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Fifth year is a charm for Causey

POSTED: November 13, 2007 5:05 a.m.
When Matt Causey hits the floor for Georgia Tech’s contest tonight against UNC-Greensboro, it’s going to be an all-too-familiar feeling, even though it will be the first game in action for this fifth-year senior with the Yellow Jackets.

Causey sat out last season due to NCAA regulations following a transfer from Division II North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega.

Causey, who hails from Gainesville and played his first two seasons in high school for Seth Vining at East Hall, is playing at his third different school after playing his freshman season at Georgetown and next two seasons as a two-time All-Conference selection with the Saints.

"I’m going to be excited to see him play," his father Dr. David Causey said. "I know this is our final season to see him play."

Playing at Georgia Tech, which is known for some of the nation’s most enthusiastic basketball fans, would cause anxiety for some. But Causey says he’s able to put this season opener into proper perspective.

"I’m definitely going to be excited (for the season opener)," Causey said. "But I have to play the game like I always have."

The only concern for Causey may be his knee, which he dislocated and tore tendons in two weeks ago after colliding with a teammate, Dr. Causey said. His knee has been a lingering health concern, and has led to three surgeries dating back to high school.

"I think it slowed him down a little, but he’s going to be ready to play," Dr. Causey said.

Matt’s approach to playing like he’s always approached the game isn’t a bad idea.

This 6-foot guard has excelled at every level along the way, including the honor of the Georgia High School Gatorade Player of the Year in 2003. He is expected to see considerable playing time for the Yellow Jackets in 2007-08.

He’s already showed his value in an exhibition scrimmage victory with nine assists off the bench last Friday night against Carson-Newman. He feels like he benefited having the opportunity to learn the ropes last season with the likes of former Yellow Jacket standouts Javaris Crittenton, Thaddeus Young and Mario West, who are all now playing in the NBA.

"As long as he stays healthy, I think he’ll do very well," Vining said. "What Matt does is a good job of bringing energy and passion to the floor, and I think that will help with a younger team."

Causey and Crittenton have a relationship that dates back to playing AAU basketball together growing up. Crittenton made it clear to Causey that the opportunity to play at Georgia Tech would be possible, with his intentions to jump to the NBA after one season, according to Dr. Causey.

That move leaves the point guard duties to Causey and freshman Maurice Miller.

"It was tough sit out last season, but practicing with those guys that are in the NBA now really helped," Causey said.

Causey, a graduate of Berkmar High who averaged 22 points per game as a senior, has set his sights this season on doing his part to lead the Yellow Jackets to the ACC title and a trip deep in the NCAA tournament. However, his main motivation to walking on at Georgia Tech was not for simply achieving the athletic glory — he wanted to follow in the family footsteps of his grandfather Jack Causey, who graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in electrical engineering.

The younger Causey is a biology major and considering attending medical school, possibly for dentistry, in the future.

And his bloodline in college sports is rich, to say the least. Dr. Causey played soccer at Emory, and his mother Cindy played basketball at Georgia Baptist.

Causey’s brothers Michael, played at TCU and Harvard, and Mark played at Duke and North Georgia. He shared the floor with Mark at Valhalla as part of the Vikings’ 2001 Class AA state championship team. As a junior, he was averaging 30 points per game at East Hall before transferring to Berkmar in the middle of the season.

"It’s going to be kind of sad because this is our final child to play college basketball," Dr. Causey said.

Causey’s assembled quite a career on the basketball court at every level he’s played. As a sophomore, he was an NAIA-All American and the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year with 24 points and seven assists per game at North Georgia.

"He felt he accomplished everything he could at North Georgia," Dr. Causey said. Causey was a Peach Belt All-Conference Selection his junior season with 23 points and seven assists per game. He also had a stretch where he hit 53 consecutive free throws.

"I loved my time at North Georgia and received a great education there," Causey said. "I just felt like it was time to give playing Division I another shot."



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