Nov. 7, 2009
ATLANTA – Getting their first test against an outside opponent in a regulation game, Georgia Tech’s basketball team hosts an exhibition game Sunday afternoon against Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Tip off is set for 5 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Henry F. McCamish, Jr., Basketball Complex. Tickets are available for $5 at the gate beginning at 3 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on WREK Radio (91. FM / wrek.org).
Head coach Paul Hewitt has put his Yellow Jackets through 23 practices since Oct. 16, including a full-scale scrimmage last weekend, is happy with his team’s progress, and didn’t seem all that concerned Friday in the wake of Syracuse’s exhibition loss to Division II LeMoyne.
“I was satisfied with what I saw (last weekend),” said Hewitt. “We established a defensive mindset, which is what we have to do. We rebounded the ball very well as well.”
“We have to be a team that can keep ourselves accountable to each other and not have to worry about outside events to get out attention. If I have to resort to that at this time of the year, then we have some problems.”
IUP returns three starters and is the favorite to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West division. The Crimson Hawks finished last season 22-8, 10-4 in their conference. Tech will be their third ACC exhibition opponent this week, following a 77-54 loss at Maryland on Tuesday and an 88-57 loss at Wake Forest on Thursday.
Tech, meanwhile, returns three starters of its own in 6-8 senior forward Zachery Peacock, 6-9 junior forward Gani Lawal and 6-5 sophomore guard Iman Shumpert, as well as 2007-08 starter at guard, 6-6 D’Andre Bell, who sat out last season with a spinal injury.
The presence of this veteran group and the national high school player of the year, 6-10 forward Derrick Favors, the preseason choice for Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, has preseason magazines and media projecting the Yellow Jackets to finish fourth or higher in the ACC and return to the NCAA Tournament.
Hewitt will get another look at sorting out the Yellow Jackets considerable depth. On the perimeter, Shumpert and Bell are joined by 6-5 junior shooter Lance Storrs, 6-3 sophomore defender Nick Foreman and 6-2 junior point guard Maurice (Moe) Miller, as well as a trio of talented freshmen in 6-2 point guard Mfon Udofia, 6-5 win Glen Rice, Jr., and 6-6 forward Brian Oliver.
More from head coach Paul Hewitt:
On the general health of his team – “We’re pretty healthy. Iman (Shumpert) practiced full court yesterday and Brian Oliver will get back in [Friday]. It’s been pretty good, actually. Everybody has some kind of injury at this point in the year, but we’re pretty healthy.”
On whether Syracuse’s Loss to Division II Le Moyne on Tuesday is a wake-up call leading into Sunday’s exhibition with IUP – “No, I don’t think so. There are some really good basketball players out there. It’s nothing special in terms of a wake-up call for us going into Sunday. [Le Moyne] head coach Steve Evans was an assistant of mine at Siena, and I talked to him earlier in the week. He told me they had a good team, but I don’t think he expected them to beat Syracuse.”
On who the main three-point threat will be going into the season – “I think we have a group of shooters in Iman Shumpert, Lance Storrs and Brian Oliver. Those three can shoot pretty well. You can put Zach Peacock in that group as well. I would expect one of those four guys to be our top three-point shooter.”
On Derrick Favors’ passing ability in practice – “He has shown that he is a very good passer, especially out of double-teams. He handled that very well last Saturday.”