Over the next 10 days, we are going to bring you everything you need to know about the upcoming season. From new faces to key players to schedule previews, we’ve got you covered leading up to November 11th, when Georgia Tech tips off against Tennessee Tech.
Marcus Georges-Hunt, Adam Smith, Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, and James White are all gone. In their place is a Tech team with plenty of new faces and just 20% of last season’s scoring. When head coach Josh Pastner took over, he was able to keep the pledges of freshman Josh Okogie and Christian Matthews, who had previously committed to Brian Gregory. Additionally, he picked up a commitment from Justin Moore as well as two graduate transfers, Kellen McCormick and Jodan Price. I’m going to cover what each of those players brings to the team and what we can expect to see their role be next season.
Okogie is a 6’5” do it all type of player, who can play shooting guard or small forward. One phrase that is consistently heard being used to describe Okogie is “ultimate glue guy”. He can rebound, pass, score, and he is an elite defender, always guarding the other team’s best player for his AAU team, which was one of the best in the country. Okogie has an incredibly high basketball IQ and has worked hard over the past year to improve his game, especially his jump shooting. He has a winning mentality and is the type of player that will be a leader and set an example for everyone else on the team, bringing it every game and every practice. Okogie is expected to be in the starting lineup and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him be one of the Jackets most important players by the end of the season.
Matthews is a 6’6” wing that may still be growing given his size 16 shoe he wears. He can light up the scoreboard, averaging 22.4 points per game last season for his high school, National Christian Academy. Matthews has the ability to knock down the three pointer, but can also use his extreme length to get to the basket, making him a tall task for defenders. Matthews will provide a lot of size on the wing and be a player that can put the ball in the basket, something the Jackets have been lacking in recent seasons. With the departure of Georges-Hunt on the wing, Matthews will have a great opportunity to contribute immediately.
Moore was technically the first player to give his pledge to coach Pastner and staff, since Okogie and Matthews merely reaffirmed their commitments. While Moore didn’t have all the big name programs after him, he was one of the top remaining point guards in the country when Pastner took over. Over just a two month period, Pastner was able to build a strong enough relationship with Moore to convince him to head to Atlanta (assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie recruited Moore to Georgia State). As a 6-4 point guard, Moore won’t find himself lining up against many opponents who are bigger than him. That size, combined with his speed should allow him to compete at an NCAA level immediately. While still raw, with four years in a college program, Moore should be able to hone his talent and become a strong ACC caliber player.
Due to the suspension of Josh Heath for the beginning of the season, Moore could be in line for big minutes early, however it is still unclear how the rotation will play out. If Pastner doesn’t feel comfortable moving someone like Tadric Jackson or Josh Okogie to point guard, Moore may end up being the starter. If one of those players does move over, Justin could find himself as the immediate backup.
Three point shooting, three point shooting, and more three point shooting. When the Western Michigan transfer is in the game, he is going to be called upon to stretch the defense and make open shots when he gets them. McCormick is a career 42% 3-point shooter who made 45% last season, including a game where he made NINE threes. Despite his excellent shooting, he played just 15 minutes a game off the bench last season so it will be interesting to see where he fits in to this team. I would assume that Lammers, Gueye, and Ogbonda will get the first crack at the rotation, but McCormick will push them for minutes all season long. You can also bet he will be called upon whenever the team needs a triple.
The final player on our list is Eastern Michigan transfer Jodan Price. While also seen as a 3-point specialist, he doesn’t quite have the numbers that McCormick has from behind the line (29%). Pastner has been very blunt in saying that if Price isn’t making shots, he will spend most of the season on the bench, making it very clear what the key is for Jodan to have an impact. At 6-7, his size makes him very versatile, having the ability to play guard or forward. Price was mainly added to the team for depth, but if the opportunity presents itself, he has the ability to provide some scoring pop of the bench.