Oct. 6, 2015
THE FLATS – Each week up until the beginning of basketball season, Ramblinwreck.com takes a look at an opponent on Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule. This week, we look at Wofford, a frequent opponent for the Jackets over the last decade.
Date: December 1, 2015
Location: Spartanburg, S.C.
Conference: Southern Conference
Home arena: Benjamin Johnson Arena (3,500)
2015-16 Record: 28-7 overall, 16-2 in the SoCon (1st place), 49th in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: NCAA Tournament First Round, lost to Arkansas 56-53
NCAA Championship Appearances: 4 (last in 2015)
All-time series record: Georgia Tech leads 12-2 (First meeting 1/14/1921)
Head coach: Mike Young (entering 14th season, 217-192)
Starters returning/lost: 3/2
Top scorer returning: Spencer Collins (11.8)
Top rebounder returning: C.J. Neumann (4.5)
Quick preview for 2015-16
In Mike Young’s 13-year tenure at Wofford, the Terriers have reached the NCAA Tournament four times, including two sets of back-to-back trips (2010, 2011 and 2014, 2015). Last year Mike Young coached the Terriers to 28 wins, the highest total in his 13 years at Wofford. To reach that level of success in 2015-16, Wofford will look to upperclassmen Spencer Collins, Justin Gordon, and Eric Garcia. Collins, a 6-4 guard, started all 35 games last season and was the second-leading scorer on the team behind graduated senior Karl Cochran. The Terriers will also look to Justin Gordon and C.J. Neumann on the boards next season. The two averaged 4.0 and 4.5 rebounds, respectively. While the absences of Karl Cochran and Lee Skinner will be huge, Young is excited to have rising junior guard Eric Garcia back to lead the Terrier offense in 2015.
Quick recap of 2014-15
Last year Wofford dropped its opener to Stanford. After that 74-59 loss, the Terriers went on to win nine of their next 10 games. To finish the season, Wofford won 12 of its last 13 games and went on to run the table in the Southern Conference Tournament. The Terriers defeated three teams in as many days, including a 67-64 victory over Furman in the championship game. Wofford’s fourth SoCon Tournament Championship gave the team an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. The Terriers earned a No. 12 seed and nearly pulled off an upset against Arkansas, losing by three to the Razorbacks in the round of 64. Wofford ranked in the top of the SoCon in scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, and rebounding margin. The Terriers ranked in the top half of the conference in several other categories.
Greatest program accomplishment
Four SoCon Championships and four NCAA Tournament Appearances in the last six years – Wofford basketball began in 1905, joined the SoCon in 1997, and has appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times. The Terriers have been playing Division I basketball since 1997, and made it to their first NCAA Tournament in 2010. Wofford has never won a NCAA Tournament game in four tries, but came close to upsetting Arkansas as a twelve seed last season. Under Mike Young, the Terriers have won four SoCon Tournaments and three regular season titles in the last six years. Wofford had its first Division I season over .500 in 2008-09. Since that year, Mike Young has coached the Terriers to a 127-73 record in six seasons. Last season the Terriers won both conference and regular season titles in the same year for the first time since 2011.
Greatest player in program history
Jim “Daddy” Neal (1950-1953) – Born in Silverstreet, S.C., Jim Neal is the greatest player in Wofford basketball history. In his four years at Wofford, Neal scored 2,078 points and is currently fourth on the all-time list. One of five 2,000-point scorers, he grabbed 1,500 rebounds during his Wofford career. Neal averaged over 23 points and nearly 17 rebounds for his career. He set a number of records at Wofford, including most points in a game (57), highest scoring average in a season (32.6), and highest season rebounding average (26.5). Neal received his nickname “Daddy” because of his long, thin arms and legs resembled those of a daddy longlegs spider. After graduating from Wofford, the Syracuse Nationals drafted Neal with the sixth overall pick in the 1953 NBA Draft. Neal averaged about four points and four rebounds for the Nationals, and his career ended when his second team, the Baltimore Bullets, folded its franchise in 1954. Jim “Daddy” Neal died in October of 2011 in his home in Greer, S.C.
Place to visit on campus or in the city
BMW Zentrum, Spartanburg – Where the past, present, and future of BMW come together, the BMW Zentrum is the only BMW Museum in North America. In addition to the museum’s many cars, motorcycles, and racecars, there is also a meeting and events center, a café, and a gallery. The BMW Zentrum is great for the whole family, and is a must-see especially for automobile lovers. Even if you’re not a car person, the museum has something special for everyone.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth 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 (@GTMBB).