Saturday, January 31, 2004

UNC's 2004 hoops class could take a hit

Looks like one of their heralded recruits make break for the money.

Crap Crap Crap Crap Crap Crap Crap

I just can't type of speak with clarity right now - too upset. You can't win games against the best if you don't hit shots - we didn't hit ANYTHING down the stretch. ANYTHING. Frustrating.

To see all the wonderful creative imagery, click here.

A Daily Dose

Lots of press about the game - of course when you face #1 that's going to happen. Did you know that Georgia Tech has beaten the number #1 team in the country twice in the same season three different times? 1955, 1993, 1994............................... Story on the game............................ Here's another AP story on this game. Interesting that ll the players keep talking about "not being respected". I'm not sure I agree totally. The media has been more than fair with this team, highlighting them, Isma'il making the higlight reels, exposure, picks for the NCAA tourney. I think the "lack of respect" probably comes more from fellow ACC fans, who I constantly see saying they "don't buy in" to the GT hype. Either way, the only way to get respect and KEEP it is to keep winning. Today is a perfect oppotunity. Let's get it done boys..................... Here's a story on Chicago and recruiting where Bynum gets mentioned.............. Speaking of Will Bynum, here is ANOTHER nice story on the young man, looking at his rise in Chicago and how he ended up at GT.............. More on the Morris / Howard battle last night at AMC.............. Here's a story on Dook's Chris Duhon, who we will face today. Here's another one on Duhon............ Another story on the Duke game............ Nuggets player and former GT stanout Jon Barry was taken off injured reserve after successful shoulder surgery.............

Is former GT assistant coach a victim of his own success? Seems he is having trouble getting a head coaching job in the NFL because he can't interview while the Patriots are still in the playoffs. Well, he did do a bunch of interviews prior to the srart of the playoffs. My guess is that is any of those teams was really interested in hiring Crennel they would have waited to fill the jobs............... Looks like we have a new assistant strength/conditioning coach at GT - Damon Harrington. Does the name sound familiar? Harrington is a former GT player, leading the team in tackles in '96 - '97 and will join Eric Ciano, who will be head strength/conditioning coach. Harrington had been head S/C coach at Louisiana Tech. Taking over for Harrington at LaTech will be another former GT player, Lyle Henry, who was a tight end / linebacker in 94-98.................. Did you know that WAFFLE HOUSE was founded by former Georgia Tech student Joe Rogers Jr's father??? Now Joe Jr. along with a crew of former GT frat brothers run the whole show. Turns out he was one of my father's fraternity brothers back in the late 1960's. Now where it gets interesting is that among the executives are former GT football player Bert Thornton, who played in the 1960's. Who is in training? None other than former GT standout Ricardo Wimbush. Other athletes on the management team include Carlton Williamson, former 49er standout, Cowboys alum Greg Bright and former Atlanta Hawk James McElroy. Here's a story on Williamson mentioning some of these guys.............

Where are they now - Stephon Marbury

Stephon basks in the glow of NY city - seems to be enjoying every minute.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Battle of the Big Men - Part II

Well, did you see the game on ESPN 2 tonight? Dwight Howard versus Randolph Morris, two of the best big men in the nation. The game itself looked like is was going to be a runaway as Howard's SACA team cruised to a 15 point lead. However, Landmark came storming back in the 2nd half on the back of Morris's play. Morris's Landmark Christian pulls off the upset and beats 20-0 SACA 73-71.

In attendence were boatloads of scouts, NBA personnel, Pat Riley, Jerry West, Paul Hewitt, Tubby Smith. Lots of big names.

Howard's game was probably not to his standards. Yes, he had a handful of powerdunks and putbacks, but he was getting double and triple teamed in the post. Howard got into foul trouble in the first half which limited some of his minutes. Howard ended up fouling out at a critical juncture with 1:10 left in the game. No doubt Howard has a strong presence in the paint. But based on the two games I have seen, his otuside shot is a question-mark. Howard ended with 25 points, 11 boards and 4 blocks.

Morris had a solid game from beginning to end. He played every bit as good as Howard and probably better. Very active on defense, very strong post moves and great footwork, which was directly responsible for getting Howard in foul trouble. Backed him into the paint and went strong to the basket. Probably the only negative was that he was slow again getting back on breaks and after made buckets. Don't know if it was conditioning, but there were many times he never made it back up court on a break. No doubt this will have to improve. Morris ends with 25 points, 15 boards, about 5 blocks and about 5 steals (blocks and steals my estimate).

All-in-all, a fine performance by Morris and a good one by Howard. So are these guys NBA ready? I just don't know. I believe they both would benefit from 1-2 years of college but can they turn down the bucks? The general concensus is that Howard is NBA 99.9% and Morris is college bound 95%. I'm not so sure that the lure of the NBA won't snag Morris as well, especially when you look at his numbers for the season. They are not much different from Howard's.

Well, we can hope and pray that he follows through with his previous statements and goes to college. We can hope and pray even more that Morris decides to chose GT. I can tell you that the UK folks are salivating after watching him play tonight (just check out their recruiting boards). We should be also. This kid is ready to play and would fit in great with Hewitt's system.


Jackets prepare for Dook...

... from the Macon Telegraph.

The AJC seems to sometimes do better profiles on opposing players than they do our own - see this profile of Luol Deng, Dook's super-frosh.

Here is a Dook paper's take on the game.

Funny how people keep talking about the resurgance of the ACC as if we have been down when the league won National Championships twice in the past 3 years.

Will Bynum article from AZ paper

Interesting article - didn't know Will had some run-ins with the authorities. Yesterday on Hewitt's call-in show he said GT is just benefitting from Bynum's maturity and willingness to listen. I guess that statement could have had as much to do with activities OFF the court as on.

Either way, this is in the past. People grow, they mature. Bynum has shown us fire, passion and intensity........... and a knee-buckling cross-over. People deserve a 2nd chance and no doubt Paul Hewitt has shown the willingness to give people that chance. First there was the 2nd chance for Mike Southall, who blew that chance. There's Jeremis Smith, by all accounts an upstanding smart young man, who made an error in judgement last year. Hewitt has give him a 2nd chance and we will see him wear a Jacket uniform next year. Now here's Bynum, another guy given a 2nd chance to show what he can do.

Recruiting Update - Hoops

Interesting article on Randolph Morris that leads you to believe the NBA is a more open option than we have been led to believe. Of course, I have been saying that all along. It would all depend on Morris's development his senior year.

Here is more on the Friday night match-up against Dwight Howard.

Here is a Kentucky paper's take on the Morris UK situation.

On a different note, did you know that Spurs PG Tony Parker almost came to Georgia Tech? He decided to go straight from Europe to the NBA instead. Well, it looks like the Jackets are interested in his younger brother, Pierre Parker. He averages 17.5 points, 7 boards, 3.5 assists and 2 steals for a Chicago area high school team.

Recruiting Update - football

Some good updates on recruiting from the state of Georgia. Keep your eye on Brandon Miller. In case you don't know, this guy is listed by some of the ranking services as the best player in the nation at his position - which will probably be DE/LB. He played lots of positions on his Miller County GA team, including split end, where he caught 27 catches for 500+ yards. He is the real deal. To top it off, people who have met him or his family gush about the kind of quality young man this is - smart, well-spoken, thoughtful, etc, etc. Did I mention smart too.

Read this article to learn more about this outstanding talent.

Now the intrigue is that he has narrowed his choices down to FSU, UGAg and yes Georgia Tech. The "popular" media believes it is really between UGAg/FSU. Word on the street was that him mom wanted him to go to UGAg. People at both FSU and UGAg are reporting that GT is really strong in the hunt. A lot of FSU people think it is between FSU/GT. A lot of UGAg people think it is between UGAg/GT. A lot of GT are just praying it is GT!!! Stay tuned!!!

As our class stands now we have 23 verbal committments. One of those, Taylor Bennett, will go against last year's 'ship limit (can't sign more than 25 per year), which means we can sign another 3 players. So who's left on the board? The primary targets are:

Brandon Miller - DE (5 star prospect - top 10 player in the nation), down to GT, UGAg, FSU
Darryl Richard - DT (4 star prospect - big 6'4" 285, fast 4.95 40 and a playa), from Louisiana, down to LSU, ND, Miami, Colorado, GT
Darryl Robertson - DE (3 star - 6'5" 215) from Jonesboro GA - was a "soft verbal" to FSU - still not 100%.

There are of course other guys with offers like Leodis Mckelvin, Raeshon Ball and Justin Decker. Ball by the way is the younger brother of Reggie Ball. However it is not clear if he will be able to make it academically, which is just crying shame. I was looking forward to the Ball dynasty at GT. There is an even more talented younger brother in the wings as well.

By the time this is done, there will be some names that come out of left field that nobody has talked about. It is always interesting. National signing day is February 4, which is Wednesday of next week. Stay tuned for the excitement. If you live in the Hotlanta area, Chan and Co. have invited you to share in the celebration at the Club Lounge at BDS Wed. night at 7:00. They will show video of all the recruits, there is a reception and dinner and Coach Gailey will answer questions. Check here for more details.

Oh what a tangled web we weave....

.... lots of action on the ethics front tonight

University of Minnesota evidently likes to show recruits the local "talent"

You have probably already heard about Univ. of Colorado's sex parties for recruits - story here.

Meanwhile, our future ACC brothers VaTech seem to have gotten into some trouble of their own, particularly Marcus Vick, who could be headed to the big-house for statutory rape - ouch.

Did Tennessee conspire with the NCAA to bring down the Alabama football program? Check it out. Competition is hot. FSU launched an inquiry against rival Florida for recruiting violations but FL was cleared.

Texas State dismisses their head football coach, AD, and associate AD. Quotes claim that the most serious violation was exceeding the 20 hours of practice per week allowed under NCAA rules. Sorry, but BS on that. Something else is going on there that has not come to light. You don't fire all those people because you practiced too many hours.

Here is more on the whole issue of recruiting and walking the line. There's this - stories about coaches ranting on with explatives, or this - stories about fans using explatives. There is the Mike Price incident, the Baylor tragedy and scandal, the UGAg free basketball courses, the list goes on and on.

What is college athletics coming to? Bottom line - IT IS BUSINESS!!! It is ALL about the money. It is a system that generates cash for lots of people, and lots of people have a vested interest in seeing it continue to grow for their school. In the business world we have Enron, Xerox, Parmalat, Martha Stewart, Tyco, NYSE, Dick Grasso, the Mutual Fund Industry, WorldCom, HealthSouth, RiteAid, Adelphia, Imclone, Arther Anderson, Global Crossing, Dynegy, KMart............. shall I go on? It's all about the money, how much there is, where it goes. Have ethics disappeared? College athletics IS the business world. The NCAA tries to slap a coat of paint on it to make it look all pristine and pretty but it is a money grubbing business just like the rest of them.

I tell you what. I would love to see Georgia Tech win national championships in any sport. But if we have to break rules to do it, FORGET IT. I'll take a solid competitive program that competes at the top every few years with a clean record over being a perennial powerhouse that has come off probation for the 8th time. Did you know that Georgia Tech is one of the few schools in the nation (about 6 total I believe), that have NEVER been on probation in ANY sport? It's true. That does mean something and I think the quality of people we have leading our programs will just continue that tradition.

Morals and ethics need to mean something............... but don't get my wrong - if we don't win at least 7 games next year, I will be highly disappointed. :-)

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Mel Kiper talks Daryl Smith

Reports from GTDean at the Hive said that Mel Kiper on ESPN said that Daryl Smith could be one of the steals of the draft in the 2nd round. Nice!!!

Paul Hewitt on ESPN

Hewitt was interviewed at halftime of the Duke / FSU game from the ESPNZone in Atlanta. Here is what he had to say:

Opened by talking about the 2nd time a team can beat a #1 in the same season this year - 2nd opportunity.

Q: What is your demeanor and focus?
PH: keep it simple - focus on defense, move the ball in transition, get good shots, rebound

Q: Players similar size except Luke, does this present matchup problems for you?
PH: Hasn't been a problem matching up this year. We think our guys are quick and good defenders.

Q: Mentors you learned from
PH: Barton Reed HS coach biggest influence. He got me started in coaching. George Raveling has been a huge mentor also, giving me my biggest break at USC and continues to provide biggest support. Working hoops camps a great opportunity to meet people - coach Thompson at the Georgetown camp and the Providence camp as well.

Q: BJ Elder - what turned around his offense against Clemson as he was struggling?
PH: being more aggressive, more selfish which we need him to be. He had a game a week ago where he went 3-13 and I told him if he continued to be aggressive like that and get those types of shots, they would start to fall.

QRecruiting - only Bosh 1 year - how have you thrived with his loss
PH: We are in year #4 of our program - we have veterans, much like we had my first year where we went to the NCAA Tourney. But the guys are veterans, they understand the game, Jack, Lewis, Muhammad, make the difference.

Q: Focus of staff moving through ACC
PH: need to get better in halfcourt. Transition good, but boards weak last couple of games. We've gone back to basics doing some of the rebounding drills we did last October.

Q: How have you smoothly integrated W.Bynum into the program?
PH: I credit the players. J.Jack really made him feel at home and has pushed him to be more aggressive. Will knows that if his shot is not there, the players are backing him up. So I really have to credit the players, particularly J.Jack.

Poll Results on Marvin Lewis

Well the votes are in to the question "Should Marvin Lewis's jersey be retired". Here's how you answered:

70.9% - NO, super guy, but his play on the court was not enough
17.7% - YES, his academics + his play for 4 years is deserving
11.4% - MAYBE, that will depend on how he finishes this season
(79 total votes)

This was really a heart-wrencher for me, but I think the majority of people got this one right. Marvin has been a solid player for 4 years, a solid student and really is everything that a student-athlete is supposed to be. The guy has been on the dean's list every semester at GT. He has had some really standout performances at GT. He has been humble, a team player and has represented the school with honor.

He will end his career with over 1200 career points. Only 33 players in GT history had scored at least 1000 career points coming into the year. He is about 5th all-time in GT history for 3pt shots made, only trailing Scott, Akins, Best and Harpring. For 3pt shooting %, he is about 10th on GT's all-time list.

With all that, I would not complain one bit to see his name in the rafters, but I just don't think these are the total credentials to make it up there with Hammonds, Kaiser, Salley, Price, Harpring and Yunkus. Having said that, what will BE the future criteria to make this judgement? Do you have to have a degree (I hope so). The best players don't stay so their "careers" are no longer the 4 years like the past. They leave without degrees and without more than 1-2 years of contribution. The guys staying 4 years now are the guys in today's world who are not always good enough for the pro's. So here-in lies the delimma. Marvin Lewis playing for GT 10 years ago - no way they retire his number. Marvin Lewis in today's game, a 4 year starter, excelled on and off the court - a good case can be made.

Well the next poll is up and may be as controversial - "Who was the best Point Guard in GT History"? Don't think I left anyone significant out. Don't let number of years played factor into your answer. Let the debate rage.

GT picked to win ACC by coaches...

.... in baseball - a pre-season coaches poll.

Paul Hewitt call in show

Here's some highlights from today's call-in show on 790theZone:

Many questions on rebounding. I will try to summarize all those answers into one.
PH: When guys like J.Jack get 5 rebounds it is because our primary rebounders are doing a good job cancelling out the opposition's primary rebounders. In the last two games, we have NOT cancelled out the primary opposing rebounders. When looking at the tape, we are letting the opposition initiate the contact on the glass, instead of the other way around. This is resulting it them being more "ready" for when the ball comes off the glass. We are just not winning the individual battles like we did early in the year. We are going to show our guys EVERY single offensive board from the NC ST / Clemson game and focus on them initating the contact on the glass. They need to understand that there is time to find a guy once the ball goes up. This will help us not get caught too far under the basket.

Q: You seemed to have embraced the GT tradition. How has Bobby Cremins helped with that and Wes, how has Al Ciraldo helped you?
PH: Growing up in NY, you know who Bobby Cremins was. I remember a game he came to see Kenny Anderson play. He was unmistakable with the white hair. The day I got the job, he called and offered his unconditional support and has been there all along. I would be foolish not to consult with Bobby on what he has done to be successful, because he still knows a lot more about this school than I do.
Wes D on Al Ciraldo: If you find someone else who did more in 43 years to help a program, let me know. Went on further

Q: McHenry had one of his best games of the year. Comment
PH: Anthony does a lot that does not show up in the box score and stats. He played a good game and we need him to have another strong one Saturday

Q: Duke has a 1 day turnaround - is this an advantage for the Jackets?
PH: I used to think the one-day turn around was a bad thing for the team that has to do it. But I'm changing my opinion on that. GT did it when we came out against MD and we played with energy. Clemson did it against us and played with energy, Duke has done it as well. Coach K knows how to handle that kind of turnaround and he will have his team ready.
Wes: It's almost like having an NCAA Tourament mentality

Wes: You're not a fan of Tues / Thurs night games with 9:00 starts
PH: No I'm not. I think they are bad for the sport. Sometimes we forget that these are students too. Traveling on the road and having exams the next day is very stressful. Luke had that situation last week and was run down.

Q: Grade Tarver so far
PH: He is rusty. We will know when Theodis is back again because we will see more blocks and he will hit the high % shots. He is getting some blocks but he has missed a few baskets close to the basket. Last year he NEVER missed around the basket. He has one more game left on the 6-game max before he would no longer be eligible for medical redshirting (if the NCAA enacts that rule at the end of the season). We will monitor his progress but the plan is to play him the rest of the season.

Q: What did you see in Will Bynum that Arizona was not able to? He seems to have blossomed at GT.
PH: I think we are just benefitting from Will's maturity. I told Will that he would probably be hearing a lot of the same things here that he heard at AZ, but he is more ready now to hear them. He has always been an explosive player but he is learning now how to progress and raise his game

Wes / PH got into a converation about the Knicks. Turns out Pat Riley will be at the game on Saturday. Hewitt said "Riley worked for the Lakers, but he COACHED the Knicks". I was a little nervous listening to this discussion, as we all know the soft spot in Hewitt's hear for the Knicks.

Q: Ball movement seems to have declined the last 4 games compared to early in the season.
PH: That is true. Some of that is attributable to scouting. Teams don't have the benefit of seeing you play early in the season. We were benefitting and scoring on our secondary break a lot early on. Now that teams have time to prepare, they are gaurding us much better. At this point in the season, half-court offense becomes more important. So now it is a lot like a QB in football reading routes. There are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th options. We need to do a better job with the 3rd, 4th and 5th options when our intial cuts are denied.

Q: Comments about the team being better without Chris Bosh
PH: Paul was upset that Mike Gminski in a recent broadcast incorrectly quoted Hewitt that the team is better without him. He did NOT say that. Feels we might have been the best team in the country having a 6'11" guy who is unselfish like Chris who rebounds, scores, passes and can shoot the 3pt shot.

Q: Elder seems to score in bunches - reminded caller of Vinnie "Microwave" Johnson.
PH: No doubt he can score in bunches. He is starting to be more aggressive and we have felt all along he could be a 20 point scorer.

Keys to Duke: getting out quick. Guarding the shooters. If Duhon has truly found his shot like he did against Georgetown and Reddick and Ewing are hitting too, the whole ACC is in trouble.

Q: Will Moore play Saturday
PH: Probably not. Toe still bothering him. I would like to see him 100%. Unless he comes to me this week and says he's ready to go, he won't play

A Daily Dose

More on Stan Hixon and his new job with the Redskins. Hixon was the fomer WR coach at GT and coached Dez White and Kelly Campbell.

Do you know Dan Buckley? He was the inventor of the "triangle-and-two" defense and evidently Bobby Cremins consulted with him prior to taking the Georgia Tech hc job. He passed away recently...................... The AJC writes about our rebounding woes. We had better shore up this weakness Saturday. Actually, we had better shore up ALL of our weaknesses Saturday................. The Washington Post wrote about vulgar fans at Maryland hoops games - check it out. They really let Reddick have it last game, and by the way the T-shirts said F$%& Duke.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Road woes continue

Well NC ST fights a tough battle but comes up short losing by two to UNC in Chapel Hill. The road is in the ACC is tough, as this ESPN article points out.

"Battle of the Big Men" this Friday

Howard versus Morris - Part II. Alex.Mem.Col. - Friday night - ESPN2 - it's ON!!!! Make sure to watch. To get you excited - check this out.

theGooley's pictures from the Clemson game up are

Nice shots, including this one

New Feature - RSS Site Feed

For those of you who do not know what an "RSS Site Feed" is don't worry. Those of you geeks who do will appreciate it. Basically it lets the content of this site be "syndicated" so it can be read in a "newsreader" program that can aggregate content from thousands of sites into a nice interface that makes it easy to read updates without going to every site individually. Confused? Oh well.

The link to the site feed is at the bottom of the main link list just before the "archives" section.

A Daily Dose

Did you know BJ Elder was battling the flu during his 36 point outburst? I guess he was just plain "sick"............... Here's one re-cap of the game.................. Go vote for the ACC against the Big East at ESPN righ now...................... This is a rival UGAg story, but interesting none-the-less. Check out Dennis Felton's background - was given up for adoption and reunited with his birthmother in the last couple of years.................... Well, here is what a Kentucky paper has to say about UK's latest commit Joe Crawford - "While the Cats might be gambling by taking Rondo and Crawford and forsaking Morris, who was down to Georgia Tech, Georgia and UK, Gibbons said Kentucky made the right choice. "There's still a possibility that Morris could go to the NBA, so you really don't know what's going to happen there," Gibbons said. "You go with the bird in the hand." I hope that really means Kentucky is OUT. We will see........................... Here are some comments about Will Bynum from ZA coach Lute Olsen.............. Looks like talk of Hewitt and St.John's just will not die in the NY area - here from the NY Post...............

On the recruiing trail, one highly rated LB prospect Ronnie Palmer, has committed to Arizona...................... Here is some background on why Nate McManus committed to the Jackets, even though he has been an Auburn fan since he was 10 years old - "Another prospect, offensive lineman Nate McManus from Mountain Brook, verbally committed to Georgia Tech Monday because he said Nall didn't offer him a scholarship in time. "I told (Nall) I wanted to make my decision by 6 p.m.," McManus said Monday evening. "I never did hear from him by then. I did hear Mayo committed to Tennessee, and they were waiting on that. It won't make a difference now." McManus had not been offered a scholarship by the Tigers and might not have been anyway. The bigger issue is the state of Auburn's future offensive line, which includes just two commitments for 2004 now that Mayo has reneged on his commitment to Auburn." ...................

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Well let's see how my predictions panned out...

The Jackets did beat Clemson 76-69, although the Tigers hung around and never really gave in.

1. GT will force 22 Clemson turnovers - 19 was the actual number - pretty good guess
2. Isma'il will have another signiture dunk - had 3 chance, 1 he miscalculated his step, 2 he bobbled the pass, 3 he passed to BJ for the dunk
3. BJ Elder finally breaks out on scores more than 20 points. Did he ever - did it in the 1st half. Ends with 36.
4. Jackets win 80-65. Not quite the margin I expected but not far off.

Overall some of my most accurate predictions.

Let me just say this - if we play this way Saturday, Dook will kill us. In fact, if we play like this AT Clemson, they will kill us too. For the 2nd game in a row, offensive rebounds by an opponent killed us. Clemson ends with 20 total, to our 9. Overall they outrebounded us 44-31. That has to improve. Overall, we protected the ball much better in the 2nd half. Ended with 14 turnovers. What won the game tonight was shooting. We were 24-53 total, including 10-19 from long distance. If we had missed 2-3 of those shots this is a different game. But tonight they were falling, so be it. They better be falling on Saturday.

My "blue collar" award goes to Anthony McHenry. In Moore's absence he ends with 5 points (2-4), 6 boards (2 offensive), 1 block, 1 assist, 3 steals, and only 1 to. Just a solid outing.

A Win is a win and we will take it. But step it up Saturday boys. Or else.

Time for the Jackets to take it to the house...

... and destroy Clemson. I will guess we force 22 turnovers, Isma'il will have another signature dunk, and BJ Elder finally breaks out and scores more than 20 points. Jackets win 80-65 (By the way, it is 5:32 as I post this)

Recruiting Update - Jeremis Smith

I am testing a new feature here - the ability to add pictures. As a start, let me post a picture of Jeremis Smith to get your salivary glands pumping.

Where are they now - Jason Collier

For a video interview clip with Jason as he works his way back to the NBA through the NBDL.

(photo from

Recruiting Update - hoops

If you ask me, I don't know how UK can possibly sign Randolph Morris any longer. However the NCAA rules are so screwed up with the 5/8 thing that anything is possible, or there is probably some way around it. Anyhow, Kentucky recently received two more committments, one from Rajon Rondo, the other from Joe Crawford. Here is an article on Rondo.

Notice the quote at the bottom:
"Rondo is academically qualified to play as a freshman, Steve Smith said. His commitment means that all of UK's scholarships for next season are spoken for, but the Cats continue to pursue guard Joe Crawford and center Randolph Morris. "

Now since that article was written Crawford has ALSO committed. That means they have the following recruiting class - click here.

That is 4 players. Here is their class from 2003 - click here. Also 4 players. That means 8 in 5 years. In my mind the only way they can sign another player is if the NCAA actually reverses the 5/8 rule, which is a possibility.

I certainly don't know what Tubby Smith has up his sleeve, but I just don't see how they can sign Morris now. Clearly Tubby's #1 priority was NOT Morris of there would be a 'ship waiting for him. There will have to be some serious juggling now to make it happen. Anyone else have an idea?

Where are they now - Chris Bosh

Chris will play in the Rookie / Sophomore game at the All-Star game in LA in Feb 13. Check here for details. The Frosh go against the 2nd year players.

Who else will be playing?
Bosh is joined on the rookie team by Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat, Jarvis Hayes of the Washington Wizards, Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls, Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chris Kaman of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.

Members of the sophomore team include Carlos Boozer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mike Dunleavy of the Golden State Warriors, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, Marko Jaric of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ronald Murray of the Seattle SuperSonics, Nene of the Denver Nuggets, Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons, 2002-03 got milk? Rookie of the Year, Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns and Houston centre Yao Ming.

Dickey V's thoughts on the ACC

Comments from Dookie V .

I wasn't the only one stranded

I was supposed to fly to Montreal Canada on Monday, but had my flights cancelled due to the ice / freezing rain that has layed a nice 2" ice coating in my street. Didn't get out and now I'm doing the "home office" thing. Looks like some of the hoops teams were stranded as well.

Could be worse. I could have actually made my flight and been in Montreal where it is about -10 deg and about -25 with wind chill.

Recruiting Update - Football

Well, a strong O-line prospect from Alabama has committed to the Jackets - Nathan McManus. He is 6'4", 290lb - here is his profile. Looks like a great potential talent and he excels ini the classroom. If that weren't enough - he was raised an Auburn fan. He has visited Auburn but looks like he hasn't been offered there yet - so stay tuned. If they offer him late, hopefully they won't steal him away.

Recruiting Update - Randolph Morris

Well, a couple of weeks ago, the Fayettville online decided to stir things up and say that UNC was still in the running for Morris. They quoted Morris's head coach. Soon after, an article came out quoting Morris's dad saying it was either GT or KY - period. Forget UNC. Now that same paper is stirring it up again, this time saying that UGAg is back in the running strong. Once again, quotes only from Morris's head coach.

Yes, Dennis Felton is interested in Morris. Yes, he recruited him earlier. Yes, Felton saw him play last week in Greenville SC. Yes, Felton landed two highly ranked guards and Morris has said all along he wanted to play with strong guards. But no, I highly doubt Morris is going to UGAg. Take it with a huge grain of salt. Until you see quotes from Randolph himself, or his father, I wouldnt worry too much about what the Fayettville online has to say.

More than anything, I think this shows how loose-lipped Morris's head coach can be.

Lunch Bunch Report - HC Danny Hall

Lunch with head baseball coach Danny Hall. Good info on the team from JezelbellJacket at the Hive.

Jackets look to get back in the win column

Look for the Jackets to win this game by about 15 points. At home, Clemson is just outmanned. Here is a report on Clemson from The State. Here is another look at the game, as well as mention that they might have Isma'il's cramping problems under control.

Did you know GT has one of the longest streaks in the nation hitting at least one 3pt shot per game. UNLV leads at 554, followed by Vanderbilt (547), Kentucky (523), Georgia Tech (520), Arkansas (503), Duke (495), Western Kentucky (495) and Princeton (478). UNLV, Vanderbilt and Princeton have made one in every game it has played since the 3-pointer was implemented in 1985-86.

Here's a general look at hoops so far. Also, looks like Hewitt is not the only coach fiddling with starting line-ups.

Monday, January 26, 2004

BJ Elder on Wooden Award list

If BJ doesn't step up, he won't make the final cut. With Moore out for the Clemson game, it is time for BJ to make himself known. BJ - where are you?

Stream of Consciousness from Senior Bowl...

... from a Fox Sports writer.

The Rankings are out

AP Poll - drop from #11 to #14
ESPN/USAToday Coaches Poll - drop from #13 to #16
Sagarin - drop from #4 to #6
RPI - drop from #11 to #14

Bottom line, if you go 1-1 in a week, you will get clipped. We did and we did. Poor Wake Forest drops from #7 to #17 and from #10 to #19 in the other poll.

Overall, the ACC is still dominant.

#1 Duke
#12 UNC
#14 GT
#19 WF
#26 FSU
#29 NC ST
#31 Maryland

That's 7 teams in the top 31 AP. If you look at Sagarin, again 7 teams in the top 32. In the CollegeRPI rankings, all 9 teams in the top 55. Strong!!!!

Clarence Moore to miss Clemson game...

... and maybe the Duke game Saturday as well. He's fighting a turf toe injury. While I think we can get by without him against Clemson, we NEED him on Saturday. We need his hustle, rebounding and a couple of 3pointers as well. Not good.

Where are they now - Chris Bosh

Just a fantastic article on Chris Bosh - nice comments from K.Garnett, Vince Carter, coaches, players, etc. No doubt Chris is impressing those he works with.

The voting ain't over yet...

...for the ESPN Silver Anniversary Team. Now they are putting those teams in a bracket to see who would "win" based on fan voting. Click here to vote (for the ACC presumably). Right now the ACC is dominating the Atlantic 10, but faces the winner of the SEC/Big10 match-up. Only ESPN could come up with this crap.

Funny Picture - the "GoalPost Collection"

Check it out - funny stuff from the Ohio State board.

Recruiting Update - Theo Davis

Theo Davis is considered the best hoops player from Canada. He is currently a junior in high school and is now playing ball for Cardozo in NY City, to help develop his game. So how is it developing? How about these stats for his last few games:

- 26 points, 16 boards, 8 blocks
- 14 points, 10 boards
- 18 points, 22 boards, 12 blocks
- 16 points, 21 boards, 5 blocks
- 14 points, 10 boards, 4 blocks
- 13 points, 10 boards, 8 blocks, 7 assists
- 31 points, 14 boards, 12 blocks

Here is his profile - he is a kid on Paul Hewitt's radar screen. Other schools interested include UConn, Syracuse, Texas, UCLA, Louisville, UNC, Illinois, Michigan, Mich ST, USC, and a ton of others. Would probably be easier just to say anywhere he wants to go, they are interested.

A Daily Dose

How about this - from CFN's website - some early props for the YellowJackets, having us listed in their top 25, as a team that could be looking to be in the national rankings next year. Excerpt - "The Yellow Jackets could’ve gone in the tank after all the problems of last year, but instead they came through with a bowl winning season led by several good, young players. This might be the ACC’s sleeper team led by QB Reggie Ball and a defense loaded with everything but linebackers. Biggest offensive loss: WR Jonathan Smith Biggest defensive loss: LB Kenyaron Fox"............. In a "where are they now", we find Charles "Chuck" Warbington Jr., a walk-on who has a 1990 NC ring, now appointed to a Georgia area planning committee (he's a civil engineer). Check it out................. Wonder if the Jackets are still after Drew Noe, a talented O-line prospect from Florida. Excerpt from article - "South Sumter has been a pipeline to the collegiate level over the past few years and has one of the top offensive lineman in the state, Drew Noe (6-4 1/2, 300), who has been surprisingly overlooked by colleges to this point. "He is the best 300-pound player ever at this school and we have had one play at Florida and one at USF (South Florida)," Raiders coach Inman Sherman said Georgia Tech was hot on the trail of Noe, who has dropped 25 pounds since the spring and is now playing basketball to improve his already quick feet. Noe also carries a 3.97 grade-point average, a 1030 on the SAT and a 24 on the ACT."

Looks like a distinct possibility that the NCAA could turn over the 5/8 Rule. It is safe to say that GT has been hurt as much as anyone due to this rule, which caused more problems than the ones it was intended to solve. Without it there is a good chance Emeka Okafor's junior year could be in a Jacket uniform................ Want to know what Bob Gibbons says about Ra'Sean Dickey? Honestly, it fits with what I saw in person last week (and Gibbons was there too). There were times when he was ultra-aggressive and other times he just seemed lost. Nothing a little hard-nosed coaching can't address. Here are Gibbon's comments on Dickey - "ON RA'SEAN DICKEY: "He's got a God-given body. He has great offensive talent. The enigma I have with Ra'Sean Dickey is he doesn't seem to come to play every night. . . . Dickey is somewhere in the top 50 in the country. He could be a lot higher. What he really needs to develop, playing at Georgia Tech on the next level, is an attitude, a hunger, and a passion for the game."..................... Evidently some of the opposing players like to talk trash with Dickey as well. Check it out.................. Check this out - a recap of the BiLo game that I attended. Interesting comments about his play - that match up very well to my own re-cap....................... Here is a re-cap of Dickey's last game, where he scored 19 but his team lost. In the previous game he had 25 points, 3 boards and 5 blocks............... Boy, did Jim Calhoun lose his cool or what!!!! Check it out............... Jeremis Smith has written his latest online journal, right here............ In his last game, he scored 24 points, here is the recap. His Dunbar team is now 24-1................. Anthony Morrow scored 15 points in Charlotte Latin's latest victory. They are now 18-3.

Looks like some "Georgia Tech University" (I guess we will be cursed with people's incompetence forever) students were chosen on the Price is Right. Check it out.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Recruiting Update - Kyle Belcher

It is official - we have a new kicker. Interesting, Kyle could actually end up being our kicker AND punter. Wouldn't that be something. Check out this blurb from the Hive. If you remember, we reported earlier that Kyle was a multi-sport talent, excelling in football, basketball and track. Seems like maybe he will have some of those Forrest Gump "magic legs", as he won state competitions in the long jump, triple jump and came in 2nd regionally in the high jump. Excels on the hardwood as well. As for his kicking, he has a very respectable 40.3 punting average. His FG kicking stats are decieving at only 10-18 made last season. However 5 of his misses were beyond 54 yards. That goes to show you what confidence the coach has in his leg, that he would even attempt that many from that distance.

One minor note - I didn't know we had a Physical Therapy major. Who knew?

Where are they now - Stan Hixon

Former GT WR coach Stan Hixon has accepted a job wth the Redskins as their WR coach, completing Joe Gibb's new staff. Hixon has been with LSU, but coached Kelly Campbell and Dez White while at GT from 1995-1999. We wish him all the best in his new role.

New GT Discussion board

If the Hive and Stingtalk are not enough for you, there is ANOTHER GT discussion board that seems new. It's called "Yellow Jacket Sports Page". Not sure if this is basically the same group of people or not. I see some of the same user names from the other boards. I have put a link under "Discussion boards" for your viewing pleasure.

Final Poll Results

We asked "How many ACC teams will make the NCAA Tourney". Here is what you said:

6 teams - 47.5%

5 teams - 29.5%
7 teams - 11.5%
8 teams - 6.6%
4 teams - 4.9%

(61 total votes)

Honestly, I think 6-7 is the right answer, although the dog-eat-dog ACC schedule is starting to happen. GT beats MD/WF. MD beats UNC. WF beats UNC. FSU beats UNC/WF. UVA beats FSU. Clemson beats UVA. NC ST beats GT. Tell me this is not brutal. In fact if I put that into some type of top-to-bottom order, we have Clemson beats UVA who beats FSU who beats WF who beats UNC who beats GT who beats MD who beats UNC. I could go on. The only team not getting in on the losing action yet is Duke. About time someone stepped up to the plate.
The next poll is now up and running. Thanks to "sideways the dog" for the poll idea. If you have an poll idea and curious what your fellow fans think, just leave a comment. It could appear in a future poll.

Where are they now - Joe Hamilton

Nice story on Little Joe as he prepares for his Arena football league debut:

Preds QB accepts change
Joe Hamilton joins AFL after 4 years with the Bucs
By Shannon Shelton | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted January 25, 2004

Walking down Orange Avenue for a photo shoot one afternoon wearing a teammate's Orlando Predators jersey, Joe Hamilton caught a motorist's attention.

The driver yelled something at the Preds' quarterback, who responded with laughter. It was a friend of Hamilton's, playfully teasing him about his supposed fame.

Besides his friends, most Orlandoans wouldn't recognize Hamilton; he's only been a Predator since November and just moved here three weeks ago. He doesn't have his official jersey yet because the team hasn't received the No. 14 shirt they ordered for him.

Orlando, however, long has embraced its Predators quarterbacks, and if Hamilton, 5 feet 10 and 190 pounds, becomes a fan favorite, too, more people might roll down their car windows to say something to their football team's newest leader.

Hamilton has been getting the scoop on living in Orlando -- where to eat, what places to avoid, where to have fun -- and also learning about what it means to be an Orlando Predator. If he hasn't figured out Rule No. 1 -- hating the Tampa Bay Storm is a must -- he'll get a crash course today.

The Predators will have a scrimmage against the Storm at 5 p.m. today at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. The scrimmage is open to the public and will consist of each team running 60 offensive plays, alternating possessions every 15 plays.

"Sunday is a big test for me," he said. "I've just been here three weeks, just feeling my way around. I love [backup quarterback] Connell Maynor. He's welcomed me during my stay and has helped me with anything that I need."

For Hamilton, the scrimmage will be the first game-situation snap he has taken since leaving NFL Europe in 2002. After becoming a Heisman Trophy candidate at Georgia Tech in 1999, Hamilton spent four years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was the team's No. 3 quarterback in 2001 and 2002.

He was sent to Frankfurt, Germany, of NFL Europe but tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He was on injured reserve in 2003 and received a Super Bowl ring from the Bucs' championship season.

"He's done better each practice," Orlando Coach Jay Gruden said. "He's getting a better feel for what's going on and making better throws."

Like most players adjusting from the NFL to the Arena Football League, Hamilton, 26, is learning to adjust his style to the 50-yard field.

"It's a matter of getting used to it," Hamilton said. "You have to time a lot of your plays pre-snap and make throws in a tight window because there isn't a lot of field."

The Preds have a tradition of successful quarterbacks, including Ben Bennett, who completed a team-record 67.8 percent of his passes in 1994; Pat O'Hara, who holds team single-season (3,335 yards in 1998) and career (9,676 yards from 1995-2000) records; and Gruden, who was Orlando's quarterback last season before agreeing to return for a second stint as coach. O'Hara is now with the Storm.

Just having Gruden, who was slowed by an injured right ankle last season, around has been beneficial for Hamilton.

"He's a winner -- a great guy," Hamilton said. "Jay would love to be playing again, but he's passing that role to me. I want to be an extension of him on the field."

Shannon Shelton can be reached at

Recruiting Update - football

Here is an update on football recruiting as we approach signing day Feb 4.

Word is that kicker Kyle Belcher HAS committed to the Jackets. This is the young man that kicks, punts, plays hoops, stars in track/field, etc. Welcome to GT Kyle, if you have committed. You made the right choice!!

Top 5 "Diss Jobs" of all-time

This guy lists Cremins' crazy back-and-forth with South Carolina as #5.

Recruiting Update - Paul Harris

A talented sophomore in high school who has already gotten letters from many schools, including GT.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Recruiting Update - Morris / Howard battle

Make sure to set your TIVO or watch ESPN at 8:00 pm this Friday. Here are details from the NY Times:

Drawing a Crowd

A nationally televised game between high school teams on Friday night will attract officials from roughly a dozen N.B.A. teams, including Memphis's Jerry West, Orlando's John Gabriel, Cleveland's Jim Paxson, Chicago's John Paxson and San Antonio's Danny Ferry. ESPN2 will televise Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy versus Landmark Christian School of Fairburn, Ga., at Georgia Tech, at 8 p.m. It will be the second high school game this season to be televised on ESPN2. In December, a game featuring Sebastian Telfair of Brooklyn's Lincoln High was aired.

The main attractions are Southwest Atlanta's Dwight Howard, a 6-11, 235-pound forward/center, and Landmark's Randolph Morris, a 7-foot, 269-pound center. Howard is widely viewed as the top high school player in the country and could be the No. 1 pick in this year's draft. He averages 25 points, 18 rebounds and 8 blocks. Morris, who averages 25 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks, is considering turning pro or attending Georgia Tech or Kentucky.

NC ST tops GT 76-72 in hoops

Well, I said it was going to be a tough game, a difficult one to win. I was right. I predicted a 1-point win - I was wrong, although the score was in the right range (I predicted 71-70). To me the bottom line of the game was rebounding and 2nd chance points. We are talking 21 offensive rebounds by the Pack. Overall they only outrebounded us 40-38, but the offensive ones killed us. It was the most frustrating display I have seen since the UGAg game.

But to the team's credit, they fought back from a 15 point defecit in the 2nd half to ALMOST tie the game. They certainly forced NC ST to hit their free throws (which they did) and make a couple of threes (which they did). NC ST is now 10-0 at home. They are averaging about 80 points at home and 59 points on the road.

In the end, this is a road loss in the ACC to a good NC ST team (at home). Nothing to be ashamed of. They fought valiantly to the bitter end. As a result, we are rewarded with a home game versus Clemson. Let's take care of business and prepare for Duke next week.

Here are some general thoughts

OFFENSE - Am I a broken record? We need to improve the half-court game. NC ST slowed it down and forced us to show what we could do in the half-court. The answer - not too much. The team ended the game with only 9 assists and in my mind that shows the weakness of our half-court game. A lot of one-one-one stuff. Shot the ball decent tonight (24-54), hit 20-25 free throws, but when you take 54 shots and your opponent 65, that's hard to make up. We were also cold from 3pt range (4-17), which we KNOW is going to happen in games and we did not adjust quickly enough. Turnovers on the offensive end were critical. We ended with 15 to's, but a lot of them were at really crucial times. Besides offensive rebounds, the other key stat - 2nd chance points. GT 12, NC ST 24. That's it - game, set, match.

DEFENSE - Played a decent defensive game. Held NC ST to 35.4% shooting, including 29% from 3pt range. But they kept getting all the rebounds and getting more shots. NC ST actually shot 41 3pt shots to our 18. No kidding - 41 from 3pt range!! They only dropped 12 of them, but we only dropped 4. While our defensive effort was strong, NC ST protected the ball well. We only forced 12 TO's, which is way below our season average.

Comments on individual performances

Bynum - 0-5 from 3pt range. Was not hitting his shots, so at some point in the 2nd half, he decided to go to the rim every other time he touched the ball. And I be darned if he didn't get there just about every time also. Ends with 17 points and help lead the 2nd half charge that got us back in the ball game. Ends shooting 7-16, but he was 0-5 from 3pt, and seemed that every other shot was a layup.

BJ Elder - I thought this was going to be his game. At one point he was 2-3, had hit a 3pt shot. But he ends the game 3-9 with 14 points, and 2-6 from long distance - another sub-BJ game. Is he EVER going to get back on track this year?

Jack - an off-night imo. Ends with 13 points on 3-4 shooting, but only has 2 assists and 5 TO's, no steals. Did grab 4 boards.

Isma'il - 11 points on 4-5 shooting and 7 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals. Even goes 3-4 from the stripe. A good outing for Isma'il, but I would have like to see the ball in his hands more.

Lewis - Only hit one shot during our 2nd half comback - ends with 3 points. Another Marvin road disappearing act. But I will go easy because he was key in the WF victory. I just so bad want to see Lewis have a strong senior year.

Luke - has a pretty nice game. 10 points on 5-11 shooting, 6 boards, including 3 nice offensive ones and 2 blocks, which were both key down the stretch. Luke is really playing solid in the paint for us. Can't deny that.

Tarver - Only played 9 minutes, but ended with 3 boards and 2 blocks. If you will remember he had 3 blocks and 3 boards in 13 minutes during the WF game. While his offensive game hasn't shown itself, he is showing some good defense.

Official AP version.

A Daily Dose

Very nice story on Will Bynum. No doubt he is "STREET"............... Here is another similar article that I think is longer and more detailed................. Well, UConn goes down again, getting upset by Providence................ Here is sort of a diary of Dwight Howard. I saw this guy play in person last week, and while he had his worst game of the year, he WILL go pro. He WILL be a top 3 pick. He is the REAL-DEAL!!!......... Another nice story on Will Bynum.................. Here's a nice article on GT with quotes from Herb Sendek of NC ST and how we were really a good team last year, with MANY close losses. No doubt!!!.................... Here is an article on Stephon Marbury and his ability to hit a big shot...................

Looks like we have hired a new Strength/Conditioning coach. Looks like Eric Ciano, from Tennesse. Here is a story on it............... Looks like we are going to go head-to-head with Duke for recruits in the state of GA. Of course with Ted Roof, we knew that he would compete for these kids. Of course it hurts that he goes after very similar types of kids. But we should win more of those battles in the state of GA....................... Story on the senior bowl and some of the kids, including K-Fox, who was asked if he had ever been in a room with teammates smoking the "MoJo".

Friday, January 23, 2004

Good preview of GT/NC ST

Very nice preview of the game Saturday - nice things about the GT squad and a good preview of the NC ST team. As I predicted earlier, I see a GT victory but only by about 1 point. Final Score 71-70. If our half-court offense struggles, this will be a long game.

A Daily Dose

Well, well, well, the Richmond Spiders do it AGAIN!! The manage to knock off highly ranked Kansas. Anyone remember the year they knocked off GT TWICE, including in the NCAA tourney?. Here is a list of their biggest wins, including over GT.................. Well, the LadyJackets continue to lose, falling to UNC last night. They are now 10-8 (1-5 ACC).................. Here is a nice story from the Baltimore Sun about how the Jackets have finally passed a strong road test with their win over WF................. Here's a story on UGAg hoops and their first year coach................. On the recruiting trail, check out Texas star Austin Jackson, a 2-sport star that is interested in GT. He could be a 1st round MLB draft pick in 2005, was first team district selection in both hoops and baseball and the "newcomer of the year" in both sports. Sounds like GT is pursuing him to continue BOTH sports............ Hey Al Featherston, from the Herald-Sun, bite me. Here is his explanation of why Mark Price should NOT be on the ESPN Silver Anniversary All-ACC team. What confuses me is that he claims he was one of the SEVEN members who decided on the team. However, on ESPN they said it was a TEN member panel. What gives?............ Another writer gives Hewitt his vote for Coach-of-the-year......... Frank Burlison over at Fox Sports had some nice things to write about GT - "Do you know which team is back to playing top 5-caliber basketball?
None other than Georgia Tech, which was probably the best team in the country during it 12-0 start (including spankings of Connecticut and Texas Tech in New York City) but then dropped back-to-back decisions at Georgia and North Carolina. Since the 15-point loss in Chapel Hill, however, Paul Hewitt's team has ACC victories over Virginia, Maryland and Wake Forest (in Winston-Salem) by an average margin of 12 points."
................. Jeremis Smith and Dunbar crushed North Side 96-38 as Smith scored 21 points.............. Anthony Morrow dropped another 28 points as they won 95-61 (now 17-3).............

Remember the famous 1929 Rose Bowl with "wrong way" Riegels? He played for Cal and returned a fumble 64 yards leading to a safety and a GT 8-7 win. Well, we may have another wrong way on our hands - in hoops. This kid manages to dunk the ball in the wrong basket, tying the game and sending it to triple OT as the time ran out. Funny story - although this time he manages to atone for his error..................... Story on Brian Jean-Mary, our new linebacker's coach. Looks like he is happy to be at GT. Also notice Giff Smith, our new defensive line coach, is ALREADY on the road recruiting - a good sign, although it is certainly late in the process for a new assistant to get in tight with a recruit. Gailey is going with youth - a 28 year old and a 34 year old. Certainly could mean a good aggressive fresh approach. Could work well....................... More confirmation about the recent coaching changes. By the way, ignore the comment on QB Michael Fisher at the bottom. Fisher HAS committed to the Jackets but for baseball 100%. No football................. Looks like the academic standards will be changing in a couple of years. If a player leaves the school due to academic problems, you will NOT be able to replace that 'ship. Remember we had 10 last year during "flunkgate". I think about 3 of those guys will are back now. Probably a good move for GT to go ahead and take care of the issue when they did. But what does this mean? Probably means all those guys who want to study engineering, computer science, medicine, etc, will probably be even LESS likely to do so. The risk and penalties for the school will be higher if a players flunks out, so my guess is schools will pressure kids to take easier majors.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Recruiting Update - Drew Gause

The Jackets may not have gotten Darius Walker, but we did pick up a running back commit tonight per the Hive - Drew Gause, from Houston. Check out the photo - the guy must be built like a tank - 5'8" 200lb.

Interestingly, he is considered a highly regarded baseball propsect.

Overall it looks like Gailey's 3rd class is shaping up to be his best one. Of course there is more to come and none of the ink is dry yet. Be assured there will be some surprises - good or bad. Always some crazy things that happen.

So you think FSU will be easy ????

Think again. After playing a poor 1st half, they storm back, send the game vs UNC into OT on a last second 3pt shot, then dominate in the OT period to take the win. This is the team that beat Duke at home last year. Don't put this one in the win column so quickly. They are young and learning and talented. Probably would have been nice if we played them early.

Truly a monumental comeback. These guys were down by 24 points at one point. The fans stormed the floor after the game and went nuts. Won't be any easier in hoops than it is on the gridiron.

I'm sure there will be a major meltdown on the UNC boards.

Latest feature added to the Blog

Check it out - I've added a polling feature on the left. I can create Polls on any timeframe. If you have some ideas for polling questions that you might like to know the answer to, let me know. I will probably put in a new question each week.

Pictures from the GT game

Check them out. From a WF fan so WF oriented.

Check this one out - I'll let you decide what I mean when I say "2 inches".

Where are they now - David Duval

I really mean "where are they now"????

Check out this blurb from Golf Digest:
"It says something about David Duval and the state of his game that he's passing on this week's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, site of his 59, and a place where you think he'd have plenty of confidence. Sources in the Duval camp say the venue won't dictate his return to the PGA Tour: His swing and ball flight will."

On a side note, they talked about the schools with the most players on the tour:

9 - Oklahoma State
7 - Florida, Texas, UCLA
6 - Georgia Tech, Wake Forest

Can you name the six? I'm not sure I can. Help me out.

Recruiting Comments by Tom Lemming

Found these comments about the recruiting process by recruiting analyst for ESPN Tom Lemming in a chat transcript:

George (Paris, TX): Tom, what makes a school a good closer (typically FSU) and a poor closer (typically Michigan)? Any thoughts?

Tom Lemming:
Sir, you've got your facts all wrong. The past two years, Michigan has been a great closer while yes, FSU has been a great closer over the past 15 years though last season was not their typical year in landing players.

The keys to landing players .... First of all, you've got to be one of the super-20 schools, then you've got to have an aggressive, quick-witted and personable head coach, but much more importantly, you've had to set the player up for the previous 12 months by a competant assistant coach contact with great evaluating skills and personality who will work day and night getting close to the blue-chippers and putting the player in a position to feel 'bad' if he chose another school. When the super-20 are involved, it all comes down to the ability of that asst. coach to recruit the prospect

Hewitt call-in show

I didn't listen but here is a nice re-cap from Ramblin Red.

Recruiting Update - Darius Walker

Well, Darius choses Notre Dame...............but to get an idea of the rollercoaster ride read this article. Here is an article from Notre Dame writers.

This is not a big surprise and really not terrible news for the Jackets. Yes we would have loved to have him but with guys like PJ Daniels and Reshaun Grant in the backfield next year, we are in pretty good shape, and those are just two names on the roster with talent.

A Daily Dose

On the recruiting trail, we will hear today at 3pm where Darius Walker wants to go to college. This young man from Buford has scholarship offers from about half of ALL the Div I-A schools in the nation. He is a 5'11" 200lb tailback who re-wrote Hershal Walker's high school record books and didn't even play every entire game. He scored 46 touchdowns as a senior. He has narrowed his choices to Ohio State, Standford, Notre Dame, Alabama, Arkansas (where his dad played) and GEORGIA TECH. Personally I put the odds of landing this young man at about 10%. Most people believe Ohio State is the front runner............................ To stay on recruiting, we have picked up talented safety - DJay Jones. He is 6'1" 185, runs a 4.65 40 and plays WR and Safety on his Camden County HS team. He is a member of the GA Hot 100 from insiders, shown as #60. WELCOME TO GT DJay!!! You made the right choice......................."GTDean" at the Hive found out on the net that it looks like we have a new linebacker coach, Brian Jean-May. Here is the link showing he has quit his current job. He is the quote - "And now, defensive backs coach Brian Jean-Mary has resigned. He is expected to be named linebackers coach at Georgia Tech." Here is his background profile. A young guy (28) who has ties in Florida which should help our recruiting there. If this becomes "official" we will let you know.

Remember last week when we reported about Ra'Sean Dickey's Marlboro team walking off the court at the Nike Martin Luther King Classic in Jacksonville FL? Well, here is an article discussing what happened in more detail and how to handle these types of situations in the future. I guess only those who were there will know what REALLY happened.................. Our friendly 7-footer Luke was on the radio this morning. I didn't hear it but these guys at the Hive did................... Will Bynum is starting to get some press after his last 2 performances - this from a Tacoma WA paper - "Think Arizona misses guard Will Bynum, who transferred to Georgia Tech midway through last season? Considering what he's done of late, pretty much anybody could use Bynum. Bynum scored 20 points against Wake Forest on Tuesday and 25 against Maryland on Saturday."....................... I LOVE this article about the Jackets. All about not settling for what they did against WF - looking for that edge, how to get to the next level. I LOVE IT!!!!! Another well done article by Brian Murphy at the Macon Telegraph.................. Is THIS any surprise????? Dickey V was the ONLY person on the "blue ribbon" panel NOT to vote for Mark Price on the ESPN All-Time ACC team. What a putz. Guess who he voted for??? Surprise surprise - a Dorkie - Jason Williams. That guy is the most predictable guy in all of broadcasting. One head coach this week was quoted as saying he could not say 15 words withou the word "Duke" coming out of his piehole. Again, what a putz...................... Meanwhile, looks like Wake Forest is pissed about their 3-game losing streak and is going to take it out on FSU...........

Some love from UNC fans

UNC fans are currently debating who is the best "pure" shooter in ACC history. Looks like Mark Price is getting the most votes, with Dennis Scott not far behind. Heck, even Fred Vinson gets a mention. Price gets my vote. Can you imagine what his career numbers might have been if the 3 point shot esisted during his hey-day?

ESPN Silver Anniversary All-Time ACC team

Well the results are in and.................................. Mark Price MADE the team!!!!! Way to go Mr.Price!!! Here is the final line-up, as announced at halftime of the Dork/MD game tonight:

G - M.Jordan
G - M.Price
F - C.Laettner
F - L.Bias
C - R.Sampson

And guess what?? All that voting you did?? Turned out it didn't mean squat. That was just a "fun" poll for the fans. The final team was decided by a "blue ribbon" panel of team people (including of course Dickey V).

The bad news......... we all wasted valuable minutes of our time each day with the stinking voting
The good news....... the "experts" got it right anyway and voted Price to the team.

Congrats Mark Price!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Recruiting Update - Deja Vu all over again

Tell me this is not weird - Paul Hewitt is after a 7 foot tall.................... white guy........................ from Australia.................... named Luke.............. and his last name is NOT Schenscher!!!! I am NOT kidding. Check it out here.

The kid's name is Luke Nevill. I can only assume that he is a back-up plan if Randolph Morris falls through (heaven forbid!).

New Comment System up and running

Well, the guy running the previous comment service got hijacked and was bought out by Haloscan. They have all of our archived comments and I have activiated them. You should also see some nice style improvements to the comment window. Being able to re-size the window is nice, as well as the graphics. A little more customization allowable.

Now you can finally have your opinions heard again!!!! GO JACKETS!!!!

Don't think NC ST will be easy!!!

Another ACC road game. NC ST will be ready and they will be tough. They have yet to lose at home and are currently tied with GT for 2nd place in the ACC. Personally I put it at a 50-50 shot of winning. My prediction is a GT win, with a final score of 71-70. I think this one goes down to the wire.

Go back and vote for Mark Price AGAIN!!!

Vote again. He maintains a slim lead on Hurley for the 2nd guard position.


Recruiting - private jets do matter

I guess private jets and lobster DO matter to recruits.

New link added

(just realized there is an error with the URL on this new link. I will work on fixing it)
Just added a new link under "basketball extras" called "GT Stats". Shows how GT ranks nationally in a bunch or categories.

For example:
#3 in FG% defense
#5 in scoring margin
#15 in winning %
#18 in scoring offense
#25 in FG%
#29 in assists per game

Individually J.Jack is:
#10 in assists per game
#27 in steals per game

What worries me is
#189 in FT % (got to make the free ones)
#125 in TO's (did a good job last night but need to protect the ball more consistently)
#222 in fouls (just aggressive defense or is Hewitt right?)

Note that you can click on each stat and get the detailed list for that stat. If Isma'il met the minimum (5 made baskets per game) he would be in the top 10 for FG%.

Wins versus quality opponents

GT now is 4-1 against the Sagarin top 30 and 1-0 versus the Sagarin top 10. GT is currently #4 in the Sagarin ratings.

Fans invited to taping of the Hewitt show

Looks like they want the fans involved at the next taping. Click here for details. Be there or be a geometrical shape.

Story on transfers focuses on Bynum

Short story mentioning the success of Will the Thrill.

Where are they now - Stan Hixon

.... the current LSU receivers coach is being rumored as a candidate for the Redskins WR coaching job. Hixon coached at GT prior to being hired away to LSU by Nick Saban. Here is Hixon's biography.

Football coaching changes

Finally, some slightly more official reports from the Macon Telegraph of Patrick Nix getting named offensive coordinator and Giff Smith being named GT's defensive line coach.

They also report that Jay Omer and Ben Pollard were interviewed for the strength/conditioning coach job, and that they both elected not to come to GT.

More on the game

Recap by a NC paper................. Here is a re-cap from Fayetville Online.......

In other hoops news, UConn hc J.Calhoun says UConn is much tougher now than when we played them.

Recruiting Update - football

Well, the best kicker in the state of Florida, Gary Cismesia, decommitted to the Jackets to head to FSU last week, but it looks like the Jackets have offered another talented kicker a 'ship. His name is Kyle Belcher and here is a story about the offer.

Interestingly, this guy kicks field goals and punts. Was 10-18 in FG's last year with a long of 57 yards. Averaged 40.3 yards per punt, as you can see in this article.

If that's not enough, it is apparent that Belcher has some strong legs, because he is a track star as well, where he competes in the long jump and triple jump. In fact, he WON both events for a state championship last year, jumping 43'6" in the triple and 21'3" in the long jump. WOW!!! He has also won previous regional championships in the high jump and the 400m relay. The year before he placed 2nd in the triple jump and high jump.

By the way, did I mention that Belcher is a starter on the basketball team? And did I mention that his team won the state championship? Here is another article about his exploits.
On another recruiting note, here is an underrecruited linebacker prospect, Jimmie Richardson, that the Jackets have shown some interest in early in the process.

Side note - Andy Katz was at the game

Someone on the WF board reported that Katz was at the game last night. Should be interesting next week, as Katz is one of the four guys who votes for the ESPN Power 16. He currently has GT at #17. Wonder if seeing them in person will improve his vote. I'll keep you posted.

As it turns out, he wrote the following story following the game about Will Bynum. Very well done Mr.Katz.

Isma'il gets #3 ESPN POD...

... His double-pump dunk in the lane against WF last nights gets #4 on their top10 plays of the day. The announcer said "Muhammad is a regular on the top. He's a human highlight reel".

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

GT Drops Wake Forest on the road....

.... A HUGE WIN!!! Possibly Paul Hewitt's best road win of his GT career. The Jackets just played a tough, scrappy game, held a slim lead most of the game and held it the last 2 minutes (which wouldn't have happened last year). This is just huge - Wake Forest had won 24 in a row at home and this win would have tied their all-time record - NOT TO BE!!!!

So, who were the stars - Will "The Thrill" Bynum, Marvin "I'm back" Lewis and Isma'il "Moby Dunk" lead the way. Bynum finisheds with 20 points on 7-13 shooting (3-5 from 3pt). No doubt in my mind - Bynum is STREET!! That kid is playground, he is Rucker. His crossover is killer. If he keeps this up,watch out. Lewis finishes with 14 on 5-7 shooting (4-4 from 3pt range), and hits a crucial 3pt shot in the final minutes to maintain our slim margin and stall a WF charge. Lewis also grabs 6 boards. Isma'il ends with 14 on 5-12 shooting and while he was only 4-8 from the free throw line, he hits 2 crucial ones in the final minute to help seal the victory. C-Moore also has a notable performance with 3 points, 5 boards, 1 block, 3 assists. The only shot he hit was a 3pt-er at the end of the game to help keep us ahead.

The defense was key again. WF shoots 40% which is decent but only 27% from 3pt range. Rebounds are basically even, turnovers even, steals even. My biggest worry though continues to be the halfcourt game. At times we just don't seem to have one. Let's face it - we won the game in large part because we were 9-17 from behind the arc. We shot better from outside the arc than inside. That was Lewis/Bynum who were a combined 7/9. So what happens when those shots are not falling?

Elder had another off-night. He seems to be having many more off nights than on-nights. He ends with 10 points on 2-7 shooting (0-3 from 3pt). He did grab 4 boards and he did hit all 6 free throws. Luke also had an off night, but mainly offensively. He ends with 1 point, 4 boards (3 offensive), 1 block, 2 assists and 1 steal. Not too bad, but he did help hold Eric Williams to only 9 points.

Just an outstanding win for the Jackets!!! Hopefully their confidence will increase and they can steal another road victory or two.

Very nice article on Marvin Lewis...

... from He truly is the definition of "Student-athlete". A class guy and a great representative of Georgia Tech.

More coaching news for GT football

WARNING: What follows is completely unconfirmed and there has been no announcement.

Football Scoop is now reporting that Giff Smith has been named our defensive line coach. Giff comes from Tulane but is from Mableton, GA. He graduated from Georgia Southern and was a Div IAA All-American defensive lineman. As a member of that team, he took part in 3 National Championship teams (86,89,90). At Tulane he was not only their Defensive Line coach, but also the recruiting coordinator and associate head coach. Here is his profile.

This seems to be another great hire by Chan Gailey / Dave Braine. This guy seems to bring a lot to the program:

- A guy who obviouisly knows how to play defensive line.
- A guy who can obviously coach or he wouldn't have had the Tulane job the last 5 years
- Recruiting. Went to GaSouthern, an All-American. On 3 NC teams. Headed up Tulane's best recruiting years.

Just looks like a solid pick-up to go along with naming Patrick Nix the offensive coordinator. If he really does bring back Jay Omer as strength/conditioning coach, that would be quite a tandem. There are other spots still to fill, so stay tuned.

ESPN's new "Power 16"...

... has us as a 4-seed in the tourney. Here is how the individual votes ranked:

Dickey V - #9
Andy Katz - #17
Fran Fraschilla - #18
Joe Lunardi - #10.

So Dickey V gives us some props.

Where are they now - Ken Whisenhunt

.... has been hired as the new offensive coordinator for the Pitt. Steelers. KW was a tight-end at GT before a nine-year NFL career with the Jets, Falcons and Redskins.

In other coaching news, Marty Galbraith has joined the Duke coaching staff. He was an assistant at GT in 92-93.

Lastly here is a story on David Kelly, who has also joined Duke's staff. As reported, Kelly and Roof worked together at GT.

Recruiting Update - Hoops

Thought I would give you an update on the recruits that DIDN'T play in Greenville SC on Monday.

Jeremis Smith has written his latest on-line journal. Nicely written as usual....... In his latest games, Dunbar won twice. On Sat the 18th, Dunbar beat Southwest. Smith had 30 points and 19 rebounds. Smith is definitely the "go to guy" for this team. Check out this re-cap. Here is an excerpt - "He delivered a free throw, a basket, a steal, a basket and a three-point play to put Dunbar ahead 79-73 with 2:43 left." In a game earlier in the week, Dunbar beat Eastern Hills and Smith had 38 points and 14 rebounds.

Now to our other recruit - Anthony Morrow. To find out the type of school and coach he has been learning under, click here. Seems like a classy program and Morrow represents this philosophy. Very nice story. In a game last week where his team won, Morrow scored 15 points and 11 boards.

Battle of the Border

Well, Monday was the longest day of basketball in my life. Five games, from 12:00 - 10:00 pm. And I sat through 4 1/2 of those games at courtside. For YellowJacket fans, one game featured Zam "Buck" Fredrick, who has committed to the Jackets. Another game featured Ra'Sean Dickey, who has also signed with the Jackets, going head-to-head with Dwight Howard, the #1 high school player in the nation. The night-cap featured Randolph Morris, a 7-footer who says he is going to college and is down to GT and Kentucky (although NBA is not out 100%). So all-in-all a good day for GT's hoops future.

Before I get to the games, some interesting comments. There were a number of "dignitaries" in attendance:

1. George Raveling - the legendary USC coach was courtside watching the game.

2. Dennis Felton - the UGAg head coach was there watching the festivities courtside as well, obviously a scouting trip. With my Georgia Tech hat on my head I went up to Coach Felton. I held out my hand, he extended his, I said "Great win against Kentucky". He laughed and said "Thanks. We do what we can". I said "Unfortunately I have to congratulate you on breaking my heart in that GT game" (as I pointed to my cap). He laughed, then I said "Of course, maybe we just didn't pay Ted Valentine as much as you did". KIDDING!!!!!!!!! I didn't say that. I left, wishing him luck for the rest of the season, he said "thanks" and that was that.

3. Larry Shyatt - The former Clemson hoops coach was sitting next to Felton at the table and the two of them left together after it was over.

4. Bob Gibbons. To those recruiting fanatics, this is a familiar name. This guy is one of the top "handicappers" for high school hoops talent. I went up to him at halftime of the last game, said hello. After exchanging some small pleasantries, I asked him "So what do you think Paul Hewitt's real chances are of landing Randolph Morris?". His answer "I would say good. Real good". Gibbons was sitting next to Raveling and it is worthy of note that both Ra'Sean Dickey and Casaan Breeden (a rising junior on Dickey's team) spent some time before their game talking to Gibbons and Raveling. Makes me wonder how much players use these guys to get their "message" out. Of course I have no idea what they were talking about, so anything is pure speculation.

5. Numerous NBA talent scouts were also in attendance. I saw one pad that had Milwaukee Bucks on it.
Here are a couple of overall comments after watching the tourney

1. CONDITIONING - I now have a MUCH higher appreciation for the athletic ability and intensity of our current YellowJackets. Those guys just hustle all-out and they really are in good shape. I can't tell you how many players during these games were tired, slow getting back, and some of them are OUR players coming in next season. We really do have one of the most athletic teams in the nation. It even gives me added appreciation for a guy like Luke S, who has proven his ability to run with these guys (he played the entire 2nd half of the Maryland game).

2. GRAIN OF SALT - In the end, this is only ONE game. So it is not fair to place too much judgement on one game. Some of my comments talk about desire and hustle and you cannot judge a player by one game. So understand that as you read my re-cap.
Now to the games. The premise of the tourney is the best SC teams versus the best GA teams, thus the "Battle of the Border".

GA's McEchern vs SC's Lancaster. The draw of this game was supposed to be McEchern's Josh Smith, who is a national talent, versus Lancaster, the #1 SC team in class AAAA. However, Josh Smith took his talents to legendary Oak Hill Academy in Virginia after this event was scheduled. In the end, this one turned into a rout, as Lancaster won 65-46.

GA's Chamblee vs SC's Calhoun County. This game is of interest because it featured Zam "Buck" Fredrick, a GT signee. When Fredrick came out in his warmup gear, I was first struck with his size. He's around 6'2 - 6'3", but very thick (listed at about 220lb). During the initial warm-ups he did nothing but shoot 3pt shots. At one point, he shot one about 10 feet behind the line (didn't go in). Seemed very laid-back though, and definitely has a bit of personality as he talked with some people he recognized. He had a definite swagger about him. So as the game starts and he removes his warm-ups, you get a better idea about his build. No doubt he will benefit from Hewitt's conditioning program, as his weight was not all lean mass. As the game started it really hit me who he reminded me of.........Dennis Scott. No kidding. The walk, the build, the slight forward lean, even the dribbling and a little of the game. If you took his body, stretched it a few inches and stuck Scott's head on it, you might have a match. He likes to shoot from long distance but has strong moves to the hoop.

Now to the game. Chamblee was supposed to showcase Paul Delaney III, who signed with Alabama-Birmingham, but he broke his leg in the 2nd game of the season and was out. Calhoun ended up cruising past Chamblee 61-42. Buck ended the game with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, but fouled out with 6:30 remaining. Of those, at least 2 were offensive charge calls, one of which was really questionable. In fact, his dad (who is the head coach) got a technical foul in the first half for arguing about calls against Buck.

So what about Buck's game? He starts the game launching 3pt shots. Misses his first two but knocks down the next 2. Wasn't until his 6th shot until he went for something inside the arc. Then he started calling for the ball. He was getting doubled on top and was getting frustrated and his teammates continued to launch up 3 and 3 after 3. No doubt Buck has offensive skills handling the ball when he got it. He seemed to love getting the ball one-on-one with his guy and breaking him down to get to the bucket. He wowed the crowd on one play. He faked left went right, back left then back right again to get to the hoop. His braids were flying every direction. Didn't make the shot but he left the defender's jock in the backcourt. He seemed to have nice overall offensive skills. It is worth mentioning that he shot in the neighborhood of 10 free throws. I only counted one miss. That's a positive sign.

One area that Buck seemed to be strong was floor leadership. He was directing his players often, telling them to get into position, telling them when when to get him the ball. At times, he had some real fire on the court.

Now to his defense. I was not overly impressed with his performance today. His defensive intensity came in spurts. There were times when he launched his body to the ball to attempt a steal or really bodied up on the guard at the point. But there were other times he just seemed to stand around. There were numerous times an opposing player (not his guy) blew past him in the lane and he did not move to pick him up. I don't know if that is a result of Buck's desire,conditioning or if it is a product of the defensive schemes they run. Buck was consistenly the last guy up the floor and seemed to be winded a lot of the game. Although, when he decided to go, he was there and had the energy. But the best way I can describe it is that he picks his spots. I don't want to paint a bad picture here. It was obvious he can defend and a year of conditiong with Hewitt's off-season program should really help. I look forward to seeing him in a Jacket uniform next year.

Even after fouling out, Buck wins the team MVP award for the game (they award a player from each team an MVP trophy after the game).

GA's Montgomery County vs SC's Carolina HS. Montgomery wins 68-43 in a rout. Just too many athletes. Montgomery is led by South Carolina signee Dwayne Day, and Tramell Wooten. Both had nice games. I was really impressed with Day during the first 5 minutes of each half. He hustled, can shot the long distance shot and has hops. He seems like a good playmaker and looks like SC picked up a good one. However the last part of each half he seemed to disappear. He ended with 16 points and 6 boards. Wooten ends up with 16 points and has 18 boards and wins the team MVP.

GA's SW Christian vs SC's Marlboro County. This was the marquee match-up as SW Christian features the #1 player in high school, 6'11" Dwight Howard. Marlboro features two big talents, 6'9" Ra'Sean Dickey, who has signed with GT, and 6'8" junior Casaan Breeden.

On a side note, during the previous game, Dickey was walking my way (I was courtside). I called him and he came over. I said I was a GT guy and am looking forward to seeing him in a Jacket uniform. He smiled and laughed. I asked him if he had been watching the Jackets this year - he said "oh yeah". I had him sign an autograph on the program. He then went over and sat down with Bob Gibbons and George Raveling.

Back to the game. When Dwight Howard came out, I immediately saw what NBA scouts are salivating about. This kid is huge. Not huge in terms of weight. Huge in terms of his frame, but he is NOT skinny. He is lean but not thin. He has enormously wide shoulders. And he is 6'11". Well about 1 minute into the game, one of his teammates throws up a shot that bounce straight back off the rim. Howard leaps HIGH in the air, grabs the ball and thunderously slams it back down. The crowd took a collective gasp, then started going nuts. There were times he grabbed a rebound and jumped so high I thought he could actually push the ball through the basket with both hands and bring it back out before hitting the floor.

A few minutes into the game, and Howard was whistled for his 2nd foul. Then he was later whistled for his 3rd. Turns out our boy Dickey was doing a pretty good job taking it to him on offense. Then they decided to have Howard guard Casaan Breeden instead of Dickey so he wouldn't get another foul. Interesting, sitting next to me courtside were a couple of local guys who know the Marlboro team. During the game they were talking to the players and telling them what to do. And guess what - the players were listening. Casaan Breeden comes back down court and one guy says "Casaan, Howard's got 3. Go after him. Go hard!!!". Caseen shakes his head and says ok (no kidding). Howard who is standing right behind him, starts whispering something in Casaan's ear. Howard heard the exchange and I'm sure said something to him like "yeah, why don't you come at me". Sure enough Casaan gets the ball in the post and the intensity on his face goes up a notch. He backs Howard down strong, then turns around and puts up a short jumper in the lane. The shot bounces off the right side of the rim and misses. No foul, but Casaan Breeden impresses me. This kid is a player. Howard ends up sitting most of the rest of the half with 3 fouls. In the 2nd half, Howard ends up fouling out with 7 minutes to play. He ends the game with only 10 points and 8 boards. Not a strong outing. However, his teammates pick-up the slack and hang on for the victory 63-54.

Casaan Breeden ends up winning the team MVP and scores 18 and grabs 10 rebounds. This kid is only a junior and watch out. He is already heavily sought after and is on Paul Hewitt's radar. The guys sitting next to me said that a lot of coaches made "visits" with Dickey but tried to use it to get time with Breeden.

So what about Ra'Sean Dickey? First Dickey is listed at 6'8" - 6-10", depending where you look. I would peg him closer to 6'8", maybe an inch taller. When standing next to Howard, he was more than one inch shorter. Howard is listed at 6'11". In the game, Dickey gets into a little foul trouble of his own in the 2nd half, but hangs tough with 4 until the game is over. He ends with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Overall he has a nice game against Howard. Here are my impressions. A nice, quiet, reserved young man. Has an infectious smile. When his team was sitting in the waiting area, Dickey sat by himself, listening to music on a headset. He also wandered around the arena slowly saying hello to friends. When warm-ups started, while his team warmed up on one side of the floor, Dickey worked on his outside shot by himself on the other side of the floor (for a few minutes). That only lasted a few minutes but I just found it interesting. During the game, his aggressiveness came in flashes. There were times when he was strong defending under the basket. There were times when he fought for position in the post and made nice moves to the basket. There were other times when he seemed a little lost. He was out of place, wandering in the lane, hands down. He was slow down the court a lot. However, Ra'Sean didn't necessarily seem winded or tired. Just seemed that during this game he didn't hustle 100%. Like Buck, he picked his spots. Again, I don't want to paint a bad picture. This is the first time I have seen him play. Ra'Sean has some very nice post moves, has good footwork and just needs to show a more consistent high intensity on defense. At the end of the 1st half he had a thundering dunk that woke up the crowd. Didn't make a show. Just ran back up court. Overall, he was very quiet on the court and never got emotional (not sure if this is good or bad). He should be a good talent at the next level. We will see next season what kind of fire he has in his belly.

GA's Landmark Christian vs SC's Wade Hampton. Wade Hampton wins the game 51-48. This game featured a big-man matchup of Randolph Morris (Landmark) and Damion Harris (WH). Harris is headed to Tenn and Morris is down to GT/KY/NBA. I have to tell you. I was VERY impressed with Morris. This guy is a player. Morris ended the game with 31 points (11-30), 12 rebounds and won the team MVP trophy. He also hit 9/10 free throws.

What really impressed me was his footwork and his aggressiveness. He would get the ball in the post and make strong moves to the basket. Spin moves, drop steps, you name it. Just great footwork and a soft touch around the basket. At one point he grabbed a rebound, found no outlet guy and started dribbling the ball up the floor himself. He pushed it hard, from coast-to-coast. There were 2 defenders in the lane. Running full speed, he approaches one, spins the other way with the basket, splits the defenders and lays up a 2 point bucket. Now, at times, he seemed to rush his moves in the paint, which is one reason he had so many misses. When he exercised a little more patience and took what the defense gave him, he took it to the rack consistently.

Now Morris also had his moments of slow moving, getting up court late. I generally accept that big men are often purposely the last guy up. However, even when timeouts were called, Morris would SLOWLY walk to his huddle. I mean SLOWLY. When his team would raise their arms together as one to come out of a timeout, he would barely get his arm up and would start walking back on the court before they broke. I am not making ANY suggestion as to what this means. Just observations from the game.

On defense, Morris altered shots and forced about 5 steals. When they played a zone defense, he had an interesting posture and look in his eyes. It was almost like he was lurking, slightly hunched over, eyes darting around, looking for an opportunity, trying to anticipate the action.

Overall, I see this guy as the most polished of all the recruits Hewitt has gone after from today's action. I would never say the NBA out 100% out of the picture based on what I saw. His game, his look, his demeanor, his posture, really does remind me of Tim Duncan. Obviously he is no Tim Duncan, but he really does have that potential. Hopefully he choses GT.

Overall, this was a fun day of basketball, but this is entirely too much for one day. I was worn out and had a splitting headache after hearing that Arena thumping music after EVERY SINGLE PLAY. I suppose one game of that would have been fine. But 4 1/2 was too much.

I am encouraged by the players we have coming in next year. I think in Paul Hewitt's system, with his conditioning program and coaching style, he will really bring out the best in these kids. He has shown the ability to do that. The future is solid. If Morris decides to join the party, then look out.

For some other links check these out:
- Overview of the tourney results.
- article on Howard and some of the other players.
- pictures from the Montgomery County / Carolina matchup
- pictures from the Howard / Dickey matchup.
- pictures from the Landmark game (Morris)