Kennedy Meeks Needs the Majority Of Minutes for UNC Down Low

Posted by Lathan Wells on January 31st, 2014

Even with all the uncertainty swirling around the North Carolina roster through the first half of the season, the consensus among most was that interior depth would not be a problem. And sure enough, Williams has shown that he will play his surplus of big bodies in nearly every game. Each Tar Heel post player has a unique skill set that lends itself to different moments and match-ups, but the center position has been an area that UNC has not been able to count on for consistent production. Recent ACC wins against Boston College, Clemson and Georgia Tech have indicated, perhaps, that this may be a concern of the past.

More minutes has meant more production from Kennedy Meeks and North Carolina. (USA TODAY Sports)

More minutes has meant more production from Kennedy Meeks and North Carolina. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

One reason for the up-and-down production over the course of the year can be tied to the fact that the individual manning the post at the opening tip-off has not gotten starter’s minutes. Sophomore Joel James started the first 10 games of the year before getting injured versus Texas, and he’s started two games since, averaging just shy of 11 minutes per game. James started all three games against Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky, and yet played fewer minutes than Kennedy Meeks versus the Cardinals (11 minutes to 24) and Spartans (16 to 18), and fewer than both Brice Johnson and Meeks in the victory over Kentucky (13 minutes compared to Johnson’s 24 and Meeks’ 19). Surely Williams saw something in James to name him the starter for those contests, but if he was going to play so sparingly, why not let someone else man the post to get in an early rhythm?

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Duke’s New Starting Lineup Pays Dividends

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on January 8th, 2014

Tuesday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Mike Krzyzewski gave another chance to a starting lineup that had started four consecutive games back in November. Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon replaced Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton, playing well enough to earn a combined 64 minutes in Duke’s 79-57 win over Georgia Tech. After an evenly played first half, Rodney Hood’s second straight 27-point game and the Blue Devils’ energy level rolled past a Yellow Jackets team trying to adjust to playing without Robert Carter, Jr., in the wake of his meniscus injury.

Rodney Hood Scores 27 Again As Duke Beats Georgia Tech (photo: www.goduke.com)

Rodney Hood Scores 27 Again As Duke Beats Georgia Tech
(photo: www.goduke.com)

The last Duke game featuring sophomores Jefferson and Sulaimon as starters turned out to be the worst defensive Duke performance in at least a dozen years, a narrow 91-90 home win over Vermont in the sixth game of the season. After that contest, in an effort to establish a tougher defensive identity, Mike Krzyzewski inserted seniors Hairston and Thornton into the starting lineup. The Blue Devils made measurable progress defensively after the change, but for Duke to reach its full potential as a team this season, the more talented sophomores will need to be on the court more than the solid but offensively limited role players.

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Three Thoughts from Vanderbilt’s Win over Georgia Tech

Posted by David Changas on December 21st, 2013

David Changas is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Saturday’s Vanderbilt-Georgia Tech game in Nashville.

Vanderbilt moved to 7-3 on Saturday with a 76-63 home win over struggling Georgia Tech. The loss dropped the Yellow Jackets to 8-4. Here are three thoughts from courtside.

Kevin Stallings Got a Solid Win over an ACC Team Today (AP/Wade Payne)

Kevin Stallings Got a Solid Win over an ACC Team Today (AP/Wade Payne)

  1. A game of runs.  Georgia Tech was clearly in control, leading 31-17 with 6:02 left in the first half. The Yellow Jackets had taken the less-than-capacity crowd out of the game and looked to be poised to run away with it. From that point, however, Vanderbilt scored 39 of the next 49 points over a span of 16:37, and it was the Commodores who won this one going away.”I thought the key to the game was the last seven minutes of the first half,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “When you get down [big] and you’re coming off two games in a row where you hadn’t played well, things can go a lot of different ways.” Given Georgia Tech’s balance and experience, and Vanderbilt’s lack thereof, it was a surprising turnaround. After November losses to Dayton, Ole Miss, and St. John’s, the Yellow Jackets had built some momentum with three straight wins, but could not build on it in their first of four straight road contests. Fifth-year senior center Daniel Miller scored 11 points in the game’s first 10 minutes and appeared to ready for a big night, but finished with only 16 points and essentially was a non-factor the rest of the way. Georgia Tech’s failure to take advantage of Vanderbilt’s relatively thin interior – the Commodores recently lost starting center Josh Henderson for the season – was surprising, especially given its early success. Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory was disappointed in Miller’s supporting cast of Robert Carter and Kammeon Holsey. “Daniel was tremendous. We need to get some other guys to step up.” Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Team Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by Chris Kehoe on October 31st, 2013

Head coach Brian Gregory has a young team on the upswing in this year’s ACC. However, this Georgia Tech team is still too inexperienced and without enough depth to move far from the lower third of the league. The program has had its fair share of star power over the last few years, with Derrick Favors, Iman Shumpert  and Gani Lawal making the jump to the NBA. Unfortunately Tech has not quite been up to its usual standards as of late, a far cry from the 2003-04 powerhouse squad that romped its way to the national title game. Last season the Yellow Jackets were one game above .500 overall and went a relatively dismal 6-12 in conference play. They lost two starters at the guard position to graduation, but will likely be poised to be better this season thanks to the development of their duo of star freshmen and inclusion of seasoned transfer Trae Golden. Losing senior stalwart Mfon Udofia will not be easy, but he never quite played up to his high school scouting reports as a top-35 recruit and a top-10 point guard. Golden, a transfer from Tennessee, should be more than capable filling in for Udofia at the position.

Georgia Tech Preview

Georgia Tech began last season in ACC play with an 0-5 start, struggling in shooting the basketball both from two-point range and the line, finishing last in the ACC in both. This year’s team will revolve around how effectively their four best players perform. Sophomores Robert Carter, Jr. and Marcus Georges-Hunt will likely be the focal points, with Golden feeding them the ball early and often. Georges-Hunt is a slashing wing who is adept at finishing at the rim and not turning the ball over. The team’s leading scorer as a freshman, expect big strides from him this season. Carter Jr., on the other hand, is an interior bruiser with a soft touch who averaged close to a double-double and will only continue to grow in his second season. Matched inside with senior center Daniel Miller, Gregory will have one of the ACC’s more versatile and tough interior combinations. In terms of newcomers, none of the freshmen are expected to start this season, but highlighted arrivals  include 6’8” forward Quinton Stephens and New Hampton prep school product Travis Jorgenson. Off the bench expect athletic scorer Jason Morris to provide a needed punch in the second unit with his slashing and high-flying escapades. Backup point guard Solomon Poole should continue his career reserve duties, this time backing up Golden instead of Udofia.

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ACC M5: 03.07.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 7th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Winston-Salem Journal: The freshman of the year race will say a lot about the voters involved. There are four plausible winners: Olivier Hanlan, Rasheed SulaimonDevin Thomas and TJ Warren. Each one says something about the voter: Hanlan is the most important to his team’s scoring (high usage); Sulaimon is a key piece for a top team on both ends of the floor; Warren is the efficiency guru’s dream; but Thomas has intangibles. I don’t know whether he’s a leader, but he’s often the only spark Wake Forest has on a given night. Thomas crashes the boards and plays with effort regardless of the score. In the end, Hanlan deserves the award, though it’s true he has more opportunities to shine than Sulaimon or Warren. If Sulaimon has a monster game against North Carolina, he could take the award just by overcoming his recency bias.
  2. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Speaking of awards, Daniel Miller won’t win Most Improved Player, but he should be in contention. Last season Miller was a bumbling liability everywhere but in rebounding. This year, he’s much more efficient offensively. He’s still not looking for his own shot, but he’s cut down on turnovers and increased his field goal percentage. If he improves along the Richard Howell trajectory (still a big if), Miller could be a very important piece next season.
  3. South Florida Sun Sentinel: Miami started ACC play in dominant fashion. It’s ending the year looking mediocre. A lot of people are quick to point the finger at Reggie Johnson, who hasn’t been on top of his game. But Miami could just be regressing. The Hurricanes won plenty of close games (especially through the middle of conference play) and lost none. Now, some of those games are going the other way. There are two ways of looking at this phenomenon: (1) close games are coin flips; or (2) Miami doesn’t have the same swagger it had earlier in conference play. The first isn’t cause for concern; the second is.
  4. Washington Post: North Carolina’s smaller lineup gave Maryland fits. But the Terrapins struggle to find their flow offensively. The real test for the Tar Heel’s wing-heavy lineup is this Saturday against Duke. The Blue Devils are an elite offense with an elite big man (and a stretch four to help with double-teams). But win or lose, the Tar Heels will be in the Big Dance. Maryland, however, isn’t in nearly as good shape. The Terrapins need to do some work in the conference tournament.
  5. ESPN: Well, we may be getting a taste of conference realignment  a little early, as Notre Dame may join the ACC as soon as this summer, according to Brett McMurphy. That’s good news for the ACC, as it will lock Notre Dame into an agreement instead of just waiting for a better offer to come hit you in the face.
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ACC M5: 02.05.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 5th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Tar Heel Blog: Here are a few things you’ll learn from looking at an in-depth breakdown of ACC tempo-free stats halfway through the conference season. First and foremost, Miami is really good at defense (as T.H. points out, the Hurricanes are holding opponents to a worse field goal percentage than any of Duke’s teams since 2000 and are rebounding opponents’ misses at a rate higher than any of Roy Williams’ teams the last 10 years). Second, there are three and a half good offensive teams in the ACC (Boston College gets a half because it’s markedly below the top three). Third, NC State is hitting an insane 41.4% of its three point attempts, but shooting fewer threes than anyone in the league!
  2. Charlotte Observer: Want to read an article written from the Big 12 perspective on the ominous future some see behind the reported Big 12 – ACC “alliance?” It’s amazing how different perspectives are on conference realignment depending on where you’re living. The ACC media has essentially called realignment dead, hoping Louisville’s addition saves enough face with the football schools to keep everyone happy. But this article paints a picture of a Big 12 itching to get a hold of Florida State and another school (Jimmy Burch mentions Miami, which seems dumb; I’d guess Clemson or Louisville) in order to host a conference championship game. I still think both conferences like where they’re currently at, but Burch is right that the playoff could put pressure on the Big 12 to add members, which would certainly make things more interesting.
  3. Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State, despite the class years listed on the team’s roster, is still a very young team. Specifically, the team misses two players from last year. Luke Loucks never got enough credit for his leadership (or high level of play) last season. Michael Snaer hit all the big shots, but Loucks made everything go. Bernard James is the other player, just as a consistent defensive and rebounding presence. This year’s team still needs that cohesion. The talent is there (though it may not be developed yet), but Brendan Bures hits the nail on the head in saying that the Seminoles still need to find an identity or “a calling card.”
  4. Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: Georgia Tech’s front line isn’t getting enough press this season. Daniel Miller deserves any and all “most improved” accolades this season (sorry Richard Howell, last year was your big leap), as the junior looks like a totally different player. He’s much more aggressive and appears to be more athletic, albeit slightly; Robert Carter Jr. will eventually be a premier big man in the ACC (once he cuts out the baby fat); and Kammeon Holsey – despite his horrendously hatched post-game — is aggressive and effective off the bench.
  5. NC State Technician: Before getting to the point of the article, is Herb Sendek a much more successful Jeff Bzdelik? Probably not, but there’s a similarity in how both failed miserably in handling themselves publicly (both appear detached and robotic). But Mark Gottfried is in an interesting situation. I don’t necessarily think he’s walking a fine line between hating losing or maintaining excitement (those run hand-in-hand). It’s more that he’s got a young team (with its experience with success), and he needs to make sure the team doesn’t get overwhelmed by negativity or its ego. If NC State dips below .500 in conference play (i.e., the Wolfpack lose to Duke and Clemson), it’s going to be very difficult to keep the team’s motivation up the rest of the season.
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More Than A Big Stiff: Forwards With A Little Extra Something in Their Skill Set

Posted by KCarpenter on January 18th, 2013

In Duke’s win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Mason Plumlee put up 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks while playing all 40 minutes. That’s excellent production and exactly the kind of statistics you would expect to see out of your star big man. What you might not expect to see is that Plumlee also tallied three steals and a couple assists. In fact, the 6’10” Plumlee managed to tie starting point guard Quinn Cook in steals and placed second behind him in assists. That’s an impressive demonstration of Plumlee’s versatility, but it’s also a huge boon for his team.

Mason Plumlee Is One of the Leading NPOY Candidates

Mason Plumlee Is One of the Leading NPOY Candidates

Generally, folks underrate the importance of steals, but with a moment of consideration it’s easy to see why they are so important. Like the obviously important offensive rebound, a steal gives you an opportunity for a shot you wouldn’t normally have, and like an opponent’s unforced turnover, it ends your opponent’s possession without a shot. Steals are very valuable to a team, and if your guards are wracking up steals at close to the average rate, getting above average production in a category like steals from your forwards and centers can lead to a team gaining a big advantage. When the biggest guy on your team can earn your squad extra possessions? It’s nothing but a good thing. So who in the ACC contributes in these unusual categories?

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ACC Week 1 Power Rankings

Posted by mpatton on November 16th, 2012

We’ve got a full week of game action as evidence to start evaluting these teams a bit better, so here goes…

Disclaimer: Power Rankings don’t imply which teams are best. They’re all about who has momentum right now. 

Duke Blue Devils 1. Duke (2-0) stays on top of the rankings after taking care of business against Georgia State at home before knocking off the defending champion Kentucky Wildcats in the Georgia Dome. This team still has a long way to go, but they showed poise holding off a talented, albeit young, Kentucky team. While Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee owned the box score, Quinn Cook rose to the challenge and put in his bid for the starting spot. Minnesota is the next NCAA tournament-quality team on Thursday.
NC State Wolfpack 2. NC State (2-0) absolutely blitzkrieged its first two opponents, Miami (OH) and Penn State. Putting too much stock in beating the Redhawks by 38 is unwise. But that 17-point win over the Nittany Lions–despite Lorenzo Brown finishing an icy 1-12 from the field–is worth noting. Specifically, Tyler Warren was phenomenal going for 22 points (on 12 shots) and eight rebounds. The game tonight against Massachusetts should be a fun one.
North Carolina Tar Heels 3. North Carolina (2-0) looked lost on offense at times against Gardner-Webb, which is just a young team trying to learn to play together. James Michael McAdoo has been phenomenal through the first two games (he’s averaging over 20 points and 12 rebounds), and Reggie Bullock asserted himself against Florida Atlantic. This team should keep improving, but in time for the trip to Bloomington in a week and a half? That’s ambitious.
Maryland Terrapins 4. Maryland (1-1) looks a lot better than expected. Alex Len is going to be a top-10 pick. He absolutely ravaged Kentucky, which Maryland kept close to the bitter end before making mincemeat of Morehead State. Nick Faust still can’t shoot, but Seth Allen will be really fun to watch the next few years. The Terrapins need to work on consistent offense, but as Dez Wells gets more and more used to Mark Turgeon’s system, good things will happen.
Boston College 5. Boston College (1-1) played with a stacked Baylor team for 35 minutes after beating a bad Florida International team by double figures (still, that’s huge improvement over last year). This team will still struggle to win a ton of games, but Ryan Anderson‘s development into an All-ACC caliber player is accelerating the rebuilding process (he’s averaging 27 points and 12 boards a game). Dennis Clifford also got off to a solid start. The Eagles’ games against Dayton and Auburn should both be winnable this week.
Clemson Tigers 6. Clemson (1-0) beat down Presbyterian this week, which isn’t worth much on its own. But Devin Booker and Milton Jennings both played very well (combined to go 11-14 from the field for 26 points) and look like they’re ready to step into bigger roles for Brad Brownell this season. A near impossible test awaits this week in the form of Gonzaga.
Virginia Tech Hokies 7. Virginia Tech (3-0) scarfed three cupcakes this week, winning all three games by double figures. The “meat” of the nonconference schedule is still a ways off (and “meat” is used loosely to describe BCS-conference teams), but so far James Johnson‘s tenure is a success. He’ll need Robert Brown to continue producing offensively to relieve some of Erick Green‘s perimeter burden.
Florida State Seminoles 8. Florida State (1-1) is much better than its home loss to the South Alabama, but those are the kind of losses that will motivate this team to keep getting better. Michael Snaer is also in an early season slump, having only hit a third of the shots he’s taken. But the Seminoles’ 27-point beatdown of Buffalo (where they scored 95 points!) may right the ship. The next six games showcase three against possible NCAA tournament teams: BYU (today), Minnesota and Florida.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 9. Wake Forest (1-0) played decently against Radford. The game was never free from doubt, but the Demon Deacons didn’t let the Big South Highlanders get the best of them this year. CJ Harris got to the charity stripe like a pro, but Travis McKie‘s 11 points left a little to be desired–especially against a team of this caliber. Turnovers are going to kill Wake Forest in at least two conference games this year.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 10. Georgia Tech (2-0) has balance, but can’t shoot. The Yellow Jackets need someone to step up from the perimeter to keep other teams honest (right now they make a smooth 17.6% of their shots from downtown. Two of Mfon Udofia, Daniel Miller and Kam Holsey need to become go-to guys on offense. Miller doesn’t appear to want that role.
Miami Hurricanes 11. Miami (1-1) needs to be careful not to become a dumpster fire. The team lost its exhibition against St. Leo and now lost to Florida Gulf Coast to ice the cake. This team looks phenomenal on paper, but sometimes things just don’t translate the way we expect. The same Reggie Johnson who made Mason Plumlee look like a child at Cameron Indoor Stadium last year has only hit one third of his shots against middling competition. There’s still time for Larranaga to turn this car around, but time is running out.
Virginia Cavaliers 12. Virginia (1-2), if Miami has to be careful, Virginia fans may already smell that trash burning. So far the Cavaliers lost to George Mason and Delaware. These wins (or struggles) could be statistical aberrations (if your style keeps opponents within striking distance, you’re bound to lose some unfortunate games), and Jontel Evans is out.Things aren’t off to a great start in Charlottesville.
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ACC M5: 11.07.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 7th, 2012

  1. Tampa Bay Times: It’s entirely possible that Michael Snaer was not going to return to Tallahassee and Florida State. After a sensational junior year where Snaer helped to lead his school to one of its best seasons ever, it would be hard to blame the gifted shooting guard for taking his talents to the NBA. Yet Snaer came back, brimming with confidence and a reputation that clearly makes him an all-ACC favorite on both the offensive and defensive ends. Despite losing a great deal of depth to graduation, Snaer’s leadership, defense, and clutch shooting will again make Florida State a consistently dangerous team.
  2. Shelby Star:  Snaer isn’t alone of course. Leonard Hamilton has recruited and developed a roster filled with skilled athletes, including two players from the Charlotte area. Ian Miller and Terry Whisnant will help to fill the voids left by Luke Loucks and Deividas Dulkys, offering a devastating perimeter attack that should help the Seminoles continue their often back-breaking rain of threes. One of the most underrated aspects of Hamilton’s tenure at Florida State has been his ability to effectively recruit players like Miller and Whisnant away from the back yards of the four Tobacco Road schools. Hamilton’s ties to the area as a Gastonia native has enabled him to effectively recruit North Carolina players to venture south to Tallahassee. Tobacco Road may regret that even more when Miller and Whisnant begin their barrage of three-pointers.
  3. Ledger-Inquirer: While Florida State is relying on the skill of its improved backcourt players, Georgia Tech is looking to the frontcourt for answers. Kammeon Holsey and Daniel Miller were two bright spots in a disappointing season that saw first year coach Brian Gregory trying to hold together a patchwork and mentally weak team. Holsey and Miller, however, emerged as gifted and fierce rebounders on both ends of the court. With the younger Glen Rice now out of the picture, the junior pair figure to be featured more prominently in Georgia Tech’s game plan, a sound idea considering the relatively low usage but high offensive efficiencies of the pair during their sophomore campaigns.
  4. Fox Sports: Reggie Johnson wants to know why you aren’t talking about Miami. The big (maybe biggest) man looks at his teammates and sees a host of talented veterans and a proven coach in Jim Larranaga and he is frustrated that the Hurricanes are not afforded the fawning that North Carolina and Duke receive. He has a point. The case for Miami as an ACC contender is strong, and yet there is plenty of reason for skepticism. The Hurricanes have spent a lot of time looking good on paper, but not nearly enough time winning on the court (particularly in the postseason). Injuries, coaching changes, and extenuating circumstances have always offered an excuse for Miami, but this year, there is nothing left to do but prove it. Miami is capable of winning the ACC championship this season, but they have to do it on the court.
  5. Fayetteville Observer: This is the time of year when coaches are always talking up their players. It’s as reliable as the turning of the leaves, the shortening of the days, and the sure fall chill that creeps into the air. So maybe it’s best not to read too much into what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has to say about Alex Murphy, but it’s getting fairly impossible to ignore: Murphy has the look and build of the second coming of Kyle Singler, offering his coach a similar rangy forward skill set that will let Duke stretch the floor without playing small on the defensive end. Whether or not Murphy matches Singler’s undeniable skill, he should at least be able to fit a little more neatly into some of the plays and sets designed for the former NCAA Tournament MOP.
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ACC M5: 11.01.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 1st, 2012

  1. Wilmington Star News: Brett Friedlander is putting out some good stuff in previewing the ACC season. Today his Maryland preview came online. Sophomore Nick Faust describes why people should expect improvement from the Terrapins despite losing their only offensive option in Terrell Stoglin: “When I first got in last year, I definitely felt as though the team was separated — not separated, but we definitely weren’t as close as we are now. All of us bond together, even the new guys that came in. We’re just more together; we’re one.” If Faust makes the improvement most are forecasting, this is a team that could feasibly make a run for the NCAA Tournament (regardless of computer rankings). They’ve definitely got an uphill road ahead, but it’s a legitimate possibility.
  2. Rome News-Tribune: Georgia Tech needs its frontcourt to step up this season if the Yellow Jackets are going to make the leap to middle of the pack in the conference. Juniors Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey both improved significantly as last year went along — Miller scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games. But Georgia Tech desperately needs more offense this season, and that frontcourt duo should be able to help senior Mfon Udofia carry the scoring load.
  3. Greensboro News-Record: The NC State hype is real. At least fans are buying into it, quite literally. With their highest preseason ranking since ranking first in 1974, the Wolfpack have already sold 1,900 more season tickets than last year, which is the highest season ticket sales have been in five years. If Mark Gottfried and his team can deliver on the hype, expect ticket sales to keep climbing. Fans should get their money’s worth, even if the Wolfpack don’t finish as the sixth ranked team in the country. This team will be fun to watch, especially on the offensive end.
  4. Tallahassee Democrat: People often point to freshmen when talking about why young teams struggle, but it’s the veterans who also have to accept new roles. Last season, Ian Miller and Okaro White were two incredibly important reserves for Florida State: Miller’s job was to come in and put up quick points; White’s job was to give Bernard James a breather. This year both will have to be leaders by helping integrate the new freshmen to Leonard Hamilton’s system. If they succeed, the freshmen will find their roles much faster and this team could win the conference. If they don’t, the team could find itself sneaking into the NCAA tournament.
  5. ACCSports.com: David Glenn cleaned up at the ACC’s “Operation Basketball” this season, recording interviews with most of the conference’s top players. The best news? Most of them are compiled in the same place, so you can listen to Michael Snaer talk Florida State, Julian Gamble talk Miami, or Jarell Eddie talk Virginia Tech. Probably good to get a little listening in, as ACC basketball season starts just over a week from today.

VIDEO UPDATE: Uncle Drew (aka Kyrie Irving) is back.

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ACC Team Previews: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by EMann on October 18th, 2012

Throughout the ACC preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 ACC teams.  Today’s victim:  Georgia Tech.

Brian Gregory’s first season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets was a struggle in more ways than one, although not all of this was due to things Gregory could control. Because of Georgia Tech’s renovation of the Alexander Memorial Coliseum to the new McCamish Pavilion during the season, Georgia Tech was forced to split its home games between the Atlanta Hawks’ Philips Arena (all ACC games and premier non-conference games) and the Gwinnett Arena in the suburbs (five non-conference games).  Being homeless, however, surely does not account for all of Georgia Tech’s struggles during the 2011-12 season. Paul Hewitt didn’t exactly leave the cupboard full of stars when he was let go after the 2010-11 season, and Georgia Tech’s best returning player, Glen Rice, Jr., battled disciplinary issues all season and was suspended for three games at the beginning of the season and six at the end before being kicked off the team in March.  Tech managed only a 4-12 finish in league play (with its only win of note a victory at NC State), and finished 11-20 overall (beating VCU, but losing to the unholy trinity of Kennesaw State, Mercer, and Fordham), polishing off their season by scoring only 36 points in the ACC Tournament’s first round against Miami.  Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets, things cannot really get much worse, and the team returns all five of its starters.

Brian Gregory searches for answers in his second season in Atlanta.

Newcomers

Georgia Tech adds five new players to its roster this season, and has Scout.com’s 19th-ranked recruiting class coming to Atlanta. Four of these players are freshmen, led by five-star 6’9” center Robert Carter, in addition to four-star 6’6” small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt, three-star 6’3” shooting guard Chris Bolden, and unrated guard Corey Heyward. They are all Georgia natives. Georgia Tech also adds Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole, Jr., who will become eligible after December 17. Carter, a top 25 recruit, should immediately compete for starter’s minutes with returning center Daniel Miller. The other players are likely to add depth and compete with the incumbent starters (none of whom were particularly efficient offensively) for minutes this season. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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