There are things a coach has the ability to fix, and things that fall completely out of the realm of their control…injuries falling under the latter. But Georgia Tech hired Brian Gregory to coach their basketball program back into the ACC elite, and despite positive strides in his first two seasons, the 2013-14 campaign has been a huge backward step.
The Yellow Jackets are in serious jeopardy of not only their third straight losing conference record under Gregory, but also an overall losing record – with games remaining against Notre Dame, FSU, #1 Syracuse and Virginia Tech. If the Jackets can’t salvage at least three of the final four games, they’ll finish below .500 on the season.
As stated earlier, the injuries suffered by the Yellow Jackets this season were well out of Gregory’s control, and the fact that the injuries were all to key players also couldn’t be helped by the coach. But will that be enough to save Gregory and his job on the Flats?
To be fair, the Jackets lost a promising young point guard prospect (Travis Jorgensen), the ACC’s leading rebounder at the time of his injury (Robert Carter, Jr.), another key guard (Jason Morris), and their starting point guard for a number of games (Trae Golden). Add to that the (long overdue) dismissal of Solomon Poole, and the depth of this roster was non-existent.
What’s even scarier to imagine is how this team would have fared had PG Trae Golden not transferred in from Tennessee. Golden has been the team’s leading scorer, and although probably not what Gregory would consider a true point guard, he has been the catalyst for the offense in most cases.
I said early in the season that I still believed in Brian Gregory, and that given the opportunity, he could still lead this program back out of mediocrity and into a place of relevance again in college basketball. The key phrase there – given the opportunity.
The one thing that may save Gregory for now is that Georgia Tech is still paying Paul Hewitt not to coach this team. The program that was left in much of a shambles is still being deshamblized (yeah…I’m G.W. Bush-ing) but in truth things should be further along than they are now.
The Jackets moved up from 11th to 9th in the conference in Gregory’s first two seasons. As things stand right now, they look to finish 13th or possibly worse this year. That’s not the direction to take, injuries or not.
Let’s just say for now that Brian Gregory has probably been put on notice. Fix it….and fix it fast. And that’s presumably pretty fair. In his fourth season, Gregory will officially have nothing but his own recruits on the floor, so any remnants of Paul Hewitt, his coaching (or lack of) will be swept out of McCamish at the end of this season.
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