GT Basketball Pro Prospects- Marcus Georges-Hunt

Now that the basketball season has come and gone, it’s time to look at a few players who have NBA potential on Tech’s roster. Brian Gregory has done a tremendous job of bringing in talent in his first two years on the job, which makes these posts easy. The second player we’ll take a look at is Marcus Georges-Hunt.

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GT Basketball Pro Prospects- Solomon Poole

Now that the basketball season has come and gone, it’s time to look at a few players who have NBA potential on Tech’s roster. Brian Gregory has done a tremendous job of bringing in talent in his first two years on the job, which makes these posts easy. The first player we’ll take a look at is Solomon Poole. Continue reading

Should Solomon Poole Be Worried Next Season?

Now that the 2012-2013 season is over, Mfon Udofia and Pierre Jordan will be leaving the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team. Losing both players leaves a hole at PG for Brian Gregory going into next season. Most expect the rising sophomore Solomon Poole to take over starting duties next season, especially considering his competition will be two freshmen, one of which is coming off a torn ACL. Poole was an ESPN 100 recruit who had the athleticism and flash in high school to earn a national Top 10 PG ranking. Regardless of potential however, he is going to have to earn the starting spot at PG, which won’t be as easy as he’d like it to be. Here’s why.

After joining the team in December last season, Poole received some immediate playing time. He had to make a transition from high school to college in the same season, which is an extremely difficult task. He showed his inexperience at times last season by rushing shots and throwing soft passes. He has the athletic ability to dominate Division 1 basketball, but he will need an entire offseason to practice with the team and adjust to the speed of the college game. I expect him to make the adjustment, but he is still an unproven player and he will have some competition this fall. Here’s a little reminder of Poole’s potential.

The biggest question mark heading into next season in my mind is clearly Corey Heyward and his abilities. Heyward came to Tech as a lightly recruited prospect from Gwinnett County and unfortunately tore his ACL before last season started. We have not yet had a chance to see him play, but from what I have read, he is a physical point guard who can run the team offensively. His scouting report sounds like he has some potential as a very good distributor, but I can’t see him starting for Tech. He will be a nice change of pace PG for Tech off the bench next year, assuming he can play with the mentality he had before the ACL injury.

Here’s where the PG competition gets interesting next year. Travis Jorgensen is our newest commit after he decommited from Missouri. He’s a 6′, 170 lb PG who understands how to get teammates open and can get into the lane. He has excellent ball handling ability, body control on layups, and makes very good passes. He also possesses a consistent 3 point shot, which helps his drives by keeping defenders honest. He has a lower grade because he is small and lacks the athleticism of players like Poole, but he has a very high basketball IQ, which I believe will get him playing time next year. He’s the type of player who can come in and be a real PG who distributes the ball to his teammates and should rack up the assists. Here’s a video of his from high school.

Last year Mfon Udofia was able to score the ball when he got hot, but was never really able to create shots for his teammates. This consistently caused Tech’s offense to stall and rely on 3’s to score points. I don’t see that ever being an issue with Jorgensen because he can get into the lane and score or kick out to open teammates. Given his size, he will have a tough time playing defense at the college level, especially given the competition he played against in Missouri. If he can be serviceable in that category, then he should do fine with Miller and Carter backing him up.

All in all, Gregory knows how to coach this team defensively and they did a great job last year. However, he has had Udofia running the point for the last two years, which wasn’t the best option for his offense. Now he has three young players who all have completely different styles, which means one of them should be able to come in and produce immediately. Expect Poole to start next year, but if he doesn’t develop like we hope he will, then I thoroughly expect Jorgensen to take over and make an impact. I really like the future we have with our PGs, but I don’t think Poole will run away with the job like most fans think. Jorgensen and Heyward will make it tough on him, pushing him to play like he has everything to lose. The competition this fall should ultimately determine which player has what it takes to be the PG of the future for Georgia Tech.

Men’s Basketball Team Gains Valuable Experience In Gregory’s Second Year

Georgia Tech’s season ended with a dramatic game yesterday against Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament. It was full of excitement and disappointment, which really exemplified our season as a whole. Now that we are out of the tournament and will miss out on postseason play, it’s time to look back on the team’s season defining moments and how they are set up for the future.

Coming into this year, Tech had 7 new faces on the team. It was extremely important for Brian Gregory to have a soft schedule at the beginning of the year and give the players time to adjust. Early in the season, the team surprisingly managed to out perform many fans’ expectations, going 10-2 in non conference play and beating UGA and Saint Mary’s. Once conference play started, however, the team showed their youth and inexperience by losing close games. They lost their first five games of ACC play and had some bad losses. As they got deeper into the conference schedule, however, they played much better and looked much more competitive. In the last 13 games of the season(excluding yesterday’s loss), Tech went 6-7, with four of the losses by four points or less. Although those numbers aren’t great, they show that the team settled down and started playing better after gaining some experience. This was quite evident when Tech fought back against #6 Miami on the road and Marcus Georges-Hunt tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer to seal the win. That was Tech’s biggest win in quite some time and proved that Gregory has the team headed in the right direction.

Over the course of the season, there was clearly improvement in almost every player’s game. All of the freshmen showed development and the upperclassmen learned their roles on the team. A successful team in college basketball has defined roles for it’s players and knows how to play together. Daniel Miller turned into one of the best shot blockers in the country while Chris Bolden and Marcus Georges-Hunt turned into effective scorers who the team trusted to take big shots. Brandon Reed became an important 3 point shooter and Kammeon Holsey turned into a scoring big man off the bench, earning ACC 6th Man of the Year honors from multiple media outlets. Each player started to show their strengths on the court and played to their advantages, which shows coach Gregory did a great job with this team.

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Looking ahead to next year, the biggest question mark heading into next season will undoubtably be at the point guard position. We are losing both Mfon Udofia and Pierre Jordan (our only two seniors), which means it will be up to Solomon Poole, Corey Heyward, and Travis Jorgensen to lead the team. In the few minutes Poole played this year, he looked overanxious to make plays and confused in the offense, but transitioning from high school to college in the same season is an incredibly difficult task. Corey Heyward, who will most likely be Poole’s back-up, suffered a torn ACL before the start of last season, so it is unclear what he can even do on the court. The third player on the depth chart, Travis Jorgensen, is an incoming recruit from Missouri who will obviously have no college experience heading into next season. That’s three players who will all have to gain serious experience early in the season next year for Tech to move to the next tier in the ACC.

When Brian Gregory was hired by Georgia Tech, many believed his job was a three or four year rebuilding effort based on the state of the program at the time. After Gregory’s second year here at Tech, I am very optimistic about the direction we are headed in. He has brought in young players who have different strengths and can compliment each other on the court. Even more importantly, he is not afraid to bench experienced veterans (Jason Morris and Kammeon Holsey) in order to give freshmen immediate playing time if they deserve it. The big wins and heartbreaking losses that our program went through this season were incredibly important for the team’s future success and helped our team develop the experience necessary to hopefully compete and win against upper tier programs next year.