Josh Pastner’s postgame comments veer into Roberto Clemente, Geoff Collins

Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner addresses media during preseason press conference Monday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Atlanta.
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Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner addresses media during preseason press conference Monday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Atlanta.

After his team’s win over Lamar on Monday night at McCamish Pavilion, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner had plenty to say to media. Much of it even had to do with the game.

Pastner’s comments took three unlikely detours as he broke down the Yellow Jackets’ 75-66 win over the Cardinals – Roberto Clemente, air travel and football coach Geoff Collins.

He brought up Clemente when a question about Tech guard Michael Devoe was asked by a media member wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates cap. Noticing the cap, Pastner said that one of his favorite baseball players was Clemente, the legendary Pirates right fielder who died in 1972 in a plane crash at the age of 38.

“That’s why those small planes are so dangerous,” Pastner said. “You’ve just got to be so careful. But I love Roberto Clemente. What an unbelievable baseball player. Died way too young. God rest his soul.”

Pastner then began speaking about Devoe, though the topic of air safety apparently was still on his mind.

“He was good, just, overall,” Pastner said of Devoe. “That’s why I always say, when you take off, whenever you go on a trip, there’s two things I say: As long as you take off and land safely, nothing else matters. Really, that’s the most important thing on the airlines.”

He noted that he is a frequent flyer, and as such often hears people’s complaints about delays.

“I always say, ‘Hey, look. Look,’” Pastner said “It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than being in the air wishing you were on the ground. And so I tell people, ‘Let’s just be grateful. The pilot and the FAA cares enough that if there’s a switch on that we don’t need to hurry.’ Everything’s about safety. So anyway, that was my two cents on that.”

He then returned to his answer about Devoe.

Later on, when he was asked a question about the team’s energy level, he took the opportunity to poke fun at media members who will not be covering his team’s game against Georgia on Friday in order to travel to the Tech football team’s game at Notre Dame on Saturday. And, now, talking about football, he decided to delve further.

“And I do want to say this, and I’ll answer your question,” said Pastner, resting his left elbow on the table with his cheek resting on his fist. “More in football than in basketball, things just take time. I think you see coach Collins’ group, they’re getting better every day, every game.”

He then went on to tout the progress that he sees the football team making progress.

“I’ve been telling coach Collins, ‘Man, just stay the course,’” Pastner said. “Year 4, Year 5, they’re competing for ACC championships. They’re good. They’re just playing a lot of young guys, and in football, it’s different than basketball because of the size of stuff.”

He went on to predict that the team will be competing for ACC Coastal Division titles by Collins’ fourth and fifth seasons.

“You can just see the progression with their team,” Pastner said. “There’s no denying that.”

He then jumped back on track and finished his answer about his team’s energy level.

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