Georgia Tech has multiple options at point guard

So whatever happened to Point Guard U.?

Remember Georgia Tech’s legacy for dynamic play at point guard, that long tradition of playmakers such as Mark Price, Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury, and Jarrett Jack?

This Tech team seems more like Point Guard Who? The cover of the 2013-14 Yellow Jackets media guide features five standout players in various poses on the steps of McCamish Pavilion, nary a point guard among them.

Tech enters the season with four players in the mix to take over for graduating point guard Mfon Udofia.

Senior Trae Golden is the most experienced and immediately promising contributor, but he is waiting for an NCAA waiver after transferring from Tennessee to be closer to his ill father. Redshirt freshman Corey Heyward is coming off two surgeries for a torn ACL in an 18-month span. He’s playing, but likely won’t have his usual explosiveness for another year.

Sophomore Solomon Poole is the returner with the most experience from last season, but that consisted of only 21 games. He joined the Jackets straight out of high school in December. Poole also went five months after the season without taking a jump shot, healing from a shoulder surgery.

Then there’s freshman Travis Jorgenson, ranked 138th among last season’s high school seniors by, who has only two weeks of practice under his collegiate belt.

So how concerned is Tech coach Brian Gregory about his situation at point guard? So concerned that he plans to play two simultaneously.

“In this league, with the way teams pressure you and deny and extend their defense, if you only have one ball-handling, decision-making guard on the court, you’re in deep trouble,” Gregory said at Wednesday’s ACC basketball media day.

Gregory said he wants his best players on the court at any given time, and he sees two from this group fitting that bill.

Unless one emerges to claim a full-time role, he wants two guards on the court who can share ball-handling and decision-making, as well as scoring.

“That’s one thing we have not had,” Gregory said. “We have not had multiple guards that can get you three, four, five assists in a game. Might get you three, four, five turnovers in a game, but we need assists.”

Gregory wants to play faster, and he needs good ball-handlers to push the ball up court. Senior center Daniel Miller, who will rely on them for touches, is excited about this combination of guards.

“Mfon was asked to play point guard when he really wanted to be a shooting guard,” Miller said. “I thought he did a really good job, especially (because) he was a good team leader. But this year we have guys that are really point guards, and they’re distributors, they pass the ball well. They push the ball up the floor.”

Gregory said Jorgenson has a great feel for running the break. Golden has experience at point guard and shooting guard. Gregory likes Poole’s athletic ability and Heyward’s defensive skills. He’ll happily take all of the above.

Gregory points out that many a dominant point guard has a capable backup, or a shooting guard who can handle the point in his absence: Jack had Will Bynum, Anderson had Brian Oliver. Last year’s All-ACC point guard Shane Larkin of Miami had Durand Scott.

“There’s a perception out there that you need a quarterback like in football,” Gregory said. “Well, it’s not football. Yes, you would like one guy that’s a take-charge guy. Wouldn’t two guys out there be even better? In this day and age where versatility and being able to compete against different styles of play (is key), having guards that can play that position is really important.”