Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
Georgia Tech has a top-20 recruiting class and several highly-regarded athletes, but must develop a consistent offense if they hope to win. In other words, little has changed since the Paul Hewitt era.
First year coach Brian Gregory did what he could with the Yellow Jacket squad of 2011-2012. He's a defense-first coach, and his team showed some real workmanlike, Big Ten-type stodginess on that end of the floor, finishing 4th in the conference in scoring defense, FG defense and 3rd in blocked shots per game. They also rebounded well for a team without a great deal of size, finishing 3rd in the conference in rebounding margin at +3.5. Unfortunately for the Jackets, their less-than-sparkling qualities were too much to overcome, resulting in a forgettable 11-19 ( 4-12) season. Those shortcomings were primarily centered around holding on to and/or putting the ball in the basket (two notably useful qualities when it comes to winning basketball games.) They finished at the bottom of the league in Turnover Margin and Assist to Turnover Ratio. Scoring wise, the Rambling Wreck finished at or near the bottom in virtually every offensive category, including a woeful 65 % from the foul line with the fewest attempts ( both league worsts and not a good combo).
Gone from this year's squad is leading scorer Glen Rice, Jr. (after getting kicked off the team) which may end up being addition-by-subtraction, though losing 25% of the scoring and the best shooter from a team that's already offensively challenged has got to hurt, team chemistry be damned. On the plus side, Georgia Tech returns every other significant player from last year. This includes Senior PG Mfon Udofia who, if he can master the art of consistency, will be one of the better point guards in the ACC this year. Also coming back will be Junior Kammeon Holsey, a strong 6'8" low post player, who was one of the most productive forwards in the conference, averaging 10 points and 5 boards in only 24 minutes per game. Georgia Tech will look to Holsey to help compensate for the loss of Rice, but he must avoid the foul trouble that limited his minutes last year. The surprisingly competent and effective Daniel Miller (8ppg, 6rpg, 2bpg) returns for his junior year at the center position, while the backcourt is rounded out by shooters Jason Morris and Brandon Reed, both of whom kicked in over 7 points per game. Jumping into this mix will be a Top 20 recruiting class, which includes (among others) former 4-star recruit and UK transfer Stacey Poole(G/F); 4-star Robert Carter, a 6'8" 245 pound legit post presence and the #9 center in his class ; and 4-star athletic wing Marcus Hunt.
Of the 4 teams comprising the bottom third of the ACC, Georgia Tech probably has the best shot at jumping up and surprising people. An experienced albeit unspectacular core group will get an influx of solid young talent. Clearly consistent offensive production of some kind is a must and exactly where that comes from (Holsey? Udofia? Carter?) is a big question mark, but it's not too difficult to imagine this team pulling off a few upsets in conference in the new Hank McCamish Pavillion in Atlanta.