The ACC has always been one of the toughest basketball conferences in the nation. Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and North Carolina State all top the list of programs that have perennially contended and made noise in the Big Dance every year. Georgia Tech men’s head coach Brian Gregory, now in his third season, has been rebuilding the Yellow Jackets to contend once again.
But is his team ready for this all new version of the ACC?
In what was already a stacked league, the ACC now adds Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh – all big name additions to an already big name conference. The job for Gregory just got a lot tougher.
The Yellow Jackets have lost 12 conference games for two straight seasons, and the baby steps of improvement that have been seen in the program are going to have to morph into some very big strides if this Tech team wants to create a name for itself in the conference.
“From where we were two years ago to where we are now, I think we are much different program and much different team,” Gregory said in an Associated Press interview.
“The question is have we been able to take enough steps in order to be able to compete on a nightly basis with those other teams who have done that over the years.”
That’s the big question, isn’t it? Can this young Jackets team find consistency in scoring and cut down on the mental mistakes and turnovers that have plagued them for the last half dozen seasons, or will the youth and inexperience take their toll against the more seasoned programs in the conference.
When the Yellow Jackets open conference play on Jan 4, they face a brutal gauntlet of foes in a row, including Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, Pitt, Miami, Boston College, NC State and UNC – and that’s just getting them through the month of January. That first month of ACC games will go a long way to seeing how ready this team is to competing in the conference once again.
Gregory wants to see several things from his young team; playing faster and smarter on offense; getting the ball in the paint more often; increasing the assist totals; and having stronger depth at the point guard position.
One thing you won’t see out of this Jackets team – tweets.
Gregory plans on using Twitter to promote the program and communicate with fans, but he doesn’t want his players tweeting during the season at all. Senior forward Kammeon Holsey said at the ACC media conference this year that the coach doesn’t want players stirring the pot using the popular social media platform.
“He doesn’t think very highly of it,” Holsey said. “Actually, I don’t tweet. I’m not a Twitter person, so that’s a good thing.”
The Yellow Jackets open the regular season at McCamish Pavilion on Nov. 8 against Presbyterian College at 7:30 pm.