Four points from Tech-Alabama State

Solomon Poole showing his quickness Monday night. CURTIS COMPTON/AJC

Solomon Poole showing his quickness Monday night. CURTIS COMPTON/AJC

Thoughts and observations from Monday night’s game at McCamish Pavilion, a 75-41 win for Georgia Tech over Alabama. Game story here.

1. Monday was a take-care-of-business game, and Georgia Tech checked the box. Tough defense and much better rebounding opened up a lot of the offense for Tech. The Jackets scored 27 of their 75 points off the break.

“Usually we let teams like that back in the game, stick around,” said center Daniel Miller, who had five blocks. “We just came out and kept playing hard.”

I think you can only read so much into it, because Alabama State is just not a very good team. Out of 345 Division I teams, the Hornets are 329th in turnover margin, 323rd in rebound margin and 340th in scoring margin. The roster has 10 new players, and gave up considerable size to Tech. As I said, Tech did what it had to and moves forward.

Said Alabama State coach Lewis Jackson, “We knew it was going to be a tall order for us at just about every position.”

Citadel could be even worse. The Bulldogs’ RPI, according to realtimerpi.com, is No. 347 out of 347.

2. Solomon Poole looked like what you’d expect, given his first practice with the team was Saturday. He showed some flashes with his quickness, but got a little lost on defense and had a tough go of things on offense. He’s got a bit of catch-up before he can make earnest contributions, I think.

“He’s an exciting player,” forward Robert Carter said. “You’re going to see a lot from him. He’s really athletic and he can really pass the basketball.”

Poole scored his only two points on free throws, both banked in.

“It was funny, because at first, when he shot the first free throw off the glass, everybody just looked at each other like, did he try to do that?” Carter said. “And then he looked at the bench, and then he did it again. We were like, Yeah, he was trying to do that. That’s just his personality. He’s just gifted. … I know when I clanked mine off the side of the backboard, it wasn’t because I was trying to do it.”

3. As noted in the game story, Corey Heyward tore his ACL in an unsupervised workout and will have to start his rehab again. His surgery and rehab were going well, apparently so well that Heyward was perhaps a little too confident in how far he’d come and made a mistake I imagine he quite regrets. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of this happening before.

That said, this makes Poole’s decision to come to Tech as an early enrollee even more valuable. He’ll likely be the starting point guard next season. Much better to do so with two-thirds of a season’s experience plus a full offseason. Heyward, meanwhile, will likely miss the spring and summer and could be back when school begins.

4. Carter looks better and better. He scored on moves in the post, was the best rebounder on the floor and used his length well on defense. I’m curious to see how he fares once the ACC schedule starts. He has, it seems, a pretty mature outlook on the game. I asked him about the size advantage that Tech had at every position, and he noted how teams sometimes play four-out, one-in (four perimeter players and one big).

“That means they try to take advantage of me as a 4, being 6-8, 6-9, step out and guard a 6-6 guy,” he said. “That’s just a challenge that I’ve got to come up against. They’re going to try to stretch me out, take me off the dribble. That’s just every day in practice working on defense, shutting down guys, guarding guards in practice, doing whatever it takes to just get better at it so I can stay on the floor.”

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

44 comments Add your comment

Teddy Roosevelt

December 18th, 2012
11:28 am

Unfortunate to hear about Heyward, hopefully he has a quick recovery! Excited to see how this teams fares in ACC play

fuzzybee78

December 18th, 2012
11:34 am

Work hard gentlemen. Lets not be somebody’s AL ST in ACC play.

Jacket Detective

December 18th, 2012
12:22 pm

I can’t get on Heyward about his reinjury because I’ve been known as someone who turns a 3 month rehab into an 6 to12 month one for probably the same reason: I can’t stand not being able to exercise.

Jacket Detective

December 18th, 2012
12:25 pm

I like Poole’s backboard FTs.
This is a team where it is a constant fight to get minutes.

Freddie Blassie

December 18th, 2012
12:32 pm

Carter seems to have figured out that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Tokyo jacket

December 18th, 2012
12:49 pm

I had a roommate at Tech who retore his acl about two months after surgery while just walking across the sac fields. Knees are tricky stuff I guess.

Tech Troll 13

December 18th, 2012
12:53 pm

I was impressede at how hard they were playing on defense late in the second half. Teams usually let up once they get a big lead, but they were working hard. I don’t see Solomon Poole being much of a factor for awhile, but it is good for him to get his feet wet.

William Casey

December 18th, 2012
12:57 pm

I could really see the explosiveness of Solomon Poole, even amidst the “trying to play too fast” sloppiness. Seems unselfish. I believe that GT fans have a lot to look forward to with him.

Jacket Time

December 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

Keep it up Jackets!

juvenal

December 18th, 2012
2:08 pm

harder to block a free throw that’s banked in……….hope Royal is a late bloomer……

Teddy Roosevelt

December 18th, 2012
3:19 pm

wreckbone

December 18th, 2012
3:26 pm

Its amazing that now you need to bring your A game to get off the bench and into the game. this infusion of talent is really amazing to see. I imagine at the end of the year, we could literally bring in an all freshman lineup and they could hang in the ACC. Sort of like Dae used to do at UNC if he didn’t like the play of his starters.

Carter, Bolden, Georges-Hunt, Poole, Poole…….our team is much different with them. If we did not have all these guys coming in, Jason Morris’s injury could be a much larger story. Now Royal and Morris need to work really hard to finish plays.

Reed looked very good again. I want to see him look like ths mroe and more. Last year I was like “Don’t shoot that” But his shot selection is getting better and his stats are improving.

Where are all the Dayton fans who talekd about Gregory and stated how bad he was. He can obviosuly recruit. I think he can get much better calibur players here as the bench filling up with talent shows

wreckbone

December 18th, 2012
3:37 pm

Poole was fast, really fast and such zip and quickness on his passes. Carter said couple of those turnovers, the player catching was not ready for the pass. He said, that same pass will be handled better he thinks with the starters and they will result in spectacular plays!!

Look for this kid to really make a difference along with th rest of the super frosh class. I agree this could be the best class we have ever had. Especially if you ad both Poole’s to the mix becuase lets face it, this is the season they both get to play!

I think the best class before that was possibly Favor’s class….Favors, Young, Udofia and Crittenton. Man that was a pretty good class as well. I hope Carter stays for a while. Hopefully 3 years. He has to devlop his body; needs muscle before the big time. But his play is already very good.

I want this team to go in and take a win from NC State in Raleigh

Here are 4 points.

December 18th, 2012
4:15 pm

Alabama State is horrible. The Citadel is horrible. Fordham is horrible. Chattanooga is horrible.

Enjoy the cream puffs while they last because those game are coming to an end.

AMG

December 18th, 2012
4:15 pm

What a difference a new coach and two years makes . . .Anyone doubt CBG hire now?

UGA = Yawn

December 18th, 2012
4:24 pm

AMG – I’m a fan of CBG!!! Go Jackets!

GTJohn

December 18th, 2012
4:43 pm

How’s Youngstown State? Iona?

At least we are beating the “cream puffs”.

AMG

December 18th, 2012
4:53 pm

Freddie Bite this!! And the CBG hire is an embarrassment!! Go Dawgsss!!

ATL

December 18th, 2012
5:09 pm

@AMG … TMI you tool !!!

Pro fan

December 18th, 2012
6:06 pm

Would someone please tell me how anyone with the least bit of human decency could post such filth as AMG has posted?..And people wonder where cowards such as the one in Ct. And AMG come from..pathetic

wreckbone

December 18th, 2012
6:14 pm

Our blog will always be filled with haters. That’s fine. Its not like we got killed in the two losses. they were respectable losses and we were not blown out. I am not worried about ACC schedule but anxious instead. the D looks really good. The fast breaks are looking better and even against better competition. They are looking for one another and 40% of any real stat coming from guys with 10 games or less under their belt.

Yes I will enjoy the cream puffs and then will enjoy many ACC games because we are going to compete this year. The funny thing is UGA was receiving votes at the beginning of the season. how bad of a pick does that look now?

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

December 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

@wreckbone … I agree with your comments about Poole. You could tell that a couple of his passes were simply not handled well. In one case, the leader of the fast break didn’t look for the ball. In another, the pass was simply mishandled and went out of bounds. I wondered at the time whether those two plays would have had much better results if the pass recipients had been anyone in the top 8 on the depth chart.

Home Crowd

December 18th, 2012
6:34 pm

Gave up a lead very late in the 4th to a top 10 Illinois team on the road. Gave up a lead late in the game to a respectable California team…at a neutral site… Not too bad considering. Say what you want about cream puffs, but I like what I see against EVERY team so far this year. This team will surprise some in that it won’t finish in the bottom half of the ACC.

GTJohn

December 18th, 2012
7:02 pm

Christmas break for teenagers with no parental supervision equates to the filth on this blog. I hope it’s not an adult.

[...] Four points from Tech-Alabama State [...]

GTGirl

December 18th, 2012
7:39 pm

4 more points: UGA sucks! Always has. Always will. GO Jackets!!
Keep that home game win streak alive!

dry dirt road

December 18th, 2012
8:14 pm

I was not impressed with Poole. He made a couple of free throws only. He came in near the end of play and all the other Tech players had already played so well that Poole offered nothing to follow their act. His passes to other players looked not as good as the passes thrown earlier by the Georgia hs players. He will have to embrace Atl more and quit thinking he is from Jax and a big shot while on the court. That’s the impression I got from him. He will have a hard timke even earning pt, him and his brother together, because Tech really looked good without them.

dry dirt road

December 18th, 2012
8:18 pm

yeah, he will have a hard time even earning pt with the Georgia hs players firmly in control with fast breaks, lobs and dunks; I see no place for Poole yet until some of those other guys graduate

dry dirt road

December 18th, 2012
8:25 pm

I have never seen Miller play as good as he did against ASU. All his blocks, rebounds and crash the boards shots, as opposed to the sky hooks he tried and missed against the previous team, they were impressive. Very aggro. Tech looked like they solved the rebound problem. This Tech team could easily compete in the ACC and could beat Duke and their swaying students in the stands, and could beat NC and any of the ACC teams, and I’m sure could make it to the finals of the ACC Championship, and win. Then comes the NCAA Championship.

wreckbone

December 18th, 2012
9:09 pm

if you did not see the explosiveness of Solomon Poole or the zip his passes had, then you were not looking too hard. That kid is quick! Fearless as well. To go deep we will need that in any tourney. The reason is we still have a tough time breaking down defenses with the dribble. He will be better at that than anyone else on the roster. (I thought it was going to be Jason Morris this year.) I am excited to see his big brother play as he has been in Gregory’s system for a year. WELCOME Poole brothers.

Daniel played well and hustles for loose balls. He did that against UGA as well. He is getting better and seems to revert to the hook or fade against larger front lines. Time will tell as his footwork and Holsey’s are both improving. Chris Bolden is playing better defense also.

I don’t think we will be a 9 seed in the ACC. January has some of the toughest road games but February has some of those teams coming to the MAC. (do we they call it the MAC or the Hank on campus?) I think that bodes well for a run in February.

I have to admit, Hewitt really got the teams playing their best at the end of the season. Only problem was most sessions they were so far out of it our NCAA seed was too low to not have really tough games early. That 8 seed game against 9th seeded UNLV that year was a seeding joke….and early exit.

All Dawgs are Tools

December 18th, 2012
10:54 pm

Dawg Trolls…. Your basketball team is a disgrace. UGA is not even competitive in an inferior league. At least our football team is competitive in an inferior league.

Fox is going to get fired because he is a moron! Get a gym and get a sniff! The only thing UGA has going for it is football. Mother than that, the education stinks and so do all the other sports.

gtfan

December 19th, 2012
5:25 am

Guess we’ll just have to invade their blogs

Jacket man

December 19th, 2012
6:48 am

The jackets are a very young team,but one thing is evident in watching them, they are much better coached. They keep turnovers to a minimum, their offence is not stagnant,they play great,well coached,defense. In remembering the cph times, you come up with a poorly coached bunch, who you could tell we’re not motivated.This new start is very refreshing,also the touch with the x-players and the old BCremmins coach was an outstanding bit of coaching and motivating the fan base. Go jackets!

UGA = Yawn

December 19th, 2012
7:26 am

dry dirt road – your comments about Miller made me smile. I wrote CBG about 10 days to 2 weeks ago about Miller and told him that a guy that big and strong should NOT be hooiking his shots. He should go strong to the boards and bank it in or dunk it. Looks like I knew what I was talking about and glad the coach realized this needed addressed.

OldGold1964

December 19th, 2012
8:17 am

Can’t y’all see a bit of Malcolm Mackey flash in your rmind every time Carter touches the ball…. Looking forward to a steady,, productive 4 year career from him.

mbtc

December 19th, 2012
8:29 am

Been waiting a long time to see Tech play shutdown defence. Consistently. Gregory has this team playing the way Hewitt promised his teams would play. Not a Hewitt hater, but does anyone remember that?

Jacket Detective

December 19th, 2012
9:29 am

Carter has really stepped up the last two games.
Georges-Hunt and Bolden has impressed more before then.
But what a great freshman class.
And we do not get to see Heyward until next year.
I bought the full ACC package and just got the divided package email from the ticket office.
U want this team to keep building.
How about getting your butt in a seat?
During the Hewitt years, I was often aggravated by opponent fans attempting to turn AMC into a neutral site.
There is little excuse besides physical and money problems for no shows now.
The VT game on Jan 12 needs more Jacket fans.

Jacket Detective

December 19th, 2012
9:32 am

Some predict we can win these December games easily but Chattanooga has a good rebounding team I thought I read.
U want cupcake wins.
Turn out for these games as well as buy an ACC package.
At least buy one of the half ACC packages.
We need to fill up McCammish for the ACC games.
Get with the program.

RavGT

December 19th, 2012
12:31 pm

GT is 7-2 thus far, having only lost to Cal (8-4) and Illinois (12-0). With Solomon now on board and Stacey becoming eligible later this week, Tech may actually be in the “Pool[e]” at the end of the season for the first time in years. Much will depend on Brian Gregory’s ability to maintain “team” unity while keeping a significant number of talented youngsters happy with their amount of playing time. I am cautiously optimistic!!

crackbaby

December 19th, 2012
2:35 pm

Tech’s future is bright but the guard play needs to significantly improve, RIGHT NOW!

The inability to swing the ball rapidly from side to side against basic zone schemes must be fixed. RIGHT NOW!

Daniel Miller is truly one of the most gifted big men in the NCAA and the Jackets are leaving much of that potential untapped. RCjr and Georges-Hunt have so much potential. Kam Holsey is the hardest working man on the team.

We need some guard play. RIGHT NOW!

crackbaby

December 19th, 2012
2:37 pm

BTW – Somebody teach Bob Rathman and his sidekick how to pronounce Kammeon Holsey. Rathman kept saying “Cameron” and the color guy “Hosely”.

AAAAaaaaargh! LOL

TechPhan

December 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

Mfon doesn’t get the credit he deserves but the bandwagon will be open once ACC play starts. He’s going to have a monster campaign just watch

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