Posted: 3:16 pm Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
By Ken Sugiura
1. Georgia Tech guard Trae Golden called playing in Tuesday night’s game vs. Duke “a huge possibility.” Coach Brian Gregory said that Golden, who has missed two of the past three games with a groin injury, is questionable for the game at McCamish Pavilion (9 p.m., WATL).
Having Golden would be a huge boost in the Yellow Jackets’ attempt to upset No. 5 Duke. Golden is the team’s leading scorer at 13.4 points per game and 3.1 assists per game.
Golden has been getting treatment on his groin four times a day with trainer Richard Stewart – in the morning, before lunch, before practice and after practice – getting electrical stimulation, ice, strengthening exercises and running.
“It’s just been a lot of time with Rich,” Golden said. “I feel like we’re sick of each other by now, arguing and stuff.”
2. Forward Kammeon Holsey has not practiced much since tweaking his knee against Boston College last Thursday, but will play. Keeping Holsey out had the benefit of giving more practice time to forward Robert Carter, who needs to sharpen his game after being out for 10 games with a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Gregory has typically lightened the practice load for Holsey anyway as the season has gone on because of issues tracing back to his torn ACL prior to the 2009-10 season.
On a related note, Holsey’s improved free-throw percentage is a function of the rest. Holsey did not practice at all over the summer, and was limited to free throws, weight lifting and exercises to strengthen his knee. Holsey’s free-throw percentage improved from 61.4 percent last year before rising to 69.0 percent this year. He was a 48.4 percent free-thrower as a freshman.
Gregory worked a little on his technique, addressing a hitch at the top of his stroke.
“But he’s done a good job of just spending the time and shooting the same way every time,” Gregory said. “For me, that’s the biggest thing with your free throws. I don’t mess with most guys’ shots. I just want them to shoot the same way every time, have the same routine.”
3. Carter is not likely to start Tuesday. He is continuing to improve conditioning and game form, but has more work to do.
“Rob knows he’s going to get his minutes,” Gregory said. “I think he still also knows that he’s not totally back in terms of conditioning and being able to fight through the fatigue that happens during games.”
4. An insightful explanation from Gregory about Duke’s 3-point shooting volume and prowess. Through Sunday’s games, Duke was tied for 28th in the country in 3-point attempts – 576, or 23.0 per game – and fourth in percentage, 41.1 percent.
“One, in transition, they’re very good at finding the open man, kind of what we call the last man standing. You’ll have guys back (in transition) and they’ll pop someone open. They’re very good on offensive rebounds, kicking the ball out for open threes. That’s a system point for them in terms of, on offensive rebounds, if you can’t put it right back, they have shooters running behind the ball. And the third way is they’re an unbelievable penetration team. They’re unbelievable on the bounce. They’re so aggressive driving the ball that, as you help off the ball, it creates kick-out opportunities for open threes. And then they have some special plays that they run for particular guys. (Andre) Dawkins is one, (Rodney) Hood is the other one.”
5. Gregory gave some praise to walk-on Ron Wamer, whom Gregory used in an offense-defense substitution with guard Chris Bolden at the end of the Boston College game. (Wamer came in for defense.)
“Ronnie did a great job on the defensive end,” Gregory said. “He’s got great quickness. I can’t take credit for that. That’s God-given right there, and because of that, he’s able to keep guys in front, and he plays hard. He plays every possession like he’s never going to play again. If we can get everybody to do that, we’d be all set.”
6. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on Tech:
“I think they’re good, and I think they’re playing well. Obviously, they missed Carter. He’s one of the most talented guys in our league, and so any of us would miss a player like that, would have to fill a huge hole, and now that he’s back, the experience that those other guys have had makes them better. I think the improved play of (Corey) Heyward, like with Golden being out, he’s had an opportunity to really play well and be a steadying influence for them.”
On center Daniel Miller:
“He’s an outstanding player. I think people who just say that he’s a big man are mistaken. He’s very mobile. He can put the ball on the floor, obviously he can score with his back to the basket, but he can face the basket and he can pass. He runs well. He’s one of the best shot blockers. He’s been an outstanding player for them. Kind of a product of being a senior and going through and being well coached each year and improving each year to where now he’s going to be a professional player when his career’s all over, because of his versatility and the fact that he can play two positions at the next level, at the four and the five.”
7. Duke has won the last six in a row against Tech and 30 of the past 33. Gregory is 0-3 against the Blue Devils at Tech.
“In the three times we’ve played them, you take a four-, five-, six-minute stretch out of the game, we’ve played ‘em pretty well,” Gregory said. “So we need to just make sure we eliminate that four- or five-minute stretch.”