Oct. 20, 2011
Charlotte, N.C. – Georgia Tech’s basketball team was picked to finish 10th in its first year under new head coach Brian Gregory by a vote of the attending media at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s “Operation Basketball,” which was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
Head coach Brian Gregory along with junior guard Mfon Udofia and sophomore forward Jason Morris represented Georgia Tech at the event, which was comprised of a full day of interviews and activities, split between print, radio and television interviews at the Ritz-Carlton and the ESPNU studios in Charlotte.
North Carolina was selected first in the preseason media poll. The Tar Heels were picked to finish first in 57 of 59 ballots. Duke was picked second, followed by Florida State. Virginia was tabbed to finish fourth, followed by Miami and Virginia Tech.
The second half of the preseason list was – in order – Clemson, NC State, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and BC.
“We’re coming into this season ready to win,” said Udofia. “It was more motivation when we heard where we were picked. I told my teammates about it, they got excited about it and it added more fuel to our fire.”
The preseason All-ACC team featured North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller, Miami’s Malcolm Grant, Duke’s Seth Curry and Virginia’s Mike Scott.
Barnes, the lone unanimous selection on the all-conference team, was selected as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. Duke’s Austin Rivers was the preseason choice as the conference’s Rookie of the Year.
Tech, which finished last season with a 13-18 overall record and a 5-11 mark in conference play, return 10 letterwinners and six players with starting experience. The Yellow Jackets begin their regular season Nov. 11 against Florida A&M at the Arena at Gwinnett, which will be the home for five of Tech’s early season non-conference games.
“I learned a lot interacting with the media yesterday, and it was interesting to see how things are done at the ESPNU studios and how they wind up on the TV screen,” said Udofia. “I had a fun day interacting with the media and all the other players who were there.
“Everybody is excited about the season, and it got me excited. They all wanted to know what it was like to play for [Coach Gregory] and how he’s changed things. I told them the same answers all the time. He’s a great guy, has a great personality, and that he preaches team first. That’s our motto, and that’s how we’re going to play.”