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NCAA notebook

Georgia Tech hands reins to Gregory

He leaves post at Dayton to resurrect ACC program

Brian Gregory will try to reconnect with Yellow Jacket greats of the past. Brian Gregory will try to reconnect with Yellow Jacket greats of the past. (John Bazemore/Associated Press)
Associated Press / March 29, 2011

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Georgia Tech picked Dayton coach Brian Gregory yesterday to rebuild its beleaguered basketball program, which fell on hard times after reaching the national championship game in 2004.

Gregory told his Dayton players of the decision at an early-morning meeting, then headed to Atlanta to take over his new job.

“Brian Gregory is not only an outstanding basketball coach, but he is a tireless worker and recruiter who cares deeply about his players,’’ Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “There is no question that he will succeed as basketball coach at Georgia Tech, and he will win by doing things the right way.’’

The Yellow Jackets fired Paul Hewitt shortly after his fourth losing season in six years.

The 44-year-old Gregory said all the tools are in place to restore the Yellow Jackets to national prominence, including a strong recruiting base, membership in a leading basketball league, and a prominent history that he plans to tap into.

“We need to reconnect and re-engage with our former players,’’ he said. “Their blood, sweat and tears made our program what it is today.’’

But Gregory received a rather rude welcome from one of the current players when Iman Shumpert, the team’s leading scorer, tweeted in the middle of Gregory’s introductory news conference that he would test his NBA options.

“Ok . . . I’ve decided to test the waters and put my name in the 2011 NBA Draft,’’ the junior wrote.

He hasn’t hired an agent, meaning he could still return to Georgia Tech for his final year. Shumpert averaged 17.3 points a game this season.

Gregory had coached Dayton for eight seasons, posting a record of 172-94. He guided the Flyers to a pair of NCAA appearances, reaching the second round in 2009 with an upset of West Virginia. Dayton also won the NIT in 2010, beating North Carolina in the championship game.

All-America team announced Seniors dominated the Associated Press All-America team for the first time in five years. Jimmer Fredette of BYU, Nolan Smith of Duke, and JaJuan Johnson of Purdue, all seniors, were joined on the team by junior Kemba Walker of Connecticut and freshman Jared Sullinger of Ohio State. It’s the most seniors since four made the 2006 team.

Fredette led the nation in scoring at 28.5 points per game while shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range.

He received all but one vote from the 65-member national media panel that selects the Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA tournament.

He is BYU’s first All-American since Danny Ainge in 1981.

Smith, who received 61 points, is the fifth Duke player to be an All-American since 2000; two of them — Jason Williams and J.J. Redick — were selected twice.

Marcus Morris of Kansas led the second team and was joined by Derrick Williams of Arizona, Ben Hansbrough of Notre Dame, Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin, and Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State.

Honeycutt opts for NBA UCLA forward Tyler Honeycutt is leaving school to enter the NBA draft, giving up his final two years of eligibility. He plans to sign with an agent, which would preclude him from returning to school. The 6-foot-8-inch, 188-pounder averaged 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Bruins (23-11), who lost to Florida in the third round of the NCAA Tournament . . . Darius Morris, the 6-foot-6-inch sophomore guard who led Michigan with 15 points per game, asked the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee to assess where he would be selected and tell him by April 18, a week before the deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the draft . . . The NCAA Tournament’s television ratings are the highest since 2005. Through the regional finals, this year’s tourney has averaged a 6.0 rating and 13 share. That’s up 11 percent from 2010 . . . Doug McDermott scored 21 points, including 9 straight during a 12-0 run early in the second half, to power Creighton to an 84-76 victory over Oregon in Game 1 of the College Basketball Invitational championship series in Omaha. Game 2 is tomorrow in Eugene, Ore.