When Georgia Tech visited Wake Forest last season, forward Marcus Georges-Hunt took a step in his development. Coach Brian Gregory looked to the then-freshman down the stretch, and Georges-Hunt answered with seven points in the final four minutes as the Yellow Jackets rallied to beat the Demon Deacons 57-56.
Tech returns to Wake Forest on Saturday (noon, Fox Sports South), with Georges-Hunt perhaps making another breakthrough. Georges-Hunt has responded to Gregory’s urging to be more aggressive and scored a combined 30 points in the past two games. Notably, 14 of the points were generated on the free-throw line with back-to-back games of 10 free-throw attempts, setting and matching his career high.
“Coach wants me to be more aggressive, and that’s what I’m doing,” Georges-Hunt said.
On a team that is desperate for scoring, Georges-Hunt can do a little bit of everything. His ballhandling has improved and is above average for a small forward, he has shown the ability to shoot from the perimeter, and his strength and size make him a threat in the paint. Hence, Gregory’s encouragement.
In the past two games, against N.C. State and North Carolina, Georges-Hunt made frequent runs at the basket, often drawing contact to send him to the free-throw line.
“Even though he’s lost weight, he’s gained strength, he’s better with the basketball,” Gregory said. “I think that’s been the big improvement in him this year, just in terms of being able to use that strength and some of that explosiveness when he’s aggressive.”
The next step, Gregory said, is reading the play off the drive to deliver the ball to open teammates, as his driving has sometimes led to low-percentage shots.
Plenty of responsibility has been placed on Georges-Hunt’s back. Particularly with forward Robert Carter out with a torn meniscus, he is trying to pick up his rebounding, and Carter’s absence also has brought Georges-Hunt more defensive attention. He defends high-scoring wing players on a continual basis.
On the topic of Carter, the testing of his knee that was scheduled for earlier this week was delayed until Friday because of the weather-related travel difficulties, Gregory said. The team hopes to learn if Carter has healed enough to place him on a track to get him ready for the end of the season.
On Friday, Gregory also provided news on the latest injury to hit his beleaguered team — forward Jason Morris broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot against North Carolina on Wednesday. He was scheduled to have surgery Monday. Gregory said Morris was holding out hope for a return before the end of the season, his last at Tech.
Because of a stress fracture in his left foot before the season and then a concussion, Morris has played in nine of the team’s 21 games. He also missed several games last season with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
“Just unfortunate, almost beyond description,” Gregory said of Morris. “I’ve just never seen anything like it, a kid with that type of luck.”
With eight scholarship players available, Tech will need as much help as it can get from Georges-Hunt against the Demon Deacons, who are 12-1 this season at Joel Coliseum.