ACC Preview: Georgia Tech’s Burning Question

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on October 29th, 2014

This team preview is part of the RTC ACC microsite’s preseason coverage. You will find a list with links to all the team previews on the ACC Microsite Preview Page, located here.

Can Brian Gregory survive another losing ACC season?

During the offseason, one of the favorite media activities is formulation of the preseason “Coaches on the Hot Seat” list. Going into this season, Georgia Tech’s Brian Gregory is the one ACC coach who seems to show up on all of those lists. On this list put out by Athlon Sports, it’s interesting to see that Gregory is joined in the fire pit with a few former ACC head coaches like Oliver Purnell and Mark Turgeon. So what kind of year will it take for Gregory to avoid joining that group of former ACC head coaches?

Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory lost out on one, maybe two important prospects recently. (Icon Sports Media)

Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory may not survive another losing ACC season. (Icon Sports Media)

While no two situations are exactly the same, the best way to examine this issue is to review recent ACC coaches who were in similar circumstances going into their fourth year at the helm of their particular school. By similar circumstance we mean a coach who has a losing record in ACC games in each of his first three years on the job. Below we show four coaches who entered their fourth year at the helm under those conditions.

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ACC M5: 01.14.14 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on January 14th, 2014

morning5_ACC

  1. Charlotte Observer: What’s plaguing Duke, North Carolina and NC State? The fine beat writers and sports columnists of the Charlotte Observer (and effectively the Raleigh News & Observer) took a shot at pinpointing the issue. What is glaringly obvious is that Duke has the highest ceiling and has been a disappointment to start conference play. Coach K going with hockey-style line changes against Virginia worked like a charm for most of the game, but the Cavaliers’ late run still points to overarching issues. North Carolina has talent, but it’s increasingly clear that the pieces just might not fit correctly there without PJ Hairston. NC State is rebuilding with (unsurprisingly) mixed results. Also a fun fact from Stephen Schramm: “The last time there was an AP basketball poll without Duke and North Carolina was December 28, 1982.”
  2. Cardiac Hill: Pittsburgh got some horrible news this week as Durand Johnson tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. Johnson was an important offensive option from the bench, as he’s one of the Panthers’ best three-point and free throw shooters. Losing him will likely mean more minutes for Jamel Artis and maybe Chris Jones. I’d certainly like to see Jones get a little more run because he’s been a very efficient scorer in his limited minutes.
  3. Macon Telegraph: Speaking of Pittsburgh, the Panthers travel to Atlanta today to give Georgia Tech its second chance in as many tries to knock off a new member of the conference. Pitt is a better team than Georgia Tech, but I think the Yellow Jackets have a shot if the can cobble together a decent offensive performance. The key will be locking down Lamar Patterson and the paint, but the big question is whether Chris Bolden has finally found his shot or whether the game against Notre Dame was an aberration.
  4. Baltimore Sun: Jonathan Graham has been a very pleasant surprise for Mark Turgeon this season, although his playing time is at least partially due to the less pleasant surprise that has been Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell’s collective season. Graham is currently the sparkplug in the post for Maryland. Despite a size disadvantage, he’s been effective and he also brings a toughness that has been missing on the Terrapins’ front line.
  5. Syracuse Post-Standard: Syracuse is a big draw this season. I wouldn’t go as far to say the Orange are “like the Miami Heat or the Boston Red Sox,” but they’re certainly one of the hotter tickets in most places. That said, the Orange played their first road game at Virginia Tech in front of a half-filled stadium. But I’ll offer a caveat to these numbers: This is the first year ACC fans have had a chance to see Syracuse. Also, better teams sell out faster and more often.

EXTRA: PJ Hairston is slated to join the Texas Legends in the NBA’s D-League.

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ACC M5: 11.05.13 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on November 5th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. From the Rumble Seat: Here’s a solid look at Georgia Tech‘s less-publicized backcourt. The Yellow Jackets are known for their strong front line, but the backcourt should get better thanks to the transfer of Trae Golden onto the squad. The backcourt questions hinge on whether Chris Bolden can live up to his big performances last year. His overall stats are pretty hideous, but Bolden torched Duke and Miami for big games. If he can tap into that potential, Brian Gregory’s team may be a lot better than many expect.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Considering Duke‘s recent success, it’s pretty surprising the Blue Devils haven’t won the ACC regular season outright since 2006 (and haven’t even shared the title since 2010). To be fair, the Blue Devils only finished worse than second once (2007), and injuries to starters in 2011 (Kyrie Irving) and 2013 (Ryan Kelly) hurt the team’s chances. But Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston are dangerously close to becoming the first four-year players under Mike Krzyzewski to not win the regular season since 1990.
  3. Washington Post: In the not-shocking headline of the day, Virginia will continue to play Tony Bennett‘s pack-line defense this season. The Cavaliers bring back a lot of talent from last season, which is a new condition for Bennett. This season will actually be very telling in my eyes. If Bennett’s team can make the leap to a top-20 or higher team, all my reservations about his low-tempo system will go on the back burner (mostly, that keeping the score low allows lesser opponents to hang in longer than they should and increases the chance for random events to occur).
  4. Winston-Salem Journal: North Carolina has a ton of talent this season, but plenty of questions to go along with it. The question that no one can answer (at least until they see top competition) is how the hodgepodge frontcourt will fare, or who will wind up playing five this season for the Tar Heels. If North Carolina is going to be the top 10 team that many analysts project, someone has to fill that void at center. Roy Williams needs a competent big man for his secondary break to be at its peak. If one of the bigs doesn’t step up, North Carolina could face a relatively disappointing season this year.
  5. Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician: If you’re looking for very circumstantial evidence that suggests Syracuse has a good chance at getting back to the Final Four this year, this post is for you. The one buzzkill to note is that while about one team a year is a repeat in the national semifinals, that means three others are not. Regardless the (peripherally related) stats make for a good short read.
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ACC Summer Recess: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by KCarpenter on July 12th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Georgia Tech.

Where They Stand Now

Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian Gregory Has His Work Cut Out In Atlanta

Last season was a season of transition for Georgia Tech. After the firing of longtime coach Paul Hewitt, Brian Gregory took over a program that had spent the last few years slowly slumping to the bottom of the ACC. As the Yellow Jackets prepared a new home court, his team was left without a true home, forced to make use of Phillips Arena along with a few other venues. A new coach, no home court,  and a legitimate talent deficit made it no surprise that Georgia Tech faltered. In a season when their best moments come in December and January, Georgia Tech didn’t have a lot to celebrate as conference play went on. Still, the future seems promising for Georgia Tech: McCammish Pavillion is finally set to open and Gregory will better know what to expect from his team in the second year.

Who’s Leaving?

The nice part about having a young team is that you don’t have to worry about losing a lot of players to graduation. The Yellow Jackets will lose Pierre Jordan and Nick Foreman, a pair of back-up guards who each averaged about 10 minutes a game in the past season, but that’s the only toll from graduation. Sophomore big man Nate Hicks has transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University. Hicks didn’t get a lot of playing time in Atlanta, averaging a paltry 7.7 minutes per game. The biggest departure is the dismissal of Glen Rice, Jr., from the team. The troubled swingman was benched at the end of his freshman season by Paul Hewitt and served a pair of suspensions last season under Gregory. He was finally dismissed from the team after a run-in with the law that featured Rice driving under the influence while one of his passengers discharged a gun.  Rice was the leading scorer and rebounder for Georgia Tech, but his off-the-court troubles certainly seem serious enough to make his departure seem like the best option for Rice and the team.

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Who’s Got Next? Poythress Picks, Carter Commits and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on November 17th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Poythress Picks Kentucky, UK Still Able To Nab Number One Recruiting Class

Poythress Gave UK Fans Hope To Have the Best Recruiting Class In the Country... Again (Daryl Paunil/NRS)

Big Blue Nation Has Reason To Rejoice. Don’t lie Kentucky fans, you were worried about not getting the number one recruiting class for the fourth straight year. You tweeted about it, you posted on message boards about it, you wrote on Facebook about it. But when Class of 2012 small forward Alex Poythress decided to join Big Blue Nation last Thursday, head coach John Calipari kept his 2012 class in the running to be rated as the top collection of talent in the country. The 6’7″, 220-pound wing joins shooting guard Archie Goodwin and center Willie Cauley as Coach Cal’s commitments so far with top senior targets small forward Shabazz Muhammad and power forwards Anthony Bennett and Jarnell Stokes still out there. Poythress had a terrific summer and showed the ability to consistently get to the bucket, finish in traffic and an improved perimeter shot. At times, he’s simply unstoppable when he attacks the rim and he’s able to impact the game in a number of ways whether it’s defense, rebounding or running the floor. He fits in well with Calipari’s system and will thrive with Goodwin and Cauley running the floor with him. At this point, the Wildcats have the second-best recruiting class in the country only behind Arizona’s ridiculous haul of talent but with another commitment or two they could reign supreme for the fourth straight year.

What They’re Saying:

  • Senior standout Robert Upshaw‘s mother, Ceylon Sherman, on her son choosing Kansas State: “It was a close run, he had a lot of great schools, but when it came down to it, him and all of us family just all had Kansas State. For Robert, it was about how much he liked the guys out there. He had chemistry with them.”

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