Gregory’s updates on preseason work

Men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory spoke with reporters Tuesday, sharing a number of updates on the team as it opens the season Friday at the new McCamish Pavilion.

1. Gregory has liked the team’s progress during preseason practices.

“We’re getting better, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “We had two closed scrimmages and I thought we made a big step from scrimmage one to scrimmage two.”

2. Tulane finished the season 15-16, but had two key injuries to starting center Tomas Bruha and guard Kendall Timmons. The Green Wave beat Tech last year in New Orleans to improve to 8-0 but finished 15-16 in Ed Conroy’s second year.

“They’re in a rebuilding phase, too, and when you’re rebuilding, if you lose two starters, you just don’t have enough depth to cover that up,” Gregory said.

3. Gregory said he thought the ball movement has been better than he expected.

“I think our returning players have a better understanding of how important ball movement, ball reversal is, and then our freshmen just have a very good feel for the game so they kind of more instinctively just make the next pass, make that extra pass,” he said.

4. On the other hand, he didn’t like the defensive rebounding that he saw in the two scrimmages.

“We have to dominate the defensive glass,” he said.

He called it a priority because he believes Tech will be able to run in the open court more and more effectively than last season, and transition baskets for Tech will generally start with missed baskets. (Gregory’s defensive system isn’t a gambling style that will lead to many turnovers.)

“You have to get great defensive possessions,” he said. “For us, a defensive possession has to end with five guys on the defensive glass.”

5. The three freshmen, Robert Carter, Chris Bolden and Marcus Georges-Hunt, are physically ready to play. He was less sure if they had the toughness and “the mental aspect.”

“That’s what you hope continues to develop during the next eight weeks or so of non-conference play,” he said.

All three will play, though.

4. Gregory said, as of Tuesday, he had yet to set the starting lineup. My very uneducated guess: Mfon Udofia, Chris Bolden, Jason Morris, Kammeon Holsey (if he’s available) and Daniel Miller. Holsey suffered a high-ankle sprain and missed eight days of practice. Gregory said he was crossing his fingers that he’d be able to play Friday.

Of all the starting spots, I’d surmise the No. 2 guard spot, where Brandon Reed started last season, is the least secure. If Holsey can’t play, I’d think Julian Royal would start.

5. Gregory is scrimmaging the team more than last season because there are things he wants the team to learn to do instinctively that he doesn’t think players can acquire through drill work and what he called “controlled settings.”

“We’ve done that and I think we made a big jump last week with it,” he said.

6. Gregory’s assessments of each of the three freshmen (other than Corey Heyward, who is out with a torn ACL):

Bolden: “very high basketball IQ player … more than just a perimeter shooter … shown an ability to handle the ball, make pretty good decisions with the ball … because of his physical strength, I think he can turn into a very, very good defender for us.”

Carter: “can make jump shots all the way out to the three and can score in the post … very good passer.”

Georges-Hunt: “he’s got a toughness about him, a grit about him that I’ve seen a lot of great players have at this stage. And he can do a little bit of everything. … he’s been able to score in the post, he’s been able to score off the dribble. … he’s picked up things very, very fast.”

7. On playing the opener at McCamish: “I want our guys excited. I want our guys fired up. They should be. We’ve waited a long time for this, but you can’t get out of yourself and who we are. It’s a great opportunity to start that off on the first night.”

8. Gregory showed the team a video clip of a recent NBA game – I gathered it was the season opener between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics – as an example of how much players were communicating defensively even though it was an early-season game.

“If Paul Pierce can do it or LeBron James can do it, we’re not asking you to do anything out of the ordinary,” he said. “They’re doing it after winning world championships. That’s part of the game. If you want to be great, these are the things you have to do.”

9. Jason Morris, who dislocated his big toe last summer and played the whole season in pain, is 100 percent, Gregory said (Morris, half-joking, said later that it’s more like 95.), and has shown explosiveness on finishing opportunities in the preseason. Gregory expects to use him at shooting guard, wing and power forward.

“That’s a big responsibility, but I think he’s more than capable of doing that and giving us a lift at three different positions,” he said.

10. Gregory and the staff are still working with center Daniel Miller’s aggressiveness.

“Sometimes, it’s not selfish,” he said. “It’s (that) sometimes we need him to be more aggressive for himself than maybe for somebody else.”

He mentioned a huddle during one of the scrimmages, when assistant coach Chad Dollar encouraged him to go strong to the basket rather than using his turn shot.

Sometimes, Gregory said, “a different voice is good and he went out there and was much more aggressive.”

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

24 comments Add your comment

collegeballfan

November 7th, 2012
2:40 pm

BB is almost here. Thanks for the report.

Joe

November 7th, 2012
2:47 pm

Can’t wait to see the new McTit….

Ken Sugiura

November 7th, 2012
3:24 pm

no problem. i’m looking forward to the season, also. should be fun.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 7th, 2012
3:39 pm

Good work (as always), Ken. Guess you’re having to double up now for the next few weeks. Hope you’re able to get some rest sometime.

juvenal

November 7th, 2012
3:45 pm

Anthony Morrow is a Hawk, now?

juvenal

November 7th, 2012
3:48 pm

Have seats baseline first row behind the basket the end Tech bench is on-might not make it till uga(have folks that share will be there all the games)-you still gonna be ther for tha dauugs, Super?

Supersize that order, mutt

November 7th, 2012
4:48 pm

@ juvenal…..yep. Planning on it. May be there Friday night too.

Ignition

November 7th, 2012
5:33 pm

I still need convincing ..
I still saw a lot of turnovers, bad offense, and a lack of execution last year. Hopefully there will be marked improvement this year.

Home Crowd

November 7th, 2012
5:41 pm

I have a good feeling about this coach. He says the right things and he seems to push the right buttons. It was obvious in our hustle last year. I don’t see how Robert Carter cannot start though. He’ll be starting by ACC play.

Reformed Toady

November 7th, 2012
6:11 pm

Looking forward to see what they look like. Good read Ken. Thank you. Go Jackets!

Stephen CC

November 7th, 2012
8:14 pm

Thanks for the good info, Ken, as always. Hopefully these guys will be ready to break the new place in with enthusiasm! Go Jackets!

TechBoy

November 7th, 2012
9:19 pm

The thing I like about CBG the most is how he immediately proved his predecessor wrong by recruiting big time local talent. Now lets hope he can coach up that talent as well as he recruited it. Time will tell, but we are in a much better spot than a couple of years ago when we were stuck with a coach waiting to get fired so he could collect on his buyout clause.

Ken Sugiura

November 7th, 2012
9:25 pm

thanks, Toady and Stephen. i’m intrigued to see the freshmen friday.

BB's

November 7th, 2012
10:10 pm

Will there be any TV for Friday’s game?

GTGirl

November 7th, 2012
11:32 pm

Can’t wait! Looking forward to seeing Tech win Friday night and hopefully Saturday too!
Go Jackets!

Another year closer...

November 7th, 2012
11:36 pm

to hiring a real coach. Only question is how many years and how many sub 40 point games to go

jacket backer

November 8th, 2012
12:36 am

Looking forward to Friday night! We’ll be there for the opener. Really like Coach Gregory and pulling hard for him to win big on the flats. Go Jackets!!

Crazy Robert

November 8th, 2012
9:19 am

Personally I am cautiously optimistic that Coach Gregory is the man for the job. Prove me right coach!!! GO TECH!!!!

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

November 8th, 2012
9:19 am

I’m excited about Friday night, not only for the game itself, but also for the reunion of former players and coaches. I heard yesterday that there are more than 165 Tech basketball alumni who will be recognized at halftime. I hope those guys have an opportunity to meet with this year’s team before the game. If any among our current roster hope to play at the next level, I imagine it would be great inspiration to sit down and discuss it with Mark Price, John Salley, Matt Harpring, and so many other of the Tech greats.

Ben

November 8th, 2012
10:30 am

Go Jackets! I’ll be at the next home game after this, looking forward to seeing the new arena and hoping for a great start to the season.

Born2Buzz

November 8th, 2012
11:48 am

I want a win Friday, Saturday AND Sunday, GT Girl!!

Lady Jackets vs UT on Sunday. Best bang for the buck of all GT sports.

UGA = Yawn

November 8th, 2012
12:11 pm

I’m a big fan of CBG too. I will continue to be a fan this year and the next couple for sure. If, after that, I see no improvement from the Hewitt days – I will no longer be a fan. Just sayin.

JacketFan

November 8th, 2012
1:43 pm

Considering the game will be sold out! It will be shown on ESPN3.

Whack Hyder

November 8th, 2012
2:33 pm

CBG is a breath of fresh air. Only negative I’ve heard is from some Dayton fans who said don’t let the door hit you on the way out….let’s hope they were wrong.
Go Jackets.