Nov. 8, 2012
THE FLATS – Amidst the anticipation of christening its new home arena and a sellout crowd to begin year two under head coach Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech opens its 98th season of basketball Friday night at 7 p.m. by hosting a historic rival, Tulane, at the brand-new McCamish Pavilion.
The game will be televised by the ACC Network within the state of Georgia (WATL-TV in Atlanta) and onlone on ESPN3, and can be heard on the radio over the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network (790 AM, 106.7 FM in Atlanta).
Gregory has welcomed back all five starters and seven letterwinners from a team that went 11-20 a year ago and exhibited a new look of hustle, work ethic and fight. The Yellow Jackets also have added five scholarship newcomers, a recruiting class rated as high as 14th in the nation, adding depth and flexibility to every position on the floor.
Tulane is coming off a 15-16 campaign in Ed Conroy’s second season last year. The Green Wave won their first nine games, the last of which was a 57-52 win over Georgia Tech in New Orleans.
Friday’s game opens a home slate of 17 games and a pre-conference stretch in which the Yellow Jackets will play eight of 12 games at home and leave the city of Atlanta only once.
PAST MEETS PRESENT
Carrying on coach Brian Gregory’s ongoing efforts to reach out to Georgia Tech’s storied past while building for the future, Georgia Tech will welcome back approximately 150 former players, coaches and staff for Friday’s game.
The effort has been led by legendary Tech coach Bobby Cremins, who formed a committee to reach out to former members of the program from every decade possible. They will have a reception before the game and all be recognized at halftime.
Many of Tech’s former stars will be here, including its first All-American, Roger Kaiser, all-time leading scorer Rich Yunkus, the 1985 Thin Gold Line of John Salley, Yvon Joseph and Bruce Dalrymple, and 1993 ACC Championship team stars Drew Barry, Travis Best and James Forrest, and 1996 ACC regular-season champion members Matt Harpring and Michael Maddox.
Tech’s entire starting lineup from the 1990 Final Four and ACC Championship team is expected, including the Lethal Weapon 3 trio of Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott, and post players Malcolm Mackey and Johnny McNeil.
Tech has lost only four season-openers since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1979-80. Two of those were home games, in 1980 vs. Western Carolina and in 2008 vs. UNC-Greensboro. The other two occurred in 1979 at Virginia and in the 1993 Hall of Fame Tip-Off game to Michigan.
The entire starting lineup for Tech’s final five regular-season games of 2011-12 returns intact – 6-2 guard Mfon Udofia, 6-3 1/2 guard Brandon Reed, 6-5 1/2 forward Jason Morris, 6-8 forward Kammeon Holsey and 6-11 1/2 center Daniel Miller – as well as key reserves in 6-8 Julian Royal and 6-0 guard Pierre Jordan.
The seven players that are back represent 92 percent of the Yellow Jackets’ starts, 82 percent of their scoring and 78 percent of their rebounding from 2011-12.
Tech brought in five new players, four freshmen and a transfer, three of whom will make an immediate impact – 6-8 forward Robert Carter, Jr., 6-5 forward Marcus Georges-Hunt and 6-3 guard Chris Bolden.
The other two: 6-4 1/2 guard/forward Stacey Poole, Jr., who transferred from Kentucky last Jannuary, will be eligible to play Dec. 17 following the completion of the fall semester; 6-0 guard Corey Heyward, who attended Hargrave Military Academy last year, tore the ACL in his left knee, had surgery in August and likely will not play this year.
Tech’s 2012-13 roster features 13 of 14 players from the state of Georgia, unprecedented in the history of Yellow Jacket basketball. Stacey Poole, Jr., from Jacksonville, Fla., is Tech’s only player from outside the state.
Tech has been picked to finish ninth in the ACC in pre-season polls of both the conference coaches and the media.