Nov. 6, 2008
ATLANTA – Looking to make strides defensively, Georgia Tech’s basketball team will play its only exhibition game against LeMoyne College Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Tickets for the game are $5 and can be purchased at the gates beginning at 6 p.m. Friday. Georgia Tech also has season tickets still available by going to Tech’s official website. Click here to purchase.
Parking for Friday’s exhibition game will be available free-of-charge in the following locations: AMC parking lot, Peters parking deck, O’Keefe East parking lot, Fowler Street – between 8th street and Ferst Drive. Handicap parking will be available on Fowler Street between 10th Street and 8th Street.
The Dolphins, coached by Steve Evans in his ninth season, went 15-14 overall last season and 12-10 in the NCAA Division II Northeast-10 Conference. LeMoyne is visiting Tech for the second time to play an exhibition game, with the Yellow Jackets taking a 103-66 win in 2004.
Tech, coached by Paul Hewitt in his ninth season, is looking to improve upon a 15-17 record from last season. Hewitt welcomes back two starters and nine letterwinners from a team that went 7-9 and tied for seventh place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets have been picked to finish eighth this year.
“Our guys are ready to see somebody different,” said Hewitt. “The first game of the year is always an exciting time, but we’ve got more work to do to get ready. I can think of a laundry list of things we have to do, and we’ll get to them as time goes on. We need better overall consistency defensively – our effort level, our talking on defense. It’s been good at times. To be consistently good defensively, you’ve got to talk.”
Maurice “Moe” Miller, a 6-2 sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., is back at the point guard position after starting 19 games as a freshman and averaging 8.1 points and 3.3 assists per game. He is Tech’s first returning point guard since Jarrett Jack’s junior year of 2004-05.
“It’s big for the team,” said Hewitt, “but it’s also big for a guy like (freshman) Iman Shumpert to play with a guy who has been through a season and can share some experiences with him. The other guys know he’s a gamer, and when game time comes around, he asserts himself.”
Shumpert, a 6-5 McDonald’s All-American from Oak Park, Ill., can play both the point and off-guard positions and is a quality shooter.
Also returning on the perimeter are 6-3 senior Lewis Clinch, a high-scoring guard from Cordele, Ga., who is looking to rebound from a difficult junior year (9.0 points per game, 39.8 percent on field goals), and 6-5 sophomore Lance Storrs, a sharp-shooting guard who played limited minutes last year.
For his part, Clinch has made an effort to become a better leader and has played some point guard in practice to help enhance his game.
“It gives him a chance to improve his ball-handling and understand the offense better,” said Hewitt.
In addition to losing Matt Causey, Anthony Morrow and Jeremis Smith to graduation, Georgia Tech has lost wing man D’Andre Bell for the season due to spinal stenosis, which was diagnosed two weeks ago. The 6-6 senior from Pacific Palisades, Calif., was a force on the defensive end of the floor for Tech last season and averaged 6.6 points per game.
Tech is deep along the front line with 6-8 junior Zachery Peacock, 6-9 sophomore Gani Lawal and 6-9 senior Alade Aminu returning along with 7-0 sophomore Brad Sheehan. Adding depth to the post is 6-9 senior Bassirou Dieng, a graduate student who transferred from St. Francis, Pa.
“This is a team with good inside presence,” said Hewitt. “I think the strength of our team is the depth inside. They run well and score well around the basket.”
Peacock, from Miami, Fla., will be asked to play minutes at small forward to make up for the loss of Bell. Peacock finished out last season with five straight double-figure scoring games and averaged 9.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Lawal, from Norcross, Ga., cracked the starting lineup in December last year, averaged 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and led the team in field goal percentage (57.0 pct.).
Aminu, from Stone Mountain, Ga., began the year in the starting lineup but was inconsistent, finishing the year as Tech’s second-leading rebounder (4.1 per game) while averaging 6.0 points. He shot 54.4 percent from the floor. Sheehan, from Latham, N.Y., played just 12 games last year, but has added weight and strength and is expected to be a factor. Dieng, from Dakar, Senegal, averaged 10.7 points and 6.6 rebounds last year at St. Francis.
> Georgia Tech has added another walk-on to its roster, 6-5 forward Sam Shew of Decatur, Ga. Shew, a sophomore, played basketball at Decatur High School for former Georgia State coach Carter Wilson. He tried out for Tech’s team last fall and did not make the team, and participated in a tryout again this year from which the Yellow Jackets’ coaches took no one. But when senior D’Andre Bell was lost for the season, and freshman walk-on Derek Craig suffered a concussion in practice last week, coaches called Shew back and asked him to join practice.
> The addition of Shew gives Tech five walk-ons in the program. Senior Gary Cage of Atlanta and junior Ty Anderson of Watkinsville, Ga., are in their third seasons, while freshmen Craig and Nick Foreman of Bellaire, Texas joined the team this season.
> With the loss of seniors Matt Causey, Ra’Sean Dickey, Anthony Morrow and Jeremis Smith, as well as the injury to Bell, and with the addition of freshman Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech has nine healthy scholarship players on its roster for 2008-09.
> After playing just 13 home games last season, the fewest in years, Tech has 17 scheduled this year. Also, Tech will not play in a holiday tournament for the first time in three years. Instead, the Jackets are taking a trip to the West Coast the weekend before Christmas to play Southern California and Pepperdine.
> Tech has made five post-season appearances in the last eight years, four in the NCAA (including one Final Four) and one NIT (to the third round). Among the 73 schools in the current six BCS conferences, only 28 have been to the NCAA more than Tech in the last eight years. Nine others have been exactly four times, putting Tech in the upper half of the total group.
> Tech is beginning its 93rd season of men’s basketball. The Yellow Jackets have an all-time record of 1,204-1,054, dating back to Feb. 17, 1906. Tech finished its eighth season under head coach Paul Hewitt (142-112).