll have all 12 ACC men's basketball coaches in chat. Get your questions ready! We'll start at 9 a.m. ET!
The coaches' schedule:
9:00a: Jeff Bzdelik (Wake Forest)
9:10a: Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech)
9:30a: Steve Donahue (Boston College)
9:45a: Brad Brownell (Clemson)
10:00a: Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)
10:10a: Mark Gottfried (N.C. State)
10:25a Leonard Hamilton (Florida State)
10:35a Jim Larranaga (Miami)
10:45a Tony Bennett (Virginia)
10:55a Mark Turgeon (Maryland)
11:05a Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech)
11:20a Roy Williams (North Carolina)
Buzzmaster (8:16 AM)
Hello everyone! We'll get started at 9 a.m. ET with our first coach, Jeff Bzdelik from Wake Forest! Send your questions for Jeff now! Be sure to say who your question is for when submitting questions for specific coaches!
Martin Connor (Austin, TX)
Jeff Bzdelik (8:58 AM)
I am so wrapped up in my own collegiate season that I find little time to watch the NBA. However, the NBA playoffs, especially when the NCAA tournament is over, they're a wonderful thing to watch. It's basketball played at the highest level. It's enjoyable to watch! Not only from a fan's standpoint, but as a technical standpoint as a coach. Having spent 17 years in the NBA, I have many friends in the business, and it's fun to watch them compete. I'm sure that they'll salvage enough of the season to make sure those playoffs do take place in the spring.
David Turner (North Carolina)
Coach Bzdelik I'm guessing you used every tool in your coaching toolbelt last season ... did you learn anything during that process that maybe you didn't know before that will be useful moving forward?
Jeff Bzdelik (8:59 AM)
Last year was extremely tough. We had extreme inexperience coupled with extreme immaturity. Our basketball program is in a great place -- we have a collective group of mature young men who are humble and hungry, and who gained valuable experience last year. They are stronger and wiser, and are a much more together basketball team. What I did learn from last year is to never again spend 90 percent of my time with 10 percent of the players for as long as I endured without moving forward in the right way.
Coach Bzdelik.. what are some of the areas you felt the team needed to improve on this year to be a real Final Four threat?
Jeff Bzdelik (9:01 AM)
Obviously, you must defend and rebound. You must share the basketball. Defending and rebounding are the areas in which we're making a conscious effort to improve. Young players don't understand the intensity and urgency of that on every possession. We need to guard the ball better and rebound consistently, which will allow us to get easy points in transition. We're working on those areas daily to improve upon them.
Peter Carlton (N.C.)
Coach Bzdelik .. I'm curious what you guys think of all this conference realignment going on and how it will impact college basketball. Do you think when all the moving is said and done we will be better off than we are now? Or will this all be for football and basketball will wind up being all messed up? That's what I fear.
Jeff Bzdelik (9:03 AM)
The ACC is a great league in so many ways. It's a league of high integrity and careful planning. The addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse and potentially other schools enables us to strengthen our league. Not just from a basketball and football standpoint. It'll be great for other sports and will expand our media coverage. It'll benefit our alumni, as they'll be able to see their teams play more often now. The schools that will be added onto our league are that of high integrity, and from top to bottom we define class in college sports. I think it's great.
Joe Faxon (Wake Fan)
Coach Bz .. are all you guys in the same room today? What do you guys talk about when you all get together?
Jeff Bzdelik (9:04 AM)
They're all great guys. So often we find ourselves in so many competitive situations, whether it be in recruiting or playing against one another. It's fun to be around everyone in a relaxed setting, as there's nothing to compete about in this very moment. We talk about family, some of the rule changes, our sport in general. We talk about people that we know that are common to us. It's actually an enjoyable time, it really is.
Bzdelik what would you say is the real bright spot for this team heading into the season?
Jeff Bzdelik (9:06 AM)
The fact that we are a high-energy, more-together basketball team, from the standpoint that we have a collective group of young men that are playing for each other, not for themselves. They want to do well. They will play extremely hard and have gained valuable experience from last season. We were the youngest team in the ACC last year, and no team played more freshmen in more minutes than we did. We took a beating, but they are stronger, faster, and more together because of it. We have talent, and it's going to be a much more efficient basketball team because of it.
Chris Kelly (New York)
Coach Bzdelik - this is an early chat! Did you have time to eat breakfast?
Jeff Bzdelik (9:06 AM)
There's always time for breakfast!
Timothy (Wake Alum)
Coach Bzdelik - How frustrating was last season and how challenging is it to try and change the culture of a team to get the talent to shine through?
Jeff Bzdelik (9:08 AM)
Changing the culture of a team is the hardest thing to do. You have to change attitudes individually and collectively. Those who want to do well are brought down by those whose attitudes need adjusting. I'm sure it was equally as frustrating for the fans, if not more so for myself. But we're in a much better place right now, as we've eliminated the immaturity, and those that remained have bought into the culture that we need to be successful.
Stevenson (Dorm Room)
For Coach Biz .. how much easier is it in Year 2 with a new team compared to the first year where you are still having to get used to your surroundings, staff, etc.?
Jeff Bzdelik (9:09 AM)
I think what makes it easier -- and it's never easy, not at this level -- what makes it enjoyable is that the players here all want to do well, and want to be coached. Coaching effort, you don't need to do that. Now we can coach and teach the way we're supposed to, by improving the team individually and collectively. It's like pruning a tree. You get rid of the weeds, and healthy plants can grow.
Jeff Bzdelik (9:10 AM)
Thank you everyone!
Buzzmaster (9:10 AM)
Next we have coach Brian Gregory from Georgia Tech.
Lynn Thomas (Atlanta)
Brian Gregory (9:12 AM)
The most important thing to do in the first year of a new program is to establish the pillars of what it's going to stand for, and what the guys will fight for every day. Playing well together as a team and establishing effort -- defensively, five guys working as one, and offensively, working together and sharing the ball, and making plays for one another. Off the court, just really growing in terms of being great teammates and high-character young men. From there you can build a lot of different things at your program.
Daniel Kaster (Alabama)
Coach Gregory, how much of a distraction will it be to have to play in two different arenas this year?
Brian Gregory (9:14 AM)
That's a big challenge for this season. the new arena will be fantastic when it's done, but you face the difficulty of not having a true home court this year. Playing five non-conference games in Gwinnett gives us a chance to extend our fanbase a bit, and playing in Phillips is a great basketball venue, but it's not our home court. We're doing things to increase the excitement at both arenas, and fans will just have to travel a bit to see us. But the new pavilion will be fantastic.
Brandon Smith (Georgia)
For Brian Gregory: what are you expectations for Brandon Reed this year? He seems like a real talent.
Brian Gregory (9:15 AM)
He's a transfer from Arkansas State, freshman of the year in that league. We're excited to have him for us this year. His ability to slash is deadly, and right now he's a bit of a streaky shooter. I think he can become a much more consistent shooter. He's one of our nine scholarship athletes, and is poised to have a great campaign for us in his sophomore year.
Coach Gregory, what kind of progress do you expect your team to make in the ACC this year?
Brian Gregory (9:16 AM)
I hope the progress that we make is, game after game you continue to see improvement. Obviously we have to improve tremendously in defense and rebounding, and we take pride in setting up our fast break. We may be limited in numbers at first, so we won't be able to play like we'd want to down the road, but with our toughness and togetherness, we'll improve and our team will get better throughout the year.
Coach Gregory, with such a young team, do you think they are more flexible to play in a new system?
Brian Gregory (9:17 AM)
I do believe that. We have no seniors on the team and only one freshman, so it's a sophomore-junior driven program. Their ability to buy into a new system and grasp it is maybe a little easier because they're not set in their ways. The guys have been tremendous in understanding what we're trying to do. I try to put them in a system where they can have the most success. One thing I like about our system is that it's very flexible. We have some pieces -- finding the right defensive pressure points to play at will be important, and our guys will be receptive to that.
Brian Gregory (9:18 AM)
Excited about the start of the season and the progress our guys have made. I'm excited to get Georgia Tech rolling again!
Buzzmaster (9:18 AM)
Next we have Steve Donahue from Boston College.
Steve Donahue (9:23 AM)
It's been a blast! Just the fact that for 20 years I didn't have scholarships, and I get that now, but not only that, I can sell Boston College to these kids. We have four players in this class from California, just so you guys out on the West Coast know. It's been great!
Coach, what's your biggest challenge this season?
Steve Donahue (9:24 AM)
I think there are quite a few on the table, just due to the youth in our program. I try to instill a culture of the program and how hard we have to work each and every day, with so many kids who have never been through college basketball before. If you skip that, well, the reality is they have to work hard and communicate to figure these things out off the court first.
Coach Donahue ... what happened to the Sox!
Steve Donahue (9:25 AM)
I'm a Phillies fan. I'm more worried about what happened to them. You want me to get into it? We could be here for a half hour. On paper doesn't mean much, and I gather from the reports that they weren't focused on winning in the Sox clubhouse or focused on that goal.
Who on the team this year are you looking for to be most productive? Who do you expect to make a big leap from last year?
Steve Donahue (9:27 AM)
There's only two guys from last year to make a big leap. It's a unique situation in college basketball. Gabe Moton and Danny Rubin will improve on last year, but our transfer from Oregon, Matthew Humphrey, we'll rely on him to score a lot. He's got a lot of potential. I like what I see from Dennis Clifford, a seven-foot kid who plays hard and understands things really well. Patrick Heckmann, from Germany, has more experience than the other kids because he played in an international league for several years. He can contribute right away.
Coach Donahue .. it seems like you are putting together a giant puzzle there in Boston .. do you feel like you have enough pieces for the picture to be coming into focus?
Steve Donahue (9:29 AM)
I would agree. Anytime you come from scratch the way we did -- we have no one on our team from the previous coach staff -- it does feel like a puzzle. I don't know where these current pieces fit exactly, so recruiting additional pieces would be a challenge. We've watched these guys build a foundation so far, and they've done a great job of it. They practice hard and are smart, skilled players, and are doing well off the court as well as on the court.
Coach Donahue, who has been the biggest surprise so far.
Steve Donahue (9:30 AM)
I'm gonna say Kyle Caudill. I thought there would be issues with his conditioning, but he's worked hard to reduce his weight from 305 to the 270 range. He has a great basketball IQ, his condition level is really good, and he's done a great job in his first week of practice.
Barry Winter (BC)
Coach Donahue.. what is the best advice another coach has ever given you?
Steve Donahue (9:32 AM)
I had a lot of people talk to me about this transition from the Ivy League to the ACC, and John Beilein -- you have to remember what you did at other levels to be successful and stick with that. We stick with the high character kid on and off the court like we did at Cornell.
How do you see the 2012 class ending up? Now that you have a SG in Rahon what other positions are you focusing on? Great to have you as coach. I know a lot of us are looking forward to watching the 2011 class over four years.
Steve Donahue (9:33 AM)
We have no commitments that I can talk about publicly. We're trying to get good guard. My feeling is that you need lots of guards to win in college basketball, so we're focusing on a pure point guard and maybe another versatile guard. I think we're making great strides in accomplishing that.
Steve Donahue (9:34 AM)
I hope that we have a group of people who come out and support this young Eagles team. You'll love their energy and style of play, and I think you'll see we're building something big here.
Buzzmaster (9:34 AM)
Brad Brownell (9:45 AM)
Based on what happened this fall, I don't think so! We co-exist very well, and hopefully we can build on the momentum of their team.
Coach - have you set any specific goals for the team this year?
Brad Brownell (9:46 AM)
Our goal would be to continue our streak of NCAA tournament berths. We'll do that as we get closer to the season. It's such an early part of the year that we're just trying to work on daily improvement at this point.
Kevin Tippin (South Carolina)
Coach Brown.. how did it feel to win your first NCAA Tournament game as a coach last season? Do you feel this team is prepared to make the next step and get to the Sweet 16?
Brad Brownell (9:48 AM)
It felt great. I was certainly proud of our guys and happy for our seniors, as they'd been in the tournament a few years and hadn't won. It was a big relief for them. We'd love to get to the Sweet Sixteen, but that's a long ways off for now. We have to concentrate on smaller steps and develop an identity. We'll worry about that if we can get to it -- long-range goal is to get to the tournament, and once you get there, anything can happen.
Al Hobson (Clemson)
Coach Brown.. you've got a young squad this year for sure.. are you using this year to focus more on just building the foundation and getting everyone on the same page?
Brad Brownell (9:49 AM)
We're trying to build on what we started last year. Certainly our older players have an idea of the style we need to play, and our young guys don't at all. It'll take some time because we have so many young players -- six out of twelve. It's more year 1A than year 2, so I think it'll take a bit longer. It may go a little slower, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Coach, what's the plan for calming pregame jitters on the nights you play the UNCs and Dukes of the ACC?
Brad Brownell (9:50 AM)
I think the older players of the program treat those games like any other. Once you've competed against Duke and Carolina, you can get past that now. The first time our freshmen play, they'll have jitters, but getting the butterfiles in their stomach to fly in formation is the trick. The first time, they'll be a little extra amped up. A lot of it is focusing on doing the small things well.
At any point in your career has the marketing phrase "What can Brown do you for you?" been used to promote your coaching skills and how did you feel about it?
Brad Brownell (9:51 AM)
I think the student body or someone in town made t-shirts with that phrase, but I don't think it had to do with my philosophy. Certainly it's flattering! But beyond that there's too many other things to focus on.
Hey Coach, hello from your old hometown Evansville. We're all proud of you. My question is about your old teammate Calbert Cheaney. What do you see him bringing to IU as Director of Operations? Thanks and good luck this year!
Brad Brownell (9:53 AM)
I think Calbert will do an unbelievable job with the players there. Having been one of the Big Ten's best and an NBA player, he'll have immediate respect from them and will provide a great example for them of what you need to do to be successful in college. He's a terrific person and will be a great addition to that staff.
Brad Brownell (9:53 AM)
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
What was it like coaching Team USA and how do you think the experience helped you?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:06 AM)
Coaching Team USA was the greatest honor a coach can have. I've learned an immense amount from working with my staff and the players, and coaching against a new competitive group. It's been a truly amazing experience.
Do you have any thoughts on how the dynamic between Austin Rivers, Seth Curry, and Andre Dawkins might play out?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:07 AM)
I think it'll play out really well. They're three really good players. They will be in the game together at different times, and you have to guard all three of them. They have to become good defensive players. Sometimes good offensive players never reach their potential on defense, so we'll challenge them defensively. They're good kids who have a chance to be great together.
Coach K. ....Being a 34 year die hard Duke supporter you have in the past used 8 or max 9 player rotation during the your fantastic tenure at Duke , i know that every team takes on it's own face, but with what appears to me you have a team that 10 or 11 players with the abilty to play at a high level do you see this team playing more players than in the past?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:08 AM)
I think this will be a team that will play more players than we have in the past. Primarily, we don't have the established players like a Singler or Nolan Smith who play 35 minutes. There's not as much separation on our team from 1-12 in the past, so we'll use that as a strength.
Coach K. , The so-called experts have given alot of grief and described your frontcourt as being unable to play on the same level with the talented frontcourts in the country, how do you feel about these statements and where do you see the Duke big men progressing going into the upcoming season ?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:09 AM)
I think our big men are one of our strengths. I think just the opposite. I think both Miles and Mason Plumlee are ready to be big-time players, and so is Ryan Kelly. I have a lot of confidence in them. They did a great job when we played in China and Dubai in August.
Mike, after loosing players like Kyle and Nolan how do you identify your next leaders on the team? Is this something that you forge in practice or figure out on the court. Any players seem to be stepping up to the challenge thus far?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:11 AM)
It is difficult when you lose two guys who are good leaders and 3-4 year players in Singler and Smith. You don't replace them so much as find new ways of doing things. We'll get it from a number of different people. Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelly are our co-captains right now, and we'd like to see more out of Seth Curry.
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
What is the hardest part about recruiting against North Carolina?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:12 AM)
The toughest thing is recruiting against the state school, because we recruit nationally. The toughest thing about recruiting against UNC is the fact that they've have a lot of success and they've done a good job with players in the past. Our biggest competition is usually the kid's local school, however.
Duke plays a pretty good non-conference schedule this year. What are your thoughts about how that will affect this year's team?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:13 AM)
Every year, we play a top ten schedule. This year is no exception. We have a chance when we open up against a team like Belmont, 30-5 last year, that's tough, but we have a chance to gain a lot of maturity and game experience before we enter the ACC. I think it's particularly important for this year's team.
Mark Janson (Gettysburg, PA)
Coach K.....How much did you learn from Coach Paterno on Difference Makers: Life Lessons with Paterno and Krzyzewski, that will help you this coming basketball season?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:14 AM)
I loved my day with Coach Paterno. The main thing I learned was what a great person he was and how smart he was. I had never spent time with him before. I love being with good people who've done special things, and he takes both of those to the top level. Obviously he's one of the great coaches in the history of the sport.
jeff davidson (greensboro,n.c.)
Do you expect Duke to play a fast, up-tempo style this year?
Mike Krzyzewski (10:15 AM)
We would like to play very fast. For the most part, we've played very fast during my time at Duke. Good rebounding lends itself to playing fast, and if you limit them to one shot, you have a chance to get on a fast break right off of a rebound, and we're a good rebounding team.
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
How does it feel to have your own home court named after you.
Mike Krzyzewski (10:16 AM)
It's a tremendous honor. Cameron is as good a place as you can have to play a sport. There's a tremendous intimacy there, for them to name the court after me. Every time I walk out on it, it's special.
Mike Krzyzewski (10:16 AM)
Thanks everyone! I enjoyed doing this.
Buzzmaster (10:17 AM)
Next is Mark Gottfried from North Carolina State.
Coach Gottfried, obviously there are many challenges starting with a new program. What is your primary goal this year from a teaching standpoint?
Mark Gottfried (10:20 AM)
To establish the way we want this program to be, which I think takes time. We use the word "culture", which applies to us -- how to compete and play hard, which is how we want to do things with this group.
George (Madrid, SP)
Coach Gottfried, how are you working to get NC State back to being able to compete with the other North Carolina ACC schools?
Mark Gottfried (10:22 AM)
It's been a long time, to be honest. NC State has finished tenth or below out of twelve for the last ten years, and we have to change the attitude and commitment level of our current players. We have to do an excellent job of recruiting -- great players with great talent who are also great people. We have to do a great job of coaching them up. We need to improve right now, but also recruit well in the future.
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
If you weren't coaching basketball, what would you be doing?
Mark Gottfried (10:22 AM)
I was enjoying a career in broadcasting, so if I wasn't doing that, I'd be back at ESPN! I had two years where I enjoyed doing that, so that would be the answer for me.
do you think 68 teams is enough for the ncaa tournament?
Mark Gottfried (10:24 AM)
I like 68, but I think it could go to 72. I think we could have added a play-in game in front of each 1- and 2-seed game. But I do like 68. I did think it was time for our field to improve and get bigger. But I would be better with 72.
Coach Gottfried.. did you ever do that skydive you were going to do for the start of the season?
Mark Gottfried (10:25 AM)
No, I was rained out. I was looking forward to it. It still may be on the horizon! We'll see.
Rick (North Carolina)
Coach Gott, do you feel any added pressure knowing this fanbase has been starving for National attention for over 20+ years now. BTW, Go PACK, Beat eweNC!
Mark Gottfried (10:26 AM)
No, because that is what makes the job great. We have fans who do care and want to win. When you've won two championships, the bar raises, but that's one of the things that drew me to the job. I don't look at it from the perspective of having any added pressure.
Stephen Hardison (Goldsboro,NC)
How has recruiting been going with the likes of Duke and UNC trying to get the same players?
Mark Gottfried (10:27 AM)
We'll recruit the best players, the ones who fit into our program regardless of who else recruits. I'm not one to concede that because another team has had great success, that they should automatically beat us in recruiting. We're not as established but we have a lot to offer. We'll recruit anybody who can help us win a national championship.
Timothy R. (Ashville)
For Mark Gottfried.. will you miss the NBA if there is no season?
Mark Gottfried (10:28 AM)
I will miss it. I'm an NBA fan with a lot of friends who play and coach in that league. It's sad that the game's popularity may be as high as it's ever been, and that they're not playing.
Another frivolous question: Did Sidney Lowe leave a red blazer behind for you or will you have to have them fresh tailored?
Mark Gottfried (10:28 AM)
He did not leave one, and nor will I buy one! That's not in the plans right now!
Buzzmaster (10:30 AM)
Coach Hamilton is here!
Coach Hamilton, I have so enjoyed watching you in each of the last 3 NCAA Tourneys along with my friends who all travel from different parts of the country to attend. How do you respond to the occassional criticism or disappointment I often hear that FSU doesn't have a true "Point Guard"?
Leonard Hamilton (10:32 AM)
In this business you always get criticism. But we use the players we have to win as many games as possible and we have done a great job. People love to see a traditional PG but we just haven't had that yet. But we have still been successful. I compliment our players who have been able to do that. We are constantly improving in each area and getting better each year, even without all the parts. I'm very proud of this team.
Allison (Pensacola, FL)
Coach Hamilton ... what is the bright spot for this team this year?
Leonard Hamilton (10:33 AM)
We have six seniors that are all on schedule to graduate and two with masters degrees. They are leading my example. Great leadership from those guys. They set the tone each day in practice. They have been through the wars and will make sure we are an even better team this year. They all are on the same page.
What's it like not having Bobby Bowden around?
Leonard Hamilton (10:35 AM)
Well, like most coaches who coach major college football, we have so many responsiblities that you don't have time to socialize. Coach Bowden was coaching, traveling, in such demand for speaking engagements, etc. I didn't get as much time to interact with him as much as I would have liked. But he left a very big shadow with his legacy. He was extremely successful. I am very very happy to have been a part of what he did at FSU. He is a family man and a Christian gentlemen to allow that part of himself to be revealed to the world. He is a stand up guy and we really miss him.
Jake C. (Charlotte, NC)
Coach - what should State fans expect from this team Game 1, minute 1?
Leonard Hamilton (10:36 AM)
I think we should be an improved basketball team, especially on the offensive end. We will make fewer turnovers and more assists. Better FT shooting and just better in our overall game. You will notice right away how much the guys have worked out this offseason.
What will be your biggest challenge this year
Leonard Hamilton (10:37 AM)
Every coach will tell you that the biggest challenge is keeping every healthy while playing at the intensity you need to play at. You just want to make sure you are developing your players the best you can to allow them to play with the focus they need to play at, regardless if they are starting or not, having a good game or not, etc. And then graduate and move into a good career.
Coach Hamilton, have you always been so focused philosophically on Defense or did you feel like it was the best way for you to compete in the ACC?
Leonard Hamilton (10:38 AM)
We've always understood that you need to be complete in all phases of the game. As of late, the schools I've been able to coach at were programs that needed to be rebuilt. I haven't always had great defensive players but I've had guys who can be coached and win games. We've evolved into a great defensive team without forsaking the offense. Defense is an area where it doesn't have to do with quickness and speed as much as just executing fundamentals.
Buzzmaster (10:41 AM)
Thanks! Coach Larranaga is here!
What's the best part of coaching at Miami -- the program or the weather?
Jim Larranaga (10:43 AM)
I'd say both! Having a chance to live in Miami and Coral Gables is phenomenal. But it's also the best basketball confernece in the country and a great challenge.
Coach Larranaga, what's your biggest challenge in this upcoming year?
Jim Larranaga (10:44 AM)
Right now the biggest challenge is establishing the philosophy and going through that transition period. Also getting across our expectations offensively and defensively. We have to bring the team along fast enough to compete with all the top teams.
Coach Larranaga, is it tough going up against the big-time schools like Duke and UNC?
Jim Larranaga (10:45 AM)
I was an assistant coach at Virginia for seven years and what you know going into conference play is that every game is against a top quality opponent. You have to bring your A game every night. That forces your team and players to be focues and know that if they don't play well they will get beat.
Coach L, life is different in the ACC I'm sure, but i'm bet you still take time for yourself. What's the last movie you saw?
Jim Larranaga (10:46 AM)
My way of relieving stress is to go to the movies. I try to get there a couple times a month. But I have seen some good ones lately.
Coach Larranaga, who do you see as this year's biggest surprise on Miami?
Jim Larranaga (10:47 AM)
I think the thing that has been the biggest surprise is the number of injuries. We've had a number of guys go down in the preseason so hopefully we can get everyone healthy when the season rolls around and in Reggie's case hopefully when the conference season rolls around.
What team out of conference do you think has the best chance to win the National Championship?
Jim Larranaga (10:48 AM)
First of all, we really focus on developing a great non-conf schedule so we study them well in advance. Sometimes up to five years in advance. Rarely do we get a chance to watch many outside games because we are so busy with our next opponents.
Jim Larranaga (10:48 AM)
We're just very excited about this season. I hope all you Miami fans are excited for Nov. 11!
Buzzmaster (10:50 AM)
Tony Bennett is here!
Tom Roberts (Roanoke, VA)
For Coach Bennett: How do you address the huge expectations for UVa basketball this year with your team?
Tony Bennett (10:52 AM)
Once you start your practices and go into the season, you have to stay focused. There is real truth in being "of the moment" and paying attention to the day to day. You just can't look down the road or past your next opponent. I expect us to be a better team for sure but I don't know what that means for our record or our future but all of that will play out on it's own. We can acknowledge the expectations but we still have to go to work
Garrett (Richmond, VA)
Mr. Bennett, how do you expect to use K.T. Harrell this year? Will he see more action as a 2 or a 3?
Tony Bennett (10:53 AM)
I think K.T. has trimmed down some, not that he was heavy. We really leaned up and is moving quicker. He and Mike Scott both have great mobility. He's a complete guard that I really like. We'll continue to use him and his great mid-range game. He has really developed his ball handling and getting more consistent with this shots. You can see he is really comfortable out there.
Jamie (Washington, DC)
Coach Bennett, it seems theres already been a few minor injuries in practice early this year, anything that you are concerned about lingering? After last years injuries to Mike Scott and Will Sherrill, i'm sure you'd like to avoid that again.
Tony Bennett (10:54 AM)
Nothing major right now. Evans tweaked his knee but he is progressing nicely. As of right now, we are so far so good in terms of no serious injuries. Our guys have worked to get very strong and that will help them down the road.
Coach Bennett, how has Malcolm Brogdon looked at point guard so far in practice?
Tony Bennett (10:56 AM)
He has done a nice job. Very strong. So much to learn with that position so really everyone has to have PG and off-PG skills. They are going to face screens, have to guard, etc. There is a completeness factor that is there. Malcolm is a classic combo-guard and will just get more comfortable. He is phycially mature enough and he has the strength. Freshman sometimes can't handle the physicality of the game but he has that down already.
Patrick Schoonover (Charlottesville, VA)
I know some of the guys on the team have vowed not to cut their hair till the team reaches the NCAA tournament. Do you or any of the other coaches have any plans to join in?
Tony Bennett (10:57 AM)
I don't think my wife would be too appreciate of that. I'm not a stickler on hair or anything like that. I have no idea. That would be new to me. I have noticed that some guys hair is longer. I think they should cut it so they are more areodynamic!
Buzzmaster (10:58 AM)
Good answer coach! And thanks for the time! Next is Mark Turgeon from Maryland!
Buzzmaster (11:00 AM)
Thanks for everyone's patience with the schedule! The coaches are doing a ton of interviews so we're doing our best to keep everything on schedule! Coach Turgeon should be joining us shortly.
Buzzmaster (11:01 AM)
Coach Turgeon is here!
For the Turgeon Horse: How do you compare Maryland Madness (at a basketball school), to Maroon Madness (at a football school)?
Mark Turgeon (11:02 AM)
Coach Turge - Can we PLEASE get Maryland Pride basketball unis, akin to the football ones?
Mark Turgeon (11:03 AM)
As we speak today, not this season. Basketball uniforms are on a two-year cycle and this is year two. So maybe next season.
Coach Turgeon, is there any more word on the eligibility of Alex Len? Last I heard, it was still up in the air.
Mark Turgeon (11:03 AM)
No word yet. It is in their hands. They have everything they need. We hope to hear soon.
Hey coach! How tough was the decision to leave the Aggies?
Mark Turgeon (11:04 AM)
Well, it's always tough with three kids and a wife to move across country. I turned down a lot of jobs and left a great team behind. But Maryland is special. It was worth the risk. Getting used to the area has been great so far.
Coach Turgeon, what do you see as the biggest challenge you'll face in your first year?
Mark Turgeon (11:05 AM)
I think lack of depth is our biggest challenge. We have to stay healthy to have enough players to compete.
Buzzmaster (11:08 AM)
Thanks coach. Seth Greenberg is next!
Coach Greenberg,How are Dorenzo and JT looking coming off of injuries? Is there going to be any hangover effect for either one as the season starts?
Seth Greenberg (11:09 AM)
Lorenzo is in the best shape he has ever been in. He is completely back and bringing great energy to practice. JT has been coming along slower but he is getting his explosiveness back and close to turning the corner. Should be fine by the start of the season.
Coach Greenberg--What's your projection on playing time and/or starting for Barksdale to begin the season? Is he ready to go and learn on the fly, or does he need some adjustment?
Seth Greenberg (11:10 AM)
I'm not even thinking about starters. All our freshman will help us win games. He has a great skill set and knows how to finish around the basket. I expect him to contribute greatly.
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
What's your goal at Virginia Tech this year besides winning it all?
Seth Greenberg (11:11 AM)
I think if you play in the ACC you just hope to make the Tournament. You should be an elite team if you play in the ACC. Our goal is to make the tournament and advance but we have fallen short of late. That is our goal each and every year.
Coach, we love what you have done for VT basketball! What have you seen from the players now that they have had some practice days?
Seth Greenberg (11:13 AM)
It's been interesting the first five days. We've lost four guys to injury which is disappointing. It hasn't been a normal first give days but I really like the chemistry on the team. We have a great mixture of youth and experience. The upperclassmen have set a nice tone and what is acceptable and unacepptable for playing hard.
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
How tough is it to coach basketball at Virginia Tech, when a majority of people see the school as a football school?
Seth Greenberg (11:14 AM)
I think in the culture of college athletics today your best football schools also have good basketball teams. The culture of our game today is having a great overall sports program. If they are good it helps us and vice versa. We want to have the same consistency and toughness as the basketball team. It's a great asset.
Buzzmaster (11:15 AM)
Going to miss the NBA?
Seth Greenberg (11:17 AM)
I love the NBA. It's the best players in the world. As a coach, I watch NBA games for the special situations. Those coaches and players are amazing. I'm a fan. College basketball is my thing but I'm just an overall basketball fan.
Buzzmaster (11:17 AM)
Thanks coach! Our last coach of the day, Roy Williams, is up next!
Buzzmaster (11:17 AM)
Roy is here!
Hi Coach Williams. With only one senior starter whom do you expect to be the vocal leader of squad this year. It doesn't seem to be in Tylers' nature to be that guy.
Roy Williams (11:18 AM)
It's strange. We'll have more than one. Zeller and Watts are both seniors but Watts is more vocal. The PG position lends itself to being a leader as well. And Harrison Barnes can let their play dictate things.
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
Roy, your thoughts on being pretty much the chosen one to win it all this upcoming year?
Roy Williams (11:20 AM)
It's a good feeling. I'd rather be picked to win than to lose. We have expectations of course and this is my ninth season and we've been picked to be good lots of those years and followed through. 2009 we were the unanimous AP pick and we used that to help focus the team. We expect adversity and slipups but we still have to play all the way to the end of the year. Look at how many of the top seeds didn't make the Final Four last year.
Travis (Fort Lewis WA)
Roy, last year the biggest trouble was defending the 3 pt line especially in the Kentucky game. Is that something you've addressed and worked on?
Roy Williams (11:21 AM)
Yeah, we are addressing it because we didn't do a good job with it. We didn't shoot our 3's as well as we should have either. I'm building the foundation right now, the run game, the half court offense. Lots of things we are improving.
Bridget (Cincinnati, OH)
Coach Williams - You are a few days in...how much fun are you having? This team seems to have so much positive chemistry and appears to be a very smart group of young men.
Roy Williams (11:22 AM)
Yes, it's a really good group to be with. It's always fun. McDonald is probably out for the year so that has been tough to deal with, but the kids here all have great character and make it fun. The day I don't have fun I'll walk away. The stress and expectations take a toll but the kids make it all worthwhile.
Travis (Harrisburg, PA)
Coach, what is your thoughts about playing on the aircraft carrier this year against State?
Roy Williams (11:23 AM)
It's a pretty neat deal. I'm really excited. Who knows what the elements will be like but it will be the same for both teams. The attention on the team and all the military personnel .. I'm as excited as I can be.
Jerry Eastwood (Haslett, MI )
Roy with most of the team returning, how well is the chemsitry been developing during the off-season?
Roy Williams (11:24 AM)
The chemistry will be great. We had some adversity but ended on a good run. The guys knew what it took to do that and will use that knowledge moving forward this year. I'm really looking forward to seeing them grow.Five days into practice and it has been great. I'm really looking forward to this season and hope you all are as well.
Buzzmaster (11:25 AM)
Thanks coach! And thanks to everyone for your great questions! Sorry we couldn't get more time with each coach but they have a super jam-packed schedule today. Watch ESPN all day for interviews on SportsCenter and other shows.