Feb. 10, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
It might seem a strange time to bring it up, but Mfon Udofia is improving as a point guard. Scoring, after all, is not the point — at least not in his case.
The junior hasn’t scored in Georgia Tech’s last two games, a win over Boston College and Thursday’s loss to N.C. State, but he’s pitched in 11 assists against two turnovers.
That’s significant, especially so for a team that has been burdened by turnovers while simultaneously short on assists.
“We need him score when the opportunity presents itself, but he’s become better at making some decisions,” said head coach Brian Gregory. “The thing with him in the [B.C.] game was the fact that he wasn’t making his shots didn’t affect other aspects of the game. That’s a sign of maturity.”
Udofia’s had “point guard” in front of his name before, but when he was at Miller Grove High School that really meant simply that the ball was in his hands the most. It did not mean he was a pass-first player. The guy averaged 20.1 points per game as a senior.
So Gregory, who played the position back in his day, has dropped some extra knowledge on Udofia, and he’s seeing progress.
The same goes for, “Moo.”
“Coach tells me things to look for. It helps,” Udofia said. “I felt like I was a point guard [in high school], too, but I had to score more for that team. The situation for the point guard is to get the job done. Sometimes, you have to score, or make the right play and get somebody else involved.”
The Tech staff has worked with Udofia on keeping his head up. Sometimes, when he drives to the basket he is so intent on getting to the goal he doesn’t see a teammate slipping loose for a higher percentage shot, and he’ll take one into the teeth of the defense rather than pass.
But that kind of thing is happening less frequently.
“I thought almost all of [Udofia’s attempts] were high-quality shots,” Gregory said. “We are creating some better looks.”
Udofia hasn’t given up on his shot, and neither has Gregory. They’re both confident that by the time the Jackets play at Wake Forest Wednesday, he’ll rediscover it for good.
Meanwhile, he keep searching for a comfort zone.
“You have a lot going on in your mind; you’ve got to look and try to find different things, who’s on, who’s off, mismatches,” he said. “I don’t feel like a point guard is just a passer; he’s a leader on the court, a coach on the court.”