Posted: 12:18 pm Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Judging the impact of Josh Heath’s transfer 

By Ken Sugiura

The commitment of former South Florida guard Josh Heath to transfer to Georgia Tech may not rate on the surface as a game-changer. And maybe on a deeper level, it isn’t, either.

But it would appear he could play a significant role for the Yellow Jackets next season. Heath is expected to receive a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately, as he was playing for his father Stan Heath, who was fired by USF at the end of the season. There is a precedent for the NCAA granting such waivers, such as in 2012, when Trey Zeigler was given immediately eligibility after he transferred to Pittsburgh from Central Michigan following his father’s firing there.

Heath is a pass-first point guard, which is very much what Tech needs. I would contend that the Jackets would have fared better by two or three wins if Travis Jorgenson had not torn his ACL in the fourth game of the season. Heath would appear to be a player in that same mold.

His numbers – 2.6 points per game, 3.6 assists per game – hardly jump off the page. But they deserve a little clarification. Heath was expected to redshirt, but ended up playing due to a teammate’s injury. He mostly backed up and averaged 20 minutes a game. He ended up starting the final four games of the season, and there his numbers are a little more noteworthy.

In those games, he averaged 5.5 assists against 1.5 turnovers, with 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds, in 28.5 minutes. It was against AAC competition, which is not the ACC but not awful. Regardless, it would seem Tech could use a player like that, as the Jackets have at times struggled to both create open shots and hold onto the ball.

Heath’s assist-turnover ratio was 2.3, better than Trae Golden’s 1.6 and Corey Heyward’s 1.7. Further, Heath averaged an assist every 5.5 minutes, compared to 9.8 for Golden and 11.7 for Heyward.

Jorgenson’s rehabilitation is said to be going well, and he may be cleared to play before the season starts, but the more coach Brian Gregory can ease him back, the better.

“I think I’m in a good spot,” Heath said. “Hopefully we can win some games. I think they’re really good.”

It also bears mention that Heath’s father gave Gregory a pretty strong endorsement, both in sending his son to play for him and also in a literal endorsement.

“I know the kind of program he runs,” Heath said. “I like the direction it’s going. He’s kind of built a culture that I think is going to grow into a very strong basketball team for the upcoming seasons.”

Heath and Gregory were assistants together at Michigan State on Tom Izzo’s staff. They helped the Spartans win the 2000 national championship. It goes without saying that Heath isn’t going to call Gregory a shiftless slouch after his son has elected to play for him. But the fact that Heath knows Gregory as well as he does and approved of his son’s choice is telling. This past season didn’t go as anyone wanted, and there is a desire to see results, but Heath would seem to be placing a very considerable bet on Gregory and Tech’s future.

“I have a high regard for Coach Gregory and his staff,” Heath said. “He’s building something and I think  Josh wanted to be a part of that future.”

Note: Heath will not be joining his son as an assistant to Gregory to fill the vacancy left by Josh Postorino. Heath, who reportedly has $1.5 million coming to him in a buyout, said he wants to explore his options with television.

“That won’t be me,” Heath said of the job on Gregory’s staff.

27 comments
AseLeslie
AseLeslie

Coach Gregory keeps recruiting mediocre basketball players & expects to win a national championship!!!! It just doesn't make any sense at all!! We have falling off the map in basketball, its upsetting to see all these other programs sign atleast 1 big time player who's a game changer and coach gregory keeps bringing in these leftovers who nobody else in the country wants lol lol GT basketball is a joke right now!! im sorry but I'm just being honest 

juvenal
juvenal

Ken, can Heyward try out at B-back?

Peachs
Peachs

I think you are totally on in a ball handling point guard. You see the injury early last year to Travis Jorgenson and few could see the damage. Tech is a big man offense that needs to get in place and be fed; they just didn’t have that after Jorgenson went down.

GTQBdefender
GTQBdefender

Hall showed Johnson and Gregory how to shut up critics and haters last week with the baseball Jackets beating both the #1 team in the nation and Uga.

Gregory is 3-0 vs Uga but needs to do better in ACC play.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

This only makes Tech better in the long haul.  IMO, his overall game is better than any other PG on the roster.  Heyward can't score and Jorgenson can't play defense.  Though he's not a game changer at either end, atleast Heath can play at both ends of the floor fairly decent.

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

If nothing else, this certainly looks like an upgrade over the So. Poole experiment at PG. Poole's assist/TO ratio was probably the reverse numbers to what Heath brings to the table.

This group of young guards, Jorgenson, Jackson & Heath, will probably determine if CBG or Craig Neal is coaching the team in a couple of years. 

This still looks like a .500 team again next year.

Getting_Older
Getting_Older

Ken, Thanks for putting in the Note at the bottom.  That was exactly where my mind was going, so thanks for clearing it up.

DBT Jacket
DBT Jacket

Despite what a few of our misguided fans think,....we had ZERO depth at the point. Heath will be a tremendous upgrade in a backup role to Jorgenson over what we had to deal with this past season.

crackbaby
crackbaby

"It goes without saying that Heath isn’t going to call Gregory a shiftless slouch after his son has elected to play for him"

ROFL!  That's good, Ken.  :-)

juvenal
juvenal

Ken, what was his FT%? that also cost us games........

JM64
JM64

I think it is good to know that another coach trusts his son to Gregory at GT.  I think that speaks highly of the program he leads at GT.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

"It was against AAC competition, which is not the ACC but not awful"

The ACC has nothing to be arrogant about in 2013-14.  The 2 best teams in the AAC (Louisville and NCAA champion UConn) were better than anyone in the ACC when it came to Tourney time.  Heath didn't start against them but he did have starter's minutes against UConn (and did OK)

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

Sounds good.  Hope the NCAA doesn't screw us and him by not allowing to play next year.  They have done stupider things in the past, so ya never know.

POAD2013
POAD2013

Still need a BIG man to replace Miller but this should give us plenty of good guys in the backcourt now. 

TechTroll13
TechTroll13

How do you know Jorgenson can't play defense?  He only played four games.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

@ToeMeetsLeather Gregory got an extension last year or the year before and the money still being owed to Hewitt doesn't clear for another 3 seasons.  I wouldn't hold my breath on Bobinski canning CBG anytime soon.  

MarineJacket
MarineJacket

"Heath will be a tremendous upgrade in a backup role to Jorgenson....".  The question is why are so many people making a kid who had 4 games under his belt the saviour of the program.  While he showed the ability to pass the ball in his 4 games he struggled on defense and is very comparable to Heyward when it comes to shooting the ball. 

While it will be nice to have all 3 ready to play, compete for time and push each other to be better to think that anyone of the 3 point guards on this team is the clear cut starter is delusional thinking.  There is a reason why Heath was brought in when we could have used another bing man (I was hoping we went after Horford who announced he was transfering from Michigan).

FYI.  Heyward was a very good backup last year.  He might not be a starter, but if you think that any program is going to have a backup with the talent of Chris Paull, Mark Price etc. you will be sadly dissapointed.

Go Jackets!!!

KenAJC
KenAJC moderator

@crackbaby thanks. had to be careful how i spelled "shiftless."

GGee
GGee

He could use somebody to help out with the offense. Other than that I think CBG has built a pretty solid foundation. If he can get something going with our offense we may have a chance at the tourney next year. If we dont make it to any postseason... His seat will be extra crispy. Also needs to land a huge recruiting class in 15'

POAD2013
POAD2013

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt We have Chruch things so I'm not sure yet.