One day after Jodan Price announced his transfer to Georgia Tech, another grad transfer, Kellen McCormick, announced his intention to join the Yellow Jackets for 2016. Soon after getting a transfer from Eastern Michigan, Pastner made the grueling journey across the state to nab the 6’8” power forward McCormick from Western Michigan. These moves help fill out a roster that was very thin coming into this week. The team still only has 12 scholarship players, so there is one left to give. It seems likely that this scholarships go unfilled unless Pastner can find another grad transfer.
When it comes to McCormick, there is one thing that stands out that could really help Georgia Tech, his three point shooting. McCormick shot a fantastic 45.8% from deep last season. With the departure of Adam Smith, the Yellow Jackets are in desperate need of deep threats to stretch the defense. When he sees the floor, every kick out should be looking to find McCormick’s hands. He does not add much on offense outside of the three point shooting. Almost 80% of his shots were from deep and like many three point specialists, he does not get to the line much. I do not know much about McCormick’s defense, but considering the fact that he is a knock-down three point shooter who barely averaged 15 minutes a game for a below average MAC team, I’m assuming it’s not very good. He rebounds somewhat better than Price, but he is more of a traditional big man so it should be expected he rebound better. Kellen’s dad Tim spent eight seasons in the NBA including one with the Hawks in 1990.
Before this week, Pastner must have been feeling nervous about the front court. The big men probably have the best potential on the team to be a strong rotation, but with only three members, a single injury would have spelled disaster. McCormick will provide some injury insurance as well as an emergency offense option for late in close games. He likely will not start and will hopefully not see much playtime, but that depends on how well Abdoulaye Gueye and Sylvester Ogbonda have developed over the past year. We have not seen Ogbonda play yet, but I have heard that he looks pretty good, and Gueye only has sporadic minutes two years ago to judge him on. Ideally they will have advanced enough to take the lion’s share of the minutes along with Ben Lammers. If not, McCormick will have an opportunity for more time.
This past week has been simultaneously reassuring and scary. The team was perilously thin and would have been seriously hurt by an injury to almost any player. Now the team can withstand an injury to just about any player. But it is quite disconcerting that Tech needs to fill out their rosters with guys who were struggling for play time in the MAC. How are these guys going to fare in the ACC? It seems likely based on the timing that Pastner gave up on signing impact players for this upcoming season and finally extended offers to Price and McCormick just to fill out the roster. It makes this season look like a lost cause while the moves do maintain the six scholarships available after next season to start the rebuild.