partlycloudy
Sunday May 24th, 2015 5:32PM

Gregory hopes Tech ready to compete in ACC

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- Coach Brian Gregory is about to begin the third season of his rebuilding job at Georgia Tech.

The first two years were all about setting standards defensively for the program, and last season's roster met Gregory's expectations to improve the offense by cutting down on turnovers and increasing assists.

Those modest accomplishments, though, weren't good enough to keep the Yellow Jackets from losing 12 games in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the second straight year.

This season figures to be even tougher now that the ACC totals 15 teams with the addition of national heavyweights Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Notre Dame, which has been to five of the last six NCAA tournaments, also has joined a league that's traditionally dominated by Duke and North Carolina.

"From where we were two years ago to where we are now, I think we are much different program and much different team," Gregory said. "The question is have we been able to take enough steps in order to be able to compete on a nightly basis with those other teams who have done that over the years."

Gregory is encouraged, though, as the Yellow Jackets return five of their six top scorers, and the arrival of point guard Trae Golden, a senior transfer from Tennessee, brings needed depth. It also should help that four starters are back.

But to become relevant nationally, Gregory says Georgia Tech must improve offensively by playing faster and smarter.

The Jackets will emphasize getting the ball inside to Robert Carter Jr. and Kammeon Holsey, a pair of 6-foot-8 forwards, and 6-11 center Daniel Miller in transition because Gregory says that's "the best time to score in the post."

Here are five things to watch during the upcoming Georgia Tech basketball season:

MAKE THE GAME EASIER: Gregory was pleased that the assist to turnover ratio improved last season, but the next step is increasing assist totals for the entire rotation. That means that Marcus Georges-Hunt and Carter, the two leading returning scorers, need to pass the ball effectively, and the same goes for Holsey and guard Chris Bolden. Regardless who wins the point guard job among Golden, Solomon Poole, Corey Heyward and Travis Jorgenson, Gregory might play as many as three at the position. The key will be to get a minimum average of three assists per game from each point guard.

GOLDEN PICKUP: After starting 24 games last season and 58 in his career, Golden left Tennessee to be closer to his father, who is sick and lives nearby. The NCAA said earlier this month that Golden was eligible to play his senior year for the Yellow Jackets without having to sit out a season. Golden averaged 12.1 points and 3.9 assists for the Volunteers as a junior.

NOT JUST POINT GUARD: Replacing former starting point guard Mfon Udofia won't be easy, but one reason Gregory wants to develop more point and shooting guards is to keep legs fresh in a conference that puts a premium on strong frontcourt play. Georgia Tech's lack of depth at both positions has factored strongly in its struggles the last two years. "If you don't have quality guards on the court - and that means multiple guys that can handle the ball, break down the defense, reverse the ball and make solid plays - you're in deep trouble," Gregory said.

CRASH THE OFFENSIVE BOARDS: Gregory knows the Jackets need to give themselves second, third and fourth chances on offense, so he's putting an emphasis on offensive rebounding. "Marcus Georges-Hunt, Jason Morris and Stacey Poole Jr. in that wing spot should be tremendous offensive rebounders," Gregory said. "We are really, really emphasizing that and having them understand how important that is."

KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY: Gregory plans tweet regularly to promote the program, but he doesn't want his players using Twitter during the season. Holsey said at the ACC media conference earlier this month that the coach sees no point in stirring up potentially tough topics, regardless of how the Jackets perform this season. "He doesn't think very highly of it," Holsey said. "Actually, I don't tweet. I'm not a Twitter person, so that's a good thing."
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Sports
No. 19 Georgia blows past Illinois
Shacobia Barbee had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead No. 19 Georgia over Illinois 82-60 on Saturday.
10:42PM ( 1 year ago )
Dogs will face Nebraska without standout DE Moss
Nebraska defensive end Avery Moss returned to his home in Arizona to attend to a personal issue and won't play in the Gator Bowl against No. 23 Georgia next week.
10:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Georgia Southern coach Monken headed for Army
Desperate to snap its long losing streak against its archrival, Army has hired former Navy assistant Jeff Monken as its 37th football coach.
1:04PM ( 1 year ago )
College Sports
Birth of son brings change to Kyle Busch’s life
The birth of a first child is often described as a life-changing experience. For NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, it has also been diaper-changing.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
12:00PM ( 5 hours ago )
Questions about safety hover over 99th Indianapolis 500
They call the Indianapolis 500 "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" for its high speeds, rich history, enormous crowd and the take-your-breath-away competition.
By Jenna Fryer-AP Auto Racing Writer
8:00AM ( 9 hours ago )
STATE CHAMPS: Buford sweeps Whitewater for AAAA title (VIDEO)
Buford won its first state baseball title since 2011 with a sweep of Whitewater Saturday in the Class AAAA championship series...
6:25AM ( 11 hours ago )
Austin Dillon dominates for Charlotte Xfinity victory
Austin Dillon raced to his second NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the season on Saturday with a victory in the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
By Pete McCole
12:15AM ( 17 hours ago )
VIDEO: Rankings mean nothing to Wolves -- they want a ring
Seniors Joey Bart, Jake Higginbotham, Connor Bennett, and Keyton Gibson aren’t worried about expectations at this point in the season. They know first hand expectations usually are worth about as much as it cost you to listen to them...
5:00PM ( 1 day ago )