Hoop scoop: Gregory, Shumpert, Royal, Neal and Kennesaw

Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich with his real new coach. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich with his real new coach. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Basketball-tinged items of interest to me, and I hope to you:

• Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich, speaking of Brian Gregory: “He’s real. We’ve got a football coach [Paul Johnson] who’s real, and we’ve got a basketball coach who’s real.”

• As regards the Hotness Factor: Had Gregory’s Dayton team beaten Richmond in the Atlantic 10 final, Gregory would have made the NCAA tournament for the third time. Had his team won a game in the Big Dance — A-10 teams were 3-3 in NCAA play this March — he’d have been seen by more folks as a rising star for the simple reason he’d have been seen by more folks. And maybe his hiring would have been met with more enthusiasm in the Tech ranks. Or maybe he’d have been so hot Tech could no longer have afforded him.

• Speaking of Richmond: Chris Mooney’s interview with Tech was conducted via telephone Sunday. And Tech wasn’t at all surprised when news of his contract extension with Richmond was announced later in the day.

• Contrary to what some (this correspondent included) believed, Gregg Marshall of Wichita State never expressed interest, directly or indirectly, in the Tech job.

• Gregory will make $1 million a year at Tech, down from Paul Hewitt’s $1.3 million. Yes, money mattered in this search.

• It’s smart for Tech guard Iman Shumpert to assess his NBA stock. He’s a junior, and the opportunity exists: Why not avail himself of it? That said, it would be even smarter for him to return to school. What he’s apt to hear from pro teams: There’s a very good chance he won’t get drafted if he leaves now.

• How coaching changes affect recruiting: In 2009 Georgia released signee Daniel Miller after the Bulldogs fired Dennis Felton and hired Mark Fox; Miller started at center for Tech last season. In 2010 Marcus Thornton, Georgia’s Mr. Basketball, backed away from Clemson and signed with Georgia after Oliver Purnell left for DePaul. There’s a chance both Tech signees — Julian Royal of Milton High and Bobby Parks Jr. of Memphis — could wind up elsewhere, although Gregory will make every effort to keep them. Should Royal bolt, he might well land at Georgia.

Craig Neal, the former Jacket and New Mexico assistant, was disappointed he didn’t get the job for which he’d interviewed but nonetheless said Monday night: “Brian’s a good coach and a good guy. I’m happy for Tech. I love my school.”

• Small world: IUPUI is believed to have inquired about Neal’s interest for its coaching job, which came open nine days ago when Ron Hunter left for Georgia State.

• The big news nationally is that Matt Painter, the Purdue alum who coaches Purdue, is meeting with Missouri today. Should Painter leave, the Boilermakers’ first choice to replace him figures to be Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt, likewise a Purdue grad.

• Speaking of Vanderbilt: Here’s an intriguing (at least to me) possibility regarding Kennesaw State’s coaching vacancy – Jan van Breda Kolff, who played and coached at Vandy. You’ll recall that van Breda Kolff was the St. Bonaventure coach in 2003 when the program, which was found to have used an ineligible player, boycotted games to protest the NCAA’s decision. The NCAA subsequently cited St. Bonaventure for lack of institutional control, though VBK was absolved of wrongdoing. He hasn’t coached in college since. Most recently he coached a Nashville-based team in the American Basketball Association.

By Mark Bradley

201 comments Add your comment

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
10:17 am

WDE!!!

March 29th, 2011
10:18 am

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
10:18 am

more great article, Mark……

WDE!!!

March 29th, 2011
10:18 am

Kind of surprised that Neal didn’t get a chance. All in all it probably doesn’t matter…

Mark Bradley

March 29th, 2011
10:20 am

Juvenal gets kudos. Also a thank-you note.

Me

March 29th, 2011
10:23 am

After seeing Julian Royal this year, not sure Georgia Tech wants him.

Mark Bradley

March 29th, 2011
10:23 am

You have the advantage of me, Me. I’ve not seen Julian Royal.

DawginLex

March 29th, 2011
10:23 am

Lots of folks saying Tech got a bad coach and that the Dayton people are happy.

I don’t see it.

I see a Tom Izzo trained guy coming in and actually coaching these kids. I also expect more 4 year players and less of the one and dones at Tech.

UGA and Tech need to keep the in-state talent in Georgia.

NCAA tournament bids will follow.

Mark Bradley

March 29th, 2011
10:24 am

I don’t think anybody feels Brian Gregory is a bad coach.

DawginLex

March 29th, 2011
10:26 am

About Julian royal:

I saw Scotty Hopson basically loaf through the Class A state tournament in Kentucky during his senior season. All the KY people were glad Darius Miller came to KY and Hopson went to UT. Hopson became a star and definitely grew a set in Knoxville under Bruce Pearl.

You can’t really tell about a kid sometimes. Royal has talent that needs to be drawn out by a motivating coach. That’s why they get paid.

DawginLex

March 29th, 2011
10:27 am

Maybe bad is too strong a word but definitely not the pedigree/resume that some Tech folks were seeking.

Les W. Moore

March 29th, 2011
10:28 am

Mark,

You gotta love this time of year with all the coaching changes.

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
10:28 am

Neal as assistant not gonna happen-nobody likes to hire his potential replacement-& kids should go where they are happy, but national tv playing Duke & UNC is unmatched by any other conference…..Imam on any boards yet?

Mark Bradley

March 29th, 2011
10:30 am

That said … Darius Miller has something going for him Hopson does not. He’s from my hometown

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

DawginLex

March 29th, 2011
10:32 am

And Kentucky is glad to have him

DawginLex

March 29th, 2011
10:33 am

Mark, you have already declared a winner in the Fiasco?

I have Ky beating Uconn then playing Kansas, er, never mind……..

Reality Check

March 29th, 2011
10:36 am

Who knows how the hire will pan out. Dayton has been .500 the last 5 years in the A-10. If any fans think this is excellance or above average you are fooling yourselves. From listening to Dayton fans they won majority of games against small division I and II schools. GT had to settle for a mediocre coach, just like UGA last year.

William Satterwhite

March 29th, 2011
10:37 am

considering the previous coach was fired in part due to NCAA, I think a coach with Jan van Breda Kolff’s history would and should be the last person for KSU to look at. He may have been personally absolved of any wrongdoing but then again, so was John Calipari. KSU should really look at Neal or (especially) Price, it might be a bit below Neal’s level at this point (as shown by the IUPUI interest in him) but a job like KSU is the perfect place for a first-time head coach to build up his resume.

Just wanting some clarification about the Marshall tidbit, are you saying Tech expressed interest in Marshall but he didn’t reciprocate or did neither side express any interest in each other at all? If the latter, I find that kind of disappointing.

blazer

March 29th, 2011
10:40 am

hope he brings some of his recruits that he was looking at for 2012 for Dayton!!

ormewood

March 29th, 2011
10:40 am

Matt Painer was a long-time assistant at Purdue under Gene Keady. Interesting that he would leave the relative stability of the Big 10/12 for the lack thereof in the Big 12/10. I’m guessing he stays at Purdue and is using Missouri to get a raise.

gary mell

March 29th, 2011
10:41 am

People in Dayton are rejoicing that Gregory is gone. Gregory might have been the worst coach in
the A-10. Flyers were terrible on the road,went on the road against Duquesne and his team quit
on him.They got beat by 18 points and if the Dukes make free throws,they get beat by 30-35
points. I feel sorry for Tech, as Gregory was probably going to be fired in the next couple years
at Dayton. Terrible coach.

Bill

March 29th, 2011
10:41 am

Thanks for new info..I like Gregory and believe he will do good. Royal I believe will stay.Parks too.
What about Ware getting out of Tenn? will he?
Coach Gregory has one good looking wife… thanks again Mark.

rob

March 29th, 2011
10:41 am

No one knows wheather Gregory will succeed in meeting expectations and no one can. And furthermore, the lack of relative success and lack of enthusiasm doesn’t mean Hewitt was a “bad coach”. I know plenty of talented and able people who do not meet expectations in a given situation. Who among us (those old enough to have some experience) has not failed or come up short in a given situation? Does that mean that you “can’t” do the job? That you are a failure? We shall see how things work out.

blewitt

March 29th, 2011
10:41 am

Mark, Do you think a guy like Kenny Anderson, or Clarence Moore have a chance of getting an assistant spot under Gregory? I feel there is no a chance for Neal or Price for obvious reasons, but I think Anderson or Moore cold really help with recruiting etc.

Road Scholar

March 29th, 2011
10:45 am

Any word on any assistants yet?

Bill

March 29th, 2011
10:47 am

Why would a Dayton guy come on a Blog in Atlanta to bash a Coach that won 20 plus games four year in row for them? I smell a fish! Maybe Hewitt Fan are fans from other schools .

Gordon

March 29th, 2011
10:49 am

When you say Gregg Marshall didn’t show any interest in Tech, was that after Tech reached out to him? If he doesn’t want to be here, that’s fine.

I am ready to get behind this coach. I will order by tickets tonight.

GT65

March 29th, 2011
10:52 am

gary mell…the won-lose record don’t back up your statements. stay in Dayton and hire Hewitt for your new coach.

O'Brien

March 29th, 2011
10:53 am

Mark,

Good point on Gregory. If he had beat Richmond in the A-10 final (and made the big dance), he would probably have been seen as a hot coach, although winning that one game would not have necessarily made him a better coach.

I just hope Gregory reaches out to past players and asks for their help in whatever way he sees fit(Kenny Anderson, D-Scott etc).

GT in CT

March 29th, 2011
10:54 am

DRad has never said anything negative about Hewitt that I know of, which is probably best, but is the implication that he didn’t think Hewitt was “real”?

Rabun Dawg

March 29th, 2011
10:56 am

Clemson did pretty well with their hire who was not all that glamorous either. Tech has some talent on board, so no reason why Gregory cannot get them back on track. Dayton may not have been the best, but seems to me they were mostly competitive in a pretty good conference. And just what did most UGA folks know about CMF? So far, so good, on that hire. Good luck to coach Gregory and the Jackets!

GT65

March 29th, 2011
10:59 am

agree Rabun Dawg..thanks

McBubba

March 29th, 2011
11:02 am

“I love my school”
Aww, noodles!!
What could have been…

juvenal

March 29th, 2011
11:03 am

kind of looks like Jon Stewart, though…

Marco Polo B-Ball

March 29th, 2011
11:03 am

Dan Rad didn’t do a bad job considering what he had to work with. Anything is really an upgrade from Hewitt. However if the new guy is worth is weight in Gold-he would get Shumpert to stay, develop the two big post players as good 4-5 and player positions. Get either dribble happy Udofia to be a pass first point or play the transfer Kenny Reid at the point. With Brian Oliver back at the shooting guard position Tech could make some noise in the ACC.

The key will be developing a solid relationship with Shumpert the only real stud and on this years team. Also develop G Rice into a more complete player–your not your Dad kid-your jumpshop isn’t even close-develop your own game and stop living in the shadows of your Dad. Rice could be a serious 6th man of a team that will have enough quickness to play like UCONN and Kemba Walker this year.

So if you are reading this Coach Newby…press to you cannot press anymore this year. The ACC is a quick guard conference and you have a stud that has not been utilized to his full potential.

So in with the NEW and out with the OLD…..I will support the 2011-12 Tech hoops team!!

Jacket Man

March 29th, 2011
11:05 am

How can you come out and say Julian Royal might end up a Bulldog when he, and his father, have already had telephone conversations with Brian and they’re meeting face-to-face today. Julian has said all along that while he was heavily influenced by Paul Hewitt when he decided to attend GA Tech, he ultimately chose it because it WAS GA Tech and NOT the coach.

The only reason Julian WON’t come and play for the Jackets is if he thinks he isn’t wanted by Brian, he won’t get playing time, or he just doesn’t believe that HE can be successful under GA Tech’s new basketball coach. Personally, I don’t see any of these being a problem for Julian and expect him to remain committed to play for the Yellow Jackets.

S'paw_99

March 29th, 2011
11:15 am

I would like to see Neal get a HC job somewhere, to put on his resume. If he goes somewhere and does well, the next time the Tech job comes available, it’ll be his. Hopefully it won’t be open again for a while.

A name to watch out for in football is George “Goose” Godsey, he coached several different Offensive positions at UCF under O’Leary, & he’s now taken a job w/ the NE Pats. If he becomes an OC one day, I think people will mention him as a GT candidate.

J W

March 29th, 2011
11:17 am

A head coach is only as good as his surroundings, especially the assistant coaches, contribute to the overall program. One player, not even the highly regarded Mr. Royal, will carry the team. But, For benefit of both the GT team and the individual, I think it best for Iman Shumpert to return for senior season. (Another year’s experience for him coupled with better teamwork with his leadership will enhance any pro status down the road.) Whether he can elevate from “star” status to “super star” is inconsequential to what positives he can have within the team framework.

coolbreeze

March 29th, 2011
11:18 am

Really happy with this choice. Coach Gregory has worked under great mentors, has had much success as a head coach, recruits well, and cares about individuals and academics. I think all we need is…..some support. Disregard the “usual suspect morons” on here……

ormewood

March 29th, 2011
11:20 am

ACC looks wide open next season. UNC will probably be at the top depending on if they lose any of their three big guys to the draft. Duke loses Smith, Singler, and probably Irving. Va Tech loses Allen and Delaney. Clemson loses some guys. The Jackets have enough pieces returning to potentially finish in the top half of the league, though I think the lack of a home court could be a problem.

collegeballfan

March 29th, 2011
11:33 am

Re Royal and Parks staying or going. Both are high school players. Neither have played or practiced a second of college basketball.

But. Tech needs Royal just for his 6-8 size. GT only has 3 players 6-8 or taller to play the 4 & 5 spots. That is only 15 fouls. Remember Joe B Hall at UK? It is not how many points you get out of the 4 & 5 spots but how many fouls you have to give. Royal can come in and easily get 20 minutes a game as a true Freshman.

And I imagine Royal will stick with Gregory who has a history of success with big men.

dadgum......

March 29th, 2011
11:45 am

Gregory mentioned from the start yesterday he wants to engage former players to contribute to the program. Not sure what he meant but could he be looking at Price as an assistant coach? I am not pre-sold on Gregory but after taking a day to get over my disbelief at the hire I am not taking up coach-bashing. Gonna give him a shot. Price would be a huge help if indeed he would accept the job.

FYI…It has been mentioned that neither Marshall nor DRad had any interest in one another.

dadgum......

March 29th, 2011
11:48 am

Craig Neal could very well be on the short list for the VCU opening that is almost certain to happen right after the Final Four.

YardDawg

March 29th, 2011
11:53 am

Craig Neal: “I’m happy for Tech. I love my school.”
*****************************
Classy.

Butts Wagner

March 29th, 2011
11:53 am

What he’s apt to hear from pro teams: There’s a very good chance he won’t get drafted if he leaves now.

Actually, with the way basketball is, he’ll hear something more like “If you blow us away in workouts, we’ll consider drafting you” And he might interpret that as “I’m awesome, I will blow them away in workouts. I’m getting drafted!”

black bee

March 29th, 2011
11:53 am

Why not Neal at KSU, then if the Greggory thing doesn’t work in 3 Neal will have proven he can get it done.

Rambl!nBuzz

March 29th, 2011
12:04 pm

Quality article! summed up all events perfectly!
I am sold on Drad’s decision to give the coaching reigns to Brian Gregory. I think if Price or Anderson are given jobs as assistants it would be fantastic!
As for recruiting…If Royal (whose dad reminds me of Truitt’s Mom) decides to go elsewhere, so be it.If he’s not sold onto the program and the team, but only the coach Tech would be handcuffed to keep Hewitt longer

Tech Forever

March 29th, 2011
12:08 pm

Mark Bradley

Point by point:

1 – All basketball coaches are “real”. All football coaches are “real” too, except for the Bama fans who look down on the sideline and still see Bear.

2 – So what!!!! Had Paul Hewitt beaten Duke in last year’s ACC Tournament Final he’d still be Georgia Tech’s coach right now in spite of a 13-18 record this year and a dwindling fanbase. The bottom line is Gregory has had marginal success at Dayton in the A-10 and if he’s so great and such a great coach for Georgia Tech I WANT TO KNOW WHY he didn’t produce better at Dayton. I don’t think that’s a question that’s out of line for a fanbase to ask.

3 – Mark my words, in two years Tech fans will be glad we didn’t get Mooney……..trust me.

4 – Whether Marshall expressed interest or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is if Georgia Tech contacted Marshall to see if there was any interest; as well as A&M, Butler, VCU, etc. So we know Marshall never expressed interest….I’m not going to let that lead to the assumption Tech made a contact. I want to know firsthand did Tech make the damn phone call or not.

5 – I agree 100% and Radakovich has minced words and played semantics regarding the money issue the whole time. Making statements like there will be no financial contraints to Tech getting who Tech wants is accurate when we now find out Radakovich never had any intention of going over 41M per year anyway. We were lead to believe by his earlier comments that there was literally no financial hamstring….whether it be $1M or $3M per year. Now where he is definitely caught lying is his use of the term “get an elite coach.” We did not get one.

6 – I agree.

7 – If recruits want to leave because we hired a new coach I say “bye.” I’ll side with our coach over a snot-nosed 18 year old and his daddy every time. Gregory apparently had to deal with that kind of parental meddling cancer this past season with Staten’s daddy up in Dayton.

8 – Craig Neal will get a HC job sooner than later…..heck he might get one on North Avenue in 5 or 6 years from now.

9 – Neal can do better than IUPUI. Kennesaw State would be better than IUPUI. Heck, DeMatha High School would be better than IUPUI.

10 – I think Matt Painter stays at Purdue.

11 – I knew JVBK when we lived in Nashville. Nice guy. Kind of arrogant, but nice. However I wouldn’t hire him. College football and basketball are such big businesses now I believe “once toxic, always toxic” when it comes to coaches these days.

3 -

Tech75

March 29th, 2011
12:09 pm

I’m excited. Not that much of a BBall fan overall, but if the team got going, I would be.

I love the results of the football hire (CPJ). My gut tells me that the same sort of evaluation took place, so my expectation is that I’ll love this guy as much as I love CPJ.

Of course, coaches need players that match their temperament and style. Not sure exactly what this guy’s style is yet, but if he’s cut from the same mold as CPJ, then I’m willing to see the players who can’t adjust leave, and I’m willing to watch a couple of years go down the tubes, as long as the right players start arriving.

I’m quite tired of having the tail wag the dog.