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1 Day to Tipoff: Staff Predictions!

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With one day until opening night, the From The Rumble Seat staff gives their predictions on the upcoming season.

NCAA Basketball: Miami at Georgia Tech
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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

On the final day of the offseason, the staff takes their best shot at predicting how season one of the Josh Pastner era will go. Make sure to check out the rest of the season preview series at the bottom of the page.

Drew Gordon

Projected Record: 9-22
Scoring Leader: Tadric Jackson
Rebounding Leader: Ben Lammers
Assists Leader: Josh Heath
Surprise Player: Christian Matthews

This is going to be an ugly season for the Yellow Jackets. They lack the talent to do a whole lot better. The things to watch for this year will be development of the young players. Justin Moore, Christian Matthews and Josh Okogie in particular. Pastner had little problem recruiting at Memphis, but he had some issue developing players and creating a cohesive team that was more than the sum of their parts. If they can do that this season, that bodes well for the future. Look for Tadric Jackson to take a huge step forward and Ben Lammers to make some solid improvement. I fully expect these two players to be the stars of this team. Josh Okogie is the real player to watch. If he gets quickly acquainted to college play then this team could surprise people. Otherwise it will be as bad as people expect.

Danny Duncanson

Projected Record: 9-22 (2-16)
Scoring Leader: Quinton Stephens
Rebounding Leader: Ben Lammers
Assists Leader: Justin Moore
Surprise Player: Justin Moore

There's really no way around it. 2016-2017 is going to be a rough one for Yellow Jackets basketball, but we all know that. Honestly, I'm pretty excited to get to watch this team. We're going to lose games to low major schools we probably should beat and have a tough time hanging with ACC schools, but it'd expect it to be more fun to watch than, say, 2011-2012 or 2014-2015. To go a bit more in depth on my predicted leaders: picking Lammers as the leading rebounder is a no-brainer. He's the only true, back to the basket big man and should lead the team on the glass and anchor the defense. Stephens as leading scorer is more what I hope to happen than an actual prediction. I love watching Stephens when he gets in a rhythm, so I'm hoping he finds one quick and stays in it all season. Finally, I think Moore gives this team the highest upside at the point and may be our point guard of the future. Josh Heath will have a role as a steadying presence for the team, but I hope that Coach Josh Pastner's first recruit will take over the starting point guard role by the time we get into ACC play.

Joey Weaver

Projected Record: 7-24 (1-17)
Scoring Leader: Ben Lammers
Rebounding Leader: Ben Lammers
Assists Leader: Josh Heath
Surprise Player: Tadric Jackson

It's going to be an ugly year at McCamish Pavilion, as Georgia Tech goes to battle with a roster that's very limited on talent. The out-of-conference schedule isn't overly tough, with only three teams from power conferences included, but several decent-to-good mid-majors along the way (VCU and Wofford, especially). I see the Jackets going around .500 out-of-conference, before everything bottoms out when conference play starts. The 1-17 projection might be wishful, assuming they can beat Boston College or steal a game from somewhere else. As Josh Pastner has said though, it's going to get worse before it gets better. Brian Gregory really left the new staff with a totally empty cupboard, and it's going to take some time to rebuild the roster to a point where we can expect the team to be competitive against the type of competition it'll face night-in and night-out in the ACC. Until that point, we just have to weather the storm and try to find the positives where we can.

One other thing: I do think Tadric Jackson will be in good position to show off his talent in this new system, and I think that he can flourish within it. He's not a transcendent player enough to carry the team, but he should be a lot better than what we've seen the last two years.

Conner Knapp

Projected Record: 11-20 (2-16)
Scoring Leader: Tadric Jackson
Rebounding Leader: Ben Lammers
Assists Leader: Josh Okogie
Surprise Player: Josh Okogie

Let's just please win 10 games.

MagnaCarterGT

Projected Record: 12-19 (3-15)
Surprise Player: Ben Lammers. Looked like a poor man's Daniel Miller in last year's NIT, so his continued development is at least one thing to look forward to this year. His ability to swat shots and grab rebounds is probably the best on the team, and they're going to need it, badly. Plus he already has a hashtaggable nickname: #Lamminator.

It'd be easy to look at last year's team and think, "hey, Brian Gregory is finally building something!" Problem: name the best player on that team. Now name the best player after him. And the one after him. Those guys? They're all gone. 21 wins and just missing the NCAA tournament was the peak after five years under Gregory, and with that in mind it's easy to see why he was finally shown the door after last season. What's left isn't much: Tech seems to be pushing the idea of Quinton Stephens as the star of this year's team, which..... yeah. This year's team is going to be brutally bad, and we're two years away from really seeing what Josh Pastner is capable of as Tech's coach. In the meantime.... look for positives where you can, 'cause you won't find many in the win column.

Rane Martin

I'm predicting a BIG year. 13-18 overall with a 3-15 record in the ACC. HUGE surprise. Tadric comes into his own this year and starts to become the leader of this team. Unfortunately, The Laminator becomes a thing, and that becomes the only way that people refer to Ben Lammers.

Robert Pensa

Projected Record: 13-18 (3-15)
Scoring Leader: Ben Lammers
Rebounding Leader: Ben Lammers
Assists Leader: Josh Heath
Surprise Player: Josh Okogie

As has been said by everyone else, it is very likely going to be a long season for the Jackets. Getting to just .500 overall would be considered an extremely successful year. On thing that I think Tech fans will be pleased by is the expected increase in pace, after ranking 251st in the country in tempo last year. The result will be a more enjoyable product on the court, even if there are less wins in the end. Ben Lammers, who Pastner says has greatly improved even since he was hired, should continue to develop, and out from the shadow of Charles Mitchell, Nick Jacobs, and James White, he will play with a new mindset, resulting in a double-double average this season. Josh Heath won’t put up flashy numbers, but I think he takes back the point guard position following his suspension and does what he does best, protect the ball and find open teammates. While I picked Josh Okogie to be the biggest surprise, anyone who follows college basketball and recruiting closely will not be surprised if the “ultimate glue guy” is a key contributor this year. As a high schooler, Okogie did whatever his team needed him to do, including locking down the opposing teams best player almost every game. He will be one of the most important players on the team this season.

Even if it is a long year, Jacket fans need to remember that this rebuild is not going to happen overnight. The biggest thing the fans can do right now is continue to support the program and recognize where we are hopefully headed.

Nishant Prasadh

Projected Record: 9-2 (2-16)
Scoring Leader: Tadric Jackson
Rebounding Leader: Ben Lammers (hot take alert)
Assists Leader: Justin Moore
Surprise Player: RAND ROWLAND (but really Sylvester Ogbonda)

There's certainly reason to be excited when your team's top returning scorer averaged 5.0 ppg last season... if you're Kentucky. Sadly, Tech doesn't exactly have a stash of five-star recruits waiting to take over. Maybe Tadric Jackson realizes his star potential now that he's in the starting lineup, maybe Ben Lammers becomes the ACC's best rim protector, and maybe Quinton Stephens finds a consistent stroke and reprises the role Adam Smith held last year. If all of those miraculously happen, Tech might move up to the middle of the pack in a brutally difficult conference. But the unfortunate truth is that the projected nine-win season and 2-16 ACC record might even be optimistic.


2 Days to Tipoff: Best Case/Worst Case

3 Days to Tipoff: Schedule Preview

4 Days to Tipoff: ACC Preview

5 Days to Tipoff: GT Escapes Shorter in Overtime

7 Days to Tipoff: Impact Players

8 Days to Tipoff: Roster and Rotation Preview

9 Days to Tipoff: Head Coach Josh Pastner and Staff

10 Days to Tipoff: Incoming Player Preview