Brian Gregory’s third year at the helm of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets should continue the progress made in the 2012-2013 season by a young team. The Jackets rode a talented freshman class to a 16-15 (6-12) season and will look to parlay that valuable experience into a postseason experience. Tech lost two starting guards to graduation, but their additions should more than make up for the attrition. With plenty of size and good guard play, Georgia Tech could be looking at postseason play for the first time since 2009-2010.
Georgia Tech should be able to recover from the losses of Mfon Udofia and Brandon Reed with their new additions and growth from their returning guards. If senior transfer Trae Golden is ruled immediately eligible (Georgia Tech is still waiting for the NCAA's decision) after coming over from Tennessee, then the Yellow Jackets will likely be set at point guard. Golden was a two year starter in Knoxville and averaged 12.1 points and 3.9 assists during his junior season. If Golden is not granted eligibility, then the point guard position will likely be manned by a committee of young players. Sophomore Solomon Poole was highly touted out of high school and joined the team midway through the season after graduating high school early. He saw limited minutes in 21 games, but should see an increase this year. Redshirt freshman Corey Heyward and incoming frosh Travis Jorgensen will see minor minutes at the guard spots if Golden is able to play.
The two wing positions are much more settled for Gregory and staff. Sophomore Marcus Georges-Hunt began to star as a freshman and will likely be the focal point of the offense from the start. Georges-Hunt averaged 10.8 points in just under 30 minutes per game. He is also an exceptional rebounder for his position due to his strong frame, with 4.9 per game. At shooting guard, Chris Bolden has the position locked down despite a three game suspension to start the season. As a freshman, Bolden went for 7.3 points per game, but needs to improve his free throw and perimeter shooting percentages. Upperclassmen Stacey Poole and Jason Morris provide depth on the wings.
Tech has talent, but is lacking depth in the post. Sophomore power forward Robert Carter could be the star of frontcourt. In 26 minutes per game as a freshman, Carter averaged 9.9 points and 6.7 rebounds. His increasing shooting range will make him a mismatch for other forwards in the ACC. Seven-footer Daniel Miller has become a solid center over the last three years. In addition to his 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, Miller averaged over 2 assists, good for second on the team in 2012-2013. Senior Kammeon Holsey is a valuable asset off the bench. Holsey managed 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds as a junior despite not starting a game. These three will form one of the better frontcourt rotations in the conference. Freshman forward Quinton Stephens is underweight for post play in the ACC, but may see some minutes out of necessity.
The non-conference schedule for Georgia Tech is rather uneventful. Road trips to Georgia, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt as well as home dates with Dayton and Illinois highlight the early season. In conference play, the Jackets will see Boston College, Clemson, Duke, and Notre Dame twice.
As stated earlier, Georgia Tech will likely improve on their winning record last season. They are likely still an NIT team, at best, but could hit the 20 win mark. Bolden, Carter, and Georges-Hunt will all take steps towards becoming all-conference players and average double digit points. Tech will upset a team or two (Duke, Notre Dame, UNC, and Virginia all travel to Atlanta) and have a few disappointing games, but will improve overall. Brian Gregory will look to build towards an NCAA Tournament run next season and aim for 8 or 9 conference wins this year.
As tempting as it was to put Robert Carter, Marcus Georges-Hunt’s rebounding for his position was just too much to leave off. With slightly improved shooting numbers, the sophomore could surpass the 13 point mark per game. That, combined with roughly 5 rebounds and 2 assists, would make for a solid fantasy season.