Archive for January, 2010

Clarence Moore and Kentucky State in the house

Not that you can see for yourself on TV, but it’s Coaches vs. Cancer day at Georgia Tech and Paul Hewitt is donning sneakers with his suit and yellow tie, as is tradition for coaches around the country to wear one day promoting cancer awareness and early detection.

More than two dozen cancer patients and their caregivers are at today’s game courtesy of Hewitt through his relationship with the Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta, which houses cancer patients from out of town who are receiving treatment in Atlanta area hospitals.

As a person with a brother who has chronic lymphocytic leukemia and gets his treatment here at Emory, I give a big shout out to all the efforts of people, and organizations like this. Thankfully, he’s in remission and doing great at the moment, but it’s so meaningful to know there are places like this to help take care of folks when they need it most.

As for the hoops going on today? Ought to be pretty lopsided, and the kind of day against Division II …

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NBA scouts swarming for Wake-Tech

Greetings from the media workroom prior to the Georgia Tech-Wake Forest game where you can’t take two steps without bumping into an NBA scout. Pete Babcock, Billie Knight, you name it.

There will be 22 scouts here in all tonight, not including those who paid to buy a ticket because the assigned scout area was full.

I’m told this is the most NBA scouts at a Tech home game since the 30 who showed up for the Florida State game on Dec. 20. The common theme between those two games? Big men-matchup.

Tonight we’ll have Gani Lawal going up against his former Norcross teammate Al-Farouq Aminu.

Aminu is leading the ACC in rebounding at an eye-popping 11.4 rebounds per game.  Lawal is having a monster year on the boards again, and he’s third at 9.2 (behind UNC’s Ed Davis). Derrick Favors comes in in fourth with 8.9 rebounds per game.

What separates Aminu is how quick, agile, he seems. He’s had double-digit rebounds in 10 of Wake’s last 11 games, including 18 against Xavier and 17 …

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Talking Wake, FT shooting, Mfon minutes and more

While we wait for Wake Forest to get here…we have a few topics to discuss.

First, a trivia question: what do Maryland and Virginia, the top two teams in the ACC rankings have in common? Each has only one loss, and it came to Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons last lost at Duke on Jan. 17, by 20, but have won back-to-back games against North Carolina and Virginia since.

Duke held Wake’s senior point guard Ishmael Smith to 7 points on 3-for-12 shooting that night at Cameron. Smith fouled out of the game (and still played 36 minutes) and looked visibly frustrated on the TV screen. Since that game? Smith has scored 20 points against North Carolina, 21 points against Virginia, and he’s the reigning ACC player of the week.

Someone asked Paul Hewitt today before practice when was the last time he’d seen someone so fast with the ball in his hands as Smith.

Tywon Lawson,” Hewitt said, laughing. “I’m glad he’s not here anymore. Actually, Ishmael smith might be faster with the ball.”

Hey, …

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Smith says change won’t disrupt recruiting — updated at 8:30 p.m.

Follow Georgia Tech’s search for a new defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator on twitter @ajcgatech and on facebook @ AJC Ga. Tech

Giff Smith says he accepted a job with the Buffalo Bills because he believes it improves his resume and will help him one day fulfill his goal of becoming a head coach. It won’t, however, disrupt Georgia Tech’s recruiting.

“Nothing easy about leaving Georgia Tech,” said Smith, who coached at Tech the past six seasons and spent the past four as recruiting coordinator.  “It’s just an opportunity career-wise that we felt as a family was the best thing at this time.”

With Signing Day a week away, many of Tech’s commitments said they are sticking with their decision to sign with the Jackets on Feb. 3.

Defensive tackle Shawn Green of Grayson, whom Smith would have coached in his other role as defensive line coach, said his decision is solid.

“I first heard it from Coach [Paul] Johnson,” Green said. “I was like, ‘For real?’ I was …

Continue reading Smith says change won’t disrupt recruiting — updated at 8:30 p.m. »

Tech loses recruiting coordinator — updated at 9:35 p.m.

Follow Tech’s search for a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator on twitter @ajcgatech and on facebook at ajc ga. tech

Days before Signing Day, Georgia Tech recruiting coordinator Giff Smith has accepted a job as outside linebackers coach with the NFL’s  Buffalo Bills.

Smith will be reunited with Chan Gailey, recently hired to be the Bills’ head coach a little more than two years after he was fired as the Yellow Jackets’ coach. A call to the Buffalo Bills hasn’t been returned. A text and call to Smith hasn’t been returned.

Signing Day is Wednesday, Feb. 3 and Tech’s class is ranked No. 44 by Rivals.com and No. 45 by Scout.com.

Giff Smith

Giff Smith

Smith has been Tech’s recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach for the past four seasons. Gailey hired him as the line coach in 2004, after Smith spent five seasons at Tulane.

A native of Mableton (Pebblebrook), Smith is a graduate of Georgia Southern (1991).

During Smith’s tenure as recruiting coordinator, the Jackets have …

Continue reading Tech loses recruiting coordinator — updated at 9:35 p.m. »

It’s not the ‘Ol Guard atop the ACC, but it’s old guards

Yes, it’s early, but I just noticed something when studying the ACC standings this morning….The top four teams in the league? They have great guard play, and experienced great guard play. For all the talk of how dominant frontcourts were going to be across the ACC this year, maybe it’s coming down to the littler guys with the ball in their hands after all.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Maryland (3-1): Their backcourt of Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez? Two seniors.

Virginia (3-1): this season’s surprise so far… plays a four-guard offense at times. Calvin Baker is a senior, Jeff Jones and Mustapha Farrakham, two guards off the bench, are juniors.

Duke (4-2): You all know about Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and the new “addition” to the perimeter in Kyle Singler. Scheyer is a senior, the other two are juniors.

Wake Forest (4-2): A big reason why the Deacons are off to a good start is senior point guard Ish Smith, who is averaging 13.5 points and 5.9 assists.

The converse is true too. …

Continue reading It’s not the ‘Ol Guard atop the ACC, but it’s old guards »

Favors ACC rookie of the week

   Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors was named ACC rookie of the week after putting up a pair of double-doubles against Clemson and Florida State.

   Favors led the Yellow Jackets with 17 points and added 14 rebounds in a 66-64 win over Clemson on Tuesday. He came back with 10 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s 68-66 loss at Florida State.

   Favors has won the ACC rookie of the week award twice this season. He is the fourth-leading rebounder in the ACC with 8.9 rebounds per game, trailing Gani Lawal with 9.2.

   After splitting two ACC games this week, Georgia Tech (14-5, 3-3 in ACC) fell three spots to No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

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Len Elmore breaks down Favors’ game

    Derrick Favors. What to make of him so far? To an untrained eye like mine, he’s a kid with mad athletics skills trying to make his way as a freshman in the ACC, going against the toughest competition he’s faced yet and making some headway.

   But hey, how boring does all that sound? Snooze.

   So let me share with you parts of an interview I did with a guy who knows a lot better than me! And he’s someone I enjoy listening to, to begin with. Thought you might too: Len Elmore.

   Elmore called Tech’s last two games against Clemson and North Carolina for ESPN and saw the extremes of Favors’ game – foul trouble, a non-existent presence, really, against the Tar Heels, then 17 points, including some great finishes on the fast break vs. Clemson.) He’s also watched Favors multiple times on TV.

   Elmore thinks Favors has unlimited potential and he likes what he’s heard about the way Favors carries himself off the court. That said, we asked him for his expertise looking …

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Groh happy with first week — updated

Al Groh said he’s had a fun first week as Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator.

From parachuting in as a recruiter, to watching lots of film from last year’s games, to getting to know the other assistants and players personally, Groh said he’s been keeping busy.

The real work, however, will start as soon as Signing Day passes on Feb. 3. After that, Groh will be begin to teach the assistant coaches the techniques and schemes for the 3-4 defense that Tech will install for the 2010 season.

“It’s up to the people who are installing, more so than the people who are listening, to create buy in,” Groh said. “There will be change in this. Our job is to sell value of that change.

“[We want to] get this thing looking the way we want to look as fast as possible. It’s a real process. Buy-in is the first part of it. We’re impatient to make it look good. How fast we can do it, we’ll have to see.”

Most of his time has been spent with a spiral notebook on his lap and a pencil in his hand …

Continue reading Groh happy with first week — updated »

How big was beating Clemson? Let us count the ways…

   Tuesday night’s 66-64 win over Clemson was big in a lot of ways …

1)    Tech showed consistency from game-to-game it hadn’t during a well-documented four-game stretch against Georgia, Duke, Virginia and North Carolina.

2)    Tech won a game on a last-second possession, providing itself another mental reminder of how much different this team is than last year’s.

3)    Tech held serve on its home court, and is now 2-1 at Alexander in conference play, (1-1 on the road), something that’s so important going forward as the ACC teams start beating each other up. (Last night was a prime example of the physical toll!) 

   But something else occurred to me too, as the frenzy settled. Yes even for a writer covering the wackiness, the heart rate had to return to normal. It’s cliché, that thing we always hear about good teams having “different players step up every night” (I know, I know, stop me if you’ve heard it before.) But I think it’s cliché because it’s true. …

Continue reading How big was beating Clemson? Let us count the ways… »