#TGW: A Clear and Ever-Present D’anger
Versatile forward D’asia Gregg a threat anywhere on the floor
By Jon Cooper|
The Good Word
“Dum Spiro Spero” reads the motto for the state of South Carolina. It translates to “While I breathe, I hope.”
For South Carolina native D’asia Gregg, a hope is to play and contribute for Georgia Tech women’s basketball come the 2018-19 season.
It doesn’t matter where. Anywhere will do because anywhere Gregg CAN do. That’s her strength and the trait of which she’s most proud.
“I’m versatile,” said the 6-2 forward from Florence, S.C., who was rated No. 88 by All-Star Girls Report, No. 89 by Prospect Nation and No. 99 by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report after leading Wilson High School to the 2018 South Carolina State Finals and the 2017 Class-A Lower State championship. “Being able to play and guard all five positions.”
That kind of versatility piqued the interest of Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph.
“D’asia is a point forward. She has the ability to play all five positions on the court,” Joseph said. “She is quite possibly the most versatile player in this class.”
That’s high praise considering the talent and versatility of the incoming class, which Prospect Nation ranked No. 7 in the nation, a ranking done before the Jackets inked guard Kondalia Montgomery.
Gregg felt just as good about Georgia Tech, choosing to come to Atlanta despite strong overtures from South Carolina and Clemson.
“I just connected with Georgia Tech when I got on campus and went on my official visit and met the team,” she said. “I just felt connected.”
And she felt the same connection with Joseph.
“Coach Jo has so much passion for the game and she’s very engaging, so that’s why I chose here,” Gregg said. “Her practices are intense. The main thing she says to focus on is execution and effort. If we do that, practices go well. All we have to do is bring energy.”
Gregg likes simply showing up and bringing energy. No fuss, no muss. That’s her game — quiet efficiency. It’s a lot like her basketball role model, Oklahoma City Thunder combo guard Paul George.
“He’s a laid-back player and overall, I’m laid back,” she said. “So I try to play like him.”
Gregg showed how, like George, she can take over a game, doing so in last year’s Class 4A lower-state final victory against Lower Richland. With the game in the balance in the second half, she scored 11 of her 14 points in the 49-35 victory. Down a point late in the third quarter, Gregg scored the final six points of a quarter-ending 6-1 run that give the Tigers a five-point lead they’d never relinquish. She scored her six points in a variety of ways — nailing a three, hitting a free throw and converting a floater in the lane.
It was serious crunch-time stuff from someone who didn’t start playing basketball seriously until eighth grade. Even then it took some persuasion from her father, James Rice, head coach of Division II Benedict College, a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).
“I was playing when I was young but I wasn’t really into it like I would be when I got older,” D’asia recalled. “My dad really was the reason why I took it seriously. I used to play with his college players. I didn’t take it seriously. I wasn’t planning to play. Then he said he wished I would take it seriously. We had this whole conversation and that was it. I started taking it seriously.”
Once she became a woman on a mission, Gregg became Wilson’s go-to scorer. She won’t have that pressure right away at Georgia Tech, and that’s something she’s actually okay with.
“I personally like setting up my other teammates and then let myself fall in line,” she said.
Gregg is excited about getting to know the tendencies of her new teammates, a group with which she bonded with nicely over the summer.
“We do a lot of stuff off campus so that has brought us closer as a team,” she said. “The freshmen, we have most classes together so that brings us closer. The upperclassmen have been helping us during practice.”
Gregg, who will look to improve on her game and continue to be good at both ends of the floor, already has made many of the necessary adjustments to be solid at both ends of being a D-I student-athlete.
“It was a tough adjustment between high school and college,” she said. “It’s a lot of waking up early in the morning, which I’m not used to, a lot of running and lifting weights. Usually we have study hall in the morning. Sometimes it will be after practice, it depends. I’ve just started waking up an hour earlier.”