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