Alums supporting Tech, Gregory

The sellout crowds and electricity that attended Georgia Tech basketball when James Forrest played for the Yellow Jackets are missing.

Forrest, though, is not. The Tech great plans to be in attendance Tuesday when the Jackets play Clemson at Philips Arena.

“I try to go down as much as I can to support the guys and support the new staff,” Forrest said.

Tech’s season has played out in the grim fashion that many predicted in coach Brian Gregory’s first year. The Jackets have lost 13 of 15 and are in last place in the ACC. Virginia Tech delivered the latest gut punch Saturday, a 74-73 overtime loss on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Former players like Forrest, accustomed to Tech making the NCAA tournament and challenging for ACC titles, have braced for the ride.

“Everyone says the same thing,” said Forrest of former players such as Jon Barry, Dennis Scott and Travis Best. “They like [Gregory's] energy and they like the fact that he’s reaching out to the former guys.”

“The impression is just work-in-progress,” said Malcolm Mackey, Tech’s all-time leading rebounder. “This is Coach Gregory’s first year. It’s a big-time rebuilding year.”

Gregory has sought to involve former players with the team, a connection that had waned over former coach Paul Hewitt’s 11-year tenure. More alumni have attended practices and games than in recent years, a sign of their approval of Gregory’s work. Monday, Gregory said he received a text message last week from Tech legend Mark Price, now coaching with the Orlando Magic.

Gregory encapsulated the text as, “Hang in there, hang tough, saw the team play, doing a lot of good things.”

Said Gregory, “I think the guys appreciate the situation that we’re under, and I think overall – I hope, at least – they like the direction that we’re moving in.”

Forrest, who has returned to Tech to complete his degree while directing his youth basketball program, has been to five or six games. He understands that the Jackets don’t have the roster to compete in the ACC as they did when he was a two-time All-America honorable mention and the 1993 ACC tournament MVP.

“They just don’t have the skill-set players at the positions,” he said. “But I think overall, the team, they’re playing harder than they’ve played in the past. And a lot of that could be, in the past, they had more talent, but at least they’re playing hard.”

Mackey, recently recognized as an ACC tournament legend, has been to two games at Philips. The only player in Tech history to start for two ACC championship teams is eager for the Jackets to win their first ACC tournament since he was a player. He likes what he has seen from Gregory and approves of his roots as an assistant to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

“I love [Izzo's] system,” said Mackey, a salesman at a Morrow car dealership. “If that’s the type of style that Coach Gregory wants, I’m happy with that.”

Former walk-on Brian Domalik, who keeps in regular contact with several former players including Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and his childhood friend Scott, said that it has been frustrating watching games this season, but that the Jackets are playing with more effort and coordination than they had under Hewitt.

“I feel like he’s getting the most out of the talent that he has,” he said.

While he was disappointed that Gregory did not hire a Tech grad to his staff, he is hopeful.

“I’m just really interested to see how we do over the next three years recruiting,”  said Domalik, a manager for a facilities maintenance company.

Domalik used to own a box at Alexander Memorial Coliseum with several former players, which they gave up in part because of their frustration with the team’s decline. With McCamish Pavilion set to open next season and the hope of a revival, Domalik said they’re interested in getting the group back together.

25 comments Add your comment

juvenal

February 21st, 2012
9:57 am

Enter your comments here

juvenal

February 21st, 2012
10:00 am

any reason my screen keeps jumping?happens at home 2…gas hi 2 drive…

jwill

February 21st, 2012
10:18 am

I guess former players weren’t to happy with Hewitt.

CC

February 21st, 2012
10:38 am

When the concrete foundation of a house is cracked and falling apart, the only way to rebuild is to sledge hammer the thing til it’s pulverized then pour a new foundation. That’s what Coach Gregory has been given to do….. and he’s doing exactly that. This man knows what’s necessary — and it doesn’t matter which players don’t like it. They can move out and move on if they wish. For such a pitiful situation as he was given, he’s found quality players who are willing to come in next year and be the material that begins the new building…. along with new McCamish Pavilion.

Ken Sugiura

February 21st, 2012
10:57 am

juvenal – it’s been happening for awhile. i think/hope it’s being addressed.

Biff Pocoroba

February 21st, 2012
10:57 am

Javaris is happy with Crittendon. He came and spoke up for him in court. Everyone else dislikes him for coaching them down and hurting their draft stock.

GT65Fan

February 21st, 2012
11:34 am

Coach Gregory has done a great job with what he has to work with. Time is on his side, the man is good and knows what he’s doing. Next two or three years you will see the results. 100% better than Hewitt’s effort, at least players are busting their rear for Gregory. keep up the good work Coach it will pay of later.

crackbaby

February 21st, 2012
12:14 pm

Go Jackets! Beat Clemson!

5150 UOAD

February 21st, 2012
12:57 pm

Forrest hitting the shot against USC in the NCAA tourney was awesome.

not happening

February 21st, 2012
1:11 pm

so Mark Price is coaching the Orlando Magic..yep such a shame the former GT and NBA all star is good enough for the NBA but not for his own alma mater when he and so many others put GT basketball on the map..Price should have been the water boy and handed out towels, he would have gotten more respect

not happening

February 21st, 2012
1:39 pm

Gregory should have Price on his bench but egos don’t allow such things I guess..all your Mark Price haters will never be able to change these stats no matter how hard you try. One more thing, I do not see much Dayton people begging for Gregory back or taking up for him on these blogs

Mark Price enjoyed an outstanding 12-year playing career in the NBA – amassing career averages of 15.2 points and 6.7 assists per game, while shooting 47.2% from the field, 40.2% from three-point range and 90.4% from the free throw line in 772 regular-season games with Cleveland, Washington, Golden State and Orlando. A four-time NBA All-Star, he was named All-NBA First Team in 1992-93 and earned All-NBA Third Team honors three times.

The NBA’s all-time leader in free throw percentage in the regular season (.904) and in the postseason (.944), Price led the league in free throw percentage three times during his career, finished in the top-10 in free throw shooting seven times and shot better than 90.0% from the foul line in seven of his 12 seasons. In 1993, he made 77 consecutive free throw attempts, which was one shy of the NBA record at the time. The Cavaliers’ all-time leader in assists (4,206), he also ranks 19th in NBA history for career three-point percentage (.402) and was a two-time winner of the NBA’s three-point shootout (1993, 1994).

Prior to joining the NBA, Price put together a stellar career at Georgia Tech where he was a three-time All-American and was named First Team All-ACC three times. He was the Associated Press ACC Player of the Year in 1984-85. In addition to having his number retired in both Cleveland and at Georgia Tech, the basketball arena in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma is named after him.

HighTech

February 21st, 2012
2:10 pm

Go Jackets! BTA!

5150 UOAD

February 21st, 2012
2:14 pm

not happening…..what coaching experience does PRICE have? Great stats playing doesn’t mean he will be a good coach. i wanted him to be an assistant but Gregory made his staff choices.

5150 UOAD

February 21st, 2012
2:16 pm

In December 2011, Price was hired as a player development coach for the Orlando Magic.

Hahaha that is not an Assistant or head coach. He helps players with shooting technique.

gt45

February 21st, 2012
3:27 pm

The pieces will start falling together, next year. As for now, there is more effort than I have seen since our last final four team.

Go Tech

February 21st, 2012
4:07 pm

Is Price going to any games?

Go Tech

February 21st, 2012
4:10 pm

Harpring? How’s Tommy Hammonds?

carolinajacket

February 21st, 2012
4:27 pm

I don’t think there are any Mark Price haters on this blog, unless they are from another school which Mark beat with his incredible shooting. i think it is simply a matter of fans trying to support their new coach. It is way too early to panic and fire the coach. Did Mark even apply for the job/

MadDaug

February 21st, 2012
5:18 pm

I wish people wouldd stop sweating Price, though. There have been plenty of great players that made lousy coaches, there’s no *guarantee* he’d be the next Dean Smith/Coack K/Tom Izzo. I was all for giving him an interview, but let’s get a grip on him being the second coming. He probably doesn’t even *want* to be a college head coach, and deal with recruiting, NCAA rules, the pressure of being the school’s basketball Savior. Right now he gets to live in Florida, shoot a basketball a few hours a day, and spend lots of time with his family. Good for him.

Hayseed Dixie

February 21st, 2012
5:42 pm

I’m not sure if Gregory involving alumni as a priority shows how clued-in he is, or how clueless Hewitt was.

I think both are true. Either way this is a natural, brilliant initiative on Gregory’s part. Heck yes, Tech has b-ball tradition. And yes, our former players matter.

My gut says Gregory wants to be THE Coach at the Institute, dominate the ACC, win championships, leave a legacy, and do it all with incredibly disciplined teams.

Go Tech

February 21st, 2012
5:56 pm

Here Here! Hayseed Dixie!

Go Tech

February 21st, 2012
5:57 pm

or is it “hear”?

5150 UOAD

February 21st, 2012
6:34 pm

When I attended Dean Smith’s Basketball camp in the late 70’s early 80’s I met current players and former players from many eras of Dean Smith’s time at UNC. I think it is Great Gregory is doing the same in getting former players involved as much as they can afford to be.

Hayseed Dixie

February 22nd, 2012
12:23 am

@Go Tech

I wasn’t sure either, had to google it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hear,_hear

Simon Bar Sinister

February 22nd, 2012
5:38 pm

I was at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee when Forrest hit that three at the buzzer against USC. The place exploded!