Before we get to Tech’s Pro Day, a couple of basketball updates:
Tech gets Clemson in the first round of the ACC tournament (2:30 p.m. Thursday, Georgia Dome). There aren’t a lot of good matchups when you’re 2-14, but Clemson is a particularly bad one. The Tigers have an abundance of good shooters, starting with K.C. Rivers and Terrence Oglesby. They excel at forcing turnovers. And in the last meeting, forward Trevor Booker dominated inside with 21 points and 12 rebounds, 7 offensive.
Booker and Gani Lawal, who had 11 points and 9 rebounds, are the ACC’s top two rebounders. For Tech to pull off an upset, Lawal probably has to win that matchup.
On the other hand, the Tigers have lost three of four and are averaging 17.3 turnovers of their own in that stretch.
Tech’s top two recruits, South Atlanta power forward Derrick Favors and Miller Grove point guard Mfon Udofia, have reached the Final Four in their respective classifications.
Favors scored 28 in the Hornets’ 90-67 win over Washington County, right around his state tournament average. South Atlanta plays Columbia at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Macon Centreplex. Most people feel this is the de facto Class AAA championship.
Udofia poured in 35 in the Wolverines’ 96-87 win over Fayette County. Miller Grove plays Richmond Academy at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Gwinnett Arena.
Ken filed these quick hits on Tech’s pro day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at Rose Bowl Field:
I’d expect all of Tech’s NFL hopefuls (except Vance Walker, see below) – including Michael Johnson, Andrew Gardner, Jahi Word-Daniels, Darryl Richard, Tony Clark, Elris Anyaibe and Bret White – to participate. They’ll do the combine drills (if they want to – see below) and some scouts and coaches may put them through position drills.
Michael Johnson will probably take part in some, but not all drills, his agent Richard Kopelman said. He’ll likely skip the drills – broad and vertical jumps – that he did well at the combine.
“I don’t think it’s necessary for him to do anything other than position drills to give the folks what they want to see,” Kopelman said.
Kopelman said Johnson might run the 40, even though his time was satisfactory.
“It’s more for himself than anything,” he said.
Kopelman said Johnson was to have dinner Sunday night with officials from the Miami Dolphins, who have the No. 25 pick in the draft. Don’t read too much into the Fins getting face time with Johnson – they got it because they were the first ones to ask.
Kopelman also represents defensive tackle Vance Walker and linebacker Tony Clark. Walker won’t participate in the pro day drills because he pulled a hamstring at the combine.
Offensive tackle Andrew Gardner will be able to do everything at the pro day except for the bench press, according to his agent Lester Archambeau, the former Falcon.
Gardner, you’ll remember, tore his labrum last season and missed the final four regular season games and the bowl game. He wasn’t able to do any drills at the combine but has healed sufficiently.
Archambeau said he sent a letter to all 32 teams saying Gardner will be ready to participate in NFL mini-camps after the draft. Archambeau said last week he’d heard from about 12 teams that they planned to be there to see him.
“This is just a confidence builder for (teams), to touch him, feel him, see him, confirm what they suspect, let him show the athlete that he is,” Archambeau said. “Teams will probably be a little surprised at how well he moves outside the pads.”
I asked Archambeau if playing in Paul Johnson’s spread-based option would hurt Gardner’s stock. He made an interesting point about how it’s actually to Gardner’s benefit (though, of course, an agent’s job is to present his client in the best possible light).
Archambeau said that Gardner showed his versatility by excelling in two different offenses. He also said that in typical zone-blocking schemes, it’s easier for a player to hide, but that a lineman couldn’t do that in Johnson’s offense. Teams could see him doing a lot of different things – getting to the second level, cut blocking, blocking one on one.