Gregory looking for big turnaround at Georgia Tech
ATLANTA (AP) — Coach Brian Gregory is counting on the fourth season being his best at Georgia Tech.
Despite his 16-36 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Gregory says he believes the Yellow Jackets have enough skill and depth to change their fortunes.
This stance comes after Robert Carter Jr., the best player Gregory has signed at Georgia Tech, surprisingly transferred in May.
But Gregory says the Jackets still have plenty of assets.
Junior swingman Marcus Georges-Hunt, who averaged 11.7 points last season, is the leading returning scorer and has 63 career starts. Forward Charles Mitchell and center Demarco Cox were added as transfers and bring much-needed power and size inside.
“They do bring a much greater physicality to the game than what we’ve had over the last couple of years,” Gregory said. “That should help us in rebounding, points in the paint, and anchoring around the basket.”
Junior shooting guard Chris Bolden and sophomore point guard Corey Heyward have plenty of starting experience. Sophomore forward Quinton Stephens played in all but one game last season.
“We had the best summer and fall that we’ve had since I’ve been here in terms of commitment level and work ethic,” Gregory said. “Our guys know that we have some new pieces that have to fit together well for us to be successful.”
Here some things to know before Georgia Tech opens the season at home Nov. 14 against Georgia:
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Freshman guard Tadric Jackson, who led Tift County to a state title in Georgia’s top high school classification, could push Bolden for playing time. Senior forward Robert Sampson, son of former Virginia star Ralph Sampson, is eligible after transferring from East Carolina. He averaged six points and 5.8 minutes in 96 games with the Pirates and will likely be a backup. Sophomore Josh Heath, a transfer from South Florida, hopes to get in the mix at point guard with Heyward and Travis Jorgenson. Freshman Abdoulaye Gueye, who grew up in Senegal and spent the last two years of high school in Birmingham, Alabama, gives Georgia Tech depth at forward. Senior forward Nick Jacobs transferred in from Alabama, but won’t be eligible until next season.
THIS IS MY TEAM: The 2014-15 season marks the first time that every player on the roster was brought in Gregory, who hopes history repeats itself. “I’ve been through this process before,” Gregory said, “and this is where we started kicking it in a little bit at the University of Dayton, where we won 97 games over the next four years when we had all our players.” Gregory led Dayton to the 2010 NIT title, the 2009 NCAA tournament and NIT bids in 2008 and 2011. The Jackets have made one postseason appearance — the 2010 NCAA tournament — in the last seven years.
TAKING IT SLOWLY: Five different players were sidelined 84 total games last season, and there were times that Gregory had just seven scholarship players suited up during the ACC schedule. Through the first month of fall practice, there have been no surprise setbacks. Travis Jorgenson has regained his explosiveness off the dribble after recovering from a torn knee ligament that ended his season after four games. Lammers has had his practice participation slowed somewhat as he returns from a dislocated knee in his senior of high school in San Antonio.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: The Jackets lost Carter and three seniors — point guard Trae Golden, center Daniel Miller and forward Kammeon Holsey — as mainstays from last year’s team.
HE’S EVERYTHING: Gregory says that Georges-Hunt has stepped up his leadership role on the floor and in the locker room now that he’s a veteran. “Marcus is really what college athletics is all about,” Gregory said. “He is a preseason Academic All-America candidate, the scholar-athlete of the year candidate in the ACC, and his role is going to have to obviously expand.”