Archive for March, 2009

On Tech’s women’s basketball

Good morning, all-

Hope you are well. Some plaudits are due Tech’s women’s basketball team, which Monday night earned its third consecutive NCAA tournament bid. It’s the first time in school history the team has done that. In fact, the Jackets had only made one NCAA tournament prior to coach MaChelle Joseph becoming head coach in 2003.
The story in today’s paper was written by Peter Cox.
If you’re wondering why Georgia can be a No. 11 seed and play a virtual home game at the Gwinnett Arena while Tech earned a No. 9 seed and has to go out to play to Iowa City to play Iowa on its home court, here’s why.
There are 16 sites for first- and second-round games, the arena in Duluth being one of them. Georgia is the host school for the games in Gwinnett. The NCAA’s policy, as was explained to me by Tech’s women’s basketball publicist, Dan Goldberger, is that if a host school makes the tournament, it automatically gets sent there.
The women’s tournament is in a place …

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Breaking down the basketball roster

In case you missed it, Tech’s top two hoops recruits capped their high school careers with state championships.

Derrick Favors had 38 points in South Atlanta’s Class AAA victory, and Mfon Udofia, after scoring 67 points in quarterfinal and semifinal wins, had 12 points in Miller Grove’s AAAA final.

They’re among five, and possibly six, incoming freshmen. Tech still has one scholarship available, and is trying to add another big man. Brian Okam, a 6-11 senior at an Orlando prep school, was at the top of the list, but he just committed to Rutgers over Tech.

D’Andre Bell (spinal surgery) has started his rehab and it will be about six weeks before we know if he’s cleared to return for a final year. If he isn’t, Tech would have two scholarships available.

In any case, 7 of the 9 Jackets who played in the ACC quarterfinal loss to Florida State are scheduled to be back. (This assumes Gani Lawal doesn’t opt for the NBA draft). Everyone except Lewis Clinch, who made the ACC’s …

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Clinch on Shumpert, coaching staff

Lewis Clinch was gracious in his last interview session in a Tech uniform.

While of course he wanted to take the last shot — and was still kicking himself for missing what he called a great look at a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left — he repeatedly said he had no problem with what happened in the last 7 seconds. Though of course he wanted a different ending.

He said he believed Iman Shumpert was going to make the shot from the foul-line area. (Shumpert missed, and Tech lost 64-62 to FSU). Clinch predicted Shumpert will do great things for the program, and said he’d encourage the freshman to start preparing for next season.

“This is just the beginning for him — he’s 18 years old,” Clinch said. “I’m going to tell him to continue to work hard, learn from the great things that he did, build on those, and learn from the mistakes he made. And become the great player he’s going to be.”

Shumpert, for his part, felt horrible for Clinch and Alade Aminu.

“I definitely never wanted to send …

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The Clemson win and the FSU matchup

First, some notes from Tech’s 86-81 win over Clemson in the ACC tournament:

It was the third time in four years that the No. 12 seed beat No. 5.

Lewis Clinch’s 32 points were the third-most by a Yellow Jacket in an ACC tournament game, behind Will Bynum’s 35 in 2005 and Mark Price’s 33 in 1983. Clinch had scored a total of 14 points in his three previous ACC tourney games.

Gani Lawal’s 7 offensive rebounds were one short of Malcolm Mackey’s Tech record, set in 1991.

Clemson is 7-8 since its 16-0 start.

Tech had 18 assists against 17 turnovers, one of the few times this season the Jackets posted more assists than turnovers.

Clinch, Iman Shumpert and Gani Lawal played 35, 33 and 32 minutes respectively. We’ll see how fresh they are against FSU. Clinch rolled his right ankle when he came down on Tanner Smith’s foot. He called it a “light roll” and said it didn’t hamper him after he got it taped up.

Lawal, who was unstoppable after a bad start, said the Jackets won because they …

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Previewing Tech-Clemson in the ACC tournament

Just got back from Tech and Clemson practices at the Georgia Dome (10 teams are practicing there today, everyone but UNC and Duke).

On the injury front:

Moe Miller, who was 3-for-3 last Saturday until an abdominal strain knocked him out, said he’s fine after four days of treatment. Iman Shumpert said his right hip is still a bit sore, but nothing he can’t play through. Alade Aminu said the time off helped his wrist, which he banged on a dunk vs. Miami. He said it’s 100 percent.

The Jackets and Tigers, who play at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, said the shooting background at the Dome would not be a big factor.

The Jackets seemed refreshed by the fact that, as they put it, they’re 0-0 like everyone else.

“All we’ve got is this tournament,” Miller said. “Everything that happened in the past, it means nothing anymore. Everybody is fighting for their lives, pretty much.”

Gani Lawal called it “a new season,” Aminu called it “a clean slate.”

“We’ve had close games and it’s time to eliminate …

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“A party to make money”

The top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels are coming to town, aiming for their third straight ACC title and 18th overall.

In preparing for the ACC tournament, coach Roy Williams has made one thing clear: he doesn’t want this weekend to hurt his team’s NCAA chances.

So point guard Ty Lawson, newly crowned ACC Player of the Year, might not play due to his jammed big toe.

Williams famously called the ACC tournament a “great cocktail party,” and he didn’t back down from that comment in a teleconference with reporters.

“I don’t care what anybody says — it’s a party to make money,” Williams said. “It’s the granddaddy of all tournaments. I loved it as a fan. I don’t love it as much as a coach with the attention that the other tournament gets and the emphasis that we try to put on it. We’ve won the ACC tournament the last two years in a row, and we didn’t win the NCAA tournament. Now, how do you think our fans feel about what we’ve done?

“I even had one publication last year [ask] if …

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More from pro day

Good morning, all-

Hopefully you read my colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter’s story on Michael Johnson’s workout from Georgia Tech’s pro day Monday. If you haven’t, it should. D-Led, as everyone calls him, talked to a lot of folks and has some good stuff in there, including this blurb from Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff: “Things will work out very well for him well in the National Football League, not to mention a number of other players on the Georgia Tech football team.”

(There’s also a photo gallery from Johnny Crawford. Excellent stuff, per usual.)

As for those other players, a number of players turned in some good performances. It was particularly important for offensive tackle Andrew Gardner and cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels, as injuries had precluded them from doing workouts up until now.

Some numbers, according to a pro day summary from Gil Brandt at nfl.com: Gardner ran the 40 in 4.96 seconds, had a 30.5 inch vertical, an 8-11 broad jump, a 4.70-second 20-yard shuttle, a …

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Pro Day

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 …

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Football departures, women’s hoops, Derrick Favors

Couple of basketball updates today before we get to football.

Ken filed this note on Tech’s women’s team:

The women learned a tough lesson at the ACC tournament in Greensboro. They lost to Clemson, which was 2-12 and the No. 12 seed in the tournament. It’s the first time a No. 5 has fallen to a No. 12 in the tournament, although it’s only the fourth year the ACC has had 12 teams.
According to the story on the Tech website, teams seeded five or more spots ahead of their opponents were 60-4 before the Tigers ousted the Jackets Thursday.
Further, Tech had beaten Clemson twice, including 89-54 at Clemson Feb. 22.
“We played them at Clemson, we kind of embarrassed them,” said guard Deja Foster. “I think we overlooked them.”
Foster said that coach MaChelle Joseph warned the team about doing just that in practice prior to the tournament. But the Jackets fell in the trap.
“It’s ACC time,” Foster said. “Everyone’s got to come out to play and we just weren’t …

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Clinch in a zone

Regardless of Tech’s record, you have to marvel at what Lewis Clinch has done lately.

The senior guard has hit 27 of his last 53 3-pointers. He’s averaging 25.8 points over the last four games.

Clinch was in an incredible zone Wednesday night, when he hit 9 of his first 14 threes. “The rim is feeling like it’s as big as the ocean,” he said.

In the postgame press conference, Clinch was quick to credit his teammates for setting him screens and getting him the ball in the right spots.

After finishing classes Wednesday, Clinch headed over to AMC at 2 p.m. and shot for 20 minutes with assistant coach Peter Zaharis. He’s been doing that on gamedays for a few weeks.

“We worked on coming off curls, different cuts, catch-and-shoot, different speeds, quick shots,” he said. “That really helped me get prepared…Basically every shot that I took [in the game], we had worked on.”

Clinch’s defense should not be overlooked. He started out on Miami senior guard Jack McClinton, who came in …

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