Shumpert Steps Up to the Plate

Junior guard Iman Shumpert enters the upcoming season as one of the leaders on the Georgia Tech basketball team. This is a role that Shumpert doesn't mind embracing. It was expected and he's ready to step up to the plate and do things the right way.

Iman knows how important it is this coming season to make sure they have no holes in their game. "We have to defend hard, rebound hard, do everything hard and be more of a scrappy team this year." Iman feels it will be his job as well as Mo Miller and Lance Storrs to put that in their teammates' heads. "Once it becomes second nature, we'll know what type of team we have."

Like his teammates we've talked to previously, Iman likes the conditioning program they've experienced this summer and early fall. "Scott McDonald has always done a good job getting us in shape and although we played a lot of minutes last year, this year I feel we'll be able to play even more minutes."

The team has yet to begin practice so they're not sure yet of their roles in the offense. Iman is looking for one player to step up this year at the guard position. "Mfon (Udofia) is maturing and watching more film on himself and he's taking big steps forward." Iman is looking at the possibility of all the guards being interchanged and is ready to accept whatever role they give him.

This season's team will have four new players available and Iman likes what he's seen thus far from them. "Jason Morris is a big time transition guy and he has an understanding for moving without the ball and setting screens. Kammeon (Holsey) is working hard and is stronger and Daniel Miller is stronger. Their conditioning is unbelievable so far and I expect them to have a good season."

Aside from working on his conditioning this summer, Iman has been working on taking better shots and working on his pump fakes. "I'm working on my follow-through and not leaning my head back, said Iman. "I saw a lot of problems in my jump shot last year always leaning back and fading away which I have to stop."

With the loss of inside players Derrick Favors, Zach Peacock, and Gani Lawal, Iman will look to up his rebounding numbers. "Coach has put a lot of emphasis on me and Glenn (Rice Jr.) using our athleticism to get a lot of rebounds," said Iman. "Last year it was block out and Gani and Fav went up and got it and this year it will be block and we need you to go up and get it." Look for the entire team to be jumping and fighting for rebounds.

The Jackets will be fielding a team that may be tougher to defend this year without the go-to player that opponents will have a harder time game planning for the Tech offense. We'll play to our strength and right now we don't have anyone that is dominant so our strengths will be being able to break people down and being able to move together keeping the floor open."

As did the Mo Miller and Mfon Udofia, Iman talked a little about Coach Robert McCullum who recently joined the staff. "He's passionate and he definitely believes in this group of guys and it will be a pleasure to play for him."

One of the perks this year for Iman will be having the chance to go back home for the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. "It's going to be a pleasure to go back home but we have to treat it like every other game." Iman is looking forward to that home-cooked meal from his mom. Will he take the team with him? "If they hop on the bus we can go."


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