Thursday, June 30, 2005

Site Updates

Ok, I finally updated the poll in the right column. The question now - how many games will Tech win in football now, knowing what you know. Let's see what everybody thinks.

In addition, I have updated the countdown clock for the Auburn football game opening night.

Lastly, I added a nice picture of our beesball team's ACC tourney victory celebration as a reminder of a great season!!!!

Now go vote!!!!

Strong Showing in the Director's Cup

Well, the Jackets equalled their best showing, 31st, in the Director's Cup - basically a combined success ranking of an entire athletic program based on a giant range of sports. The more sports your school actually participates in the better shot you have of doing well. But in the end, you have to win a lot - which Tech has been doing....... Here are the full standings...........

Hoops Draft Updates

Well, here is the latest.......Will Bynum looks to be joining the Celtics summer league roster:

Undrafted Vermont star Taylor Coppenrath was added to the Celtics' summer league roster. He joins Tony Allen, Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, first-round pick Gerald Green, second-rounder Orien Greene, Gomes, and likely Marcus Banks and undrafted Georgia Tech guard Will Bynum.

Now, Danny Ainge has some pretty high praise for Bynum:

Ainge was also pleased to pull in Will Bynum, a 6-footer from Georgia Tech who averaged 12.5 points a game and threw in 35 against North Carolina in the ACC tournament.

``I'm going to say I think Will Bynum is better than at least 25 to 30 players that were drafted,'' Ainge said. ``That's my honest opinion.

``I think Will Bynum is in the same category as a Nate Robinson, and he's a first-round pick. I think those guys are very similar.''

However, Bynum's stint will be short:

Bynum will only be with the summer squad for five days.

Don't ask me what that means......... Looks like the Bulls are interested in Bynum (too late) and Luke Schenscher:

The Bulls were hoping to get Charlotte’s Eddie Basden, Michigan State’s Alan Anderson, Iowa State’s Jared Homan, along with Will Bynum and Luke Schenscher from Georgia Tech to attend their rookie-free agent camp that begins Saturday.

Luke is not getting down about being drafted.

"I was just talking to my agent and he said there was a couple of times where teams wanted to take me (in the second round) but they wouldn't guarantee me a contract for next year," Schenscher said. "So it was probably better not to be drafted in that situation.

"There are summer leagues coming up, so I'll have to find a team to play on for summer league and hopefully get picked up by a team that way.

"The hard work doesn't stop, I'll keep going and see what happens from here."

And an interesting perspective about being drafted in the 2nd round versus not at all:

"In the first round of the draft your contract is guaranteed but in the second round there is no contract guarantee," Ames said.

"If the team that drafts you has a lot of interest in you, then you are in a good situation. But if the team drafts you just to hold your rights, then you don't have any other teams to negotiate with. In some cases you are better off not being drafted because now we can talk to all 30 teams and find the best spot. From our standpoint he's got a bright future in the NBA. He's just got to work to get there."

Meanwhile, here's a brief AP mention of Jack and the threat he poses to diaper-dandy Sebastian Telfair. The truth - look for Jack to backup Telfair and get 15-20 minutes per game........

Here's a site grading the draft with this on Jack's pick:

Portland: (Overall Draft Grade: B-)
6. Martell Webster, SG, Seattle Prep; 27. Linas Kleiza, PF, Missouri (Kleiza was traded to Denver); 35. Ricky Sanchez, F, IMG Academy (Sanchez was traded to Denver)
Comments: I love the pick of Martell Webster, he should be a great fit for Portland. He was hands down the better overall player than Gerald Green and he’ll stay out of trouble. The fact he is somewhat local doesn’t hurt either. He’s used to the weather and the lifestyle. The Blazers also nabbed Jarret Jack, which is surprising considering all the hype they put on Sebastian Telfair as the future point guard, he and Jack are developmentally at about the same place. Odd decision – surely points to Damon Stoudamire being let loose.

This on Orien Greene working out with Jarrett Jack. Remember that Boston had a pick in the high teens and wanted a PG. They ended up picking Gerald Greene, but took Orien Greene with the 53rd pick:

Greene sealed his draft status in his second workout with the Boston Celtics. The defensive player of the year in his conference, Greene shut down Georgia Tech guard Jarrett Jack and Croatian guard Roko Ukic in private workouts.

Here's a case of taking one comment out of context and putting the rest of the quote with it. Jarrett, get used to it - it's call the media.....

Less than a ringing endorsement. Georgia Tech point guard Jarrett Jack was drafted 22d by Denver and then traded to Portland. When asked his thoughts on Portland, he responded: "It's definitely a team that's rebuilding."

You have to hand it to the Hawks - they tried to get the hometown guy with Jack. Check it out:

They tried to acquire each pick from No. 17 through No. 22 in order to take Georgia Tech point guard Jarrett Jack.

Chasing Jack

"Carole," Knight said to his executive assistant, Carole Harding, as the draft moved through the middle of the first round, "can you get Isiah on the phone for me?"

A little later: "Carole, can you call Joe for me, Joe Dumars? No, Carole, Sacramento first, Wayne Cooper."

A series of conversations — with Knicks president Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons president Dumars, Sacramento Kings vice president Wayne Cooper, Memphis Grizzlies president Jerry West, Phoenix Suns president Bryan Colangelo and others — were part of an intense effort by Knight to get a pick in time to take Jarrett Jack, the Georgia Tech point guard. "We tried from 17 on to get a pick," Knight said. "Jack was our target."

The calls were friendly but succinct. Knight would ask if a team was committed to keeping its upcoming pick. If the team said yes, end of conversation. If the team expressed openness to trading or selling the pick, Knight would discuss asking price and offering price.

Talks included various combinations of cash, future picks and rights to players under Hawks control. Some teams wanted the Hawks to take large contracts of undesirable players in return for a pick. Some wanted the Los Angeles Lakers' conditional 2006 first-round pick, which the Hawks own via an earlier trade if it is not in the top 10.

"That could be the 11th pick in the draft next year," Knight said. "To give it up for No. 17 or No. 22 . . . does it make sense to do that?"

The flurry of calls stopped when Denver selected Jack with the 22nd pick and traded him to Portland.

Here's a nice review of the Blazer's draft night:

Never have I been so happy to see Russ Granik, NBA deputy commissioner. Granik announced the trade of Kleiza and Sanchez for Jarrett Jack (pg, Georgia Tech), selected 22nd by the Denver Nuggets. The trade was easy on the ears. Portland gains more backcourt presence in Jack who brings a larger frame (6’3) to the picture along with a nice outside touch (.442 3 pt %). Those in the NBA studio who chimed in (Smith and Greg Anthony) called the trade “a good move” and a “mature” choice by Portland. I’m not too sure many can argue with that. Yes, Portland was rumored to make more moves during the draft. One trade scenario had Ruben Patterson and another being shipped to Utah for Gordan Giricek and Kirk Snyder. But it never came to fruition. Perhaps swapping pre-draft picks with Utah and the trade with Denver was more logical. Either way the decision made on draft night by Portland was win-win.

Imagine: Portland gains Martell Webster and Jarrett Jack, two players who display strong NBA potential, solid character, along with basketball genes. Webster is cousins to Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Terry, while Jack is related to Chris Duhon of the Chicago Bulls. Not bad genes at all. Add this to the Sebastian Telfair-Stephon Marbury connection and it’s a family affair in Portland.

Only time will tell if this family tree will blossom or need pruning.

Here's more on the Curtis Kelly decision to commit to UConn........ Here's more on Curtis Kelly and mention of 2 UConn players being investigated for a series of burgleries. Just dandy...... Yet another story, with hints of his issues with effort and academics......

Hoops: Coach Hewitt on 790thezone

Coach Hewitt was on the local radio this morning with the following info:

- Will Bynum is headed to Boston.
- Luke Schenscher is chosing between Denver and San Antonio. Evidently Denver was looking to draft him but would not guarantee any $, so Luke's agent took a pass.
- New Orleans is interested in BJ Elder. Evidently they were set to draft him but had another player fall into place for them.
- Said Jarrett Jack and Deron Williams were THE premiere guards in this draft and people will see that a few years from now. He stood by this point even when asked about Chris Paul and Raymond Felton.
- Of the 4 UNC guys, he thinks Sean May will have the best career
- He was puzzled by Toronto's choice of Villanueva - that while Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor lit us up in the championship game, Villanueva did not.
- He felt bad for all these high school kids getting bad advice. He thinks some of these mock draft sites should be sued.
- Feels like the age-limit should be 20-years old and that college players are harder to fool into joining the draft.
- Said Tech fans should not worry about this year's team. Zam has lost 20lbs, the offense looks great, but he does have concerns on defense.

The Latest on Reuben Houston

Houston could be indicted today as the US Attorney on the case has asked the grand jury to add his name to the other defendents also indicted on conspiracy charges. Monday he was in court in Fresno Cali. He pleaded not guilty to his criminal charge, but theses conspiracy charges have bigger implications and penalties.

Just as a reminder - they are charging that Houston intended to buy this 100lbs of weed, that he met with the drop-off man on campus, got into the SUV with the dope, went for a ride, then ditched the vehicle when they suspected they were being followed. Fed's that were following him later made a positive id that it was Houston in the vehicle.

I still cannot get past a few things in this case and they make me sad. First, there is no way a guy does a 100lb drug-deal worth $60,000 - $100,000 as a first time transaction. I know nothing about the drug game, but I'm not stupid. That ain't an entry level transaction. Second, while reports are that this will end with Houston and other teammates will not be implicated, you just can't help but think others are involved. But if it ends with him, all the better.

On a side note, I picked up Lindy's ACC preview magazine yesterday. They list Reuben Houston as the 14th best cornerback in the nation and the Tech DB unit as the 7th best in the nation. How typical of Tech's luck. Lucky we are fairly deep with that group.

For Reuben Houston, life has changed and it will never be the same, and his ranking by Lindy's probably doesn't seem so important.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hoops: ACC/Big10 Challenge Announced

Georgia Tech will be matched up at Michigan State on Wed Nov 30 at the first game on the last night of the challenge. Here are all the details......... Here's more on the Tech match-up..... Here's the longer story from


On an unrelated note, if you are in the marketing field, then you need to read the book "Selling the Invisible". I am a huge business book reader and I find most of them empty and full of rehashed garbage. This one is different though. It's an easy read, but full of outstanding nuggets for your business. Even though it focuses on selling services, all of it really applied to companies that sell products. Well worth the read:

Selling the Invisible - Outstanding Read!!!

Beesball - Tyler Greene is signed

Tyler Greene has come to terms with the St.Louis Cardinals.........

The Cardinals have assigned Greene to the New Jersey Cardinals of the NY-Penn League. He will report to the team on Friday. St. Louis's first selection with the 28th pick was outfielder Colby Rasmus.

In other good news, Matt Wieters was named to Baseball America's 2005 All-Freshman 1st Team......... In addition, Danny Payne made the 2nd team......

Hoops Recruiting

Some interesting recruiting news. First, 6'8" Power Forward Curtis Kelly out of NYC has decided to help the rich get richer and play for the UConn Huskies. He is a 5-star PF in top 15 in his class. While academic and effort issues have dogged him much of his high school career, he was still being pursued by the Jackets. Not unexpected as he has been favoring UConn, but another player off the board................... In addition, evidently Javaris Crittenton has eliminated Wake Forest from his top 3, and now is down to GT and Florida. That's outstanding news for Jacket fans. Wake has been watching many top PG recruits go elsewhere, even with the departure of popular Chris Paul, but they could get a committment very soon from Ishmael Smith, a fast PG prospect from their backyard in NC......................... It also appears PG Willie Kemp has eliminated the Jackets from consideration and has narrowed his list down to 6. There was more recent talk of him with the Jackets, but it does not appear the Jackets have consistently been after him. His final 6 have been on him for a long time. That counts with these kids. It certainly matters to Jodie Meeks and his father, who have interest in Georgia Tech, but it faded when the Jackets didn't show strong love back.... ................

Hoops: Draft Discussion

From Yoni Cohen, this on Jack as one of the "losers" of the draft:

Jarrett Jack. The as of yet undiscussed Steal of the Draft, Jack fell all the way to No. 22, behind not only Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Raymond Felton, but also Nate Robinson. Had he returned to Georgia Tech for his senior season, Jack would have gone in the 2006 lottery. As it stands, he'll have the pleasure of playing in front of, behind or alongside Brooklyn's own, Sebastian Telfair

The AJC reported that the ATL Hawks tried to trade up to get Jack, but couldn't get a deal done.................. Evidently Jack will be gauranteed a 3 year deal worth $2.7million........... Jack becomes Tech's 14th overall 1st round pick........ Here's a story on the 6 SEC underclassman chosen in the draft, but didn't include Randolph Morris...... Evidently Morris could return to Kentucky, under these circumstances.......... Here's an interesting article stating the case that had Marvin Williams played on virtually any other college team, he would NEVER had been the #2 overall pick in the draft........ This article has some interesting observations about other guys who didn't get drafted like Matt Walsh and Kennedy Winston, among others. He also thinks Portland was a winner for trading to get Jack............... Did you know that Utah became the first school EVER to have the #1 pick in both the NFL and NBA draft? It's true......... Here's an article sticking up for Deron Williams with a small jab at Jack:

Remember, he wasn't even considered the best player on his high school team; his passing and team-first attitude helped Bracey Wright become a star. Williams went to Illinois only because his first choice, Georgia Tech, chose Jarrett Jack over him.

Guess what? Williams was drafted 19 spots ahead of Jack, and Wright wasn't even a first-round pick.

ACC players put on a good show last night, with 7 taken in the 1st round...... Here's a story on the Blazer's picks, but it's all about Martell Webster........ However, from the sounds of this article, they had their sites on Jack all along:

"Jack was the guy we wanted," general manager John Nash said. "We were kind of targeting those teams in the 20s, recognizing that Jack was still on the board."

The acquisition of the 6-foot-3, 202-pound junior from Georgia Tech addresses a need for the Blazers. The team wanted to acquire a backup point guard to spell Sebastian Telfair.

Jack also will push Telfair in practice and in games, even though the Blazers have said Telfair will be their starting point guard in 2005-06.

"I'm not so sure (Telfair) is so happy about the competition he's gonna get from Jarrett," Nash said. "He will come in and give Sebastian Telfair a run for the money."

Jack posted career highs in points (15.5), free throw shooting (86.6 percent) and three-point shooting (44.2 percent) as a junior with the Yellow Jackets in 2004-05. He was the sixth player in school history to record at least 1,000 points and 500 assists.

"Jarrett Jack had a tremendous career against ACC competition," Nash said. "Jack was a guy in the equation. Jack was somebody we talked about internally."

Jack's three seasons of college play improved his decision-making skills as a point guard. His size also is seen as a plus -- he has the look of a young Chauncey Billups -- and he has developed a reputation of being a tough defender.

As to the Celtics passing on Jack (to take Gerald Green - hard to argue), here's a mention of Jack's workout for Boston, against Ryan Gomes, who ended up with the #50 pick by Boston:

Ainge said that like Gomes, the team considered Orien Greene as a potential first-round pick. The Celtics, who were expected to take a point guard in the second round last night, had worked out Greene twice, including sessions against Croatian point guard Roco Ukic and Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack.

"He was a terrific high school player, and I saw him in the NCAA tournament last year and liked what I saw,'' Ainge said of Greene. "He held his own against Ukic and Jarrett Jack. He's long and athletic, just a different kind of point guard.''

Here's a story on the Point Guards in the draft.......... More on the ACC players, including the fact that Duke had a player drafted for the 8th straight season..........

Guess what, Blazer's GM Nash says he rated Jack ahead of Raymond Felton:

Nash said the Blazers rated Jack ahead of Felton.
"We talked to Toronto about trading for their picks (7 and 16) and would have seriously considered Jack at 16," Nash said. "We talked to Charlotte (about trading for 5 and 13), and even at 13, Jack was in the equation. I like his size. He's a physical point guard. He'll be able to defend some of the bigger points in the league. He gives us a defensive alternative to Sebastian. He'll give Sebastian a run for his money (for playing time) next season. We think Jack will have a long, productive NBA career."

Hoops: Disappointing Draft Night for Tech fans

Overall I would have to say a disappointing draft night for Jacket fans. Jarrett Jack drops out of the magic top 20, where he really wanted to be, and none of the seniors are taken, even in round 2. Watch the free agent market the next couple of days to see where they land. Jack was picked by the Denver Nuggets with the 22nd pick, then was later dealt to the Portland Trailblazers for the rights to Linas Kleiza, the #27 pick, and high schooler Ricky Sanchez, taken #35.

So what is the Portland situation at PG? Well, they have veterans Nick Van Excel and Damon Stoudamire and "super" phenom from last year's draft Sebastian Telfair. Well isn't that ironic. Now he can tell Jarrett Jack all about his phantom white guy friend. Here's Jack on the trade:

"It's a total surprise to me - even when the trade rumors started when I was walking backstage, and I was still in total shock," Jack told The Associated Press. "I just got word of it, and I'm happy with it."




By the way, did anyone notice that Randolph Morris went undrafted....

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hoops: Draft Ticker

Well, as a draft night service for those who cannot watch on tv, here's a ticker of the draft

#1..... Milwaukee.... Andrew Bogut
#2..... Atlanta....... Marvin Williams (Hawks add their 18th forward)
#3..... Utah.......... Deron Williams (believe me Chris Paul is happy)
#4..... N.Orleans.. Chris Paul (he's got that voodoo)
#5..... Charlotte.... Raymond Felton (no Charlotte for Jack at # 13)
#6..... Portland..... Martell Webster (3rd year in a row Portland has taken a h.s. player)
#7..... Toronto...... Charlie Villanueva (Jack still in play at PG - surprise pick. Does he fit with Bosh?)
#8..... New York..... Channing Frye
#9..... Golden State. Ike Diogu
#10.... LA Lakers.... Andrew Bynum (wow!!! Who'd a thunk it? Sorry J.Calhoun; youngest player drafted in history - 17 years 8 months)
#11.... Orlando...... Fran Vasquez (Spain - Ole!!)
#12.... LA Clippers.. Yaroslav Korolev (why do the ESPN guys know every pick?)
#13.... Charlotte.... Sean May (a UNC duo - back together with Felton. The hometown kids stay home)
#14.... Minnesota.... Rashad McCants (well all 4 UNC guys are gone now - wow)
#15.... N.Jersey..... Antoine Wright (thanks for asking him about his brother in prison. Way to focus on the kid's moment)
#16.... Toronto...... Joey Graham (anyone think they were going to say JJJaarreett?)

Jarrett gets his first mention as one of top 5 players left on the board........

#17.... Indiana...... Danny Granger
#18.... Boston....... Gerald Green (finally)
#19.... Memphis...... Hakim Warrik

I just learned that Jarrett Jack is actually in New York at Madison SG in the crowd. I wonder how he's feeling.

#20.... Denver....... Julius Hodge (wow - talk about humble. very gracious)
#21.... Phoenix...... Nate Robinson (uh oh - so Jack has dropped below this guy???)

So Jarrett Jack is outdrafted by a kid who's 5'7". Isn't that just dandy. However, it appears that this pick will be part of the deal that sends Quinton Richardson to the Knicks for Kurt Thomas and the rights to Nate Robinson......... Strongest odds now are that he is picked by Houston or Seattle. I don't see Jack falling past #25.

#22.... Denver....... Jarrett Jack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, I had Denver as a 0% chance to pick him. Shows what I know. Now he'll be teammates with Julius Hodge. Congratulations to Jack!!!! It was fantastic to watch him go on-stage and shake hands with David Stern........

#23.... Sacramento... Francisco Garcia
#24.... Houston...... Luther Head
#25.... Seattle...... Johan Petro

Well, unfortunately I might have to say good-bye for the night. I'll update in the morning. Rumor of Jarrett Jack getting traded to Portland a couple of their picks......

#26.... Detroit...... Jason Maxiell (who?)
#27.... Portland..... Linas Kleiza
#28.... San Antonio.. Ian Mahinmi (France)
#29.... Miami........ Wayne Simien
#30.... New York..... David Lee

Hoops: Where will Jack go??

Well, it should be an interesting night for Jarrett Jack as well as BJ Elder, Will Bynum and Luke Schenscher. Anywhere from 1 to 4 Jackets could be drafted. Personally I see no more than 2 getting drafted, while I see all of them signing free agent contracts soon after.

As for Jack, I have analyzed NBA team needs, looked at the articles on his workouts, and I've come up with a breakdown on odds as to where he ends up. Of course no doubt a bunch of picks get swapped at showtime..........

1... 0% ...Milwaukee
2... 0% ...Atlanta
3... 0% ...Portland
4... 0% ...New Orleans
5... 0% ...Charlotte
6... 0% ...Utah
7... 0% ...Toronto
8... 0% ...New York
9... 0% ...Golden State
10.. 5% ...LA Lakers (look for lots of pick-swapping w/Phil Jackson)
11.. 6% ...Orlando (S.Francis is better at SG; is J.Nelson the future?)
12.. 3% ...LA Clippers (S.Livingston in the wings here)
13.. 10% ...Charlotte (likely to take Deron Williams early)
14.. 14% ...Minnesota (they are trying to ditch Sam Cassell)
15.. 4% ...New Jersey (someone needs to backup Jason Kidd)
16.. 17% ...Toronto (buds w/Bosh, but they need a center worse then a PG)
17.. 9% ...Indiana (need a better backup for Jamal Tinsley)
18.. 4% ...Boston (reports they like foreign PG Roko Ukic more than Jack)
19.. 12%...Memphis (Jack makes sense here, but they need a center also)
20.. 0% ...Denver (need a 2G, not PG)
21.. 0% ...Phoenix (can you say NBA MVP Steve Nash?)
22.. 0% ...Denver (see pick #20)
23.. 3% ...Sacramento (will they pickup Bobby Jackson's option?)
24.. 3% ...Houston (meet John Barry? Don't think so)
25.. 4% ...Seattle (about to lose Antonio Daniels to free agency?)
26.. 0% ...Detroit
27.. 4% ...Utah (they need a PG bad)
28.. 0% ...San Antonio
29.. 2% ...Miami (get a great PG, move Wade to the 2-spot, watch out)
30.. 0% ...New York

Football: Some Needed Good News

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It's official - Omar Billy has been granted a 5th year of eligibility by the NCAA. This all stems from the fact that he did not play his freshman season but his redshirt paperwork was not submitted properly. He had already been turned down twice, so this time comes as a surprise - a pleasant one........ In the picture you see Omar on the left. That's Mansfield Wrotto in the middle and Avery Roberson on the right................ For those that don't know, Omar was slated to be the starting DT in our nickel package, but was replaced by Daryl Richard after an elbow injury......... Here are more pics of Omar...... and a few more.....

Here is his bio:

AT TECH: Reserve defensive tackle who played in six games in 2004, including Tech's victory over Syracuse in the Champs Sports Bowl, played in his hometown of Orlando, Fla. . . . Made one tackle in the season opener against Samford . . . Saw action in four games in 2003 . . . Had a sack and a forced fumble against Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl . . . Played in two games in 2002, seeing action against Vanderbilt and Connecticut . . . Did not play in any games in 2001.

HIGH SCHOOL: First-team all-state by the Florida Times Union . . . First-team all-Central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel . . . Tabbed to Bill Buchalter's Dandy Dozen . . . Orange County Defensive Player of the Year . . . Collected 62 solo tackles and 47 assists with seven sacks and four fumble recoveries at Colonial High . . . The No. 13 defensive lineman in Florida by SuperPrep . . . All-Southeast Region by Prep Star.

PERSONAL: Omar Billy . . . Mother is Ertha Billy . . . Born July 30, 1983 . . . Majoring in History, Technology and Society.

Evidently Omar is known as one of the stronger players on the team. Hopefully he is past his injuries and can finally show the Jackets and himself what he is capable of......................

Now, there is some other interesting news, if you read that Macon Telegraph article. Mansfield Wrotto is being moved back to the defensive line. If you know Chan Gaily, then you know that defense comes first. If the OC and the DC are fighting over a recruit (which side of the ball he will play), the defense always wins. Well, looks like Tenuta took advantage. In addition, Joe Anoai will be 100% healthy. That means a general sigh of relief for the defense, although the loss of Wrotte certainly puts the focus back on the offensive line. I hate to put it this way, but the OL could very well be the weak link on the team. So goes the OL, so go the Jackets. Even more so that Reggie Ball I would say, although he's close on the list.....

Football - Stewart Mandel is an idiot

Well look, Chan Gailey's tenure has been far from perfect, but let's be real - many of the problems we have gone through are not his responsibility. But you know what - when an institution repeatedly has these things pop up, the head coach is going to take the heat, even when reporters like super-weasel Stewart Mandel are not willing to research the truth. It shows that perceptions drive the day. They drive Wall Street and they drive major media as well. Hey Ian O'Connor - did you know that?

This from the super-weasel, who ranks Gailey as THE WORST coach in college football:

1. Chan Gailey, Georgia Tech: What's the difference between failed NFL coach Carroll and failed NFL coach Gailey? An ability to command respect from his players. For three years, the Jackets have demonstrated a lack of discipline both on the field (where they continually lay eggs just before or after flashing potential brilliance) and off it (numerous academic and legal casualties).

Look Stewie, you're entitled to your opinion, but why don't you lay at Chan Gailey's feet that which is in his control. Hey Tech fans, why don't you write Stewie and give him your "thoughts".

Having said all that, there is a new story over at the AJC on our on-going headaches. Evidently Tech is going to hire a lawyer to dispute the statement "lack of institutional control" that the NCAA handed down. Why are they doing this? Because the NCAA rejected Tech's summary disposition and decided to have a hearing on the case in the fall, everything is open. Theoretically the NCAA rejection should be a bad thing - or you would think. But interestingly, we had hints a few weeks back that this might have been a GOOD thing, sort of in the vain of the NCAA completely erasing the UGA Jim Herrick penalties. You know - the NCAA puts their arm around us and says - you guys are so good we're going to let you off with a warning - at least that's what Dave Braine thought. However, now it sounds more like Braine and the admin have no clue as to what the NCAA has in mind and they have decided to cover their bases, so they have hired a guy who used to work for the NCAA and has represented bunches of schools.

I will tell you one thing. Spin this anyway you want. If Dave Braine has to pull in the troops to avoid our first probation in school history, then by gosh we should do it. Even though that penalty is exactly what our own school recommended, since the NCAA rejected their disposition, now it's in play. I say fight against it................ then go make sure there are no other skeletons in our closet.

Monday, June 27, 2005

From Our Advertisers

Thought I would highlight our latest advertisers, because of course that's who pays the bills around here...........

..............First you notice the catchy photo of the two monkeys? Well, this was created by a former Georgia Tech student - Bryan Gross - who happens to have quite the knack for investing. In fact, he is so talented at it, that he decided to quit his life as an engineer and go back to school to get his MBA. He has developed some tried and true techniques for investing and they're not the typical "travisshamockeries" you would find on a lot of sites. He's talking fundamental investment techniques made famous by guys like Peter Lynch and John Neff, but with his bit of flavor added in. Here's what you need to do. Sign up for his newsletter. Poke around his website. Bookmark it. There's some interesting stuff there........ He is offering five customized model portfolios completely for free while he finishes his graduate degree. You can sign up for his free monthly newsletter and track his performance as he either proves himself right or proves himself wrong. That won't cost you a dime. But if you like what you see, you will want to stay in contact when he starts working as an independent investment advisor............ And to my audience, you know he'll have some extra special advice for Techies. Check it out!!

"Hell on Heels". Now that's a web title if I ever heard one........ and the tagline "Drop in on Andi for her daily views on politics, pop culture and military matters.". That's fantastic. I checked it out, and you know what - she's not kidding!...... This is actually a serious miliatary blog, with tons of new content and topics. While I don't endorse anyone's politics here on the GT Blog, I do promote dealing with facts, and not getting caught up in what the media wants us to believe. So go check it out.

Lastly, HHHUUULLLKKKAAAMMMAANNNNIIIIAAAA is runnin' wild...... Whatchaaaaa gonna do....... That's right - your friendly neighborhood Hulk Hogan has his own show coming soon to VH1 and the folks over there want you to know about it. Cool!!!!

Below that you will see the ever-changing Google box. All kinds of stuff there to check out. Just a reminder. While these links "pay the bills", I am not suggesting you click on them a bunch of times to drive of my revenue. That's not the goal. In fact the top 3 ads don't even pay by the click, so it wouldn't matter. Just go check out those sites and poke around. As for google, I do get paid by the click, but only click if you see something interesting. Those folks at Google can spot people pushing up the clicks falsely and I'm not looking for them to cancel my account. So if you see something interesting check it out. Otherwise don't click over and over and over just for little old me.

In addition, you might notice that there is a new box on the right column. I am not trying to shower you with ads. Instead I am trying to provide links to good Georgia Tech stuff. In this case, it might be Tech-related books, magazines or goodies. Just for the sake of disclosure, I only get a commission at Amazone when something is sold after someone clicks to their site from my link. So I will try to highlight good Tech related stuff you might be interested in. If you like it, order it by clicking the link here, then ordering on the Amazon site. I am going to start with the book "Kim King's Tales from the Georgia Tech Sidelines". My wife bought it for me as an X-mas present and it is well worth it for Jacket fans...........

Beesball - Mark Teixeira Leads AL 1st base voting...

... for the all-star game. Check it out. Updated vote totals at the bottom of that story....... Now go over to and vote for Mark up to 25 times. By the way, you should also vote for Jason Varitek, who currently leads all AL catchers, as well as Nomar who is 3rd in the NL for short-stops.

Hoops: The Official Charlton Young Announcement

Here's the official press release on Charlton Young, with this from Coach Hewitt:

"Charlton brings a great deal of enthusiasm to our staff and program," said head coach Paul Hewitt. "He has a great reputation for working with point guards, and is an excellent defensive coach."

Beesball Notes

Here's a story on a catcher - Tory Langley - who has committed to the Jackets. The "small" guy (only 5'10" and they say that's generous) was given quite the honor:

During a recent national showcase, Langley was rated the top defensive catcher in the class of 2006. His POP time (receiving the ball and getting off a throw to second base) was an amazing 1.81 seconds. Only two other showcase players had a time better than Langley's worst effort.

His arm strength also graded No. 1 in the class.

"We have no hesitation in calling him the best defensive high-school catcher in the country," said the scouting summary from the Perfect Game National Underclass Showcase.

As to the offense:

After hitting .456 as a sophomore, with 12 doubles, four triples, six homers and 32 RBI, Langley's power faded a bit this spring. He had nine doubles and three homers, and his RBI total dropped to 19.

"My best friend hit me in my throwing arm (during a high-school game)," Langley said. "So I didn't hit as good as I wanted to."

He was diagnosed with a learning disorder but that hasn't slowed him down in the classroom either:

The monitor wasn't needed by high school. He carries a 3.3 grade-point average and has verbally committed to attend Georgia Tech.

"That's one thing I'm happy about," he said, "getting college out of the way."

But what if he's drafted next spring?

"That will be a hard choice if I get drafted in the top four (rounds)," he said. "Georgia Tech is a great school. There's nothing like GT on a diploma."

Sounds like a good kid!!!!............ Here's mention of Chad Rodgers, a recuit we are after...... A "where are they now" segment with Eric Patterson, who seems to be excelling in the Cub farm system.......

That might explain why Eric Patterson sounded as excitable as an accountant going over tax returns when discussing his Midwest League-leading .354 batting average heading into Friday night's game. The 5-foot-10-inch, 160-pound speedster, who once bragged to a hometown reporter he was faster than his brother, also had 17 stolen bases.

Showing slightly better discipline than Corey, who had struck out 71 times in 277 at-bats heading into Saturday's game, Eric Patterson whiffed 47 times in his first 206 plate appearances--once every 4.4 times at-bat. He has walked 26 times.

Last week Patterson started at second base in the Midwest League All-Star Game and received 44.7 percent of the vote in an on-line poll on the Chiefs' Web site asking fans to name the team's most valuable player.

"I think it's just a combination of a lot of things coming together," Patterson said. "I'm traditionally a slow starter, but in college [at Georgia Tech] I never had spring training before to work through that. Here, by the time the regular season started, I was ready."

A comparison of the stats so far between Eric and Corey:

.359 Average .245
206 At-bats 277
74 Hits 68
5 Home runs 10
5 Triples 1
11 Doubles 9
17 Stolen bases 10
47 Strikeouts 71
26 Walks 13

Here's mention of former Jacket Richard Lewis in an article about how the Braves are stockpiling talent. What's new?

Watch "Best Damn Sports Show" Monday...

... because according to this site, Caoch Hewitt will be on the show as part of an NBA Draft Preview:

Mon June 27, 2005 11:30 AM
NBA Draft Preview with John Calipari, Paul Hewitt, and Mike Schmidt

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Hoops: Top 10 PG's in the draft

A breakdown of the top 10 PG's in the draft from CSTV, with this on Jarrett Jack:

Jarrett Jack, 6-3, Junior, Georgia Tech

Pros: In any other draft, Jack would likely be taken higher. He's a big-game player as he showed in leading Georgia Tech to the 2004 NCAA title game and ACC Tournament victories over North Carolina in 2004 and 2005. He's a natural floor leader with good NBA size and knows how to score. He's strong enough to bang down low and grab some rebounds when needed.

Cons: Jack gave Felton a run for the ACC turnover title last year without the big assist numbers. He put up 4.5 assists and 3.4 turnovers a game for a 1.32 ratio- not the numbers to blow away NBA suitors. He hasn't shown great range on his shot and could be one-dimensional if he doesn't improve.

Summary: Jack could go anywhere from the middle to the end of the first round. He would be ideal for a team looking for a backup point guard who could eventually become a starter in the league.

Here's a decent review of Jarrett by USA Today, but no mention of Bynum in all the guards:

Jarrett Jack, 6-3, 202, Georgia Tech: Early-entry candidate who started 100 of 101 games during college career. ... A complete player. ... A tough competitor who knows the game. ... Excellent strength and has a physical presence. ... Jumper has improved but could use more work. Top-20 pick.

Here's more talk about all the Guards in this draft....... and yet more on the guards........ Here's a very interesting mention of Jack:

$3 MILLION BUY-IN: If the Heat, indeed, has the hots for Georgia Tech point guard Jarrett Jack, it had better hope Cleveland is unable to buy its way into the first round. Lacking a pick, the Cavaliers are said to be mulling offering the $3 million maximum for a selection, with a point guard among its targets. Memphis' selection, No. 19, could be among those available. "We're trying to get involved in the draft," acting General Manager Mark Warkentien said.

Meanwhile, Charlotte is sizing up Luke Schenscher:

Schenscher, an Australian, helped the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA championship game two years ago, which Georgia Tech lost to Connecticut. The Hornets' staff saw him work at the Chicago pre-draft camp this month.

"It went well," said Schenscher, who will be in San Antonio today. "I'm just going out there, going hard. This was my 11th or 12th workout, my second-to-last one. I'm not hearing anything about where I'd go. I guess I'll find out on Tuesday."

Here's a look at how the ACC will be devestated by this draft - a mass exodus of talent..... Here's one guy's opinion on why the age limit was not enough - using Randolph Morris as his example........ Here's more on Morris......... Has John Gilchrist improved his stock? Sounds like it.......

Beesball: Texas A&M as good luck charm

We've reported it here already, but now the more mainstream media picked up on the story - that Texas A&M single-handedly changed the market for top coaches in the past few weeks. A call from their AD was a sure ticket for a raise and contract extension for at least 5 head coaches......

BILL BYRNE IS owed a few steak dinners by members of the college baseball coaching ranks. The Texas A&M athletics director’s recent play for the sport’s big-name coaches resulted in salary increases for South Carolina’s Ray Tanner, Clemson’s Jack Leggett, Georgia Tech’s Danny Hall, Cal State Fullerton’s George Horton and Rice’s Wayne Graham.

By putting a $500,000 price tag on those coaches’ heads as he attempted to woo them to Texas A&M, Byrne single-handedly help drive the salary levels for college baseball coaches to unprecedented heights.

Beesball - Some Explain to me the backstory here..

I hadn't heard this one before about Bruce Chen, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, who attended Georgia Tech, but did not play baseball there.

Chen was signed by the Braves as an undrafted free agent while attending Georgia Tech (but not playing for the Jackets). The southpaw began to show huge upside when he pitched for Macon in 1997, going 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA and striking out 164 in 139 innings.

Baseball America tapped him as the No. 1 prospect in the Braves' organization that year, and he seemed to meet the expectations, getting up to Atlanta by the end of the '98 season and going 2-0 with his cup of coffee.

"(Atlanta) was a real nice city," Chen said. "I met my wife here. I was treated real good. I learned a lot from the organization. I can't complain; they treated me real good."

Hoops: Jarrett Jack and the NBA Draft

Mention of Jack not slipping past the 25th pick.....

Felton won't be around. He could go to the Clippers at No. 12 or Minnesota at No. 14. Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack is considered the fourth-best homegrown point guard in the draft, and it's unlikely he will slip past Seattle at No. 25. He could go much higher.

Jack spent three years at Georgia Tech, and he probably was assured by a team like the Sonics that he would not fall all the way out of the first round.

"It was a hard, tough decision," Jack said. "But after talking to my family and my coaches, I felt like the best thing to do was keep my name in the draft."

More on playmaking guards in the draft........ I think this is Brad Dougherty's draft. He has Jack going #28. What a great endorsement:

Jarrett Jack (6-4 point guard, Georgia Tech): He's got a chance to be a decent backup with a defensive mind-set.

Where are they now - Jeremy Slayden

Jeremy Slayden signs with the Phillies......

The latest to sign are third-rounder Matt Maloney, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Mississippi, and eighth-rounder Jeremy Sladen, an outfielder from Georgia Tech. Both are being sent to the Batavia in the New York/Penn League.

Fox Sports has a Q&A on the Jackets Hoops team......

I'd like your thoughts on the Georgia Tech basketball program. Last year the team was decimated by injuries and still had a good season. Next year, though, things already look bleak.

Jarrett Jack stayed in the draft. In addition, the Jackets lose B.J. Elder, Anthony McHenry, Will Bynum, Luke Schenscher and Ismail Muhammad. That's the entire starting lineup and the best bench player. One of Tech's top recruits, Austin Jackson, was picked in the MLB draft in the eighth round by the Yankees and is signing for first-round money.

I have a great deal of respect for Paul Hewitt and believe he is a good enough coach to get his players ready for ACC competition, but are these losses too much to overcome in one offseason?

-- Richard Klareich


Richard: Honestly, yes.

The good news is that a lot of programs will be rebuilding this season — even the defending national champions. The bad news is that not a lot of those rebuilding programs are in the ACC.

The Big East is full of young teams. But the ACC has such veteran teams as Duke, Boston College, Maryland, Miami, Clemson and Florida State. Georgia Tech will need to schedule carefully, and its fans will need to be patient.

Finding a replacement for Jack is the most important ingredient, and keeping Zam Frederick in the program was a step toward that goal. Frederick came close to transferring earlier this offseason but decided to stay. Tech also can try recruit Austin Jackson.

I like the Jackets' young talent, especially Anthony Morrow and Ra'Sean Dickey, but this could be a challenging season.

Here's another follow-up to the Austin Jackson story...........

Friday, June 24, 2005

John Salley is at it again

This time, making bets with Eva Longoria, of Desparate Housewives fame. There is another connection with Salley and that show, as it was reported that he had a heavy petting session with Teri Hatcher at some party....... All I can say is the fact that the Pistons lost means a huge ratings drop for Best Damn Sports Show:

DELIVER ME FROM EVA II. While the Pistons were mauling the bejesus out of the Spurs, I kept moving around the arena looking for Tony Parker's girlfriend, hot babe Eva Longoria of the Desperate Housewives fame.

I didn't find her. Or maybe, she just didn't want to be found.

Anyway, the Pistons just got a little more incentive to beat the Spurs because Eva just made a bet with ex-Pistons John Salley who is now one of the hosts of Fox TV's Best Damn Sports Show Period.

"I have a bet with John Salley. If the Spurs lost, I would come on in a bikini. If the Spurs won, he's coming on in a Speedo."

All of a sudden I now want Detroit to win. Not because I want to see Eva with as little clothing as possible, but because I'm afraid that the sight of John Salley in a Speedo might hasten the coming of the apocalypse.

I told you not to get your hopes up again!

The 2005 / 2006 basketball team just got smaller........... again. It's official - Austin Jackson gave up a sport he loved for another he loves. He signed with the Evil Empire - the New York Yankees..... So where does that leave us? Thin, that's where. Let's see:

Theodis Tarver

Mario West

Ra'Sean Dickey
Zam Fredrick
Anthony Morrow
Jeremis Smith
Keith Jones (walk-on)
Tyler Davis (walk-on)

D'Andre Bell
Lewis Clinch
Alade Aminu

That's 9 scholarship players. In terms of positioning, here's what we have:

1 Point Guard (Fredrick)
4 Scoring Guards / Wings (Morrow, Clinch, Bell, West)
2 Forwards (Smith, Aminu)
2 Centers (Dickey, Tarver)

Now, the reality is that this is not likely to be the final roster. Coach Hewitt is looking at a couple of options overseas to add players - both actually combo-guard types. I don't think there is a pure PG on the board to be had, but who knows. And I'm telling you - Coach Hewitt will do everything in his power to keep Lewis Clinch out of the PG spot.

From a recruiting standpoint for the 2006 class, the Jackets are still in the top 3 for Javaris Crittenton. While he's had an up-and-down summer when going head-to-head against the other top guards - the general concensus is that JC is the most physically athletic PG in his class. Lawson may be the fastest, but JC is truly more in the Jarrett Jack mold. What are the Jacket's chance of landing him? Hard to say. He's clearly our #1 target, but has made no indication that the Jackets lead. Wake Forest, one of his other top 3 schools, also has some other top PG's on the hook. If one of them commits to the Deacs, then we might just end up his clear best choice....... We'll just have to wait it out. After Lawson committed to UNC, our #2 target seemed to be Marques Johnson, but he committed to Tennessee. His quotes indicated that he was all about the playing time.................. In the meantime, the Jackets are still involved with a lot of other top PG's still on the board - Willie Kemp, Will Walker, Sherron Collins, and others....................... In the other spots, we're still involved with LOTS of guys like Lance Thomas, Curtis Kelly, Thaddeus Young, Alex Stephenson and many more..........

If you are getting antsy that recruiting seems to be passing us by, you're just going to have to grin and bare it. This is very typical of Coach Hewitt's style. He doesn't push for early committments. Just realize that we're only going to sign 4-5 guys and there are tons of names being thrown around. So as kids disappear from the board, don't worry too much - it just clears the mud a little from a GT standpoint. I think Alade Aminu was the only "early" committment that Coach Hewitt has ever had. So stay tuned.....................

Where are they now - Donnie Davis

The former GT QB was hired as a head coach in the AFL2:

Davis hired in South Georgia

The South Georgia Wildcats hired former Georgia Tech and AFL quarterback DONNIE DAVIS as the Wildcats' new head coach on Tuesday.

Davis was ArenaBowl XI MVP with the Arizona Rattlers in 1997. He most recently played for the Georgia Force.

He finished the 2004 season as the Force's offensive coordinator. The Force averaged 58.3 points per game during his reign as offensive coordinator.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Football - More on R.Houston

For a video clip of Houston's "day in court" from a local ATL station - click here.......

Hoops: More on Charlton Young

I did a little research on our newest assistant hoops coach - Charlton Young (yet to be announced). There are a few interesting nuggets. I think you will be VERY pleased at what this guy brings to the table.

Born August 15, 1971, Charlton James Young, in Miami, he is married to the former Carolyn Jones, a two-time Kodak All-America basketball player at Auburn and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1990-91. She is a former member of the WNBA's Portland Fire and was an assistant coach for the Auburn women's basketball team. They have two daughters, Ariel Victoria (4) and Audia Denise (born Nov. 9, 2003). They also have a son, Isiah, born March2, 2005 (congrats!!). His parents live in ATL

- high school at Carol City High in Miami & led his team to a state championship
- McDonalds All-American nominee
- Played in high school with Charles Claxton
- played at Georgia Southern 1989 - 1993
- majored in Communications Arts
- 1992 Trans-America Athletic Conference Tourney MVP
- 1992 Went to NCAA Tourney
- 1992 was all-TAAC 2nd team as soph and junior
- 1993 was 1st team all Southern Conference (school switched conf)
- named senior captain
- for career averaged 13.3 pts, 4.6 assists
- As a frosh avg 8.9pts, soph 13.3, jun 13.4, senior 17pts (5.1 assists)
- Holds 7 GSU records - career assists (530), career three-pointers made (241) and attempted (589), season three-pointers made (93) and attempted (225), and single-game three-pointers made (8) and attempted (14).
- He was Georgia Southern's "Hoops Legend" nominee for the SoCon's 75th Anniversary in November, 1995.
- 93-94 Played professionally in Tours France averaging 17pts, 6.2 assists.


He provided color commentary for the Georgia Southern men's basketball team for televised games and GSU women's games on radio as well as working at
WGNX-TV in Atlanta, Ga.

1994 - 1997 Coached at Auburn under Cliff Ellis- 94-95; first coaching job - an administrative assistant
- 96-97; promoted to assistant coach

1997 - 1999 Coached at Jacksonville under Hugh Durham

1999 - 2000 Coached at Northeastern under Rudy Keeling
- 1 year, but put together a nationally ranked recruiting class per Eastern Bask. Mag
- Here's a quote from Rudy Keeling on Young when he left:

The loss of Charlton Young was especially hard for the program, because Young was considered a major reason why the Huskies were able to compile one of the best recruiting classes in the region this year.

Young was seen as the driving force behind the signings of 6-foot-8-inch forward Lorenzo Davis and 6-foot-5-inch swingman Jean Francois, both of whom came from Florida where Young is a native.

"I was hoping [Charlton] would stay for selfish reasons," said Keeling. "But I’m happy for him. It will be a big, big step up for him. He's one of the most fascinating people I have ever met and he added a lot to this program."

2000 - 2004 Coached at Auburn again under Cliff Ellis
- responsible for recruiting, scouting, player development, & on-the-floor coaching.
- his first recruiting class was 3rd in the nation per ESPN
- here's reference to an article in an Auburn magazine about he and his wife
- 2003 team went to sweet 16 and lost to eventual champion Syracuse (Carmello Anthony)
- here's a quote from Cliff Ellis on Young:

"Charlton is a tireless worker, and he helped build the foundation for the success we've had," Ellis said. "He gained valuable experience working for two great
head coaches in Rudy Keeling and Hugh Durham. He was also an excellent guard at Georgia Southern,and he has used that experience to become a great teacher of guards."

Now, things were not all rosy for Young at Auburn during his time there. Cliff Ellis's program was investigated about 3 different times, and in fact, Young was part of an investigation by the NCAA. HOWEVER, YOUNG WAS NOT THE FOCUS OF THE INVESTIGATION. This from 2003:

Auburn received an official letter of inquiry in early September from the NCAA charging the program with major rules violations related to alleged offers and provision of improper inducements to prospective student-athletes. The letter came after a lengthy joint probe by Auburn and the NCAA and charged that Tigers assistant coaches Shannon Weaver and Charlton Young had offered pay-for-play incentives to potential recruits.

Here's a mention of an interview in 2002 with Young by the NCAA:

In September 2002, the NCAA interviewed Auburn players Brandon Robinson, who prepped at Madison County's Buckhorn High, and Marco Killingsworth, as well as assistant coaches Weaver and Charlton Young.

That investigation centered around improper recruitment of Chad Moore. The NCAA claims that two Auburn University men's basketball assistants (Shannon Weaver & Mike Wilson) committed major rules violations during the recruitment of Huntsville's Chadd Moore, who plays for the University of Cincinnati, and Jackie Butler of McComb, Miss., who signed with Mississippi State.

Violations like offering $50,000 and a car. Ouch. In fact, he was interviewed Sept 2002 by the NCAA, and the official NCAA inquiry was opened October 2002.

When all was said and done, Cliff Ellis was "shown the door". However, the recruits really wanted Young to stay. Check out this quote by Auburn player Nathan Watson:

The fate of Ellis' staff was still unclear late Thursday. Watson would like for
the school to retain assistant coach Charlton Young. Young recruited Watson for
the Tigers."He's been kind of like having a dad here at Auburn," Watson said.

Now, to make sure everyone realizes that Charlton Young is on the up-and-up, here's a quote from recruit Derrick Bird, who was recruited by Young during that time and asked to comment on the investigation:

"From the time Coach Young (Charlton Young) started recruiting me until the time I graduated, Auburn was straight up all the way," Bird says. "They didn't offer me a car or any money or anything illegal and didn't offer anybody else on the team anything like that. I have no idea what is all about. Being a part of the program at Auburn I know those charges just don’t make any sense. All of the coaches at Auburn are good people and I am sad they are having to go through this."

Evidently Young was instrumental in getting Tony Douglas to Auburn:

Charlton Young, Auburn University, is doing a great job of recruiting in Georgia. He already has a commitment from Toney Douglas, a top junior combo-guard from Jonesboro HS, and Charlton says, he isn't finished...

When Charlton convinced Ian Young to play for Auburn, this is what Ian had to say made the difference:

Ian Young, who has a 34-inch vertical leap, was recruited by Auburn assistant coach Charlton Young. An in-home visit from Coach Young with Ian and his mother, Marilyn Young, played a big part in Ian choosing the Tigers.

"He was great," Young noted. "When I first met him, he didn't give me all the B.S. like most of the other coaches I talked too. What made me want to go to Auburn was when he came into my house and met with my mother and me. It made a real big impression on her and that is where she wanted me to go."

On the salary front, evidently Young made about $90,000 with Auburn when he left.....

2005 - current; assistant at UT-Chat.
Interesting comment about the fact that he convinced a guard prospect to come to UTC when UTC ended up with 9 perimeter players, and do it late in the process:

The day after Lebo took the Auburn job, Shulman sat in the guidance counselor's office at Hunt's high school waiting to make sure Hunt had his bags packed for Chattanooga and not a prep school. Daniel, however, changed his destination to the Plains. His decision gave Shulman an extra scholarship. Then the NCAA axed the 5/8 rule, allowing him to round out the team with players of his choice.

"We were getting caught in that rule," Shulman said. "We were essentially done recruiting with Hunt and Daniel." Shulman first signed point guard Jerice Crouch, whom he'd been recruiting for Lebo. Then associate head coach Charlton Young convinced Steve Cherry to become a Moc. "Charlton was looking at him when he was coaching at Auburn," Shulman said. "Now we have a guy that was recruited by SEC and C-USA schools making our wings better every day in practice."

You will find other oddities on the internet. For example, Young was interviewed about recruiting Patrick Sparks, who plays at Kentucky (as a walk-on), and it was quite humorous.

This must be a mistake.

That was Charlton Young's initial reaction when he arrived at the Great Florida Shootout in Kissimmee, Fla., in December 2001 to watch Muhlenberg North play Buffalo Traditional High School.

Young, then an Auburn assistant coach, had heard a lot of good things about Sparks so he decided he had better make a move before other coaches caught on. Soon, however, he wondered if he had been duped.

"I walked in the gym and I saw all these little hillbillies from Kentucky," said Young, associate head coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. "I couldn't figure out which one was him."

So Young enlisted the help of North's coach and Patrick's dad, Steve.

"I thought, he looked sick," Young said. "Like he was going through chemo or something because he had this bald haircut."

To make matters worse, Young noticed plenty of athletic 6-8, 6-9 players for Buffalo Traditional, a team that eventually went on to win the New York state and federation title.

As he watched Buffalo warm up, he thought North was going to get crushed.

It was a matter of minutes before Young learned he was wrong on all accounts. North beat Buffalo in overtime behind Patrick's 37 points and nine assists.

"I promise, if you take Patrick Sparks off that team, they get beat by 40," Young said. "He just controlled the whole game. He shot it well, other guys were getting lay-ups because of him. I was sold."

So what does Charlton Young have to say - check it out here....... It's all the right stuff:

"I’m kind of down about leaving the guys, but this is a chance to work with Coach Hewitt, a chance to be close to my parents and a chance to win a national championship," Young said. His parents live in the Atlanta area.

What did his current coach at UTC have to say?

"I thought he was primarily going to be a recruiter, but he brought a lot of knowledge to the court," Shulman said. "He really helped our perimeter guys, especially our point guards."

Coach Shulman threw in one jab at Coach Hewitt for fun:

This was a no-brainer for him," Shulman said. "I told Coach Hewitt, ‘I will allow you to talk to Coach Young if you come play in Chattanooga.’ He jokingly said he’ll do it if his athletic director signs off on it."

Around the Hive

Ok, lots going on in the world of Georgia Tech - at least considering there are no games in any sport actually being played. So let's get to it.

I took a quick run through various ACC message boards to see what people were saying about the Reubon Houston bust. No kidding, 75% of the discussion centered around the fact that people think $60,000 value for 100 pounds is cheap. Evidently it's either really low-grade stuff or he got it wholesale - Costco style....... Someone at the NCST board felt like this would make Tech tougher to recruit against for them. I found that funny. There were not many mentions of a ragged Tech program, or much dogging of our school. Most of the rest of the comments focused on how sad it is that another promising young person has thrown at least a portion of his life away.............

Here's the offical court drawing from today's proceedings:

Image Hosted by Free Image Hosting

Here's more on Houston. He was released on bond today - a $30,000 bond posted by his mother. Houston showed up in court today, along with about 12 other Tech players there to watch and show him support. His family is also showing support:

"We're thankful Reuben gets to come home today," Patricia Houston said. "We love him and support him in every way, and we will stand with him."

Note that another player's name was dragged into that story - his roomate Sam Williams - whose SUV Houston was driving when he picked up the dope. In fact he also had a small child with him. Amazing. Another interesting point - Houston was supposed to pay $60,000 for the dope, which he could have sold on the open market for $80,000 to $110,000. So where was he going to get $60,000? Was it a line of credit? Or did he have the dough to make the deal? If so, how? As to his involvement in past deals, nothing is evidently known right now:

"Reuben became involved that one time," Mitchell said. "What he'd done before or after is unknown, and that's something we're trying to find out."

Here's another story, with comments from Ryan Stewart, former Tech player, of the radio show "2 Live Stews".

In positive news, three Tech players have gotten some pre-season recognition. PJ Daniels has been named to the 2005 Watch List for the Maxwell Award, while Eric Henderson and Gerris Wilkinson have been named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik award................. Also, the VaTech ticket allotment has been sold out...........

How about this for some interesting news. Austin Jackson has NOT signed his contract with the Yankees yet. In fact, he left the Yankee camp in Tampa early Monday. He was flown in by NY and was expected to sign. Coach Hewitt was on 680am as well as CSS tonight. He even made an appearance on ESPN radio.... Coach said that Austin was still mulling over his decision to play hoops, and his mom wants him to consider college. Austin just loves the game of hoops and is having a hard time quitting cold turkey. I imagine it's a little disillusioning to be told you don't have an option after you've been thinking you could do both all along. Interesting, but let me ask Jacket fans a question - are you planning on getting your hopes up again?????? ............ In addition, Coach said that offensively, this year's team could be the best he's had since his arrival (same tune he's been singing since the season was over)...... Coach said he is a real believer in Zam Fredrick and is encouraged with his progress and attitude. He has always believed in his talent......... Coach also said that it is looking like a strong possibility that 4 Jackets get drafted - Jack, Elder, Luke and Will. Said Elder has been very impressive lately in workouts. Said he was getting a lot of calls about BJ.......... Meanwhile, in his interview over on ESPN Radio, he actually was co-interviewed with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and they discussed the new CBA and the 19-year old age limit. Both Hewitt and Cuban agreed that an age-limit is a good thing, but that it needs to be older with fewer loop holes. Coach said that it shouldn't impact the college game much, and that academics still drive a lot of recruiting decisions. He did say that he would still recruit a "one-and-done" for sure guy like Lebron James if the chance presented itself..........

Here are some more stories on the Jack heading to the NBA............ Augusta paper...... Macon Telegraph.......... Here's an updated AJC story with good quotes from his teammates who completely support his decision......... Here's one that mixes the Jack story with the Shavlik Randolph story. Weird........... Here's one from the Washington Post........ Here's a mailbag asking if Jack, L.Williams and R.Morris made the right decisions. Yes, was this guy's answer........Here's quite the lackluster endorsement of Jarrett Jack over at CollegeHoopsNet:

"I've never been the biggest fan of Jack, who no doubt is a solid player, but he lacks that spark that makes you think he can be a special player. This draft is rather thin on point guard talent beyond Paul, Williams, and Felton, and his biggest competition for a draft spot is Roko Leni-Ukic. While Jack projects to be a consistent back-up point guard in the NBA, Leni-Ukic has that extra something which makes you think he could one day develop into a starter. Jack's outside shot has been improving each year at Georgia Tech, and his next hurdle to overcome is cutting down on the turnovers."

Well, what the heck do they know? Well, they did name my Jodie Meeks interview the "Blog of the Day" the other day. They're not all bad. Over at FoxSports, Yoni Cohen talks winners and losers with this year's draft early entry players. He has GT as a loser:

4. Georgia Tech: Seniors BJ Elder, Will Bynum, Luke Schenscher, Isma'il Muhammed, and Anthony McHenry are gone, as is assistant coach Cliff Warren. With Jarrett Jack's decision to remain in the draft, Paul Hewitt lost all five starters from his 2004-2005 club — and (excepting Marvin Lewis, a 2004 departure) the nucleus of his 2003-2004 Final Four squad. Though he is the youngest of the six players leaving, Jack (15.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game) was also the most valuable. Athletic and quick, he tremendously improved his shooting percentage this past season and rebounded extremely well for a player his size. While the exodus will sting in the short-term, look for Hewitt to reload and rebuild over the next couple years. Getting Zam Frederick to play unselfishly at the point should be Paul's first priority.

Well, he's right................. BJ Elder worked out Tuesday for the Utah Jazz.......... The man who co-founded the AAU Atlanta Celtics - Wallace Prather Jr., passes away last week. He coached guys like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Randolph Morris and Javaris Crittenton - 10 of his players went to the NBA.......... Speaking of Javaris, I ran across this interview I thought I would share. Javaris will be at the NBA Top100 camp in Richmond today, along with many other prospects the Jackets have high interest in landing (Bob Gibbons hands out the invites to this one)..........

Whit Robbins goes yard in the Cape Cod league.......

Mention of a future Jacket standout - Kala Guy:

Guy, who will attend Georgia Tech, led the Eagles in batting (.500), RBI (50), runs (49), walks (29) and tied for first in home runs (four). She was the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Class 3A-2A-1A Player of the Year.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hoops: In Better news....

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... Georgia Tech will announce this week that they have hired a new hoops assistant coach to replace Cliff Warren. The new guy will be Charlton Young, currently an assistant at UT-Chattanooga, and before that at Auburn for 4 years, Jacksonville and Northeastern. He had been with UTC for one season..... He's a native of Miami, played hoops at Georgia Southern, then overseas after graduation. His parents live in ATL.......... Here's his biography.......

I can't help but wonder how the connection came about? Could it have been the fact that Cliff Warren left the Jackets to coach Jacksonville, where Young had a stint earlier in his coaching career? Who knows, but fun to try and connect the dots. Maybe we'll find out soon..

Someone emailed to me the story from a Chattanooga paper, but you cannot access it online with a subscription. However, through the magic of internet hacking, look what I found.......... Here's a quote from the article about what his boss, John Shulman, had to say:

"I've been ready for this," Shulman said. "I knew when we hired him that this would happen. He brought a lot to the table, and we wish him well."

His reputation? A strong recruiter and good with guards. Sound familiar? That was Cliff Warren as well. Young was the key guy bringing in a the last two strong recruiting classes for UTC, but he also helped coach the perimeter players on a team that went 20-11, won their division and their conference tourney......

The only hold-up at this point is the background check. You can be assured the admin will follow through on this thoroughly before announcing. Looks like a good find if you ask me......

It's Official - We Live in a Glass House...

... so put down the stones. Stop making fun of the SEC. Stop bashing OSU. Leave Larry Coker and Bobby Bowden alone..... For I have seen the enemy, and the enemy is us.............

Well, if officially losing Jarrett Jack wasn't bad enough news yesterday, a bigger bombshell hit - that Reuben Houston was arrested for intent to distribute and posses about 100 pounds of marijuana, worth about $60,000. Folks, we're not talking about a sandwich bag of dope or a joint - we're talking 100 pounds. We're talking duffle bags, a trunk full.......... Evidently his roomates got suspicious when they found 15,000 bags of Cheetos stuffed into his dorm closet (ok, bad idea, but humor is my coping mechanism)............ We're also not talking about a lucky find by the cops. We are talking a year-long Federal investigation into the guy who sold him the stuff - Oscar Rosales. The Macon Telegraph is reporting that Houston actually had the stuff in his possesion..........

First, Reubon Houston needs some serious thoughts and prayers. How does a guy with a promising future come to a decision-point in his mind where this makes sense? All we can hope for now is that he is either cleared (not likely from the sounds of it), or that he finds a way to use this situation to create a better life - once he gets out of prison (if found guilty). What about his football career? Well, he's suspended from the team and the school. Only clearing his name would let him back. Don't hold your breath. His football career is probably the least of his worries.

Second, Jacket fans better pray that he is the only player that gets dragged into this thing. I'm sorry, but if one of the upperclassman "leaders" planned on getting and distributing 100 pounds of dope, odds are his customers are going to be people he knows. Who does he know better than his teammates? This is going to be a nightmare if that happens (worse than it already is).

Third, the collective groan of Jacket fans just got louder. The fire-Chan crowd is crowing. The not-Chan's-fault crowd is firing back. Here's my take. First, coaches and AD's are responsible for setting a tone around the program - an expectation level around ethics, morality and conduct. Coaches are responsible for the general characterization and conduct of the team, but not responsible for individual player conduct. Reubon Houston's arrest is Reubon Houston's fault, not Chan Gailey's. ........ Does what he did fall into a overall pattern within the program? Is the program characterized by this type of behavior? An emphatic NO!!! Georgia Tech has a strong record (no pun intended) of producing high quality, character young men. That has not changed under Chan Gailey.......... But, now we DO have a player arrested for a serious crime while at the school. So now our program IS partially characterized by at least one player accussed of committing a crime. Does that mean Chan Gailey is running a dirty program? No, but people will be watching.

Does this incident fit into an overall pattern that might be summed up with with the phrase "lack of institutional control"? Definitely more gray area here, but that's a stretch if you ask me. Flunkgate and academic ineligibility were embarrassing, but they were the result of stupidity and lack of a rigorous controls process, not the result of an unethical team of administrators. I don't even lump Chan Gailey into the administration much with that situation. We just have to take Dave Braine at his word that those controls are now in place. A player committing a crime is just so different from this other stuff that I cannot logically make that connection. But then I'm not part of the "fire-Chan" crowd either.

There is a fourth point - how on earth will this impact our team? Well, tremendously. We lose Daryl Richard to injury, Travis Parker flunks out, and now this. Three defensive starters lost - and the team strength was supposed to be our defense. Players who will be looked at to fill that role include Jamal Lewis, Dennis Davis and Avery Roberson. Only time will tell what this means - and we'll know for sure in January.........

By the way, some interesting links:

HOUSTON ARRESTED - Macon Telegraph




Any possession, manufacture or distribution of greater than 50 pounds is considered trafficking and all trafficking offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences. For amounts greater than 50 pound but less that 2,000 pounds, the sentence is a minimum of 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

One last important comment for us all to remember - INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY...... We need to remember it here and remember it when discussing all the problems at other schools as well......... After all, it's easy to see out of our glass house now........ Man, what a crappy 24 hours........

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Drum Roll Please............................

..................... Jarrett Jack is going to................... stay in the draft....... per 680am there will be a press conference on Wednesday....... Here's the AJC link now........ Here's the official story........ Here's the Sporsline version............. On another note, Austin Jackson has not inked his name with the Yankees yet. Don't get your hopes up there either, but just FYI.........

Hoops: No Press Conference

Evidently folks there is no press conference. The boards are confirming that nobody at GT knows about one or a schedule for one. Guess we'll just "hear" about it when it happens.

More to fan the flames

More fuel for the fire:

Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech, 6-3, PG, Junior The biggest and most surprising name on the pull-out list. We received confirmation late last night from another NBA team that he indeed decided to pull his name out, and then heard about his canceling a workout in Memphis as well to back that up. Despite the concerns he has expressed to mutual acquaintances of ours about a lockout, the biggest reason he pulled out is because he didn’t like what he was hearing about his stock. Jack is not a freakish athlete and is therefore not the best workout player in the world. We had him ranked much higher than anyone else in this draft, but only time will tell us if it was us that overrated him or whether this was a huge mistake on the part of NBA teams.

Do you have that feeling in your stomach you get when you are slowing rising up the steep incline of a rollercoaster, not quite knowing what's ahead?


Hoops: Jack - What's the Deal?

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Well, Jacket fans will be counting the ticking clock to the deadline for Jarrett Jack to pull his name out of the draft. Today is the day. Now or never. ESPN says 7:00pm is the deadline, while other sources say 5:00pm (which I think is correct)....... The AJC is reporting that as of yesterday, Jack had still not made up his mind.......... This website is offering a glimmer of hope to Jacket fans:

Jarrett Jack- One NBA team we spoke to has been informed that Jarrett Jack pulled his name out of the draft. Despite the progress that has been made recently, Jack is still worried about the possibility of a lockout next year, and therefore has decided to play it safe and return to college for his senior year. Jack cancelled a workout today with the Grizzlies.

Having read that though, the AJC reported that the league has received no official notification of Jack removing his name from the draft and quotes Jack as saying it might be right at the end of the day when he makes his decision................. Here the Macon Telegraph writes about his decision. They say there will be a press conference today at Tech. Jack was at Coach Hewitt's hoops camp and had dinner with Coach Hewitt last night.......... The Charlotte paper talks about the "plethora" of Point Guards in this draft......... More on the Bobcats and their desire for a PG......... Here's a Canadian site with a mock draft showing Toronto getting Jack with the 16th pick:

Toronto Raptors - Jarrett Jack, PG, Georgia Tech (6'3", 202 lbs.)
Jarrett Jack is a gritty guard with a pro-style body. He plays with a lot of passion and will push for playing time at the point. He's also tight with former Yellow Jacket teammate Chris Bosh and the Raptors surely want to keep him happy.

Look, I'm going to say it again - the chances of Jack staying are not 50% - more like 10%. Maybe I'm just preparing not to be disappointed, but I'm already ready for a team with no back-up PG and an inexperienced sophomore leading the way.........

In other draft news, BJ Elder works out for the Utah Jazz today......... Luke Schenscher worked out for the Nuggets on Monday.......Here's a draft preview.......

Paul Hewitt and the Knicks

Another mention of the NY Knicks and their head coaching search, now that Phil Jackson is off the board with the Lakers:

If Laimbeer might seem like an unusual choice given his lack of NBA coaching experience, it's possible Thomas might spring a bigger surprise by naming someone whose name hasn't been mentioned. College coaches Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech, Rick Pitino of Louisville and John Calipari of Memphis all have been reported as candidates, and Michigan State's Tom Izzo was seen talking with Thomas at the NBA pre-draft camp last week in Chicago.

But Thomas is said to be "thinking outside the box," and he might have another sleeper choice under serious consideration. It's unlikely Thomas will name a coach before the June 28 draft while he waits for Brown to clarify his status.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Our Interview with Jodie Meeks

(This story will remain at the top of the page, so make sure to check below for new posts).

Being a top national recruit basketball can be fun, stressful, invigorating, pressure-packed and rewarding - all at the same time. Navigating the winding road to find the right college is not easy. We had an opportunity to discuss the recruiting game with a top national prospect from the state of Georgia, Jodie Meeks, as well as his father, Orestes Meeks. In case you don't know, Jodie is 6'4", 190lb PG/SG from Norcross High School. He is from the class of 2006, so he will be a senior this fall. He currently plays for the AAU Georgia Hurricanes, a fairly new team sponsored by Reebok. He was formerly with the Georgia Stars. Rivals ranked Jodie as the 9th best SG in the nation, and the 38th best prospect overall. Justin Young, a top recruiting analyst at, lists Meeks as the 6th best prospect in the state of Georgia.

What about his game? Jodie has primarily played the PG spot in high school, but is very athletic and a scorer, which gives him the flexibility to play the 2-spot also. In fact, some of the recruiting services list him as a SG. He attacks the basket, plays above the rim, has a nice mid-range jump shot and is an excellent defender. He led his high school team in assists last season and carried much of the scoring load. He is a guy who likes to shoot the big baskets in the clutch, often taking over towards the end of a game.

What does Jodie think are his strengths? "I have a pretty good handle and can shoot the ball pretty well. I love to play defense. I also recognize situations pretty well." Jodie is an excellent athlete, excelling in baseball as well, but gave it up to focus on hoops fulltime.

When looking for a college, Jodie is looking for a combination of strong academics and strong athletic program. "The first thing is what type of school is it academically. I would like to play early. I really look at who they have and who they recruit. My dad has watched how a school recruits and if they over recruit. My dad also said when I visit the campus, I'll know. I am also interested in having a positive relationship with the head coach. I wouldn't go play for a school if I didn't know and feel comfortable with the head coach."

As far as academic interests, the sciences and math are strong attractions, says Jodie. "I like history. I loved math until I took Trig this year...whew! I got an A the first term and B the second, but it was tough. I also like some of the sciences. I have not decided on what I will major in."

What about the draw of a big city versus a cozy small-town atmosphere. Jodie feels he could adapt, based on his background. "I could go to either. My dad is from a big city (Chicago), and my mom is from a small town in Tenn (Petersburg). I just want to go to a place where the students are important, and basketball is fun."

When it comes to the recruiting game, things have been heating up for Jodie. When asked about the stress, it didn't seem to be an issue. "No, I still like it a lot. The rules and the coaches keep it fun. I think my high school and AAU coaches have a much tougher time than me. They get all the calls." As to how many letters he gets - "Hundreds. The ones that stand out are the personalized cards or handwritten comments."

Jodie's father has tried to help him focus on the details of recruiting, how coaches express interest and body language, subtle or otherwise. "I have tried to prepare Jodie for the recruiting process by discussing what's important to him as a person. We talk about how the different schools have different needs and perspectives on players. We also discussed that those teams/coaches that are really serious about him will take the time to get to know him as a person. We usually get invited to games by the schools that are interested. On one occasion the coach spent 5 hours showing us around the campus and talking to us about the school and why they fit him as a person. On another occasion we were invited to a basketball game and Jodie's first impression of the coach was the coach reaching over Jodie to shake the hand of another perspective player, and telling that player that he would come to his next game. Which school would you choose?"

Right now some of the schools involved with Jodie have a strong SEC and ACC flavor, including Wake Forest, Alabama, Arkansas, S.Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Maryland, FSU, Miami and VaTech. He currently has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado and South Carolina. UCONN and Illinois are making sure they have kept contact as well. Jodie and his father recently visited the campus over at Florida and came away impressed. Georgia Tech is actually somewhere on that list as well. Jodie was not ready to reveal a favorite, although he does have one.

How will Jodie narrow down his list? "I am focusing on who I know, the campus, and who they are recruiting. I always try to see myself playing at the school."

As to a timetable, Jodie gave us this schedule - "I plan to sign in the first signing period in November. I will cut my choices to 4-5 schools by the end of the summer season. I can see committing in late September early October. I want to make sure, since this is a very important decision for me I will take my time."

So where do the Jackets stand with Jodie? Well, as last season started, Georgia Tech was right near the top of his list, and he was even invited and attended some Jacket games. Evidently the interest has not been strong from the Jackets. However, Jodie still watches the program. "I still like Tech. Some of the coaches have come to my high school to see me workout. I don't know if they have come to see me play in high school. I respect their program and what they do. I like their style of play. Coach Hewitt is one of the top coaches in the country."

In fact, Coach Hewitt saw Jodie play for the first time in the state tournament this past season, when Jodie's Norcross team went head-to-head with Stephenson and future Jacket Alade Aminu. Jodie helped lead his team to victory that night, as Alade had one of his worst games of the season. Jodie had one of his best. In fact, here is a quote from the story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on that game:

"...Jodie Meeks, a dynamic 6-foot-3 combination guard, finished with a game-high 22 points, including an emphatic slam on 6-9 Georgia Tech signee Alade Aminu in the game's waning minutes, to pace the winners."

It could be a tough hill to climb for the Jackets, as it is very clear that Coach Hewitt has been after other higher profile PG prospects. When speaking about recruiting in general, Jodie's father stressed that they really don't want Jodie to be a fallback option. "I believe the key for him will be playing for a coach that wants him as their first recruiting option, not someone who they get because they have a slot. If he stays healthy, he will be a very good college player."

When asked if there is a glimmer of hope that he could end up a YellowJacket, Jodie responded by saying "I really don't know how to answer that question. I am new on the recruiting scene so a lot of the big named schools don't really know me."

New to the recruiting scene? How could that be, as a top 100 recruit? Well, top 50 by Rivals, but does not even have him in their top 100. It just goes to show how difficult the scouting game can be. Interestingly, Jodie seems to get more national recognition than local. While local GA papers consistently highlight guys like Javaris Crittenton (whom he has beaten head-to-head in high school) and Anjuan Wilderness (whom he outplayed at team camp last week 26 points to 10), Jodie quietly goes about his business putting up numbers.

One reason he might be underrated is that Jodie's father, Orestes, felt strongly that Jodie not play AAU ball until he was at least 15 years old. "Nothing against AAU, but it is not always a place where players learn how to play the game.", remarked Orestes. Jodie’s father has a coaching background, so he speaks from experience.

When discussing the difference between AAU and high school ball, Mr. Meeks highlighted the different goals. "The biggest difference between high school and AAU is what each team is trying to accomplish. Clearly these aren't absolutes, but in High School the team is the most important thing. Everyone is trying to win the conference/region/state. In AAU, the team is not always the most important thing, and it appears that most of the players feel like they need to score points. They are all stars in high school, and are not always willing to play ' a role.' What most AAU players don't understand is that if you are a point guard, the college coaches want to see you run a team and get assists and knock down a shot when you need to. They don't expect the point guard to score 20-30 points. It is a very interesting thing to watch."

So while Crittenton and others were getting early AAU exposure playing with Dwight Howard, Meeks was quietly leading his high school team and learning the game. And just how has he been doing that? Well, it is clear that Jodie feels his father has had a strong influence. "I feel that he introduced the game to me in a way that allowed me to love it. He spent hours on hours on the fundamentals. I remember once when I was 5, he blocked my shot every time I shot a lay-up with my right hand on the left side. He forced me to use the left hand dribble and shot on the left side. I will always be grateful for that."

That type of learning is what has given Jodie a real mental edge over many of his competitors. When discussing how a player can go from a PG to SG position, Orestes noted. "This is interesting because most players think it is easy to just change on court positions. If you haven't prepared to be a point guard, you don't just say " I'm a point guard" and then you are prepared. It takes years of preparation to be successful. I'll give you an example of how I prepared Jodie to play the point guard spot. When he was younger and our team hit a bit of trouble, most coaches call a time-out and then make adjustments. I would do that, but the first question I would ask him when he came off the floor is, "what type of defense is the other team playing?", then I would ask, "how can we attack it?" Our next play or series of plays would be centered around responding and changing based on what the other team is doing."

"So from early on he began to see the game a little differently than most kids his age. I have to admit he was very interested in learning and when we watched college or pro games on television, I would ask him what should be done in a particular situation. I always challenged him to think and react while playing. I believe what that has done for him is helped him to become more poised and prepared. Now what other players have to think about, he does instinctively. Mentally he is VERY tough."

So, how does Jodie feel now about having a father who was a coach? "I am older and more independent, but I still like to have my dad at my games. I always feel I play good when he's there. He still helps me to relax and knows my capabilities. I don't like him to talk to me, but it's nice to know he's there. I would say he is important to my confidence at this time. I have a pretty strong relationship with both my parents."

Jodie's father has tried to take a backseat role now that he is being coached at a higher level. "I let his coaches coach him. We talk about how he is doing and what he learns from the games he plays. Most of the conversations we have about basketball are really review from previous experiences or conversations."

Meanwhile, Jodie continues to work on his game, honing in on weak areas. "I don't think as a player you can ever be great in everything. Even if you are on any given night you can struggle. I think I can always work on my defense, ball handling and shooting. Brenton (another Norcross player) and I have been going into the gym to shoot. We usually shoot over 800 shots a practice session. It is hard work getting better, but it is nice to share it with someone else who wants to be better."

Jodie continues to tour with his Georgia Hurricanes AAU team. They have played at the Kingwood Classic in Houston and The Real Deal on the Hill in Ark, a tourney in Florida on the campus in Gainsville (where he averaged 20+ points), the Bob Gibbons TOC (Tourney of Champs), where he averaged almost 20 pts. He is scheduled to attend the Reebok Big-Time Tourney in Las Vegas, and The Reebok Classic in Los Angeles. He has received an invitation to The ABCD Camp for the nations top 100 players, and is currently attending the 5-Star Basketball Camp in Virginia.

The hard work will continue. The letters will continue to flow in. Decision time will creep closer and closer. Stay tuned to see how this "local" boy makes good. We know that whatever college coach ends up landing Jodie, they will have a winner on their hands.