Tech’s Shumpert stays in the draft but might not get drafted

This performance by Iman Shumpert against Virginia Tech was terrific. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Iman Shumpert's January outing against Virginia Tech was terrific. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Here’s one of those times I hope I’m wrong. Because I like Iman Shumpert and I like the way he plays. But I think he’s making a mistake. By choosing to stay in this NBA draft, he has left himself open to the possibility of not being drafted.

I have to say I’m surprised. I thought he’d explore his options and remove his name from NBA consideration, thereby returning to Georgia Tech for his senior season. But it was Paul Hewitt, the man who signed and coached Shumpert, who once said it’s hard for a guy who enters the process of professional basketball to step away. (That’s why Hewitt, and most everyone else, was surprised Gani Lawal removed his name two years ago.)

At Tech, Shumpert was known for being a fierce defender and a one-on-one offensive operator. In the eyes of NBA scouts, he’ll be viewed more critically. He’s a big guard — he’s 6-foot-5 — and that never hurts, but this part usually does: He’s neither a true distributor nor a consistent shooter.

We’ll never know if a season under Brian Gregory would have made any difference in Shumpert’s development, and there’s a chance Shumpert, who’s strong-willed and who had tactical issues with Hewitt, wouldn’t have liked the new man at all. So maybe this was just a case of a player preferring to bet on himself, as opposed to hitching a ride with a coach he didn’t really know.

I should, however, tell you this. When I watched the three leading in-state juniors last season, I saw them this way:

Trey Thompkins, Georgia forward: Was ready to leave.

Travis Leslie, Georgia guard: Wasn’t quite ready but was close enough to try it.

Iman Shumpert, Tech guard: Wasn’t ready and shouldn’t go.

All three are gone. I must, however, note that had Shumpert going 46th — there are only 60 spots — in 2012. Even after he’d declared, he still didn’t crack this year’s mock.

By Mark Bradley

64 comments Add your comment

Outside Observer

May 3rd, 2011
7:05 pm

I wish he would have come back, but I will support him everytime he steps on the court. Best of luck Iman

Ben Gunby

May 3rd, 2011
7:14 pm

Think it could possibly be a matter of academics?

the o'jays

May 3rd, 2011
7:20 pm

money, money, money for a small piece of paper it carrys a lot of weight…..

Bob in SF

May 3rd, 2011
7:22 pm

Would love for the Hawks to take him the second rd.

Ramblin' Wreck

May 3rd, 2011
7:32 pm

He’s a 6′-5″ guard who played successfully in the ACC and plays defense. I think someone will take a second round flier on him (read: no guaranteed contract), but it wouldn’t shock me at all if he were to go undrafted. He should have come back; it certainly wouldn’t have hurt his draft chances (barring injury).

Tony Shumpert

May 3rd, 2011
7:33 pm

We’ll see about that Bradley.

Hot Dawg Heaven

May 3rd, 2011
8:00 pm

But I thought EVERY student(sic)-athlete at Georgia Tech put academics first??

Why is he joining the dropout and unemployed list of Jerrard Tarrant, Nick Claytor and Josh Nesbitt??

I just don’t get it……..

Hot Dawg Heaven

May 3rd, 2011
8:03 pm

At what point will debt collectors start calling Josh Nesbitt??

You know whatever agent he signed has got to be a little TO’d that his client is unemployed, and has NO degree to go out and get a job……


May 3rd, 2011
8:06 pm

Can he still change his mind? After reading all these comments, he might or should.

Tokyo jacket

May 3rd, 2011
8:10 pm

Sad for him. He’s betting on long odds. Best of luck!

Gumby, it wasn’t academics. He was still going to class from what I hear.


May 3rd, 2011
8:18 pm

Leslie more prepared than Shumpert? Please. I guarantee you he will go higher than TL.

William Satterwhite

May 3rd, 2011
8:41 pm

Unfortunately, all the top prospects not going into the draft this year probably left Shumpert and the two UGA players with no choice but to take a chance on going in the draft and just hoping to be as impressive as they can be in all the workouts- as low as their draft stock might be in this draft, it would likely be even lower in next year’s with Barnes and Sullinger included with the next batch of one-and-dones (barring a major change in the CBA).

Biff Pocoroba

May 3rd, 2011
8:45 pm

He is a smaller version of Josh Smith. A ball hog with a bad jump shot. Tech will be more of a team without him.


May 3rd, 2011
8:51 pm

Ready for a new brand of basketball at the Institute. Players that want to see Georgia Tech do well, value a TECH scholarship, and put the team above their selfish goals. Been a long time coming, but I have confidence Gregory will put the “Thrill” back in Thrillerdome.


May 3rd, 2011
8:51 pm

Leslie is a better athlete, they both are very raw. I think in the case of raw eggs you take Leslie but there is only one real pro in the group next year and that is Thompkins. Shumpert could learn a lot watching the maturity of Thompkin, he is more than just a basketball player. One more reason I am glad Hewitt is gone and not sad to see Shumpert go either. I never quit bought into Hewitt respecting an education.


May 3rd, 2011
9:00 pm

Not sure what brought the ugag trolls out tonight…stay classy, athens.

I big mistake by Shumpert, IMHO. He should’ve learned from Crittenton. At least Shump was here for three years though. He would’ve had a legit shot at 1st team All ACC, and could’ve brushed up on his fundamentals under Gregory. Certainly thankful for his service and time on the Flats, but he should’ve stayed for his final year.

Go Jackets!


May 3rd, 2011
9:21 pm

A good rule of thumb… if you have trouble making a decision, err on the side of caution. In this case, if it takes this long to decide your worth in the draft then you shouldn’t go. Best of luck and I hope I am wrong but I believe it may be a multi-year stint in Europe or some other developmental league before he gets a shot.

GT hulk

May 3rd, 2011
9:40 pm

With all his tattoos, he should be a ” good” pro candidate

Hot Dawg Heaven

May 3rd, 2011
9:41 pm

What do Iman Shumpert and Josh Nesbitt have in common??


Be proud, Tech.

bad for Tech

May 3rd, 2011
9:44 pm

but even if he plays in Europe, it surely must be fun and more bucks than working for some large corporation. And, do they require calculus? lol

Tech is full of lies, lies, lies

May 3rd, 2011
9:46 pm

bad for Tech…..


If Shumpert doesn’t make it in the NBA he will be a world renowned engineer!!!!!


George Stein

May 3rd, 2011
9:56 pm

Hilarious, Hot Dawg Heaven.

What does Hot Dawg Heaven have in common with Tech is full of lies, lies, lies? They are the same person AND unemployed college dropouts.


May 3rd, 2011
10:08 pm

If he hasn’t hired an agent, and goes undrafted, can he not petition the NCAA for reinstatement? Didn’t Randolph Morrris at Kentucky do this a couple of years ago?


May 3rd, 2011
10:11 pm

Agree Mark. Hate to see him go but sometimes you can’t tell a guy. Good Luck anyway.

Grant Imahara

May 3rd, 2011
10:12 pm


You are REALLY digging deep arent you.

He is gone. Tech basketball is in for a LOOOOONG rebuilding year(s).


May 3rd, 2011
10:13 pm


May 3rd, 2011
10:24 pm

Jackets will finish no better than 9th in ACC next season. No proven frontcourt players, and a backcourt that is inconsistent. Lucky for Tech that Wake is so woeful these days.

William Satterwhite

May 3rd, 2011
10:35 pm

oldbird, he’s hiring an agent but yes, if he goes undrafted and doesn’t hire an agent he could return to school and be an NBA free agent at any point.

The Truth

May 3rd, 2011
10:36 pm

Great GT guy. Wish him well. When Shumpert was “dialed” in, he was the most dominating guard at both ends of the court in the ACC. The problem was he was so streaky you never knew which Shumpert you were going to get. Really wish he would have returned for his last season. He would have been a huge presence for the team and the school.

Good luck, Iman!


May 3rd, 2011
10:47 pm

Mark pinpointed the biggest problem with Shumpert. He is not really a point guard, and he is not really a great shooter. We pretty much made him play PG at GT just because Udofia and Miller weren’t quite the point guards we had hoped they would be. That being said, if Mario West can be productive in the NBA then Shumpert certainly can as well. Even if Shumpert doesn’t get drafted, he will get a chance with somebody.


May 3rd, 2011
11:04 pm

Foolish. I knew he was leaving. That’s all Phewitt sold was the NBA, not GT or the ACC.


May 3rd, 2011
11:28 pm

Hot Dawg Heaven When you die I hope you and all like you go straight to HELL


May 3rd, 2011
11:36 pm

Tony, I love you and I appreciate you participating in our heated banter over the past three years.Sorry sometimes fans can get a little rough on young men that are doing their best. Hope Iman does well. He’s certainly more suited for the NBA than Crittenden was. If he can ever get a coach that can control his selfish ways on the court, I think he’ll be a fine NBA player. He can always play in Europe and get paid, so I’m not judging him for leaving. It will probably be a fresh start for the program as well Iman.


May 3rd, 2011
11:54 pm

Was nice knowing ya Shumpert. Off to never be heard from again in Europe! Im guessing it was because of grades because this move makes no sense.

a fan

May 4th, 2011
12:51 am

It is BASKETBALL. Who cares? Maybe HEWITT FAN does, but nobody else.

Mark Bradley`s Booster

May 4th, 2011
4:34 am

Not one of these responders knows enough about Shumpert`s chances in the draft to make predictions. Let him alone. It is his life and he is entitled to make his personal decisions.

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

Buzz me

May 4th, 2011
4:47 am

Can you say Javaris Crittendon? Only difference Shumpert won’t get drafted that high. Doesn’t say much that Gregory couldnt convince him to stay


May 4th, 2011
6:34 am

ben…..I think you are wrong. You can’t always get a job in Europe. Many try when NBA dreams are not fullfilled, fewer and fewer are getting the call. I just don’t see Shumpert playing pro basketball I hope he comes back to GT to get his degree. I got a feeling this is not going to be a feel good story when it all plays out.


May 4th, 2011
6:52 am

Wish him well; hope he finds employment. But not in the NBA.
Shump is a chump if he thinks the NBA is for him. Someone’s been handing him a load of BS and since he’s been told how great he is from about age 7 (if he’s typical), he believes it.
IMAM! You are a pretty good college ball player on a mediocre (at best) team in an ACC suffering a down cycle.
You are not a good enough or consistant enough shooter to make your D skills worthwhile in that league – a league which demands awfully good shooting.
Come back and get your degree. You’ll get a job you can be proud of. And it just may not demand a name-tag above the golden arches on your uniform.
Otherwise, we’ll see you at the drive-thru.


May 4th, 2011
7:39 am

I really hope for his sake that he gets drafted.

But I think it was a dumb move on his part.

Good luck Iman.

Jackets 2011

May 4th, 2011
7:53 am

I’m not going to stay classy because Uga trolls have removed that side from me.
I am looking forward to Fridays MJD when the local paper doubles in size.
That’s when all of Cobb’s Uga fans learn they are on the fast track

Gen Sherman Jacket

May 4th, 2011
7:57 am

I want to thank all the Uga trolls for lowering my taxes.
Say what?
Well they keep me in a foul mood so I don’t spend.
That means less sales tax, less tips, less everything and a lot more in my pocket.
The state is in bad need of more spending by those with money?
Go fish dawgies.

Gen Sherman Jacket

May 4th, 2011
8:03 am

BTW enjoy paying for your dumb football player’s expensive fishing pond built where few will go.
It will pay for itself?
You might think so with an Uga economics degree.
The real world says otherwise.
So our veterans, who risked it all for us, get spending cuts to pay for Sonny’s latest stupidity.
Go fish.
Man are u stupid.

Not A Hewitt Fan

May 4th, 2011
8:12 am

Soon as we clean house of the street ball thugs with NBA pipe dreams that Blewie brought in we will be better off. Iman seems to be a good kid, but like 95-99 percent of Hewies “BOYZ” he had no intention of graduating, though he di stay out of trouble.

[...] isn’t the most supported of decisions. Among those questioning its wisdom are my colleague Mark Bradley and NBA scouting director Ryan Blake. My two cents: It seems as if Shumpert’s default [...]


May 4th, 2011
8:44 am


Johny Hammersticks

May 4th, 2011
8:51 am

The Real World is gonna hurt for Iman… You were an OK college player that never lived up to expectations…. Not NBA caliber…. Welcome to reality…


May 4th, 2011
9:29 am

Mixed bag on this one. Shumpert had improved over his three years, but still played alone, more akin to a pick-up game player, but then again, what do you expect with Hewitt’s “coaching” or lack thereof. Seemed to lack a team player personna. Still way too many turnovers. Scouts and mags seemed to rate him well, even talking about first team ACC, but is this more of a condemnation of the rest of the ACC, or simply lack of sound knowledge on their part? Appreciate his three years and can’t quite say, “Good riddance”, but also can’t say, “Wish you would stay.” All in all perhaps it’s for the best, at least for Tech, for Gregory to start with a cleaner slate. Nevertheless, good luck to him in spite of what will probably prove to be an unwise personal choice.

[...] isn’t the most supported of decisions. Among those questioning its wisdom are my colleague Mark Bradley and NBA scouting director Ryan Blake. My two cents: It seems as if Shumpert’s default decision [...]