You have to hand it to Yellow Jacket’s head coach Brian Gregory. Last year he decided rebuilding meant going through some real growing pains, so he threw his young freshmen into the ring and said, “good luck.”
While they ended up finishing just 16-15 on the year, by season’s end, I was left thinking, “hey, this team might not be the suckiest sucks out there.”
After a rough 0-4 start in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets actually finished a not-so-tragic 6-8 in conference. Three of those wins came on the road, one against eventual league champ, Miami. My point…while it may have been subtle, there was improvement. Now let’s see what those kids do for an encore.
Projected 2013-14 Lineup:
PG – Soloman Poole (SO), 6-0/180
SG – Chris Bolden (SO), 6-3/210
SF – Marcus Georges-Hunt (SO), 6-5/220
PF – Robert Carter (SO), 6-8/245
C – Daniel Miller (SR), 6-11/260
To become a truly good team, you don’t need just a superstar, you need a trio and that’s what the Yellow Jackets have. Those three amigos are sophomores Chris Bolden, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter. By season’s end, all three were starting and producing, combining to score over 28 points per game, grabbing 13.7 rebounds and dishing out 3.8 assists.
If there is a potential star, it’s Georges-Hunt. He’s a gifted slasher, always in attack mode. He’s a superb athlete, who will want the ball in his hands during crunch time.
From outside, Bolden didn’t get in until the very end of last season (starting final six), but he proved to be an aggressive score. He’s a sneaky athlete, but his rep is outside shooting. As a freshman, he rushed his shots from time to time, but still managed to throw up a team high 115 threes. Look for him to settle down during season two and get his three-point percentage in the 37-38 percent range.
Robert Carter is the meat and potatoes guy. He’s a space-eater with a great frame, but with a feathery soft touch. He can score with his back to the basket, capable of pushing defenders off his back. Despite not being an elite athlete, he’s a fine defender, who understands getting position. Also, did I mention he can step out in hit a three? Yeah, he can do that too.
Inside, Georgia Tech has a rock with senior Daniel Miller. He’s never going to possess an arsenal of offensive moves, but he can stretch the D with a 12-foot jumper and put back plenty of offensive boards thanks to a long wingspan. However, it’s his defense that will make the difference. He was named to the ACC’s All-Defensive team last year, tied for first in blocks (2.1 per game).
Of course it’s not all sunshine and peaches down in Atlanta. Mfon Udofia is gone, leaving a huge gap at point guard that needs to be filled and let’s just say, the cream-filling options are not that satisfying.
Right now, Solomon Poole is expected to fill that role. Poole had a weird beginning at Tech. He came in late last year (nine games in), seeing about nine minutes per game. On the year, he made just 14 shots, often looking overanxious when on the court, which makes me think he probably should have just redshirted.
Anyhow, Poole is a bit undersized (six foot, 180), but he’s quick with the ball and loves to beat his defender with the dribble. The problem is, he’s a score first point guard. Now there is nothing wrong with a guy trying to make a basket, but this team is a squad that needs a floor leader that can distribute the ball. They need someone who is looking to make his teammates better and I’m just not sure Poole is that guy…yet.
PF – Kammeon Holsey (SR), 6-8/230
SF – Jason Morris (SR), 6-5/225
SG – Stacey Poole Jr (JR), 6-4/190
The Yellow Jackets are not a deep team thanks to the early departures of Julian Royal and Brandon Reed, so don’t be surprised if Gregory gets his rotation down to just seven. Inside, Holsey is money off the bench. A solid athlete with great length, he can play multiple positions and score with both hands. He’s capable of averaging 10 points and five boards off the bench, making him one of the better six-man’s off the bench.
Like Holsey, Jason Morris provides senior leadership off the pine. He is a big guard, who loves to put the ball on the floor. He’s arguable the Jackets most physically gifted player (which says something because there are plenty of athletes on this team). His greatest asset is on the defensive side, as he can guard multiple positions. On the offensive side, he prefers to attack the rim, but sometimes can get himself in trouble, since he tries to avoid contact (42% from the free throw line will do that). He doesn’t take a lot of three-point shots, but he can hit them when he does. In fact, he’s a better outside shooter than inside shooter.
Like his brother, Stacey Poole Jr is an intriguing player. The former Kentucky Wildcat will once again come off the bench, but thanks to a lack of depth, he should see more than seven minutes per game. Like his brother, Poole is a physically-gifted player, who loves to attack the rim. His ball-handling is decent, so he could steal some minutes at the point. His problem is, he has no outside shot, going 0-7 from deep last year.
SF – Quinton Stephens (SF), 6-8/190
PG – Corey Heyward (R-FR), 6-0/200
Stephens is a versatile wing, who can play either the two, three or four spots, so he should have value as a freshman. He’s a work horse, who likes to rebound, block shots and run in transition. His range is about 18-feet. However, he’s way too skinny to handle a ton of minutes, so his time on the floor will be limited.
Redshirt freshman Corey Heyward does not have a skinny problem. It helps that he is the son of famed New Orleans Saints running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward. According to reports, the son plays basketball like his dad played football. He’s a big, physical guard, who simply overpowers defenders. There are some athleticism issues, plus he’s already suffered two ACL injuries. However, I got him as the number two point guard, which just goes to show you how desperate Georgia Tech is at that position.
PG – Travis Jorgenson (FR), 6-0/170
If Heyward can’t backup the point, then the job will fall to Travis Jorgenson. The freshman has amazing ball handling skills and rarely makes a mistake. He’s got a great basketball IQ and excels in transition. He does lack in size and his outside shot isn’t going to impress anyone, but if point guard proves to be a problem, Brian Gregory has proven he has no problem digging deep on his bench to find freshmen solutions.
This article was originally published at http://accbasketball.com. If you are interested in sharing your website's content with SCACCHoops.com, Contact Us.