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: 05.07.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on May 7th, 2012

  1. Washington Post: Barry Svrluga tracked down the members of Maryland‘s national championship team from 10 years ago and put together a slideshow with updates. Some aren’t newsworthy (Gary Williams and Steve Blake), but I had no idea how much Lonny Baxter has bounced around since departing for the NBA. He’s currently in Siberia. Juan Dixon is in Turkey. A few are working with local AAU programs or their old high school teams.
  2. The North Carolina assistant coaching search is finally over. ESPN College Gameday host and analyst Hubert Davis was hired by Roy Williams to replace Jerod Haase, who left to take the head coaching job at UAB. Davis has no coaching experience, but I don’t hate the hire. While I think the opinion that he’ll augment North Carolina’s name recognition in recruiting is misrepresenting things, his notoriety from people seeing him on TV will be an asset on the recruiting trail. He also just seems like a personable guy. On the other side of things, the group attacking the hire because he lacks coaching experience should probably pump the brakes too. Davis played more than a decade in the NBA; he knows basketball. It remains to be seen if he’ll be a go-getter, but I thought this was a decent hire.
  3. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: With all the recent coverage of coaches restricting transfers, the ACC gotten quite a bit of decent press. After Duke didn’t restrict Michael Gbinije at all (he ended up at Syracuse, which will be an ACC school by the time he starts playing), Brian Gregory talked about Georgia Tech’s policy, which restricts transfers from going to Georgia. The ACC has its own policy that forces athletes to sit out two years if they want to transfer to another ACC school. I think all conferences should move to this model and get rid of restrictions altogether (or maybe allow one regional rival which would also carry the two-year penalty). Nate Hicks and Glen Rice, Jr., are both transferring from Georgia Tech.
  4. Hampton Roads Daily Press: It sounds like James Johnson is taking his new responsibilities at Virginia Tech in stride. This comfort is the biggest advantage to hiring an assistant over going outside the program. Who knows how Johnson will be as a head coach, but I think Virginia Tech made the right move bringing him back to take over for Seth Greenberg.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: Debbie Yow isn’t stopping at basketball relevance. She wants to put the rest of the NC State athletic department on the map and compete for the Director’s Cup — an award that tracks the top 25 schools across all sports. I also like that Yow prefers “Olympic sports” to “non-revenue sports” because it’s “more respectful.”

EXTRA: Unfortunately, there have been more rumblings about schools jumping ship from the ACC. I agree that the tipping point is Florida State. The Seminoles are a relatively recent addition to the conference and have the most to offer a prospective conference. I still believe that Florida and South Carolina have enough clout with the SEC that Florida State and Clemson have a long way to go before being invited to join the SEC. However, the author raises a very good point about the SEC not wanting to allow the Big 12 into the southeastern recruiting footprint (namely, Florida).

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RTC Summer Updates: Atlantic Coast Conference

Posted by jstevrtc on July 21st, 2011

With the the NBA Draft concluded and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. The latest update comes courtesy of our ACC correspondent, Matt Patton.

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

  • New Faces: That’s right, the ACC will be totally different conference this season. Only five of the fifteen players selected as to the all-conference teams will be running the floor this season, namely four of North Carolina’s five starters (with Miami’s Malcolm Grant keeping the group from being only Tar Heels). Somewhat surprisingly, all of the ACC all-freshman squad will be back in action. Duke’s Kyrie Irving was a prominent frosh, but he didn’t play a single conference game before leaving school and UNC’s Harrison Barnes opted to return for his sophomore campaign. Keep an eye on Wake Forest’s Travis McKie and Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin especially. Both should be the stars on their respective teams.
  • However, the strength of the conference will rely heavily on the incoming players and coaches. Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Florida State all bring in consensus top 25 classes according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout. To make a long story short, the rich get richer. Duke’s Austin Rivers (ranked 1st by Rivals, 2nd by Scout and ESPNU) will be expected to contribute immediately, while North Carolina’s James McAdoo (8th by Rivals, 4th by Scout and 5th by ESPNU) and PJ Hairston (13th by Rivals, 20th by Scout and 12th by ESPNU) should be given ample time to find roles on an already stacked team.
  • Arguably more important, at least in the long term, are the new coaches: NC State welcomes Mark Gottfried, Miami welcomes Jim Larranaga, Maryland welcomes Mark Turgeon, and Georgia Tech welcomes Brian Gregory to the conference. The only coach I think is a surefire “upgrade” is Larranaga, who comes with some disadvantages (namely, age). While Gottfried experienced some success at Alabama, the Crimson Tide isn’t known as a basketball powerhouse and he didn’t leave the school on great terms. I also don’t think it’s a great sign that Ryan Harrow left for the bluer pastures of Kentucky. Gregory, though, sticks out as the strangest hire of the four. He had a fairly nondescript tenure at Dayton with many Flyer fans happy to see him leave. I know a tight budget hamstrung by Paul Hewitt’s hefty buyout deal probably kept the Yellow Jackets from going after the sexiest candidates, but the choice still surprised me. Gregory’s biggest disadvantage is his ugly, grind-it-out style of play that will eventually make it difficult to attract top recruits and could possibly alienate the entire GT fanbase (see: Herb Sendek).
  • North Carolina Navigates Investigation Waters: Finally, it may not be basketball-related, but it’s impossible to mention this offseason without discussing North Carolina’s impending date with the NCAA Committee of Infractions. The story has dominated ACC sports news. To briefly sum things up, the Tar Heels had an assistant coach, John Blake, on the payroll of an agent. If that wasn’t enough, the NCAA investigation unveiled thousands (I’m not kidding) of dollars in unpaid parking tickets and even several cases of academic fraud. The university has come out very firmly saying these infractions only involved the football team** but the scandal has gained national notoriety. (**Author’s note: the one connection with the basketball team is that Greg Little was one of UNC’s ineligible football players. Little was also a walk-on for the basketball team during the 2007-08 season, playing in ten games. North Carolina has said that his infractions occurred after his year with the basketball team, so no win vacations are in the basketball team’s future.)
  • Somehow, despite academic fraud, ineligible benefits and an agent runner on staff, the Tar Heels failed to get the NCAA’s most serious “lack of institutional control” violation for what appeared to be nothing less thana lack of institutional control. Again, this scandal is confined to football, but it’s one of the many recent scandals that have come to light in big time college athletics in the last couple of years (Connecticut, USC, Ohio State, Oregon, etc). These scandals could force the NCAA to augment its rules somewhat, and even though they may not directly relate to basketball, they may have a very real impact of college sports as we know it over the next few years.

    Freshman phenom Austin Rivers is ready for Duke, but how quickly will 2011's top high school point guard perform on the big stage? (Orlando Sentinel)

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