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.”
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, 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.”