ATLANTA -- A year ago, the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team struggled at times to find a point guard to put on the floor. This year, the Yellow Jackets seem to be enjoying an embarrassment of riches at the position.
The Yellow Jackets used senior Trae Golden, who was really more adept at scoring than distributing, and Corey Heyward, who prefers to do anything other than shoot, last season.
Heyward returns, but has a pair of talented additions in redshirt freshman Travis Jorgenson and sophomore Josh Heath.
Georgia Tech (2-0) looks for its third straight 3-0 start under head coach Brian Gregory on Friday, something it has done only five times since the Final Four season of 2003-04. The opposition is IPFW (Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne), a team it has never played.
Jorgenson is back after playing only four games a year ago before hurting his knee. He played well in the opener against Georgia with two assists in 22 minutes, although he was only 1-for-8 from the field. But Gregory opted to rest Jorgenson in the second game against Alabama A&M to reduce stress on his surgically repaired knee.
The start instead went to Heath, a 6-foot-2 transfer from South Florida, where he played for his father Stan for a season. Heath showed an excellent court presence against Alabama A&M, scoring seven points on 3-of-6 shooting, but adding seven assists without a turnover.
“Josh played great,” Gregory said. “He was in control. We need him to be aggressive and hit some of those open shots. And he made good decisions.”
Gregory told Heath he would be starting when the team went out for the walkthrough. Gregory didn’t expect it to faze Heath, who played 17 games and started four for South Florida before he transferred.
“He’s good at pushing the ball, but (I) think he can be better at that,” Gregory said. “I try to get him to play fast, to help us play faster. He creates scoring opportunities for other people. He’s got a high basketball IQ. He’s a good passer.
“He’s a better shooter than he probably thinks. He’s getting a feel for when it’s time to be assertive shooting-wise and when it’s time to run the stuff and get guys shots. He’s getting better.”
Gregory continued to praise junior Marcus Georges-Hunt, who had eight points and five rebounds in 27 minutes against Alabama A&M. Georges-Hunt had 11 points and four rebounds in the opener against Georgia.
“I thought Marcus was exceptional,” Gregory said. “His stat line (against Alabama A&M) won’t show it, but that’s why you can sometimes throw stats out the window. He had 13 or 14 deflections, he was so active, kept the ball alive, got on the floor a lot. He played as hard as he did Friday night. That’s what you need from your leader.”
IPFW competes in the Summit League. The Mastadons are 2-0, with wins over Manchester and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Guard Isaiah McCray had a career-high 23 points for IPFW in its last game, a 74-71 win over SIU-Edwardsville, and leads the team in scoring (15.5) and rebounding (10.5).
The Mastadons were picked as the preseason favorite in the Summit League based on the return of three starters from last year’s 25-11 team.
Sophomore guard Mo Evans, voted the league’s best sixth man last season, was named preseason all-conference.