Posted: 1:33 pm Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Gregory returns (close to) home 

By Ken Sugiura

In advance of Georgia Tech’s game at Notre Dame (7 p.m., ESPN2).

The Yellow Jackets’ first game at Notre Dame as ACC members carries a little extra meaning for coach Brian Gregory.

Gregory grew up in Mount Prospect, Ill., outside of Chicago, which is not far from South Bend, Ind. Gregory said “there’ll be a lot of people close to me that will be coming to the game.“

Gregory downplayed the significance, saying it might have meant more when he was younger. Still, Gregory’s childhood coincided with the height of DePaul’s power in college basketball, when one of its primary rivals was Notre Dame, which has a strong fan base in Chicago. Gregory was a DePaul fan.

“I can still recall (former Irish stars) Tracy Jackson and David Rivers and Kelly Tripucka and Bill Laimbeer and Bruce Flowers and all those guys,” Gregory said. “They wore Adidas back then, Pro models. I remember all that stuff. Digger (Phelps) and stuff like that. Games like that should always hold a little special (meaning) to you. When you were young and you used to watch those teams play, now you’re coaching against them. It’s pretty nice.”

You likely know that Tech and Notre Dame are permanent partners, meaning they’ll play home and road every year, along with Tech-Clemson. Notre Dame’s other partner is Boston College. It’s a pretty good deal for the Irish to be in a major market ever year, I’d say. I don’t think of Notre Dame as much of a rival of Tech’s, particularly in basketball – the teams have played nine games, including the first ACC matchup in January, but perhaps something can brew, sort of like Tech and Virginia Tech in football.

“I think this is going to be a pretty good rivalry,” Gregory said. “I think it can turn into something pretty special.”

2. Gregory is accepting that, for now, and perhaps for the rest of the season, guard Trae Golden won’t be the same player he was prior to his groin injury, since he doesn’t have the same explosiveness. It means there’ll likely be less driving to the basket off screens and perhaps he won’t be as powerful in transition.

“He’s going to play different, and he’s starting to figure it out,” Gregory said. “In some cases, he needs to become more of a jump shooter. And that’s just where we’re at.”

Chris Bolden or Marcus Georges-Hunt could take on more of that role to penetrate, but both have been inconsistent and not always effective going to the rim.

3. Gregory said he hadn’t seen Georges-Hunt’s statement after the Clemson game that players had lost their “vibe” in the second half as Clemson came back and were arguing with each other. As such, he didn’t comment on it directly, but addressed the topic generally.

“If guys aren’t frustrated or guys aren’t passionate about what’s going on, then I’d have a bigger worry,” he said. “To me, that’s part of the game. That’s part of the game. Maybe we need a little more of that, guys jumping on each other when guys aren’t doing what they need to have done.”

4. In reviewing the Clemson game, Gregory said the biggest problem was transition defense. By his count, Tech was outscored 18-2 in transition and he acknowledged that the Tigers aren’t a very good transition team. (I’d posit that part of the reason for the imbalance was that Tech made a number of turnovers out on the perimeter that gave Clemson easy chances in transition.) Said Gregory, “18-2 is going to get your butt beat.”

5. If you’re looking for a reason to have hope in Tech against the Irish, maybe the pattern of the Jackets’ ACC season can give you some optimism (aside from the fact Tech beat Notre Dame earlier this season). Tech has repeated a loss-loss-win string four times thus far, and has lost its past two games, to Duke and Clemson. (My thanks to Forrest Johnson, who pointed this out to me on Twitter.) Get your money down before the bookies solve this intricate sequence.

6. Tech’s biggest win, by RPI rating: Georgia, at No. 80. Would not have guessed that at the time of the game. No. 2 is Illinois, at No. 87. Tech is No. 161, between Southern and Charlotte.

10 comments
juvenal
juvenal

any coach gets a pass any year a team is devastated by injuries...Miller worn out keeping us in games, Golden not shooting well with a bad groin(anybody griping here ever had one?).......not the coaches fault if they are offered an extension, what i hear cpj will not be offered one unless we go up a notch.........

CrazyRobert
CrazyRobert

2014 should be the year of the Georgia Tech purge.  Send Paul Johnson, Brian Gregory and Danny Hall packing

!!!!

Robert30
Robert30

Tech's cheap hire is just not working. After pouring all of the money into the renovations of the arena we need a better program than this. I remember the good old days when this time of the year ppl were wondering where we would be going in the NCAA's. Gregory was about to be fired at Dayton when Tech hired him. If we care at all about the program we need a better coach. This is the worst I have seen at Tech.

tripleoption3
tripleoption3

If the alumni or at least certain ones can donate money to upgrade the basketball arena, then I assure you this school isn't going to stand by two more years and watch this coach destroy the place.  To drag this program into nothingness is too much for anyone.  If the AD  gives this coach two more years, then the AD can go with him and good riddance.  My feelings are not directed at the players.  I even believe they would perform exceptionally better without him.   




I am so proud of Craig Neal, I hope he does well in the NCAA tournament. 



For all the shameless cowards that were hellbent on keeping Neal or Charlotte Bobcats asst. coach Mark Price or any other former Tech player willing to coach or assist in coaching this team from doing so, well you can go blank yourselves now.  (I realize most of those know it alls are not on this blog tonight).



kman81
kman81

Gregory is safe for now.  Bobinski doesn't want to look stupid after giving him a contract extension for no reason.  Hewitt will be paid off I a couple of years and then Gregory will be forced to win or Tech can afford to bring in a proven winner instead of a cast off from a smaller school.  If they would have just hired Craig Neal in the first place like they should have, Tech might not be in this mess. Unfortunately, DRad didn't  have Tech's best interest in mind since he had one foot out the door already.

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

What was originally thought to be a promising season has spiraled down the drain over the last 2 months.  A win against ND tonight would be a little salve on the wound.  And there is a strong possibility we play ND again in the ACC Tourney.


Hey, at least we aren't VT.  And apparently we are better than BC and they beat Syracuse, so we have that going for us.


Heard Bobinski on the radio this afternoon, and while he didn't trash CBG, he didn't give him a pass either.  I doubt he pulls the trigger after this season but if there isn't improvement next year he will be gone.

Jim70
Jim70

161 is pretty bad for an acc team playing in Atlanta, or any acc team for that matter.  but need to give cbg another two years unless he back tracks next year.  not sure how you can back track much from this season!


But hopefully we can pull together and win in south bend.


Go jackets


PS  usually about this time of year I start diverting my attention from our bball team and look forward to our baseball team, but they have not showed up yet.  maybe a long time until next fall.  golf team is looking good.

AntoineFord
AntoineFord

When you're ranked #161 and you haven't even made the NIT after three years at the school, it's time to hit the road, Jack. 

juvenal
juvenal

do your best, guys......

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@Jim70  161 is really bad.  Surprisingly that's not the worst team in the ACC.  ND is 114 so a win tonight presumably jumps us up to the 120's...maybe.  Still awful.