March 29, 2013
By Matt Winkeljohn
With the opportunity to watch high-level college basketball in recent days, it’s easier to wonder what it will take for Georgia Tech to improve to the level of the NCAA Tournament.
Actually, it’s fairly simple: if the Yellow Jackets can maintain (or improve) their defense (the season-ending game against Boston College notwithstanding), they can make a significant overall improvement by upgrading their offense.
Tech fared quite well in many defensive categories, but lagged dramatically in most offensive metrics.
The Jackets finished last in the ACC in shooting percentage (41.9 %, No. 254 of 345 nationally) and free throw shooting (63.5 %, No. 320 nationally), and 10th in 3-point shooting (31.8 %, No. 234 nationally) and scoring (64.3 ppg, No. 254 nationally).
To put it most simply, the Jackets need to make more shots.
“There’s no question that in terms of pure basketball, we want our offense to take a big jump,” said coach Brian Gregory. “One of the ways to do that is to get some easier baskets. How do you do that? We need more transition baskets.
“That also puts an emphasis on [guards] getting better with the ball, running, always emphasizes rebounding because you have to rebound in order to do that. We also have to become a much better offensive rebounding team. We want it to where other teams play Georgia Tech, their coaches talk about that.”
Gregory asked quite a bit of small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt in his freshman season, and he’ll look for more from the sophomore.
“Marcus needs to become one of the best offensive rebounders from the perimeter not just in the ACC, but in the country,” the coach said. “Those are baskets that turn 60-point games into 70, 72, 73, 74.
“We’ll probably never be a team that scores in the 80s consistently because we don’t give up easy baskets. We make teams work on their possessions so there are fewer possessions. If we can continue on the path on defense, and get to that mark of 70-plus [points on offense], we’re going to have a high success rate.”
Gregory has talked about having dual decision makers in the backcourt, and every player on moving the ball better.
“I think you’re right on the money, the versatility with multiple guards and big guys being able to take care of the basketball and make plays,” he said. “Miami’s point guard was Shane Larkin; no one ever questioned that, but Durand Scott handled the ball almost as much.”
Generally speaking, the Jackets’ offensive energy did not match their approach on defense. The goal will be to be more aggressive in 2013-’14.
“We need to get a little nastier,” Gregory said. “Our guys represent our program extremely well, and I would never want to change that.
“But between the lines, we need to get a little nastier – moreso than on an individual basis, just a collective … I hate the word swagger … but as I always say the best way to build that is to know that you’ve worked harder than anybody.”