Feb. 27, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
Nick Foreman plans to take his leave from Georgia Tech this summer, when he expects to graduate with a degree in History, Science and Technology before possibly attending medical school in his native Texas.
He’s not sure about that second part just yet.
This is certain: Foreman gave the Yellow Jackets a dose of what the doctor ordered on Saturday.
When he hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the first half, to give Tech an 18-11 lead over Maryland, it was not only the first time he’d scored from the field after a stretch of 16 straight games without.
More importantly, those treys in combination with a pair made by Jason Morris on the Jackets’ first two possessions had given the ACC’s least effective 3-point shooting team a serious jolt.
Foreman was feeling it. Actually, the walk-on sensed “it” even before entering the game so when he did, he added to the equation. He finished with eight points, his ACC high, and made all three of his shots.
“When I was on the bench . . . everybody was playing great, talking, playing with energy, moving the ball,” he said. “We were always in the game, always together. I think we played really focused.”
The Jackets went on to beat the Terrapins 63-61, and when they play their final road game of the season Wednesday at Boston College they’re probably going to need more of what Foreman gives them even when he’s not scoring.
“We need a guy to come in with that kind of energy; he’s an energy guy,” said head coach Brian Gregory. “Obviously, making a couple 3’s doesn’t hurt, either.”
Foreman’s energy has earned him a scholarship for his final season. It’s also what Gregory looks for first and foremost with the idea that if Foreman’s dialed into what he’s doing, and he usually is, it’s likely that a few more points are going to come as his playing time is increased.
That’d be a good thing because with Glen Rice Jr., suspended indefinitely, the Jackets are ever more in search of scoring.
Saturday was the third time in Foreman’s career that he made a pair of 3-pointers in a game (he did it once as a freshman, and once last season).
“It’s amazing how much better you shoot when you’re concentrating on playing hard and getting on the floor and defending,” Gregory said. “Suddenly, you’re in the flow of the game and the shots come and you end up making more.”
Foreman’s playing time dropped big-time once ACC action rolled around, and he went 11 straight games playing eight minutes or fewer until he played 12 last weekend against Virginia Tech, 22 Tuesday against Clemson, and 15 against Maryland.
That, or something close to it, is going to continue.
Before going off against the Terps with a perfect shooting day, Foreman was shooting 26.9 percent from the field, and 20 percent from beyond the arc.
“We always talk about when that opportunity comes, are you ready?” the coach said. You just ask him to play hard . . . make those energy plays. His effort and his focus in terms of doing what he needs to do to help the team usually rolls over into other things.”
So does Foreman — who now has 143 career points and 18 3-pointers made in 104 college games — suddenly fancy himself a shooter?
“I felt better when I made that one. I felt good. It boosts the confidence to shoot more,” he said with a sheepish smile. “I have a little bit more of an offensive mindset, but defense is my main role.”
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