Oct. 31, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s basketball team faces its first test against an outside opponent Friday night when the Yellow Jackets host Carson-Newman at 7 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
All of Tech’s basketball games are sold out except for a limited number of “single” seats that will go on sale at the gate beginning at 5:30 p.m. Those tickets are $5 and must be purchased with cash. Radio coverage will be provided by student station WREK-FM (91.1).
The main Coliseum parking lot and those at O’Keefe Gym, as well as other parking areas on campus, are open to all patrons for Friday night’s game after 5 p.m. Parking permits for those areas are not in force until next Friday’s regular-season opener.
Friday will mark the first opportunity for fans to see Tech’s new point guard tandem of senior Matt Causey and freshman Maurice “Moe” Miller, who will direct a team looking for its fourth NCAA bid in the last five seasons when the regular season begins Nov. 9.
Causey, a 6-0 transfer from North Georgia College who sat out last season, missed a week of practice with an injury to his kneecap but returned Monday. The Gainesville, Ga., native averaged better than 23 points and 6.7 assists per game in two seasons at North Georgia after playing in all 28 games as a backup at Georgetown as a freshman.
Miller, a 6-2 freshman from Memphis, Tenn., was ranked as high as 65th among high school seniors last year after averaging 19 points and four assists at Raleigh-Egypt High School.
Head coach Paul Hewitt has been pleased with the progress of Miller, who has had the reins of the offense more in the last week while Causey has been out.
“I’m pleased the way its coming along. [Miller] played really well on Saturday,” said Hewitt, who added that 6-5 junior D’Andre Bell, also getting repetitions at the point guard position, is ahead of both Causey and Miller defensively.
From the start, Hewitt has expressed confidence in the talent and depth the Yellow Jackets have at the other four positions on the floor, led by seniors Jeremis Smith, a 6-8 forward from Fort Worth, Texas, and Anthony Morrow, a 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C. Both players are in the best physical condition of their careers.
“Jeremis has always been a guy that plays hard, and with every drill, he is really pushing everybody,” Hewitt said. “Because his effort level is so high, they’ve got to match his effort level or get out of the way. Anthony Morrow is much better defensively than he has ever been, he is going off the dribble strongly, and I think that has a lot to do with him not being tired. You don’t see him bending over grabbing his hands or grabbing his shorts. His shot mechanics seem to be right and he’s got everything going.”
Morrow is Tech’s top returning scorer at 9.9 points per game, 10.6 per game against the Atlantic Coast Conference. He shot 41.7 percent from three-point range, 43.1 percent against conference teams. Smith averaged 8.3 points, and led the team in both rebounds (5.9 per game) and field goal percentage (59.6).
Also returning in the backcourt are Bell, who averaged 1.4 points, mostly providing a strong defensive presence, in 28 games off the bench last year, and 6-3 junior Lewis Clinch. Clinch led Tech in scoring early last season (13.2 points in 14 games) before missing the last half of the year due to an academic suspension. The Cordele, Ga., native shot 53.2 percent from the floor and 47.6 percent from three-point range.
New to the group is 6-4 freshman Lance Storrs, a native of Decatur, Ga., who has shot the ball extremely well from long range in Tech’s two scrimmages.
In the frontcourt along with Smith, Tech returns 6-10 junior Alade Aminu, who averaged 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds after a strong final 11 games of last season, 6-10 sophomore Mouhammad Faye (3.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and 6-8 sophomore Zack Peacock (5.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg). Gani Lawal, a 6-8 freshman from Norcross, Ga., and a McDonald’s All-American, will compete for playing time in the group.
Peacock has missed the last week of practice and will not see the floor Friday night due to a stress reaction in his right foot. Also, 6-10 senior Ra’Sean Dickey is academically ineligible for the fall semester and will not play in Tech’s first eight games.
“I just want to be able to sustain a high level of effort,” said Hewitt. “I think the team is very gifted offensively but we need to establish a certain level of intensity and a tempo that we can sustain.”