Columbia coach weighs in on Gregory

Greetings-

Hope you’re well. I don’t know if you read the Brian Gregory story that ran this past Sunday, but it mentioned some stuff about Gregory’s efforts to get to know the coaches in metro Atlanta and the state.

To hear things from the other side, I talked to Phil McCrary, the longtime coach at Columbia High, a basketball powerhouse in DeKalb. (He sent Lance Storrs to Tech and Travis Leslie and Jeremy Price to Georgia, among many others.) I didn’t get to include much from him in the story, but thought you’d be interested in his thoughts.

McCrary said he liked Gregory, who told him that he planned to recruit Georgia, although he took that with a grain of salt. “That’s typical with all of them,” McCrary said.

McCrary, naturally, would like to see that happen, and thought that Paul Hewitt spent a lot of time recruiting out of state. It bears mention that Hewitt had plenty of Georgia kids on the roster, but McCrary’s opinion is hardly unique to him. (Hewitt’s final roster included four scholarship players from outside Georgia. By comparison, Georgia has one player from outside the state.) It should be noted that Bobby Cremins did the same.

“He got (Gani) Lawal and (Mfon) Udofia and all those kids, but with state institutions, I’d love to see them loaded down with Georgia kids,” said McCrary, who said he gives in-state coaches “first crack” at his kids and encourages his players to look in-state first. “I hate to look at the NCAA tournament and then you see a lot of Georgia kids playing with out-of-state teams.”

Gregory: "We have to be in the mix on all the best players (in the state). It's where this program belongs."

Gregory: "We have to be in the mix on all the best players (in the state). It's where this program belongs."

As I mentioned in the story, Gregory appears serious about recruiting the state, as his first two hires were assistants with plenty of experience recruiting Atlanta, Chad Dollar and Josh Postorino. McCrary has known Dollar, the son of longtime Douglass High coach Donald Dollar, since he was a kid.

“Very coachable young man, very responsible young man,” McCrary said of Dollar. “He used basketball to get a good education. Now he’s trying to give back to the game.”

Gregory made a good start with McCrary in his mid-April visit to the school. He told him he was going to start recruiting his star rising senior Jarmal Reid – Hewitt hadn’t been recruiting him, McCrary said, although he didn’t know the reason. McCrary told Gregory about a couple younger players, whom Gregory returned to watch at an open gym and then told McCrary he was interested in them, also.

“He’s going to have a lot of work to do now,” McCrary said of Gregory. “Kids want to go to a winning program and that’s what he’s really going to have to build at Tech.”

50 comments Add your comment

Old Gold Britches

May 5th, 2011
8:34 am

Thanks Ken. One can only hope we draw in some good players from in-state. Time will tell.

bobby cremins

May 5th, 2011
8:36 am

JM

May 5th, 2011
8:39 am

Sounds like Coach Gregory is starting well. He’ll work hard and continue to impress the HS coaches. Hopefully we will see if these in-state kids are good enough to win in the ACC.

just saying

May 5th, 2011
8:49 am

UNLV just hired Stacey Augmon as an assistant, the purpose to re energize the fan base who wants the return of the glory days. Augmon was assisting with the Denver Nuggets.

It is beyond me why Gregory could not reach out and hire a former GT player as an assistant to do the same.

Honestly, would it have killed him to do that?

Okay, then

May 5th, 2011
8:54 am

What was the deal with Gregory dropping the S-word right off the bat at the Caravan the other night? What in the world was Radakovich doing thinking a low class guy like this?

Tech Fan

May 5th, 2011
8:54 am

Hiring former Tech players isn’t going to make the team any better, ‘just saying’ — hiring good coaches will. Hiring former Tech players may make the fans happier, resulting in their coming back to games. Hiring good coaches who turn out winning players will do the same. Quit living in the past — let Coach Gregory hire who he feels is best for the team, and support him in his efforts.

J W

May 5th, 2011
8:57 am

Coaches are responsible for and should be obligated too, recruiting the best student-athelete for their program that is available and interested. Period. It does not matter whether they are in-state or not. The student (and his family) also have to weigh all considerations and make an informed decision as to what will be good fit in the long term.

Diablo69

May 5th, 2011
9:03 am

Overheard at the Duke Michigan game during the NCAA 3rd round this year:

“We need to get in the f*n game!”
“Mason Plumlee; what the f* are you doing?”
“We are going to lose the f*n game because of you!”
“Get in the f*n game!”

That low class *bleep*-hole has 3 National Titles a Gold Medal and a World Championship.

Buzz Me

May 5th, 2011
9:10 am

hey diablo69….what’s your point?

juvenal

May 5th, 2011
9:21 am

as long as they aren’t stephon-types…….agree,Buzz Me, heat of the game a lot different…….

ormewood

May 5th, 2011
9:21 am

Diablo, actually that bleep-hole you reference has won four national titles. His potty mouth is well-known and can be easily heard if you happen to sit close to the bench.

I don’t necessarily buy that having an alum on the staff is a big deal. Sure, if one is qualified, then that’s fine. The important thing is having a staff that meshes well together, has good chemistry, obviously can recruit and coach.

FYI, other than Roy Williams, the UNC staff has zero UNC alums.

gtg301y

May 5th, 2011
9:24 am

I think there are merits to both sides of the language argument. Anyone who does not realize that foul language is a part of the sports culture is kidding themselves. On the other hand, Coach Gregory needs to be able to control his tongue in front of the public. “Okay, then”, what did Coach Gregory use the expletive in reference to?

joe mather can't bunt

May 5th, 2011
9:28 am

Let’s hire a GT legend of the past as a assistant so that the first year we don’t win 20 (probably this year) we can get on the coaches hump and fire him and replace him with the local legend, makes perfect sense to me. That of course coming from fickle GT fans who showed up 70 percent at Grant Field to support the reigning ACC champs and the had the audacity to question CPJ’s offense working at the BCS level. And we wonder why we struggle.

Okay, then

May 5th, 2011
9:57 am

Go to http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/ot/caravan-live.html

He speaks at about the 14:30 mark. I’m sure some may say innocuous, but frankly, it seems really stupid for someone trying to make a first impression…

Outside Observer

May 5th, 2011
10:06 am

If someone wants to hear foul language, listen to Machelle Joseph during a timeout. She might put Coach K to shame. If it gets the job done, I have no problem with it. If Tony Dungy comes down and calls Gregory out for it, then we might have a problem. Until that happens, let Gregory do his thing and hopefully it works. I still can’t believe we are arguing about cursing in sports though…

Ken Sugiura

May 5th, 2011
10:11 am

JW – Gregory isn’t recruiting in-state blindly. The point I was making is that he seems to be making it more of a priority than Paul Hewitt did, for better or worse. As you say, I suppose it ultimately doesn’t matter, but I think you stand a better chance of signing the best in-state kids than you do the ones from out of state.
Just saying – I understand your point, but is anyone going to buy a ticket because of who the assistant coach is? Gregory said in the story (linked) that he can see himself hiring alumni in the future, but right now he needs experienced coaches. Augmon, it should be pointed out, was a player development assistant in the NBA for four years.
Okay, then – it was a false step. I’d chalk it up to maybe misreading the audience and trying too hard to be funny. i wouldn’t extrapolate it much further.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 5th, 2011
10:12 am

I am just glad a UGA coach didn’t say those words. It would have been front page news for the AJC, and a call for the coaches head. He may have used a little colorful language but I am sure he is not the first coach by any means to do so. Now, if he can coach as well, I would bet Tech. fans don’t really care, what he says.

Outside Observer

May 5th, 2011
10:16 am

Okay, then….
Are you one of those people that gets offended when a couple on television get into the same bed together? Do you prefer shows like I Love Lucy where they made them have separate beds in the same bedroom? Come on, that level of conservatism was dumb then and it is dumb now. Dropping a curse word when reflecting on the standard that he is being asked to live up to, the success of Tech Athletics, it made me smile. Sounded like the people in attendance found it humorous as well. Come out from under your shell and get acquainted with the real world. Occasional cursing doesn’t mean they have no class.

Loyal Jacket Fan

May 5th, 2011
10:23 am

Recruiting philosophy at GT:

1) Identify the top players in GA as Freshmen, Sophs and Juniors

2) Request their HS transcripts and Test Scores as underclassmen.

3) Assume on average that the state of GA will have 5 players per class ranked as top 100 prospects each year. The odds are that maybe…and I mean maybe…2 of 5 have the academic profile to be admitted to GT and maintain 4 years of eligibility. The recruiters MUST identify the top 2-3 GA kids in each class and go full throttle on recruiting efforts. The goal is to secure the best student-athletes in the state of GA every year. Assume that Duke, UNC. Kentucky, UConn and everyone else will be recruiting these kids as well. The recruiting coaches have a tough task to secure a commitment, but GT is a good sell (ACC hoops, academics, pro sports town, rich hoop tradition, major media city, etc)

3) Recruit globally. Bottom line is that basketball is a global game and recruiters must go find 3-4 prospects per year that fit the coaches style of play, are solid in the classroom, have good character and will represent the Institution well, on and off the court. Head Coaches can’t afford to make mistakes in recruiting in Division 1 college basketball in this era. The coaching profession is unforgiving. There is a premium on hiring a solid staff to aide in the decision making process and assist in the management of the entire program. With the new APR rules, coaches can’t afford to take a risk on a poor student or low character kid. Assuming good programs will always lose players to the NBA early, it is crucial that you don’t lose too many players as transfers or academic casualties. The result is a low APR and loss of scholarships for the program.

4) The last (2) Head Coaches at GT have produced upwards to 35+ guys that played at least one game in the NBA. Both guys brought GT to the Final Four. You must have Talent to win in the ACC. The job of the staff is to identify and recruit potential pro’s. It doesn’t matter if the kid is from GA or Australia, they must be able to help the program win. UCONN just won the national championship with one member of the roster from the state of Connecticut and only 4 team members from the northeast. Calhoun and his staff were able to secure the best mix of prospects globally and they coached them up. Of course, some of those guys are future pro’s….talent is a common denominator of all championship teams. Talent plus good coaching usually equals success.

5) In regards to GA high school hoops, the GT recruiters should recruit the local HS programs even when they don’t have a top level prospect. Recruiting is about building relationships and reaching out to the HS coaches. They need to feel part of GT, they need to feel important. Everyone likes attention. The GT coaches must connect with every HS coach in the state and build a lasting relationship. If there is a prospect coming up from the 8th/9th grade in a GA school system, I am sure that because of those relationships that GT will have chance to recruit the prospect early in the process. Coaches can preach the importance of academics to hs coaches and recruits early on in the process. Team camps and coaching clinics are a great way to lure GA high school coaches to campus and start the process.

6) Recruit good kids. Never compromise values to secure a talented player with low character.

- Always a Jacket Fan

jim70

May 5th, 2011
10:35 am

good assistant coaches who are alumni would be great, but first and foremost we need good assistant coaches no matter where they went to school.

and like mccrary, i would like to see the top georgia high school talent go to tech (or state/southern/kennesaw/uga – in that order) rather than outside the state. I would LOVE to see the AJC highly publicize any recruit selecting a georgia school, and ignoring/downplaying any recruit looking outside the state – radio/tv also. let them get their fame from that school’s local papers, not the AJC..

Delbert D.

May 5th, 2011
10:49 am

Did Willie Reese stay on as director of basketball operations?

question

May 5th, 2011
11:05 am

Did UConn just offer a guy from Georgia? What were they thinking?

Tech Forever

May 5th, 2011
11:07 am

Ken,

In the future when ever a local coach like McCrary mention Tech needing to recruit GA talent harder and better please make it a point to ask him about his current superstar(s), as well as past players, and their level of math and science proficiency while at Columbia and if he knows whether they are qualified to get past Tech’s admissions in those two areas. One of the biggest problems with in-state talent is that they simply don’t take the HS math and science courseload that Tech requires for admission.

DoggieHouser

May 5th, 2011
11:19 am

If there is an experienced assistant coach candidate out there who is also a Tech man, we should get him. I don’t see one. Any specific ideas, just saying, or are you just wishing ?

Captain

May 5th, 2011
12:04 pm

Tech Forever & Loyal Jacket Fan –

you guys are something else, a real laugh a minute with your “academic profile to be admitted to GT” and “qualified to get past Tech’s admissions in math and science”. Good Grief, will you EVER quit throwing that excuse out????? GT wades into the same pool of talent as everyone else and signs guys who primarily can play basketball, or football, not solve Math problems or Science experiments. You constantly try to suggest your pool of prospects is very small due to you requiring much more stringent entrance requirements than others. It isn’t so, GT admits players who meet the NCAA eligibility requirements.

There is no doubt GT has a fine group of young men on its basketball and football rosters, but fine young men who have the ability to play college basketball or football don’t have to be academic superstars to be enrolled at GT and on the team. Certainly Stephon Marbury wasn’t a potential Rhodes Scholar, nor Reggie Ball, or Joshua Nesbitt. All schools are keenly interested in the academic quality of potential student-athletes and strive to sign the best combination of athletic ability and academic quality possible. There are numerous young men on the rosters of programs in the ACC, SEC, Big East, Big 10 who were hotly recruited and offered by GT. Simply because they chose to sign with another school does not mean they are academically unqualified to have entered school at GT. You do them a disservice to suggest such. Can we dispense with your academic non-sense?

gt4ever

May 5th, 2011
12:08 pm

Tech Forever……

Are you Kidding…..? Do you think that the kids we have recruited in the past, and allowed admission have the HS math or science… I mean Good Grief, enough of this academic BS!

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 5th, 2011
12:13 pm

As an outsider, can someone tell me what the minimum requirement are for tech. as far as math and science go? This is a legitimate question as I am just curious.

gt4ever

May 5th, 2011
12:17 pm

minimum requirements are very competitive for regular applicants….. They are NOT the same for football and basketball players……

Outside Observer

May 5th, 2011
12:37 pm

Rocket Science, Students are required to take Calculus as freshman. Students taking the engineering route must take Calc 1 and 2, followed by other math courses. Students taking the business or liberal arts degree must take a survey of calculus course then finite mathematics (aka business statistics). Science requirements for engineers include physics, chemistry, and a lab of their choice. Others take two of any of the sciences. The main thing is Tech does not offer any remedial math classes such as college algebra, math modeling, trigonometry, etc. It is straight into a calculus course. If a student doesn’t have any prior experience in calculus, it can be an eye-opening event. Similarly, the first lab report can be difficult if one has never been written before. It is a difficult path, and one that many students, not just athletes, struggle with. However, here is a link describing the typical admissions at Tech and UGA for athletes and general students for comparisons sake.
http://www.ajc.com/homefinder/content/sports/stories/2008/12/28/acadmain_1228_3DOT.html
You will notice that while Tech athletes have much lower scores than the average Tech student, they are still the highest of any team, as well as the highest GPA. I’m not saying Tech holds all athletes to higher standards that other schools, but with the rigor of classes that will take, it makes sense for them to be slightly smarter than your average college athlete.

ormewood

May 5th, 2011
2:01 pm

Having rigorous entrance requirements can be an issue for a football team because you need so many players. It should not be a concern for basketball with only 13 kids. There are plenty of smart hoops players. Duke/UNC are excellent schools last time I checked, and it hasn’t hurt their programs.

JM

May 5th, 2011
2:02 pm

Delbert, I director of basketball operations has not been announced.

BBQ

May 5th, 2011
2:47 pm

Ken- Stop defending yourself. You’ll never satisfy these bunch of fools. You could win a Pulitzer and they’ll still criticize, b-tch, and moan.

Michael

May 5th, 2011
4:15 pm

I don’t really like the idea of high school coaches steering kids to any particular school or giving certain schools “first crack”. They should help kids get as many offers/choices as possible and provide guidance if asked for it. Personally, I didn’t trust any high school coach I ever played for to help me decide which school to attend.

Diablo69

May 5th, 2011
4:21 pm

Damn, I mean Dang, forgot about the Shane Battier bunch. Guess I’ll be looking for some new fact checkers…

Hewitt fan

May 5th, 2011
4:47 pm

I know the truth..its a reason why hewitt was not recruting Reid..I know why,Just like why Nick Jacobs did not want to go Columbia even though his brother played there… i just refuse to air it out to GT fans…But regardless, GT will never ever get another Celtic..its a done deal..Gregory has been begging like a lady for a month…I met him 2 weeks ago..he talks a good one..but based on how dayton looked on Offense, it’s hard to beleive anything he says….We have to teach GT a hard lesson.

glsjunior

May 5th, 2011
5:02 pm

Better watch out for State. Coach Hunter is working hard!

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 5th, 2011
6:13 pm

Thanks outsider, appreciate the info. Now if the kids trying to get into the colleges would just realize what they have to do to prepare, things would go smoother.

Farnsworthy

May 5th, 2011
6:32 pm

Yeah, Coach K lets some profanity go once in a while–he grew up on the hard streets of a bluecollar neighborhood in Chicago. What do you expect? It doesn’t phase me–my Dad was a career Marine, you get him mad and you’d hear some #@&%! Because of that background, I became a cusser and it has taken my wife many, many patient years to get me to better control my tongue. Sometimes I still let an F bomb go though. But then again, most times I’m not in the tense situations K’s in.

If you’re that delicate and got virgin ears — stay away from truckdrivers, sailors and the Duke bench.

gt

May 5th, 2011
6:42 pm

Georgia has not always been the mica it is today for basketball players. I think the AAU programs have improved raw talent as much as these high school programs. What is a different take are the good young players going to single A schools where they can get the education they need to make it to the next level also. I hope Gregory will recognize this trend. The education seems to improve the player too such as Thompkins or next year’s Brandon Reese at Tech. Lamb at Connecticut should have been playing in state and was a big school recruit from Norcross and were many more, but the best college student may be coming from the single A and I think we all wonder what Calhoun gave Lamb to come all the way to Conn.

question

May 5th, 2011
6:46 pm

Captain, what is your math background?

BYRDDAWG

May 5th, 2011
6:48 pm

Just heard Gary Williams retired!!! WOW

sandysprings jacket

May 5th, 2011
7:43 pm

Hewitt fan, Give it a breal already. Leave the gt blogs, go kiss Puhew’s arse on the JM website. You sound really foolish.

Dawg 1

May 5th, 2011
8:27 pm

GT Respectfully disagree with your thoughts. Georgia has been to and won the Boston Shoot Out multiple times. The issue hasn’t been talent, the issue has been grades and recruiting sophistication.

Tech has done a tremendous job of recruiting outside of the state for years. As Academics improve, I believe they will score even better inside the state.

My Dawgs have, with three good exceptions over the last thirty years, have pretty much struggled. That seems to be changing. Ever so slowly, but changing.

Both schools have put their money where their mouths are. The state is now rich with multiple talented players (ask UCONN). Predicting a nice future for both schools.

Profanity is a lazy way of not finding a creative enough adjective. Colorful is not the way I see it. With this said, it isn’t the first time most of these kids hear it – it will not be the last.

Wishing everyone a great summer. See you in the fall.

FullMetalJacket

May 5th, 2011
8:40 pm

Thanks for keeping us up to speed on the Tech beat, Ken. I continue to be impressed with Gregory and am glad he is reaching out to local coaches and h.s. programs. As the Columbia coach said, every spring in the tournament we see lots of Georgia h.s. kids playing for other tourney teams. Gregory seems sharp enough to exploit his out of state ties while still fishing the rich local waters for talent.

ben

May 5th, 2011
8:46 pm

OK Tech fans, lets nitpick him to death before he ever coaches a game. And then average 1500 fans a game during his first year.

FullMetalJacket

May 5th, 2011
8:48 pm

If Hewitt Fan were for real, and I don’t think he is, he would be doing the kids of metro-Atlanta a great disservice in steering them away from Tech because of his petty prejudices. That is why I don’t think he is genuine, because the Atlanta Celtics are part of a program that is sincerely interested in the success of metro kids in life–not just basketball and the NBA. If there is an anti-Tech or anti-ACC prejudice based on the adults’ own narrow minds and bigotry, then the parents and children of Atlanta will soon wise up and disown them. It is great for local kids to have opportunities to go worldwide for their education and experiences, INCLUDING the fine institutions and universities in their home areas.

FullMetalJacket

May 5th, 2011
9:04 pm

Capt (I’m assuming your a Bell Cap): As a former faculty member and active advisor for academics at both UGA and Tech, I can say from firsthand experience that you could not be more wrong in your assertions. It is certainly true that athletes at most universities can enroll with special provisions, but the fact–yes, FACT–is that the easiest possible regimen of courses for an athlete or any student at Georgia Tech is considerably more demanding than the easiest possible regimen of courses for an athlete or any student at U.G.A. That does not mean any particular student or even any particular team from one school is any more or less intelligent than one from the other school. It does mean that generally speaking there are fewer students who qualify for admission to Tech, even provisionally, than to U.G.A. And it also means that again, generally speaking, it is more difficult to graduate from Tech. Of course, UGA is more demanding than many universities, especially since the 1980’s. I agree that many Tech fans make way too much of the academics as an excuse: on the field or the court it is about athletics. And UGA has had some stellar scholar-athletes. But you, Capt, are wrong to assume that academics does not play a very important and limiting role for Georgia Tech in recruiting and retaining student athletes.

FullMetalJacket

May 5th, 2011
9:04 pm

you’re, not your

ToeMeetsLeather

May 5th, 2011
10:54 pm

Hey Captain, all you have to do is look at how many recruits on a typical UGA roster spend time at a Junior College and/or prep school compared to TECH’s roster and that is as far as you need to research when it comes to admission standards. Take care.

Mary

May 6th, 2011
7:12 am