Dan weighs in on Zam
As has become common knowledge, Zam “Buck” Frederick has decided to transfer from Georgia Tech and conclude his basketball career someplace else. I’m personally pretty conflicted about this. On one hand nobody on this year’s team made me throw things quite like Zam did during games. Poor decisions with the ball, poor shot selection at times, and obvious conditioning issues. On the other hand he played hard every game, maybe not smart, but hard and he was willing to give it a shot playing out of position. Although by the end of the season we had to move him back to his SG spot for the most part. I give him credit for trying to prove that he deserved that starting spot for this year and even next. He failed, but you can’t succeed if you aren’t willing to risk failure. With all of that in mind, I would like to bid him a hearty good luck. This is really the best thing for him and team in the long run.
So let’s look at some of the concerns floating around out there. with your average Tech fan all this really means is furthered opportunities for worry in
- Dickey is Zam’s BFF and will leave with him – Really pretty silly, but then again so are most Tech fans. For one thing he didn’t look to transfer last year when we went through this with Zam then. Secondly, he’s a guaranteed starter and probably will be on several pundits’ pre-season ACC players to watch lists. Third, they aren’t married and the advent of the cell phone and the Internet make staying friends not that difficult. Considering Dickey is apparently one of our smartest students I just don’t think he’d be this dumb.
- Who’s going to be our backup PG . . . WHO!?!?!?!? – The guy that finished the season as the starting PG actually. Folks seem to be forgetting that for most of the last run of the season Mario started at PG with Zam coming first at SG and then rotating over to PG for brief minutes. Is Mario West an ACC caliber starting PG? Of course he isn’t, but next year nobody is going to ask him to be. He can rotate between the 1 and the 2 to spell guys and give us a spark of energy as well as a solid defensive stopper in the backcourt when dealing with some of the nasty talent floating around in the ACC. At best Zam was going to be the 3rd option at the 1 and the 2 with Paco possibly stealing his thunder, as he’s longer and less of a defensive liability than Zam.
- But, but, but what if Critty or Mario gets hurt? – What if Thad gets hurt? What if Dickey gets hurt? What if we decide to make Chan Gailey the basketball coach a well? What if there’s a plague of locusts contained solely within the Thrillerdome and we have to play every game over Peter’s Parking deck. You have to plan for the things you expect to happen and that’s it. The truth is that we’re stacked at the 2 which is Zam’s natural position and I think De’Andre Bell, Paco, and Mario were better PG’s than Zam for the few minutes we’re spelling Crittendon. As somebody on the Hive pointed out, even Thad’s got a better handle. We can have him bring the ball up the court like Bosh did at times. We’re okay on depth at the PG barring a season ending injury and well you can’t prep for those.
In terms of the positives for Tech in the long term there are many, but let’s hit some of the bright spots.
- This freed up the scholarship for Faye (big guy goes about 8’ 455 lbs from what I heard) next year and Lance Storrs the year after that. Everybody was wondering where this scholarship was going to come from within the Lance Storrs class and now we know. Of course if Thad stays another year we still have a problem, but that’s a bridge that I would happily cross if we came to it.
- Hewitt’s hotel is a little easier to manage. I love Paul Hewitt as a coach, recruiter, and human being. All of that said, he has an almost pathological need to get his older scholarship players some minutes. One less cooperative cog in the machine makes next year’s rotations much easier to set.
- An obviously unhappy player is off of the team. I said a lot of good things about Zam and I personally don’t have a problem with him, but unhappiness can be infectious in a locker room. With the way our backcourt got thrown under the bus last year it was a tough year for Zam and that makes it a tough year for the team. You really only can go two ways with the unhappy player, a) you end up hating his guts which distracts you in game and effects team chemistry or b) you worry about trying to make him happy which distracts you in game and effect team chemistry. If the unhappy guy can’t get happy, then it’s best for everyone that he finds a place where he can be.
So there we are, it’s a tough situation to be in emotionally, but logically and logistically it’s the best thing for the program in the long run and by far the best thing for Zam in the long run. Especially once you considering that we’ve got another top notch PG coming in ’07 in the form of Tyrel Reed, Maurice Miller or Chris Wright. It’s looking like a good time to be a GT basketball even in light of this last season.