Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner directs his team against Cal State Bakersfield during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the NIT Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Josh Pastner on Georgia Tech’s recruiting and plans to improve

Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner sat down with the AJC for an interview last week to go over the past season his plans for the offseason and recruiting and his thoughts about the 2017-18 season. The initial post was published Monday , but additional parts of the interview will run throughout the rest of the week.

Q: (Following up on a question about how Pastner asked his staff for thoughts on how the tean can improve) Were there particular themes in the responses?

A: Everyone has different thoughts and ideas and suggestions and I told the staff ahead of time, I said, ‘Listen, I would like each guy and this includes the (grad assistants), each guy to send me their thoughts, ideas, suggestions, things that you liked, you didn’t like.’ However, I might not take any of it or use any of it. Nothing personal. I just wanted to get everyone’s thoughts from a different point of view so we can continue to move the needle.

And I think it’s smart to do that, to get other people’s views who are seeing it from their lens on what can we do to be better. That’s all part of self-awareness and the ability to try to continue to move the needle in our program. What I would tell you is and I told this to our staff as well, too, and you looked at the TCU game, we’re so far from being out of the woods in this rebuild job, and I’m not just saying that.

People have to remember — this is still a major rebuild and, yeah, we had a good season. We overachieved, but we are so far from being out of the woods, it’s unbelievable. We have a long way to go and it was evidenced by what happened in the TCU game. Those are the type of teams that you have to beat if you want to play in the NCAA Tournament.

And so for us to be able to do that, we’ve got to get individuals better on our current roster, but our recruiting, we’ve got to be near perfect in our evaluations, and it’s got to be multiple recruiting classes. It’s just the facts of it. And it’s not just going to be who we sign in ’17. It’s going to be who we sign in ’18 and who we sign in ’19 to try to get the program moving in the right direction.

On recruiting

Q: It’s kind of a fluid thing because there’s kids I’m sure you want, but you don’t know you’ll get. I guess you have to be ready to act and move on to the next?

A: There’s three things I look at — are they good enough, how are they academically and are they gettable? If a kid’s not good enough, but we can get him, forget him. If he’s sood enough and he’s a horrible student, forget it. If he’s good enough and he can handle the Georgia Tech academics, then it becomes (a matter of whether he is) gettable — can we get him?

Now, we don’t have time to be wasting time we don’t have time to be wasting visits. So that’s what we have to look at it. We have to identify who’s good enough, who can handle it academically and then from there, out of that core group, O.K., these seven guys can fit those two boxes. Now the third box is, can we get him? If we’re one of 15 schools, that doesn’t do us any good. We need to zero in on who we can get that’s good enough and that can handle the load academically.

Q: Will most kids sign Wednesday (the first day of the signing period)?

A: It will vary. Like, grad transfers don’t sign (early). High school kids sign, but they have a whole month, it’s like a month and a half for that signing period, so it’s not just like a week. It could go (deep) into April.

Q: What are the chances you’ll sign an international player?

A: We’re recruiting internationally. I don’t know if we’ll sign any. Some of the kids that we’ve recruited internationally in the fall have signed elsewhere. Two kids that we recruited hard went elsewhere.

Q: I’m guessing you’re already hearing about grad transfers.

A: Here’s a list of grad transfers (Pastner holds up two documents). Already on it.

These are all just transfers. Like this one thing is 18 pages, this one’s 22 pages of just names of transfers, which includes grad transfers. But there’s tons of grad transfers. We’ve got to get the right ones.