The Jackets lost senior leader Mfon Udofia and Pierre Jordan to graduation, as well as Brandon Reed to transfers. Those three players were major contributors and I was honestly concerned how we were going to replace them on such short notice. However, as you can see below, our choices this season might actually be a step forward from last season.
So the Jackets are only returning Solomon Poole and Chris Bolden when you consider players who actually played in games last season. You can also include red shirt freshman Corey Heyward to the discussion, except he has yet to see a college basketball game due to knee surgery last season. The Jackets have added Travis Jorgenson and Trae Golden to the guard position. This core is very inexperienced, but that doesn't mean they aren't good. They are "fresh". Let's put it that way.
1. Trae Golden- The senior has his waiver accepted and he will be the Jackets starting PG. He still has stuff to learn, but it is great to have an experienced college athlete running the offense this season.
2. See below
1. Corey Heyward*- Corey is coming off of knee surgery but looked great in the exhibition game. Look for him to be a big contributor to the offense.
2. Chris Bolden- Chris had quite a few huge games last season and was one of our three freshmen to really contribute heavily early on. He blew up during two of Tech's hardest games, Duke away (20 points) and Miami away (21 points). Look out for him soon enough.
*Corey will only be starting until Chris Bolden is back and acclimated with the offense. Chris will be our starting SG come ACC Play.
I see this season as more of a committee, as opposed to a second string. I have really struggled with this, but when Chris Bolden comes back these next three guys really can play either the #1 or #2 spot. Each of them saw the court with each other and Trae and the four of them can all bring up the ball. I think that the time will go to the person that will be most successful against specific defenses. I went ahead and included the strengths by each.
1. Solomon Poole- experienced guard who saw significant time last season. Pros- very creative and can shoot from DEEP. Cons- Ball security and knowledge of running the offense
2. Corey Heyward- redshirt freshmen who has learned the offense. Real smart guy with a great court presence. Pros- Finds the open man, physicality, great leader, Cons- ball security at times, still working on his shot, his knee could be issues down the stretch
3. Travis Jorgenson- True freshmen who has really made a name for himself early. Struggled with knee trouble the past few weeks but showed no real signs of issues during the exhibition game. Pros- Smart guy who has learned the offense quickly, unselfish, explosive first step that can get him to the basket easily, Cons- ball security, his knee down the stretch
This backup PG and SG job will go to the two players that can really take care of the ball the best. I see Solomon taking PG reps early in the season, but as Travis and Corey understand the offense more, I see them (Corey before Travis) bringing the ball up and using Solomon's shooting ability as a backup SG. Personally, I see Solomon as a very stressful "risk vs reward" at times. Hopefully he proves me wrong.