As the start of the college basketball season approaches, Georgia Tech’s senior C Ben Lammers continues to earn spots on preseason award watchlists. This time it’s the Lute Olson National Player of the Year award. Named for former Arizona coach (who gave Josh Pastner his start in coaching), the Lute Olson award is given to the top Division I player who has played at least two seasons. Lammers is one of just 40 players named to the preseason watchlist. Five other ACC players made the watchlist: Louisville’s Deng Adel, Duke’s Grayson Allen, UNC’s Joel Berry III, Miami’s Bruce Bowen Jr, and Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson. Actually winning the award is probably a long shot for Lammers but the two way star is undoubtedly one of the best upperclassmen in the country and it’s great that he is being recognized as such.
Lammers and the rest of the Georgia Tech basketball team continued their preparation for this weekend’s season debut against UCLA in China. Beyond game prep and practice, the Yellow Jackets have been making the most of the travel opportunities and exploring the country. The AJC’s Ken Sugiura has been doing a cool series documenting the team’s travels (the series has been on myAJC, so it may be behind a paywall). On Monday, the team was in Hangzhou, touring the headquarters of Alibaba, the chief sponsor for this weekend’s game. Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, Joe Tsai, is a noted basketball fan (he recently purchased 49% of the Brooklyn Nets) and spent time with both GT and UCLA, giving a presentation and talking individually with the players. Lammers and the rest of Tech’s big men also got some face time with Hall of Famer Bill Walton. The legendary center will be calling the game for ESPN. If you’ve never experienced a Bill Walton call, it’s really...something and I highly recommend tuning in. The man is a national treasure.
Tech will wrap up the ACC slate in a couple of weeks with a 3:30 kickoff in Durham. Like last weekend’s game against UVA, the game will be televised on your Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Atlanta and much - all? - of Georgia).
The Playoff Committee will release a new batch of rankings tonight. Given that the top 4 all won I’m not expecting any changes at the top but I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami vaults up to #6 after their first marquee win of the season.
What do you expect in tonight’s CFP rankings? Any major shifts or more of the same?