Most teams around the country are looking towards next season with full rosters, or maybe they're looking for that final scholarship player. The Yellow Jackets are not most teams. After last season, the Yellow Jackets lost at least 5 scholarship players to graduation, and possibly more depending on the status of Corey Heyward who has graduated and is unlikely to play much next season. However, the freshman class so far consists of only two players: wings Christian Matthews and Josh Okogie. A third player, Romello White, was granted a release from his signed Letter of Intent after the hiring of Coach Pastner. So, with at least 5 spots to fill and only 2 filled at the moment...where is the rest of the team going to come from?
The first way that Georgia Tech can fill out its roster is with the remaining recruits for next season. The vast majority of quality recruits have already committed, but there are still a few left out there. Three-star point guard Justin Moore took his official visit to Tech earlier this week and will be announcing his decision on Friday. Most of the other schools, mainly Colorado State and UCSB, that are in the running for Moore are schools that GT should win recruiting battles with. If Moore chooses not to come to Tech, that would turn a bad situation into a terrible situation. Outside of Moore, the rumors have been quiet regarding any 2016 recruits. It is likely that Moore is the last 2016 freshman target, but there are still some players out there, especially foreign players who could make for a surprise addition.
The second way is to find a transfer. This is looking more likely, although I haven't heard any rumors about any specific player. Plenty of players are still announcing transfers, including high profile players like Malik Newman (formerly of Mississippi State) and Jordan Mathews (formerly of California). While those two are unlikely to head to the Flats, there are plenty of transfers who could add something to this Yellow Jackets team. Jakeenan Gant is a former Missouri big man who is looking to come closer to his home state of Georgia who could be a good fit. He was not a star at Missouri, but he could definitely provide quality depth down low for the Jackets, helping to replace the trio of recently-graduated seniors. Several other players are still out there, but I doubt the Jackets will be able to grab anybody who will make an impact next season.
The final way is to just leave scholarships unused. Pastner was a solid recruiter at Memphis and came into a tough situation after most recruits had already committed. He is likely eyeing a much stronger class of 2017 than he would be able to get at this point this season. If it comes down to giving a scholarship to a borderline ACC player this year, or just waiting it out for a season, I expect the Jackets to just wait. (Keep in mind, Pastner has repeatedly mentioned the plan to "take a step back before taking steps forward".) Another minor benefit to leaving a scholarship open is the possibility of a 2017 recruit graduating in December and joining the team in January, a la Solomon Poole. If a highly-rated recruit wanted to get an early start on college, this could be a big selling point for Pastner. They will almost certainly leave at least one scholarship on the table at this point, but it's conceivable that they leave two or even three open.
No matter what happens before next season, the Yellow Jackets are going to have very low expectations. The biggest issue now is setting the team up for the future. However, with at least three scholarships still in the balance, it is getting late to grab talented players who could help Tech, this year or in the future. If Moore commits then catastrophe will be averted, but the offseason still feels incomplete. Look for news on Friday for Moore and over the course of the next couple weeks as stragglers make their final decisions.