Shumpert goes, Durham stays and more

Greetings-

Kind of a newsy day Tuesday. Iman Shumpert decides to go, Wes Durham says he wants to stay and a busy upcoming weekend for Georgia Tech sports got significantly busier.

Shumpert calls it a career

In an interview Tuesday at the Edge Center, Shumpert talked about being a Bulls fan growing up in Chicago and dreaming of playing in the NBA. He made a picture book about his future in the NBA as a child for a school project. He said he decided last week to leave Tech for the draft, a decision that he felt confident of by the weekend.

From talking with NBA teams, Brian Gregory concluded that Shumpert was safely in the top half of the second round. From that, Shumpert decided he could move up into the first through pre-draft workouts – a notion Gregory backed – but that he could only do that by committing to basketball fully.

“I pride myself on doing a lot of different things,” Shumpert said. “Hopefully, my versatility will land me with the right situation.”

Shumpert said it was hard to leave after a losing season and that, if he returned, he could help turn around the program.

It isn’t the most supported of decisions. Among those questioning its wisdom are my colleague Mark Bradley and NBA scouting director Ryan Blake. My two cents: It seems as if Shumpert’s default decision was to go the NBA unless he heard conclusive evidence that he couldn’t get into the first. To his ears, being in the top of the second meant he could get into the first. One thing to consider: He could have stayed and gotten better, helped Tech win, but that still might not have helped him in the 2012 draft. Next year’s draft will be much stronger than this year’s, because the threat of a lockout is keeping a lot of potential draftees in college.

I think he liked being at Tech and he likes Gregory, but I think he felt like he didn’t want to wait any longer to go after his dream when it was within his grasp.

Durham says he’d like to stay

I don’t know who it was at the Yellow Jacket Caravan Tuesday night who asked it, but I have to thank her. During a question-and-answer session for athletic director Dan Radakovich, football coach Paul Johnson, basketball coaches Gregory and MaChelle Joseph and golf coach Bruce Heppler, a woman asked Wes Durham and Radakovich if he was going to stay in Atlanta. It was a question I tried to ask last week, but he respectfully declined.

Durham told the crowd, “It is my hope that I can finish my career in Atlanta at Georgia Tech.”

Radakovich: “Ditto.”

I don’t know Wes nearly well enough to guess why he won’t put his name in the hat to replace his father Woody Durham as the voice of the Tar Heels, but, obviously, he’s got a very good thing going here and it’s pretty obvious that Tech fans love him, and with good reason.

Johnson drops knowledge

Fresh off his golfing victory with Jon Barry at the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge (AJC photos here),  Johnson said the offseason was probably the best the team has had in terms of off-field accountability things like making breakfast check and not missing classes or study hall.

After the bowl game loss, he said, “when we came back in January, I thought our guys did a great job of re-focusing and re-committing to what we’re asking them to do.”

Quarterback Tevin Washington had arthroscopic knee surgery following the spring game for a tear in his medial collateral ligament, but should be ready for fall practice. He said he’s excited about Synjyn Days but called him “a work in progress.” He told a story about standing behind the huddle during the spring game and noticing that when Days dropped back to pass the first few times, his eyes were on creases in the pass rush, not downfield.

He said he asked Days, “How are you going to throw the ball if you don’t look at the receivers?”

Days’ response, according to Johnson: “Oh, yeah. Gotcha, Coach.”

He prefaced a comment about outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu by saying he doesn’t like to single out players for praise, but then said, “I think he will be the next really, really good player at Georgia Tech.”

In discussing the team and incoming players, Johnson noted incoming wide receivers Darren Waller, Jeff Greene and Corey Dennis, though not by name. “We feel like they’re going to have a chance to come in and play early on,” he said.

One other interesting (to me, at least) nugget: Radakovich said women’s golf could be the next sport Tech adds, although nothing is in the offing. (It would happen, presumably, if more women enroll at Tech and shift the male/female ratio, which would require more women’s opportunities to stay in Title IX compliance) Space limitations make other sports unlikely.

Not sure where this fits, but colleague Jeff Schultz ranked Atlanta’s teams (the pro sports teams and Georgia and Georgia Tech basketball). An annual piece he does, it’s always interesting reading. Gregory’s bunch is last, behind even the Thrashers. Ouch.

Tennis teams get bids

Both tennis teams learned Tuesday that they’ll host first- and second-round NCAA tournament matches. The Tech men are the No. 15 seed overall and will play Middle Tennessee State May 13, with the winner playing the Florida State-Mississippi State winner May 14. That winner goes on to Stanford for the 16-team championship. It’s the 10th NCAA bid in coach Kenny Thorne’s 13 seasons at Tech. The Jackets have gotten past the second round once in school history. Tech would appear to be the favorite against MTSU and beat both Florida State and Mississippi State handily earlier this season.

The Tech women’s team also will be home, hosting first- and second-round matches May 14-15. Tech received the No. 14 seed and will play Jacksonville State in the first round. Arizona State and Ole Miss are in the other bracket. It’s the 12th consecutive NCAA bid, all with coach Bryan Shelton, that the Jackets have received. In the six times they’ve hosted opening-round matches, they’ve made it out of the second round five times.

That same weekend, Tech will also host the ACC softball tournament, May 13-15. The Jackets will be the No. 1 seed. The baseball team, which dropped to No. 13 in Baseball America, will also be at home against No. 18 North Carolina in what could be a crucial series for Tech’s efforts to host NCAA tournament games.

Going to be a busy weekend along Fowler Street. Good thing there’s ample parking.

Lastly…

Lastly, an amusing exchange on Twitter between cornerback Louis Young and ex-Jacket Derrick Morgan. Young sent out a few tweets Tuesday advertising the sale of his Xbox. Morgan’s response:

“Bruh this ain’t craigslist.”

38 comments Add your comment

juvenal

May 4th, 2011
9:04 am

Wes more important……

juvenal

May 4th, 2011
9:07 am

wish we’d add mens & womens soccer,this area a hotbed, & would, as top 100 world list in US News, be able to get many international prospects……

UGASlobberknocker

May 4th, 2011
9:29 am

IMO Durham is very good. I was surprised to see that Tech is his employer though. I had always thought that college announcers were hired by the radio stations (with the school’s input). I am pretty sure that is the way it is with UGA and WSB.

How does that work?

GT Trumpet

May 4th, 2011
9:34 am

Where would the field be though?

Rduck

May 4th, 2011
9:41 am

love listening to Wes during Tech and Falcon games. He has the passion and great voice for the game. Calls the game straight up without sugar coating it. If we suck, he will tell you we suck. I hate announcers who try to make excuses for the team’s poor performance. Scott Howard and Eric Zeier should put the pom poms down and take note. Loved Munson also…

Ramblin Wreck

May 4th, 2011
9:41 am

Slobberknocker-

I’m not 100% positive, but I think he works for both. His work as the announcer is with the radio network (not station specifically), but he also has the title of (something like) Director of Athletic’s Communications. I don’t know exactly how the contractual parts work out.

As for ranking GT basketball last in the city, well let’s see: brand new coach, losing your best player (by far) to the draft after a losing season with a whopping 4 wins in conference, only one recruit coming (a decent one), and playing all home games next season at Philips and the Gwinnett Center? Yeah, last about does it for next year. Hopefully, the next 3-4 years will see that ranking rise. I think Gregory can do it.

uga is last in the sec

May 4th, 2011
10:00 am

NO to soccer at Ga Tech, especially women’s soccer…..never, never,never…..women’s golf is ok

nerd

May 4th, 2011
10:21 am

GT Trumpet

May 4th, 2011
10:27 am

We could have a pretty awesome cricket team though. Bunch of guys take up half the CRC playing sometimes. It’s amazing how much space that game uses…

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 4th, 2011
10:30 am

Sorry folks my personal experience with Wes is he’s a snob. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye when I asked him a question after one of the radio shows.

He is good at his trade, but he’s still a snob jerk jock sniffer.

Alum in Texas

May 4th, 2011
10:35 am

Soccer, lacrosse, golf, and field hockey are the women’s sports that GT does not participate in that the ACC lists in the conference standings. Of the 4, soccer and golf have the largest conference participation. Golf would be easiest to set up. Soccer would be some great competition against perennial top teams. Both golf and soccer would tend to attract some great scholar athletes.

juvenal

May 4th, 2011
10:39 am

good thing about golf & baseball is that they are both played on grass-that way, you can watch the grass grow during the really boring parts……soccer is the #1 participation sport in the USA….

BYRDDAWG

May 4th, 2011
11:06 am

Hard to believe that I’m sayin this……but I’m glad Wes D is stayin! He’s not AL but he’s darn close!!!!! Just like my boy Scott Howard isn’t Munson….

GTBob

May 4th, 2011
11:21 am

Outside of football and basketball we have some pretty good teams going. Baseball is still top 15 even with their recent struggles. Golf is top 5. Men’s and Womens tennis is top 15. Womens basketball ended the season in the top 25. Softball is top 20. Kudos to all of the less lucrative sports representing GT well.

ormewood

May 4th, 2011
11:30 am

I don’t understand why Tech does not field men’s and women’s soccer teams, the same to a lesser extent with lacrosse. The costs aren’t terribly prohibitive. Their ACC brethren field some of the best teams in the country in each of these sports.

GT hulk

May 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

Glad PJ can win at golf, sure calls some stupid plays against Georgia. While he was playing golf, did he let the kid that dropped 2 “fair-catches” against Air Force caddy? Or the long snapper that he plans on using alot for punting caddy?

GT hulk

May 4th, 2011
12:11 pm

GTBob, Hall will choke when the regional playoffs start, especially if they wind up playing georgia

cewbee

May 4th, 2011
12:51 pm

Tech has club sport teams in both Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse – am assuming they have same for Soccer….. Not sure what it would take to elevate the NCAA competition….

GTBob

May 4th, 2011
12:55 pm

Nah GT hulk, we won’t choke this year. We are getting our bad play out of the way early this time. We aren’t waiting until the regionals.

Ken Sugiura

May 4th, 2011
1:10 pm

Ormewood – i think it’s a matter of money and space. the athletic association isn’t flush with cash and so, while it wouldn’t cost a ton to field soccer teams, it would be a drain on the other teams. and it’d be tough to find places for them to practice and play.
trumpet – ha ha.

Stinger 2

May 4th, 2011
2:44 pm

Ken: Have you had an opportunity to discuss with CPJ any changes that may be in the works for the TO in 2011? In one of his comments above he mentions the incoming wide receivers. Kind of strange to me that he would bring this up since he has steadfastly said that GT will not increase passing significantly. My question is: Do you think that it is possible GT will pass more with Vad Lee who could be the starting QB at some point in the near future?

juvenal

May 4th, 2011
2:45 pm

work a deal with Kennesaw State-where does GSt.U play baseball?

JM

May 4th, 2011
3:12 pm

There’s not too many open fields around GT where a soccer field could be built. However, once the Falcons build the new stadium, the Ga Dome will be looking for some new tenants. Maybe they’d offer GT a soccer contract cheap.

GT Fan ...

May 4th, 2011
3:52 pm

Just like HC’s (and Position coaches – see UGA’s RB coach), Wes Durham is using this opp to get a big fat, UNwarranted, pay raise IMO.

Shumpert … don’t really care either way. If you think you can play in the NBA son, then go and PROVE it to whoever drafts you … EARN your $!! Don’t hide behind your draft position to get your $, get your $ from your PLAY. You are not owed anything!

drew

May 4th, 2011
4:16 pm

If one had to leave, I’d rather it be Shumpert than Durham.

But Shumpert’s decision to enter the NBA draft is consistent with my belief that he simply thinks he’s better than he really is. Ditto for those advising him to leave.

Seriously, I wish Shumpert the best. He’s got the skills to be successful in the NBA, but I’ll be surprised if he goes in the first two rounds.

His numbers are misleading…while I applaud his “effort” stats(rebounding, steals, overall defense) some of his stats are more a reflection of his selfishness with the ball this past season. And don’t tell me Shumpert was all Tech had last year…they had “players”, but Shumpert (possibly with Hewitt’s blessing) seemed to think he had to do it all.

And I think his stats support this. He assists numbers dropped each year at Tech (Fr: 143, Soph: 120, Jr: 108), and he put up 436 shots this past season, compared to 270 the year before, and 271 his freshman year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if his leaving turns out to be addition by subtraction for Tech. Basketball is the ultimate TEAM game, and when one player tries to do too much, the team often suffers. Hopefully new coach BG can coach up a point guard that will get the WHOLE TEAM involved. At any rate, I’m looking forward to GT basketball next year…which is something I haven’t been able to say in a couple of years.

PureEvil

May 4th, 2011
4:40 pm

Glad Durham is staying. He’s the best sportscaster in Atlanta!!

PINBALL 43

May 4th, 2011
8:11 pm

RAMBLE ON… I must agree with you. Wes was quite arrogant when I met him in New Orleans last year. Very disappointed in his attitude…

just saying

May 4th, 2011
8:48 pm

just saying

May 4th, 2011
8:49 pm

I imagine Wes Durham doesn’t (not duhn’t, the way Wes pronounces that word) want to give up the Falcons gig either. not a fan of w d

FullMetalJacket

May 4th, 2011
9:41 pm

Hope Wes stays at Tech until he does retire…we are lucky to have him and I hope we are treating him well also. He and Victoria are valuable members of the Tech family. I travel often and in the Autumn I am sometimes surprised at the lack of quality broadcasting by other schools’ announcers. Wes has character, class, and …very importantly…clarity and accuracy. His radio show with Tony is fun also. As for Shumpert, he is making a young man’s mistake, which is what young (and some of us old) men do. I am glad he is so confident in his ability to jump up half a round, over a dozen other young men with the same motivation.

FullMetalJacket

May 4th, 2011
9:46 pm

Kudos to Coach Gregory for supporting Shumpert. Gregory probably assumed liked the rest of us that when Shumpert was told he wasn’t first round material he would wise up and return. It sounds like Shumpert’s mind was already made up, despite his parents, his coach, the NBA scouts, the NBA advisor, and practically everyone else’s advice to the contrary. Some mistakes we just have to make to learn. IN the meantime, it will obviously significantly hurt our chances to have a good year, and Shumpert will miss out on a showcase year and possibly his degree.

FullMetalJacket

May 4th, 2011
9:49 pm

So, Ken, with Shumpert gone, we have one more scholarship to play with? Heard anything on any prospects, or on any Dayton transferees?

William Casey

May 4th, 2011
10:31 pm

I wish Shumpert all the best. He has all of the NBA level attributes except outside shooting. His game is otherwise well-rounded and he reminds me of Oscar Robertson, though not nearly THAT skilled. Of course, I have selfish reasons for wanting him to remain at GT. I believe that he could have been the “break-through” college player (i.e.- Jimmer Fredette) of 2011-12– First Team All-ACC, maybe All-American & ACC POY. Instead, he could end up at the end of the bench on some God-forsaken NBA team that nobody cares about. I don’t think it’s about the money with Shump, but, oh well. Life will go on.

Alabama Jack

May 5th, 2011
7:37 am

Since when are the dawg teams “Atlanta” ? Is Clarke County kicking them out to free up jail space?

Lethal Weapon 1

May 5th, 2011
8:44 am

As if Shumpert is that good…

EKT

May 6th, 2011
7:20 am

Big mistake Shumpert to leave, your not that good. Big mistake.

BillyD

May 8th, 2011
10:48 am

Not picking on EKT, but I wonder about Tech`s English Dept. It certainly wasn`t the toughest subject when I was there, but at least we knew the difference between “your” and “you`re”. EKT is just one of many Tech people I see on various boards who don`t.

West Coast Jacket

May 9th, 2011
12:37 pm

Good luck to Shumpert. Tech could use his D and physical play. Hope that Wes Durham does stay. I have spoken to him several times at different functions and have found him to be open and personal. Those who dislike him just might look inward.