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.