Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview: Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News

Mike DeCourcy

I had a chance to catch up with Mike DeCourcy, National College Basketball writer for Sporting News about the college teams in our region and what to realistically expect from them this year. You will notice that South Carolina is left out of this exchange. That’s because when your leading scorer also plays football for a team that will probably make a New Year’s Day bowl game, its safe to say that it’ll be a tough year for the Gamecocks. There’s your explanation.

On Clemson:

“I think Clemson has a real opportunity here. Beyond the top two teams (Duke and North Carolina) I don’t think there is a great team. Florida State has good components and could be that third team, and then it really thins out from there. Clemson has some veterans in Andre Young, Milton Jennings and Devin Booker. Those guys have been role players in the past. I think Jennings has the potential to be a significant player in the ACC, and we saw some really good play from Andre at the end of last year. So I think they have a chance. The fact that there are no other GREAT teams beyond those top two gives Virginia, Clemson and NC State a chance. If you listen to your coach and build team chemistry you can win those games. That’s the way Clemson has to approach this season.”

On Georgia Tech:

“The talent drain out of the program subsequent to Paul Hewitt leaving has been fairly substantial. And it wasn’t really that great of a base to begin with. Georgia Tech begins at square one with Brian Gregory. I like Brian a lot. He’s a great person. The one thing he was never able to do at Dayton was take full advantage of the power of his brand. They were always good, but being very good to excellent always seemed to be a bounce of the ball away. At Tech, he has a stronger brand now, stronger talent base, so the margin for error is greater. Because if he’s a little off what the potential is at Georgia Tech, that’s still pretty good. It’s up to him if he can translate his recruiting base from the Midwest to the South (he worked at Michigan State and Northwestern before coaching at Dayton). He’s an appealing personality and a very good basketball coach.”

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope,
On Georgia’s star frosh Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:
“Pope is a tremendous talent. He’s probably the best pure basketball talent Georgia has had in the program for at least five years, and possibly longer than that. This is a gifted young man. A Top-15 player coming out of high school, and somebody they can build around.”

On Georgia losing Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins, and also what those players lose as well: “They lost a ton into the abyss of this lockout. If those guys (Leslie and Thompkins) were back, they would be better served to be playing basketball now, to be coached, to be developing. So many guys made the mistake of jumping into that lockout. Especially the guys who knew it was coming, and knew they probably weren’t first round picks. And as much as Georgia is paying a price for them leaving, so are they.”

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