Bilas: Tech has ‘got to get better players’


Hope you’re well. The day that Iman Shumpert decided to head for the NBA, I left a message with ESPN analyst Jay Bilas to get his thoughts on what Georgia Tech had returning. He replied a day or two later, and then I spoke a little with him Monday.

He doesn’t hold out much hope for the coming season for Tech – not exactly a bold prediction, but certainly a logical one – but likes the hire of Brian Gregory.

Some Bilas thoughts:

“They’ve got some good players, but it’s somewhat of a rebuilding challenge. They’ve got to get better players. … He didn’t inherit a ready-made team.”

“I don’t really see them being one of the upper-division teams.”

“This is a good time to build in the ACC. The entire slate of coaches, 11 of the 12 coaches don’t have the years in the league that Coach K has in the league combined.”

“I’m not one of those that believes there are system players. You either can play or you can’t. Good players can play in any system.”

“His teams have always been very sound. They rebound very well because he emphasizes it and they look to run. He runs a similar break to what they run at Michigan State. He’s excellent at what I call special teams – out-of-bounds plays, great after a timeout. He’s really, really, really good.”

2. Shumpert, who signed with the IMG agency, has been working out at its training facility to prepare for the draft. Shumpert told Hoopsworld that he’s worthy of a first-round pick, thinks he can be a player like Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook and said he thinks the different roles he had to play at Tech will help him in the draft.

“Especially at Georgia Tech, we had a lot of one-and-done guys,” Shumpert said.  “Every year, the team sort of changed and I had to play a lot of different roles.   I think it helped me to adapt.”

(For what it’s worth, as I imagine you likely noted, Shumpert only played with one one-and-done – Derrick Favors.)

3. Andrew Jordan at Foxsports Carolinas gave his take on the ACC 2012 season. He pegged Tech as the 10th best (or third worst team) in the league. His analysis:

Even without Shumpert, Tech still has some talent and athletes, most of whom former coach Paul Hewitt had no idea how to best utilize. New coach Brian Gregory was a questionable hire to many, and without a true home court this season, Struggles are likely. Truth is the Tech players will work harder than they did for their previous coach.

79 comments Add your comment

Matt from MN

May 10th, 2011
8:44 am

It never ceases to amaze me how self-deluded “twenty-somethings” can be. Iman will be LUCKY to be taken in the 2nd round.


May 10th, 2011
8:49 am

if mirroring Michigan State is the way, truth and the life then we are in trouble


May 10th, 2011
8:52 am

you gotta admit that shumpert came to tech at a bad time. i don’t blame wanting out, what with a new coach. it’s kinda like shockley at uga-great talent but the timing was all wrong. i’ve always thought shumpert was one of the better players in the country and certainly better than the last few point guards.


May 10th, 2011
8:53 am

good luck in the draft Iman. Hope you come back next season, cheer for and support your teammates during the transition.


May 10th, 2011
8:59 am

How is mirroring MSU a bad thing? They’ve only been to a ton of tournaments and won a bunch of games, including at least one national title. I’m so glad we have Gregory on board.

Go Jackets!


May 10th, 2011
9:06 am

We may stuggle a bit next year, but long term I like where we are sitting.

John Wooden

May 10th, 2011
9:06 am

Hey Jackets, name me more than 4 teams with a better program over the past 10 years than Michigan State with Izzo. Give Gregory a break. He has learned from the best, has done very well in a very tough conference, and can now recruit the Atlanta area from the start with that background. Go Jackets!

John Wooden

May 10th, 2011
9:08 am

And another thing, I hope Gregory recruits the same type players that Izzo has built his program around. That was a huge lacking point in Hewitt’s time here. Never a floor general, never big strong inside guys who play smart. Let’s hope that changes.


May 10th, 2011
9:10 am

even if they finish 10th they are better off than if they had Hewitt


May 10th, 2011
9:11 am

Ok this sums it up for me. Thinking he is just like Russell Westbrook is a joke. No wonder the kid left, he’s not thinking right. He could be a niche defender like a Bogans or Bruce Bowen but he’s not a dynamic scorer like Westbrook. Seesh

Butts Wagner

May 10th, 2011
9:43 am

Yup Chaboy, Shumpert is going to make it in the NBA as a defender. And there are a lot of guys with similar skill sets. Trevor Ariza, Ron Artest, Raja Bell, Matt Barnes, Michael Pietrus, Tony Allen, etc. None of these guys are good shooters, but they play very good 1 on 1 defense, so they get playing time.


May 10th, 2011
9:55 am

I agree with Wooden. I would love for Tech to have the run that Michigan State has had since Izzo became Head Coach.
Good luck to Shumpert, even though I believe he made a mistake going into the draftt this year. I can understand going if you are predicted to get drafted in the 1st round. However, if I am correct, Marty Blake the chief NBA scout wasn’t even sure he would get drafted in the 2nd round.
But I appreciate the time Shumpert played at Tech.


May 10th, 2011
10:02 am

Won’t be surprised is Shumpert goes in first round, but IF he does, he better no tlet it go to his head and slack off.

I think GT will be mid-pack this year. Getting back to basics and playing solid game, they will win some games they should not, and lose some they should not Daniel Miller will be solid defender and rebounder, and hopefully can avoid foul troubles. He can be a great, non flashy, asset for entire 4 years. Rice’s 3-point shooting will be needed, but it may be streaky and hopefully his misses will not lead to defensive breakdowns. Oliver’s defense will need to step up during conference play. What is needed is: (1) solid, selfless point guard and (2) turnover reduction.

GT in CT

May 10th, 2011
10:03 am

Thanks for the update, Ken. Bilas is one of the few analysts who has had a positive view on BG’s hire, although I’ve heard no one say who Tech should have hired instead. I think Tech did the best it could and I’m cautiously optimistic.


May 10th, 2011
10:10 am

I like Bilas, and he’s right, the Jackets do need better players. Interesting time for ACC hoops. K is 64. Roy is 60. Sure those teams are powerhouses, but both will likely have coaching transitions of their own to deal with in the next 10 years.


May 10th, 2011
10:17 am

Work on your Estonian, Iman.


May 10th, 2011
10:20 am

Shumpert goes undrafted and will need to quickly learn to speak Italian or Spanish as those are the only places where he has a chance of playing professional basketball next season.

Hewitt fan

May 10th, 2011
10:37 am

Jay Bilas could not play a lick and was helped by the ACC refs


May 10th, 2011
10:48 am

Ken, what does Jon Barry have to say?


May 10th, 2011
11:05 am

thought maybe you might have run into him at the golf thing-think he’s much better, bilas sure hit that VCU thing on the head, didn’t he?


May 10th, 2011
11:20 am


May 10th, 2011
11:30 am

Not sure he will be a 1st rounder. Probably a 2nd round pick. He should have stayed another year and, with his talent, very likely could be a #1 pick next year. These young athletes sometimes get bad advice from people (who are hoping to profit from them) at this critical time in their lives.


May 10th, 2011
11:41 am



May 10th, 2011
11:54 am

GT has talent, it just hasn’t been used very well. I’m not expecting great things next season but with guys like Julian Royal, Jason Morris, Brian Oliver, and Glen Rice Jr we shouldn’t be that bad if the guys play together and improve on aspects of their game that Hewitt couldn’t improve.


May 10th, 2011
11:58 am

Gregory is at minimum a solid coach to transition from Hewitt while having no real home court. I’m just happy that there was no rollover on 4/15/11 for Hewitt’s contract.


May 10th, 2011
12:16 pm

It’s going to take a few seasons for Gregory to turn things around, be patient. The Izzo Mich St comparison is a good one, who wouldn’t love that type of success while running a clean program. As an outsider, I would compare Gregory to GT’s current baseball coach, Danny Hall. Not a flashy guy, but rock solid, year in and year out with one of the ACC’s most competitive programs. If Gregory can beat UConn for Mann, a real up and coming PG, that would be a very good get. GT hoops didn’t get to where it is today overnight, and it won’t recover overnight either. This will be a process, quick fixes are what doomed Hewitt, Gregory won’t make that mistake.

Ken Sugiura

May 10th, 2011
12:19 pm

thanks. i agree with the sentiment that you could do a lot worse than play like Michigan State.


May 10th, 2011
12:26 pm

The Basketball recuiting has been terrible and the Football recuiting is worst.

Genius Jacket

May 10th, 2011
12:28 pm

We just need more smart Hoops SAs.


May 10th, 2011
12:38 pm

Why are you asking for Bilas opinion??

Arent you a sports columnist??


May 10th, 2011
12:46 pm

You mean Lance Storrs and Mfon aren’t great players? Where is Harold Thompson when you need him, phool.

Get back to World of Warcraft, nerd

May 10th, 2011
12:54 pm

With Tech’s academic standards. Which as we all know are the toughest anywhere in the universe. Its gonna be tough to get those great players.

I hear Stephon Marbury is working with NASA as we speak on the first manned mission to Mars.


May 10th, 2011
1:15 pm

Man, Ken you sure have those Tech BB fans up in arms! Seriously, ask Jay Bilas (Draft expert) about his Josh Smith analysis again? Shumpert thinks he compares to Westbrook, Wow! Westbrook was a assist man and on the ball defender at UCLA… Iman disappeared more than Marvin Williams at times… All I can say is good luck kid!


May 10th, 2011
1:22 pm

Mirroring Michigan State would be a significant improvement over anything Georgia Tech has ever done in men’s basketball.

Just under Tom Izzo (since 1995-1996 season) they are 383–161 overall, 183–85 in the conference, went to 6 NCAA Final Fours, won one NCAA title and have been to 14 straight NCAA Tournaments and earned their way to 9 Sweet16’s.

Being a Michigan State look-alike works for me.

Veteran Fan

May 10th, 2011
1:53 pm

Have purchased season tickets and will be at every game! We will rock Philips next season!


May 10th, 2011
2:11 pm

Bilas follows college hoops every day. It’s his job. There’s nothing wrong with Ken asking Bilas what he thinks of Tech’s roster and coaching staff. Does anyone disagree with Bilas’s assessment that Tech needs better players?

GT in CT

May 10th, 2011
2:17 pm

Assuming that Mfon will be the starting PG, a lot will hinge on his play.

Tech Forever

May 10th, 2011
2:28 pm

Truth is Maryland just hired the best new coach in the ACC.

ATLER Ramblin Wreck

May 10th, 2011
2:34 pm

Who cares what Bilas thinks!!!!!!! when the so called experts are done jabbering at the mouth, Tech and the rest of college basketball have to PLAY THE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!


May 10th, 2011
2:46 pm

GT definitely has potential. The roster is loaded with top 100 players in the nation. We will be no worse than a NIT level team, which means GT will be over .500 for the year.


May 10th, 2011
3:11 pm

uconn probably even would like to get better players……


May 10th, 2011
3:55 pm

Like GT in CT said it all comes down to Udofia the next two seasons. If CBG and the rest of the staff can work with Mfon and make him into a true pg then Tech could easily be the four or fifth best team in the league. I think you will see an actual offensive gameplan now instead of the first person to get the ball past halfcourt takes a shot. With the addition of Milton to Holsey and Miller tech has some bangers down low and should really use that. Think the line-up could be Udofia, Rice, Milton, Holsey and Miller. Bring Oliver off the bench like the Hawks use Crawford.

Paul Hewitt

May 10th, 2011
4:30 pm

Jay Bilas doesn’t know what he is talking about. I recruited the best talent in the ACC. I just couldn’t coach. I admit it, Mark Bradley was right about me. Thats why I’m now no longer head coach at a major university. I’ve been demoted. I’m now gonna collect paychecks from George Misson,.. or Masun,, or Mason..anyway, whatever it is.

Tech Guy

May 10th, 2011
4:36 pm

What happens to attendance at basketball games if Tech is below 500 in January? It will not be pretty.

steel eye

May 10th, 2011
4:41 pm

So Tech has to get better players so they will have a better team. Wow, you can’t get much past this Bilas guy, can you?


May 10th, 2011
4:43 pm

On paper, Tech has better players than Wake, BC, and Maryland. So, that’s 9th place. UNC, Duke, FSU, and Miami definitely have better talent, probably Clemson, VA, and Va Tech too. I think the Jackets talent is on par, possibly better than what NC State has. Who knows, with a few breaks, the Jackets could finish 6th or 7th.


May 10th, 2011
5:00 pm

The future depends entirely on whether or not they can draw top-notch recruits year after year like the top flight programs. You can’t mix good recruiting years with bad years – they all have to be good on paper – year after year. Teams like Duke and Carolina have quality recruits ‘every’ year — that is why they can consistently maintain their status as a ‘top flight’ program.


May 10th, 2011
5:46 pm

Thanks for keeping us informed, Ken. Iman will go in the middle 2nd round as he was projected, and in a couple of years he will be a good player. His immature decision to go to the draft proves he still has a lot of growing up to do, as both a man and a player. I wish him the best of luck.


May 10th, 2011
5:52 pm

Bilas sounds about right, and I imagine most analysts will pick Tech in the bottom third of the conference. I think they might creep up to the middle tier, whether Shumpert had come back or not.


May 10th, 2011
6:06 pm

Best of luck to Coach Gregory and the Jackets next season. The ACC will be interesting to watch with the several new coaches and rebuilding projects going on across the league. Hopefully Tech and Gregory can hold their own on the court and in recruiting.