It’s time for something special from Derrick Favors.
Tech’s freshman standout hasn’t his breakout game yet, and I’m not predicting it’ll come against Duke. Not because the Duke inside game is all that special – though the Blue Devils do have length and depth – but because I think Duke will make it really hard for Favors to get the ball in the low post, period.
But some kind of something needs to come from Favors in this five-game stretch (against four ranked opponents) if Tech is going to have the year people around the program expect.
And yes, I believe, he definitely has it in him.
I know Favors’ totals are down the last couple of games – 14 points on only six field goals. Part of that is foul trouble, which limited him to only 23 minutes against Charlotte and 21 minutes against Georgia. Part of that, I think, is a lack of aggression on his part, in demanding the ball, in taking shots and taking the ball to the basket. (He’s taken only two free throws in the last two games.)
For a few hints on how to be more active around the basket, he needs to look only to Gani Lawal, who went from scoring 2 points vs. Winston-Salem State to 29 against Charlotte and 21 against Georgia. He knew he needed to step it up offensively.
I’ve read some on this blog, people questioning Favors’ talent. I think that’s a little nuts. There’s nothing I’ve seen to tell me he’s not the special player he’s billed to be. He’s not having the explosive season of John Wall at Kentucky. But he doesn’t seem to me to have that kind of personality to begin with, nor does he play a position where he gets to come down court with the ball in his hands.
He’s relying on teammates to get him the ball, and Tech’s not doing that with the fluidity and regularity it should be. But Favors, for his part, sometimes seems selfless and laid back to a fault. He is content to do the hard work, play defense, get rebounds, and let the offense come to him.
It’s getting to the time where he should come to the offense. And I don’t mean taking a bunch of shots from 17 feet. Those are not working for him. But his moves around the basket? Cat-like. He’s quick. He’s the one you see higher in the air than his defenders (regardless of how many). If the ball doesn’t go in, it doesn’t, but you see him getting good shots off and wonder why he’s not taking more of them. (One ugly sequence against Georgia notwithstanding.)
Favors has scored in double-digits in all but three of Tech’s games. He’s averaging 12.1 points per game, 8.8 rebounds – absolutely steady numbers. But his season-high for a game is 18 points against George Mason. I keep waiting for the breakout, and we’re to the point where there aren’t easy opponents to do it against.
The last two games it’s like he’s going through a little of the freshman transition. He’s drawn some tough fouls he didn’t like, especially on the offensive end for hooking a defender. But as Lawal said this morning, Favors has got to learn to shake those off and keep playing. He’s got to respond from things not going his way, forget them, and get on to the next play.
The Duke game would be a good start.
This just in (and it ain’t even basketball):
Tech announced today that Tom Glavine will be the featured speaker at the 15th annual benefit dinner for Georgia Tech’s baseball team on Feb. 18. The Yellow Jackets’ season kicks off Feb. 19 with the first of three games against Missouri State.
The event will be held at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Time and ticket information is yet to be determined.
Other familiar names to speak at the event include John Smoltz, Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur, and former Yellow Jackets Jason Varitek, Mark Teixeira and Nomar Garciaparra. For more information contact Nick Scherer at 404-894-2261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.