Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The key for Brian Gregory: continue to recruit his home turf

Brian Gregory found himself in a bit of a hole when he took over the Georgia Tech program for the fired Paul Hewitt.

The Yellow Jackets haven't had a winning record in ACC play since 2004. They've snuck into three NCAA Tournaments in that span, grabbing one of the last available at-large bids each season. They've had a moderate amount of success as well, winning a game in two of those three trips, but based on the amount of talent Hewitt was able to bring into the program, Georgia Tech was almost always considered a disappointment since they made the 2004 Final Four.

So not only does Gregory walk into a situation where he needs to rebuild a program, he has to do it at a place where underachieving is the norm. Winning is a learned skill, and sometimes changing the attitude surrounding a program -- going from a team that expects to lose to a team that finds a way to win -- is the biggest challenge. Just ask anyone that rooted for the Boston Red Sox prior to 2004.

But he has to start somewhere, and with the amount of talent coming out of Georgia and the Atlanta area, the key for Gregory winning in ACC play was to win early and often on the recruiting.

And he has been. It started earlier this summer when Gregory landed a commitment from Chris Bolden, a talented point guard out of powerhouse Norcross HS. It earlier in August when he earned a pledge from Bolden's AAU teammate Marcus Hunt, a top 100 wing with a number of high-major programs on his tail. Gregory was the first program to offer Hunt once he took over the job. According to Hunt, that meant a lot; the previous staff wasn't chasing him.

Next up for Gregory?

Robert Carter, a top 25 big man and Georgia native.

Landing Carter would be a bit of a coup, as he currently holds offers from Maryland and Florida and is being pursued by Kentucky. Even if Gregory is unable to land Carter, its important to note that he is in the mix. As Memphis and Indiana have done, the key to rebuilding a program in a basketball hotbed is to key homegrown talent at home.

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