Oct. 2, 2014
THE FLATS – With the Nov. 14 season opener against Georgia at McCamish Pavilion just 42 days away, Georgia Tech officially begins pre-season practice for its 100th season of basketball Friday afternoon.
Head coach Brian Gregory begins his fourth pre-season practice on The Flats with an 18-player roster that includes seven new faces among the scholarship players. Tech also welcomes back five letterwinners from last season, including junior forward Marcus Georges-Hunt (College Park, Ga.), who has started all but one game in his Tech career, and red-shirt sophomore Corey Heyward (Duluth, Ga.), who started 15 games for the Jackets last season.
Georges-Hunt is Tech’s top returning scorer from 2013-14, averaging 11.7 points per game overall and 11.4 per game in conference play. Heyward became Tech’s starting point guard for the last half of the season, and while he did not score much, he posted a 34/17 assist/turnover ratio in ACC games and kept the Jackets on an even keel.
Other veterans returning include junior guard Chris Bolden (Tifton, Ga.), who averaged 5.4 points per game, sophomore forward Quinton Stephens (Atlanta, Ga.), 3.6 points over 32 games, and red-shirt freshman point guard Travis Jorgenson (Columbia, Mo.), who played only four games before injuring his knee against Dayton.
Four transfers will help Gregory and his charges immediately, especially in the front court, where 6-8, 224-pound senior Robert Sampson (Atlanta, Ga.) becomes eligible for his final season after sitting out the 2013-14 season. Sampson was one of the nation’s top rebounders at East Carolina, averaging 9.1 points and 9.2 rebounds in 2012-13.
Demarco Cox, a 6-8, 276-pound post player from Yazoo, Miss., has one year to play at Tech after graduating over the summer at Ole Miss, where he averaged 4.2 points and 4.9 rebounds last season. Charles Mitchell, a 6-8, 260-pound forward from Marietta, Ga., is also eligible after averaging 6.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 70 games at Maryland.
Those three players have combined to start 127 games in their careers, and with the addition of freshmen Abdoulaye Gueye (6-9, Dakar, Senegal) and Ben Lammers (6-10, San Antonio, Texas), Tech’s front court is deep and physical.
The fourth transfer is Josh Heath, a 6-2 point guard from Tampa, Fla., who came to Tech from South Florida. Heath averaged 2.6 points as a freshman in 17 games but led the American Athletic Conference in assist/turnover ratio for conference games. Along with 6-2 freshman Tadric Jackson (Tifton, Ga.), one of the nation’s top prep guards, Tech’s back court is also deep, with three point guards and four talented wing players.
Gregory also heads into pre-season practice with two new assistant coaches, having brought in Mamadou N’Diaye to coach the big men, and Tom Herrion to coach the point guards. Both are regarded as excellent teachers and recruiters. In 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Providence, Virginia and Pittsburgh, Herrion helped those teams to nine post-season appearances (five NCAA) and an average of 20 wins. N’Diaye, in just his fourth season as a college coach, helped Coastal Carolina to 54 wins and two post-season bids in three seasons.
About Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fourth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBK).