Atlantic Coast Conference Operation Basketball

Tuesday October 8, 2019

Josh Pastner

Michael Devoe

James Banks III

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Q. Coach, this is for you. Just what you can say about the additions of the transfers that you have coming in, just what they do for this team, what they build for the depth and the importance of the transfers that you brought in?
JOSH PASTNER: Yeah, no, I have felt for us when I got the job that we needed to -- in order for us to have success, we wanted to get old and then eventually stay old. That's been important to us. And so we've been able to do that through recruiting and getting high school kids. A young man like Michael Devoe, and then to grow with him, and then on the other hand also to get transfers from other four-year institutions.

And so a guy like James Banks or Jordan Usher, who will really help us, he'll be eligible at mid-year, he's a transfer from USC, and then Bubba Parham, a transfer, he's eligible right now. We have Shembari Phillips, who's a fifth-year senior, a transfer.

So I really believe in order for us to have the success that we need to have, we need to get older, and this year's team, we're older. We have great experience, and that's both from guys growing within the program and then getting guys transfers who have already been in college. So it's part of our formula for what we're trying to do to have success.

Q. This is a question for James and for Coach. James, you led the league in blocked shots last year, and you're one of the top returning rebounders. What makes you such a tough customer inside? Coach, Georgia Tech was very near the top in three-point defense. What does James's toughness inside and your ability to defend the three, what do those factors do to make Tech so difficult to play really?
JAMES BANKS III: To answer the question about being one of the best rebounders coming back, one of the best shot blockers returning, I'd just like to say that that was last year, so I have to build on that. Teams from the ACC have film on that. They know what I did well last year, and they probably have a way to stop it.

So this summer I've just been working hard, getting stronger, getting more athletic, working on my game, just so this year I can be just as effective if not more effective on defense and rebounding.

JOSH PASTNER: And in our three years here, we've been very, very good defensively. If you look at our numbers, our first and third year we've been nearing an elite defensive team.

Second year I felt we were a good defensive team, but we've hung our hat on the defensive end. Three straight years we've had a First-Team All-Defensive guy, and two of the three years, not all three years, we've led the ACC in shot blocking. We've had Ben Lammers both years, and now James Banks.

Part of it's our philosophy defensively and what we do and what we recruit to and how we play, but that's a big part of who we are and our identity is what we do on the defensive end.

Q. For James and Michael, what you can both say about how you would describe this year's team? And then secondly, knowing that there is no postseason no matter what, just how you've kind of navigated through that?
MICHAEL DEVOE: I would say that our team is really getting old, like Coach was saying. We have a lot of depth. We have a lot of guys that are experienced and ready to go, and our main objective this year is just winning games. We'll leave all that other stuff to the media and the administration, and our main objective is just to win games, so that's our main thing.

JAMES BANKS III: Honestly, I'm excited about this year's team. If you look at it on paper, a lot of our production is returning from last year, and just being in the gym with these guys, these guys have been working hard all summer, all spring, all fall, and everybody has really improved their games offensively and defensively. Everybody is getting stronger, everybody is getting faster, and I think that comes along with getting older.

I think we'll be able to surprise a lot of people this year. Our transfers are really exciting. We have him, we have Bubba, who's dangerous anywhere from three-quarter court. We've got Jordan Usher, who puts his head on the him. He's really a violent attacker. I think we'll surprise a lot of people this year. People don't expect much from GT, but I think we'll win a lot of games.

And speaking on the sanctions and things of that nature, we'll just let the administration handle that. Our job as a player, my job is not to coach, my job is not to worry about the postseason, my job is to go out there every day and produce at a high level so we can win games, and my philosophy is winning cures all.

Q. Coach, stay on the whole getting older scenario. A lot of people think about getting older in terms of play on the floor. What's the value of being older off the floor on campus, on road trips? Where is that maturity value?
JOSH PASTNER: Yeah, again, just being older and more experienced, they've gone through -- one, they know the system; two, they know kind of the standards of what we do and what we want and how do we want to achieve the bottom line of success.

So again, that's just part of our vision and our plan, was to -- when we took over, is we've got to get to a point where we're older and then we stay old, and we've got to do that through recruiting high school kids and developing them and getting them better and then getting four-year transfers and being able to continue to develop them so we keep in that flow of just trying to be as old as we can year in, year out.

Q. Coach, we have kind of a clash of tempos in this league. We have teams like Duke and Carolina, NC State, which like games in the 80s, teams like Notre Dame and Virginia, more in the 60s. I'm thinking you guys are somewhere in the middle. Defensively how do you slow down a Duke as you did very successfully for part of the game last year?
JOSH PASTNER: Yeah, well, one is transition defense is really important to us, being able to get back and build a wall. We talk about shrinking the floor, and for the offensive player that has the ball, they have to see bodies. They've got to see a crowded picture in front of them so they don't have the gaps to be able to penetrate.

But first order of business is getting back in transition defense, building a wall, keeping it compact.

You know, defensive fortitude is all about just having multiple efforts, being a team that you are going to be a team that's going to make multiple effort plays in each possession, and that's the best defensive teams do that.

For the most part we were pretty good on that last year when we would make two or three efforts in the possession to allow us to be able to have a good defensive standard, a good defensive possession during that time period.

Q. Michael, you shot nearly 40 percent from the three-point arc last year while the rest of the team shot 30 percent. As a leader and coming back as a sophomore, how do you encourage your teammates to get that percentage a little bit higher?
MICHAEL DEVOE: I would just say our work. Our work ethic, from throughout the summertime, springtime, and going into fall is -- that's what Coach emphasizes in practice a lot is our shooting. I think this year we've been working on it really hard, and we've been locked in on that, and I think it's going to be a huge thing for us this year, and a lot of guys are shooting the ball really well in practice right now. I feel as if we're going to be really good at shooting the ball this year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #2 by #206 at 2019-10-08 15:18:00 GMT

ASAP sports

tech 129