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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ACC Weekly Five: 07.11.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on July 11th, 2012

  1. ESPN: Things aren’t getting any easier in Atlanta. Georgia Tech has already lost an incoming player to injury for the coming season. Corey Heyward, a local standout who recently spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy, suffered an ACL tear in his left knee that will likely keep him out of action for the 2012-13 season. Though Heyward expects to have surgery in the coming weeks, the standard recovery period for an ACL injury can be as long as a year – it’s doubtful that Tech will take a chance and bring him back too early.
  2. News & Observer: Continuing to win the prize for “best summer job,” coach Mike Krzyzewski has gone to Las Vegas to coach Team USA and prepare his ridiculously talented incarnation for the Olympic games in London. The Duke coach’s adaptable approach seems to be well-suited for a team that has lost many of the stars from the 2008 gold medalist from the Olympic Games. Whether drawn from his own philosophy or inspired by the positional revolution underway in the NBA, Coach K seems ready to put his best players on the court, regardless of position, and let the rest of the world worry about how to defend that.
  3. Fayetteville Observer: In jumping to quick conclusions months before any of the teams even start practicing, Bret Strelow may win the week’s big prize. Of course, barring any big surprises, he’s probably right on the money. Strelow predicts a three-team race for the top of the ACC, with traditional powers Duke and North Carolina trying to fend off an upstart North Carolina State team that is bringing in highest-ranked freshman class in the conference. Of course, the sad part about this prediction is that it’s not particularly predicated on the strength of any of these three teams, but rather on the weakness of the rest of the conference. As it stands, many perennial contenders such as Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Maryland have fallen on hard times with no easy fix or game-changing recruits on the horizon. Until this changes, it seems like a lot of the hoops power in the conference will be centered almost exclusively on a very small triangle in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.
  4. News & Record: Let’s keep our eyes on the future and keep our eyes on the spring of 2013. Who will be on next years All-Freshman Team? Well, the News & Record has you covered. Looking at several years’ worth of high school scouting data and past All-Freshmen Teams, the Greensboro paper puts forth a few predictions with the caveat that this is a very silly exercise. On paper, picking Rodney Purvis, Rasheed Sulaimon,  and Robert Carter to have big years seems like a fairly safe prediction. I’m a little more intrigued by the presence of Maryland’s incoming big man, Charles Mitchell. By all accounts, Mitchell is a fine player, but he might only be the third best freshman center for Maryland next season, behind Shaquille Cleare (a top 50 player while Mitchell doesn’t crack the top 100) and potentially Damonte Dodd. Daring choices are to be applauded, however, and I’m anxious to see how Mitchell plays in the coming year.
  5. CBS Sports: You know what our problem is? Not looking far enough ahead into the future. The 2012-13 season will surely be interesting, but only thinking about that seems a little short-sighted, no? Of course. So logically, let’s turn our eyes to the ranked recruiting class of 2013-14. A quick look at the top 10 has North Carolina on top of the whole nation, largely by virtue of already two players already committed to play when most players that age have yet to make a firm decision. Still, I suppose this is a good sign for the (admittedly distant) future of the conference.
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Morning Five: 07.03.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 3rd, 2012

  1. Georgia Tech incoming freshman Corey Heyward will likely miss the entire 2012-13 season because of a torn ACL injury that he suffered in a pickup game late last week. The six-foot guard who spent a postgraduate year at Hargraves Military Academy was expected to contribute immediately as a backup for starting point guard Mfon Udofia, but short of a miraculously quick recovery between now and the new year, Brian Gregory will have to wait on Heyward’s first minutes in a Yellow Jacket uniform. Gregory has an experienced group of starters returning next season from a 4-12 last-place ACC finisher, but it remains to be seen whether all that returning talent will equate to wins.
  2. A total of 10 schools lost lottery picks in last week’s NBA Draft, with Connecticut, Kentucky and North Carolina combining for seven, equivalent to half of the lottery selections. Jason King takes a look at how each team plans on replacing the lost talent, ultimately concluding that most of the programs that put players in this year’s lottery will just move on to its next generation of stars. A couple of programs are notable exceptions, though — Weber State’s Damian Lillard was a once-in-a-lifetime type of player for the Wildcats, while Illinois’ Meyers Leonard‘s ascent up the draft boards this year was a bit flukish and, as such, it will take John Groce some time to get his program turned around in Champaign.
  3. We noted in a piece yesterday that a number of prominent seniors were left at the draft altar last week, thanking them for four years of memories and wishing them the best of luck in pursuing their professional dreams wherever they end up. Matt Norlander took us two steps further with his article Monday dissecting the commonly held perception that recognizable and talented seniors no longer exist in college basketball. His back-of-the-envelope analysis of the number of seniors drafted in the one-and-done era shows that roughly a third of the draft is populated by the likes of Festus Ezeli, Tyler Zeller, Damian Lillard, Draymond Green, and others each year, and it is many of these folks who drive the sport forward just as much or perhaps even more so than the much considerably smaller one-and-done percentage that gets so much of the annual hype. Interesting piece — read it and see what you think.
  4. It’s a light news week, so what the hell… ESPN’s college basketball and football princess, Erin Andrews, has left the network and will move on to Fox Sports as a college football, MLB and NFL reporter. For a period in the middle part of the last decade, Andrews’ basketball broadcasts were very nearly must-see TV for males under the age of ever 50. As her personal brand grew, her hoops appearances became increasingly fewer but it appears that in her new gig at Fox she’ll no longer have access to the hardwood where she earned so much of her cred. We certainly want to wish her nothing but the best as she moves on to the network featuring none other than Joe Buck and Terry Bradshaw.
  5. If you’re not cheatin’, you’re not tryin’ — so goes the old adage about life in the SEC. Charles Barkley minces no words about his stance on the issue of paying amateurs to attend certain schools (ahem, Auburn) with this hilarious clip from a celebrity softball game where he describes a teenage Dirk Nowitzki destroying Team USA in a 1997 exhibition game. The choicest series of quotes went like this: “So I call Nike and I said, ‘find out about this kid and tell him I’ll give him anything he wants to go to Auburn. Just tell him, anything he wants, we’ll get it done.’ […] “In the SEC, dude, we make sure you’re well taken care of.” Barkley went on to say that an alleged payment of $200,000 for Cam Newton seemed like a pretty good deal, considering that he led the Tigers to a national championship in his only season on the Plains. When is the Chuckster running for governor again?

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