Atlanta, GA - Getting its first taste of outside competition, Georgia Tech’s basketball team takes on crosstown foe Clark Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. Friday night in an exhibition game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
The Yellow Jackets have been practicing for three weeks and will get their first chance to test their new motion offense and perimeter-oriented game against another team. Tickets are just $5 and can be purchased at the gate beginning at 6 p.m. Also, the main parking lot at Alexander Memorial Coliseum will be open to all spectators for this game. There will be no permit parking for the exhibition game.
Head coach Paul Hewitt, beginning his 11th season at Tech with the Jackets coming off a 23-win season, an NCAA Tournament win and a near-miss in the ACC Tournament championship game, will have his full roster available after missing two of his post players to illness or injury for several days each.
Hewitt expects to start out with 6-5 junior Iman Shumpert (Oak Park, Ill.) and sophomores Mfon Udofia (6-2, Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Glen Rice, Jr. (6-5, Marietta, Ga.), on the perimeter, sophomore Brian Oliver (6-6, Glassboro, N.J.) at the strong forward spot and red-shirt freshman Kammeon Holsey (6-8, Sparta, Ga.) at center.
“You’ll see a little bit of a different alignment,” said Hewitt. “You’ll probably see Brian Oliver start at the four. That gives us an added dimension offensively. It can stretch the floor out. I think the guys are picking up the new offense very well. It will give us the opportunity to take advantage of our ability to break people down off the dribble and create a lot of inside-out shots, where we kick the ball out to the three-point line.”
Senior Maurice “Moe” Miller (6-2, Memphis, Tenn.) and freshman Jason Morris (6-5, Augusta, Ga.) will get plenty of court time off the bench on the backcourt along with senior Lance Storrs.
Shumpert, a combination point and wing guard who is Tech’s top returning scorer and assist man (10.0 points, 4.0 assists per game), will be asked to maximize his on-court leadership and considerable basketball IQ to guide this edition of the Yellow Jackets. Shumpert, also a superior defender, was one of the top players in the ACC in the steals column (2.1 per game) and also led the team in minutes (30.1 per game).
Oliver, who averaged 7.1 points and made 38 percent of his three-point tries a year ago, will take on a role similar to the one Anthony McHenry held on Tech’s 2004 Final Four team. Rice, Jr., who averaged 5.4 points, shot 46.7 percent from three-point range last year, made an impact at both ends of the floor. They took turns in Tech’s starting lineup last year, starting a total of 16 games. Udofia, a sophomore from Stone Mountain, Ga., started Tech’s first 25 games last year, finishing the year with a 5.9 points-per-game average.
Holsey, who missed all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee prior to the beginning of the fall term, will be getting his first opportunity to play in a Georgia Tech uniform after earning Georgia class A player of the year honors as a senior at Hancock Central High School.
Miller came on to be a steady floor general off the bench for the Jackets at the end of the year, averaging 3.9 points and more than two assists.
Red-shirt freshman Daniel Miller, a 6-11 center from Loganville, Ga., who impressed Hewitt with his work in pre-season conditioning and individual instruction, missed two weeks with a viral infection and returned to practice Tuesday. Hewitt expects him to play Friday night. He has also been pleasantly surprised with the toughness and athleticism of another freshman post player, 6-10 Nate Hicks of Panama City Beach, Fla., who signed with the Jackets during the summer.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how much Daniel Miller can play,” said Hewitt. “He returned to practice yesterday, Tuesday afternoon, and looked good. He looked a lot better than I expected him to be, considering he’s coming off that viral illness and missed about two weeks of practice, so I would anticipate he plays a little bit more. But overall, I just want to see us continue to make progress offensively and to be more consistent defensively.”
Tech opens the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 against Charleston Southern at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.