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 through a critical eye. So here’s Elmore breaking down different aspects of Favors’ game:

   Footwork: “It’s real difficult for young big men to master the footwork of the position, be it power forward or center, in Favors’ case probably power forward. Not so much facing the basket, but with your back to the basket, to develop a go-to move. But it is about footwork and getting yourself open. When I’ve watched him play, it might have been the Duke game, he had a lot of trouble getting his footwork together, turning it over with travels, other things. That’s all work. That’s all constant competition.”

   Strength: “His strength seems to be a natural strength. It doesn’t look like it’s a weight room strength yet. I think the combination could make him someone really tough to reckon with, once he gets in a routine in the weight room. There are guys equally as strong as he is out there, and it’s more that brute strength you have to employ to be successful.”

   Foul trouble: “(Clemson game) was a great example, I think he blocked two consecutive shots, and on the third one, (he picked up a foul.) All it was was a pump fake, but he wanted to get that third consecutive block. A lot of big men will understand, you’ve already intimidated him once or twice, and when a guy head fakes like that, obviously they’re going to look to try to throw one up there, but he fell for the fake and went up in the air. That’s natural. That’s understandable. In high school it probably came very easily. It’s a question of gaining experience.”

   1-on-1 defense: “Like most big guys, he has a tendency to stand straight up and try to guard. He has good instincts from a shot blocking standpoint to come over and help and be an intimidator. But when it comes to 1-on-1, even when guys get the ball in the post and are about to make a move, you have to understand, you still have to bend your knees. You still have to be able to maximize your lateral quickness to match the quickness of the ball handler. You have to bend your knees, and then you can straighten out, you can lengthen when the shot is about to be taken.”

   Facing up, Favors’ jump shot: “Gani Lawal is a perfect example. When he came in as a freshman, could he face the basket? Could he shoot that 12 footer? But look at him now. It’s about repetition. It’s about understanding that element of the game. It’s muscle memory. You have to do it over and over again.”

   Coachability: “I think the most important thing is he appears to be a solid individual. He’s not so totally in love with himself and his skills that he can’t work to get better.”

And some food for thought: 

   Elmore makes no bones about being old school when it comes to whether guys leave early for the NBA. He thinks players shouldn’t be allowed to be drafted into the NBA until after their junior year of college. He has a lot to say about that, but I picked out one point he made that was interesting.

   If I were him, I’d use it when people say “Well, what about the money?” His point is that the second NBA contract is where the real money is and staying in college makes that second NBA contract more lucrative.

   Here’s how he put it:  

   “What happens is guys come in unprepared and yeah, they’ll play out their contracts because the money is guaranteed but after that…,” said Elmore, voice trailing off. “The big contract is your second deal, not your first. Guys lose sight of that and the fact that if you’re prepared properly you will not only succeed during your first contract, you will put yourself in a position to sign a bigger contract the second time around. But most of the people who are in the ears of these young men don’t care about the second contract. They have a hand in their pocket, some way or another. And all they care about is the instant gratification and that’s what’s being pushed here.”

49 comments Add your comment

Go get em Jackets

January 22nd, 2010
8:54 pm

good for Elmore, I do not think players, football or basketball, should be allowed to leave early either. Baseball has minor leagues, the other two sports can do the same.


January 22nd, 2010
8:57 pm

Really great interview Carroll. You got the important points from Elmore. For a guy his size, Favors is really light on his feet. He will be really solid player.

I liked the comments about the second pro contract. There have many guys who have gone in early, played the 4 year contract in the NBA then spent 10 years playing for Toledo or overseas for small money.

Remember Dion Glover?


January 22nd, 2010
8:57 pm

You do a good job of covering GT hoops Miss Rodgers.
Just imagine how much of a powerhouse GT would be in hoops if all players were made to stay till their junior years!! I like what i see from GT this year, but am skeptical because i thought one of the keys to a final 4 run would be to bring in a TOP assistant coach to help out Hewitt. I predicted before the year that we had a Final 4 quality team with a sweet 16 level coaching staff that would eventually hurt them. I hope im wrong and that we win it all this year!! If we can stay out of the Kentucky bracket i give us a good chance of getting to the title game! Diehard GT hoops fan… since lethal weapon 3!

William Casey

January 22nd, 2010
9:29 pm

What is preventing basketball from setting up a system similar to baseball’s. The “one and done” is macking a mockery of a great game.

Jackets Rock

January 22nd, 2010
9:38 pm

Nice article! Pretty much hits it on the head. If Favors stays another year, next year’s team is a title contender. Staying to develop makes sense, but it begs the question — is Tech developing its players to their full capability? Hope so.

Tech Forever

January 23rd, 2010
12:01 am

Elmore commented during the Clemson game about Favors, “He could stay in school and be a great bigman, or he could come out early and be a solid bigman.” Something to that effect.

Big 'Ol Stinger

January 23rd, 2010
7:34 am

Good article. Better than most on the AJC these days.

Maybe Favor’s will see Elmore’s comments and take them to heart. Favor’s is getting better but he doesn’t look NBA ready. Maybe he’ll stick around one more year but I doubt it. He’ll take the money now and make some weasely agent rich.

Can’t blame him. You go to college to make money right?

I don’t think he’ll be getting and Engineering degree from Tech.


January 23rd, 2010
9:27 am

Listen, I think kids should be allowed to leave whenever they want. If the market will pay for their abilities, no one should restrict their ability to earn. In lots of cases, leaving earlier is a stupid move for the player. But alas, I don’t believe in legislating against stupidity.
As a Tech grad, I know that most of us, if told by an employer, that we could start a multimillion dollar career before even graduating would have taken it, only coming back to get degree as an after thought.
Don’t hate because the market will pay these young kids millions for their natural ability.
What happens when you stay an extra year, get hurt, after you were considered a guaranteed 1st rounder, and never make those promised millions?
Tech fans: See Ken Swilling

George P Burdell

January 23rd, 2010
10:13 am

This may become a cliche, but thank you Carroll.
Excellent reporting…

Dr. T

January 23rd, 2010
11:27 am

Is Hewitt the best coach to put Favors in the best position to maximize his potential and be successful? History with many future NBA players he “coached” would seem to suggest otherwise!

Stinger Envy

January 23rd, 2010
12:02 pm



January 23rd, 2010
12:06 pm

After years of Teko, Sammy, and Steppe Bobby C was a god send. I can’t name all the players: THE LW3, Spider, Best, L.U.K.E the red Aussie. I always cared about BBALL as much as Football until the last few years. Paul I ain’t feeling it!


January 23rd, 2010
12:20 pm

Good article and Elmore really hit the nail on the head. If Favors wants to be an NBA great, he will develop his game some more before entering the NBA. Even Jordan played 3 years of college ball. Anybody think that staying in school didn’t help his career?


January 23rd, 2010
2:05 pm

The NFL (and NFL players) greatly benefit by the Junior rule. Even if they go pro early, if things don’t work out in the NFL, they can come back and get their degrees with a year of work. Also, being a year away frrom your degree gives you more incentive to stay.

The fact that it works for football, should make it a no-brainer for basketball, especially since there is a much lesser chance of injury in basketball, and you can play till a later age…

The NBA needs to make this change if they want to reduce Arenas/Crittenton type flare ups. Better educated, and more experienced players will make for a better league.

nebraska jacket

January 23rd, 2010
2:52 pm

The NFL, NBA, and MLB are completely different games. The reason freshman can’t leave in football is because physically no 18 or 19 year old kid is ready for the pounding of the NFL. In the NBA there are guys like kevin durant (couldn’t bench 185 at the combine) that can go into the league and dominate because it’s not all about physicality.

I don’t like the one-and-done rule either, but I understand why they have it.

GT is lame

January 23rd, 2010
9:59 pm

Just a reminder… UGA 73 – gt 66!!!!!


Remember the football score? Here it is again UGA 30 – gt 24!!!!!



January 23rd, 2010
11:23 pm

Favors is clearly not ready for the next step. Another year would do him wonders experience wise. He could end up riding a bench somewhere instead of getting that experience. Gani made an excellent decision. His game has really progressed. Hope Favors gets the proper advisement to do the same. But who could blame anyone for not grabbing that kind of $$ even if it will still be there in a year.


January 24th, 2010
12:26 pm

The year is only halfway done, but you can clearly see why NBA scouts see the upside in Favors. Who of us (particularly the Domino pizza delivering sidewalk trash of UGA who post on these blogs) can understand the concept of making 7 figures JUST for signing your name on a piece of paper in the coming months? In this day and age, it’s all about the Benjamins and Mr. Favors is quickly about to see more than his fair share. Wish him nothing but the best, whatever he decides.

Buzzed Driving

January 24th, 2010
2:33 pm

We won but we lost. Count how many times the players score after the play is set up in the timeout.


January 24th, 2010
2:35 pm

Fire! Hewitt! Immediately!

Gwinnett Fred

January 24th, 2010
2:38 pm

If he’s so great, why did he pull a total disappearing act in Sunday’s game?

Last 10 1/2 minutes of the game he goes 0/3 from the field with only 3 rebounds.

Not saying he isn’t a very good player – but NBA caliber players don’t fade away in the last 10 minutes of 1 point games on the road in the ACC.

P.S. – Hewatt can’t coach worth a damn (especially in the time out dept.) and the team can’t shoot FT’s worth a crap either.


January 24th, 2010
2:38 pm

FSU wins by 2. Can we PLEASE have a real coach. This team just looked lost down the stretch. The final play with 3 sec. left was an absolute joke! This team is soooo talented and its a shame that they are being let down by this coaching staff. They have the pieces in play to make a deep run in the tourny but my question is will this coaching staff get in the way!! Hewitt calls a timeout when his best shooter catches the ball. Guess what happened??? Yep Oliver drained the three! Did the timeout get them a better shot? No, another crappy drawn up play by hewitt that amounted to nothing but another loss! Please DR you made a great hire with Coach Johnson, do it again with our basketball program.


January 24th, 2010
2:43 pm

I just cant blame the players for anything on this team. Hewitt has shown too many time that he just cant come thru in the pressure. Can you honestly say that favors is being utilized properly. Heck no! I will be the first to say it. Its time to make a trip to charleston and bring Crimins back. Do you honestly think this team is losing to FSU and UGA is he is the coach?!?

Gwinnett Fred

January 24th, 2010
2:43 pm

11 for 22 from the line – incredible.

I’d lock every damn player in the gym until each one shot 100 free throws and if they didn’t manage at least 70% – they get to start over.

Oh yea, and I’d give them ONE ball. Keep their a$$ in the gym all night if they have to.

The other advantage of this is that Hewitt can just leave practice and let the assistants chart the FT’s.

PS – Trade a couple used ball bags to the Hawks for Price and let him coach the Jackets.

BS Patrol

January 24th, 2010
2:44 pm

If Hewitt just sat on the bench & kept his mouth shut this would be a better team. I’ve never seen a coach that could ruin the rhythm of a game better than him.

Gwinnett Fred

January 24th, 2010
2:45 pm


You can’t honestly be ready to be giving the team a pass after shooting 50% from the line today are you?

Your quote of “I just cant blame the players for anything on this team.” would seem you would.

Hewitt sucks, but he isn’t the one standing undefended at the line throwing up bricks that would make Josh Smith proud is he?

Biff Pocoroba

January 24th, 2010
2:47 pm

Favors may as well go pro. He isn’t going to improve with the “coaching” staff that Tech has now. DRad must step in and get Hewitt some assistants that know how to coach big men. Moe Miller didn’t play for a few games because he wasn’t good but Hewitt stuck him out there today and let him turn it over and stink it up on offense. Hewitt can’t teach his team to bring the ball in or shoot free throws and it cost us another game today. Shump had one good game against a lousy UNC team and Hewitt said he was finally healthy and playing well and then he went right back to being shoot and miss Shump. Rice is a shooting guard who can’t even make free throws and he was allowed to play until he fouled out. If DRad would make the right move and fire Hewitt today, we could still save this season. If not, we will continue to collapse since we won’t luck up and get Duke after they have played 3 games in 6 days again. That win was as big a fluke as Hewitt’s final 4 run.


January 24th, 2010
2:49 pm

Mark Price , Cremins i dont give a crap! Just please not another year of Hewitt on the sidelines! Oh hes a great recruiter. Look he got Derrick Favors to come here! It doesnt matter how many stars the kid was if you can coach him and incorporate him in to your system( see UGA football team). I would rather have a bunch of 3 star guy who come in with a coach and learn and be sucessful. This team isnt going anywhere with Hewitt!

Gwinnett Fred

January 24th, 2010
2:51 pm

And how sad is it that our hometown paper only has a day old article out there for fans to chat on?

Let Hewitt run the AJC – he can’t make them any worse than they already are.


January 24th, 2010
2:53 pm

Normally i wouldnt give them a pass on the FT shooting. Yes you are correct its AWFUL. But do you honestly believe this coaching staff is doing things to correct it?!? Please name me one player that you feel Hewitt has made a better player, in ANY facet of their game.


January 24th, 2010
2:56 pm

Give this team to Coach K or Roy Williams and i promise you it would go at LEAST to the elite 8. Tech will most likely get into the tourny as a 8-10 seed and lose in the first round against a lesser talented team that just plays better in its own system and forces its will and style of play on tech.

Gwinnett Fred

January 24th, 2010
2:58 pm

You won’t get an argument from me regarding the lack of contributions from Hewitt (or the coaching staff in general for that matter) – they stink – period.

I’m just in awe that players can’t shoot FT’s at a 70%+ clip. And 11-22 (and that does NOT include the ramifications of missing the front end of a 1-1 or realistically they shot 11-25 today) in a 2 point loss (to me) overshadows the lack of coaching. You go 14-22 (which is still a God-awful 64%) and you win the game. It’s as simple as that.


January 24th, 2010
3:02 pm

I agree on the FT shooting. But look at Lawal, god awful from the line. He is a JR! And he is no better than when he got there! Thats why i am so down on this coaching staff. You expect some improvement. This kid has the tools really the FT shooting is the only hole in his game. Why isnt he any better after 2+ yrs . ANSWER Coaching!

Meadowlark Lemmon

January 24th, 2010
3:11 pm

Paul Hewitt snatches another defeat from the jaws of victory! He is a terrible coach. There will be no ACC crown with him at the helm. Fire Hewitt now!


January 24th, 2010
3:32 pm

we have the talent to beat any one, & the coaching to lose to anyone..if i had 6mil, i,d get rid of this incompetnt..next home game, just yell HEWWWitt..

Carroll Rogers

January 24th, 2010
3:40 pm

Gwinnett Fred, in defense of the AJC, if I might interrupt….The editors at our paper decided to hire a freelancer to cover this game in Tallahassee to keep travel costs down, so I’m at home and not at the game and off today. Thought it would be misleading to post a new blog when I wasn’t physically at the game. I should have mentioned it earlier though. My apologies.

Mike Gminski said something that I only caught the tail end of, about Gani’s free throws. Something about him locking his knees. Did anybody hear that? It did look like Gani was kinda stiff, and that his shot was all upper-body from the line today. I’d be interested to see tape of today vs. tape of his free throw form earlier this season.

Gwinnett Fred

January 24th, 2010
4:30 pm

Carol, I appreciate your reply and your dedication to your employer, but have to follow up with 2 questions.

1) Freelancers can’t blog?

2) Even at 55 cents a mile, covering the game would only cost 9 hours on the road and $300 in auto expense. Are you guys really THAT bad off???


January 24th, 2010
6:48 pm

So Oliver comes in and drains 3 straight 3 pointers.

How does FSU stop him?

Well they don’t, Blewitt does, he sits him on the bench.


January 25th, 2010
8:48 am

Hewitt is not a good coach. An excellent recruiter but a bad coach. Never should have lost the FSU game. I just don’t see the discipline on the court!

Carroll Rogers

January 25th, 2010
10:01 am

Gwinnett Fred, freelancers aren’t blogging, as to whether they can or can’t, I know at the very least it would take setting them up to use this platform and that would take another step that maybe our guys were not up for messing with. I do know Mark Bradley came through in fine fashion yesterday blogging about the game, so I hope you found some satisfaction there.

As for the expense of Tallahassee, I had some of the same questions, and I’m not privy to the books. My guess is that the answer would be when you take several of those $300 trips together, you’re onto something. But yeah, comment to editors if you like, or to the “tell us what you think” section on this site. Doesn’t hurt!

Carroll Rogers

January 25th, 2010
10:06 am

I beg to differ on the Oliver 3-pointer issue after the timeout call. The way you guys were talking about it, made it sound like he was up in the air when Hewitt called the timeout. And I didn’t remember it that way. Went back and looked, and the whistle was blowing before he took two steps to his left and pulled up. Michael Snaer held up, rather than coming out to defend the shot. If whistles weren’t blowing who’s to say he would have made it? Close call, but not as close as you guys make it out to be, IMHO.


January 25th, 2010
10:36 am

Great Blog. Elmore had some interesting points.


January 25th, 2010
12:56 pm

Carroll – As usual another great blog! You’re right about the last Oliver 3-pointer. The whistle had blown then he takes an uncontested 3 without Snaer bearing down on him. However, the better question is why take the timeout in that situation? Oliver just missed a 3-pointer earlier in the possession. We got the offensive rebound and the defense was out of position. Oliver had the option of taking a less contested 3-pointer than the one he took earlier in the same possession or he had the option to drive to the basket and try to create with the FSU D on their heels. Hewitt decides to call timeout and we get our center catching the inbounds pass around the top of key and driving to the basket??? Tell me that was not the play call! Everytime Gani has the ball, he thinks he has to shoot. Oh, and we still can’t run a decent inbounds play. How many years in a row have we seen that?


January 25th, 2010
1:16 pm

UGA has another huge win while the Yechies get humiliated by the Noles!! Some things never change!!!


January 25th, 2010
1:16 pm



January 25th, 2010
1:35 pm

WTF Hewitt? Yesterdays loss is on you!

Who calls a timeout after an offensive rebound when the defense has already been broken down. Who thinks “You know my team has a better chance to score if I call my last timeout and let the defense reset”. Who does that?

Who do we blame for the complete lack of fundamentals this team displays night in and night out? Free throw shooting, assists to turnovers, half court offense, inbounds plays – none of this comes naturally to this team.

As for pro prospects; why would you stay at Tech and under-achieve when you can go to the pro’s and drop 40+ on someone any given night? Looking in your general direction Anthony Morrow…

Carroll Rogers

January 25th, 2010
2:53 pm

So if Oliver misses that follow-up shot, is the cry for why no timeout? I mean, you guys raise valid points, but it’s easy in hindsight, especially when the ball doesn’t go in. Usually it’s Paul doesn’t have any timeouts left, so he’s screwed, now he does, and uses it to get his best player the ball, and shooting in a 1-on-1 situation, and he’s screwed too.

But hey, that’s what blogs are for. Vent away. Me? I’d be venting about the poor free throw shooting too. That cost them big in each of the last two games. Gotta take the freebies when you get them. It can make a huge difference in ACC play. Ask Virginia.


January 25th, 2010
8:59 pm

Basic fundamentals cause this team to lose every time. You foul w/ JUST UNDER A MINUTE TO GO, leading by one, AFTER you just missed your front end of the one and one? Seriously??? Why be so aggresive and foul there?? I see if youre down by a point w/ under 35 secs to go, BUT YOURE UP BY A POINT! Let them rebound and set up your defense. Make the other team EARN their victory, something that is a foreign concept to a CPH coached team.

And about the NBA, I think they should implement the NFL’s rule. You’ve got 19 and 20 year olds stealing money they don’t deserve. And don’t give me that crap that they should be “allowed to make a living.” They can make a living overseas, in the NBADL or working at a restaraunt for a few years before being allowed into the league at 21. Playing in the NBA should be a privelage, not a right.

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