Aug. 28, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
– While it is generally not a good idea to attach labels, there’s something about Demarco Cox that fits without question: He’s a can’t-miss man.
If you are in the same room with the most recent addition to Georgia Tech’s basketball team, you can’t miss him. At 6-feet-8, 276 pounds with hands like sun shades, Cox is every bit a basketball big man.
Since arriving on campus a few weeks ago following his graduation from Ole Miss, the center-forward has made clear a few things: he likes to fish, and he’s not a “stretch” power forward or a stretch anything.
Cox will not be found flitting around any 3-point line other than those occasions where he crosses on his way from one end of the floor to the other; he would be far more likely to be found in a 3-point stance than firing from afar.
That was obvious when he played pick-up ball with the Yellow Jackets last spring when he first visited The Flats while looking for a school to play out his college basketball eligibility.
After mixing it up a bit with the fellas, he thought, “That’s the type of team that I need to be playing for, a team that throws the ball into the post instead of a run-and-gun team,” Cox recalled. “I’m going to control the paint for the Yellow Jackets, be that big man in the middle.
“I’m going to try to stop all the easy post touches, stop all the easy scores around the basket. I’m pretty good catching the ball with my back to the basket. I like to seal. I can finish pretty strong.”
Head coach Brian Gregory and his staff should know.
Cox played the game of his college career against the Jackets.
When he scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Ole Miss’ 77-67 win over Tech on the day after Thanksgiving last autumn as the teams met in the Barclay’s Classic, the native of Yazoo City, Miss., made an impression.
At the other end of the floor, he helped limit former Tech center Daniel Miller to two points and five rebounds.
That turned out to be the highlight of a career and as playing time dwindled after that and winter began turning to spring, Cox said, “My AAU coach, I told him maybe a month before the season ended to start looking for another school because I had a funny feeling something was going to happen at Ole Miss.”
So, Omhar Carter began calling around to help DeMarco find a change of scenery.
“One Sunday, my AAU coach called and said, `I’ve got Georgia Tech on the phone, and they really want you. What do you think about taking a visit up there?’ I was like, `Mississippi to Atlanta, I’ll take that chance,'” Cox said. “They knew about me from when we played against them in the Barclays Classic.”
Cox, who will turn 24 in November, will remind Tech basketball fans of a certain vintage (middle aged) of former center Yvon Joseph — right down to the broad shoulders, beard and rugged presence.
He’s less tall, a few inches wider and pounds thicker, more brutish and perhaps a bit less graceful on the offensive end.
In 33 games (16 starts) last season for the Rebels, he averaged 4.2 points on 54 percent shooting, and 3.9 rebounds.
This could be a football player.
As a matter of fact, while he played only his senior season for Yazoo City High, he did well enough to earn rankings among the top 100 offensive linemen in the nation. College coaches came calling, including several from SEC schools.
The thought of transferring sports has arisen.
Cox, however, scuttled the notion and is building up.
He graduated from Ole Miss weeks ago, taking a degree in general studies with minors in Legal Studies, Education and Parks and Recreation Management.
At Tech, he is enrolled in graduate school and studying Building Construction with an emphasis on Facility Management.
“I think about [football] sometimes,” Cox said, “but I try not to let it distract me from playing basketball.”
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