ACC Basketball Media Conference Transcript: Steve Donahue On Georgia Tech

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston College coach talks improvement, Georgia Tech and Olivier Hanlan.

COACH DONAHUE: We are coming off a good stretch where we have won three straight and I just think we played very good basketball now, over the last ten I think we are 6‑4, road losses at Duke, North Carolina, Miami and three‑point loss to Florida State. Very happy with the way we are playing.

Obviously the Georgia Tech game, real hard‑fought game. They probably out‑played us for most of the game and we figured out a way. So obviously a huge challenge coming back to play them and we'll work hard to get ready for them.

Q. What are the things that have fallen into place for you here at the end of the season that enabled you to pull out some wins and play some really good basketball?

COACH DONAHUE: Well, I think our guard play has been very good most of the year. I think the difference in the later ACC games is that Joe and Olivier have really figured out how to manage a game at the end of the game, fake making sure that we guarded the ball, and I think they both have had outstanding seasons, it's amazing how many minutes they have played at this level for such young kids and to help us go on a pretty good run over the last ten. It's been very impressive.

The other part is I think a guy like Eddie Odio has emerged as another guy that we can really count on. Wasn't playing earlier in the year at all, even up until the ACC games, he didn't play much. His addition, his shot blocking, easy buckets that we weren't getting; he's just another guy in the rotation that I think has made us a better basketball team, as well.

Q. Brian Gregory was pointing out that it's an oddity in that your two teams didn't see each other until the last game and now five days later you see each other again. Does playing a team that quickly, second time, good, bad?

COACH DONAHUE: You know, I don't think there's really much you can do about it, and it is odd. You know, in the Ivy League, every year I played Columbia back‑to‑back. And I was always‑‑ you know, it wasn't till January, but you saw them back‑to‑back and in that league, with no conference tournament, you started out that game; it was life or death.

So I think that gives me a pretty good feel that this game will probably be nothing like the last game, because that's usually what happens. I think both of us are disappointed in how we guarded and we are both going to try to do a better job of what we do.

But I think that as I said, I've been through this enough, it's odd, but it doesn't feel that odd to me; to be honest with you, my first year here, we played Wake first game of the year and we played them again in the conference tournament and that was the only time we played them that year.

Q. Can you sum up a little bit the progress you've seen this year, you've gone from four conference wins to seven conference wins, I know there are a couple more games but that's still a pretty significant improvement, and obviously with the close games it could have been more. Can you address how much progress you've seen and how comfortable you are with the direction you're heading?

COACH DONAHUE: I think at times this year, obviously earlier in the year, we are still trying to find ourselves. My experience over the years, and I said this last year, I think he gave the kid 50 games into his college career ‑‑ and I think if you're playing a lot, you start to see a maturity level. It's about when these guys, the sophomore class decided, to really like in.

Obviously the additional of Joe and Olivier going through those ups and downs early, I think they are very good players and they in turn have the advantage of being with a couple older guys, all sophomores, and we essentially had eight scholarship players, all freshmen and sophomore, seven of them play and I think they have all grown together, as I said, the 50‑game mark, they have been through so much good and bad.

But they have played a lot. They are experienced players and I think they just have an ability to relax now and play confidently that they didn't have last year and the beginning of this year. I still think it was a work‑in‑progress.

But I've been very pleased with our overall play continually coming out ready to go. I think if you look at it statistically, we are basically the middle of the pack doing everything and that's a dramatic improvement over last year, and the exciting part is that most of these guys, half their careers left and three quarters of their careers left, and I know it will continue to develop and work hard and improve.

Q. The all‑ACC stuff is coming out, Rookie of the Year, he's (Hanlan) definitely a candidate for that, can you address the freshman year he's had?

COACH DONAHUE: You know, I think it's been incredible. And I don't really get caught up in these things. I don't think I've ever talked publically about any of my players and what they deserve. But it's hard to imagine, he's sixth in the league in scoring, tenth in field goal percentage, for a freshman guard. Obviously he's been our leader and catalyst in our improvement.

Another stat that's amazing, he's gotten to the line the third amount of times in this league, in league play, only behind Plumlee, senior; Erick Green, senior. The stuff he's done‑‑ and this is not against any other freshman; I can't imagine anybody having a better year and I think nationally there can't be too much freshmen that have had the impact that he's had in this league and I think he's one of the better players in the league, as well.

Honestly, he's achieved way more than I ever could imagine this early in his career. I say this to recruits, I was saying this last night, they were asking me about him; the thing that I don't know about you guys is‑‑ in terms of, are you really going to work hard. Like everyone says they work hard; are they going to come here, in college, and have to be great. And that's one thing that he did from day one.

The other thing is, are you coachable. Are you willing to hear criticism and willing to work on it, in a manner that you're going to get better because you're coachable. And that kid is a sponge. He just wants every information that you can have, and the development is a credit to him because of those two things.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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