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50 Days to Tipoff: Freshmen Will Have a Chance to Have a Big Role

Josh Okogie had a huge freshman season last year. Will one of the incoming freshmen be able to replicate his performance?

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Countdown to Tipoff: 44 Days

Monday, I talked about how much experience the Jackets have coming back this year. Given that, you may be confused why my next take is how much of an impact the freshmen will have this season. However, the Tech coaching staff has put together a great first class and the players in that class will certainly have their opportunities to contribute. Obviously, Josh Okogie had one of the best freshman seasons in Georgia Tech history, so I don’t expect that to be replicated, but utilizing the freshman properly will allow Okogie and the Jackets to be even more effective this year than last.

The first name to know is Jose Alvarado. Besides being in my opinion, the most talented player in the class, Jose also plays one of the few positions where the Jackets are losing significant minutes, point guard. With the departures of Josh Heath (30.7 mpg) and Corey Heyward (16.8 mpg), there are over 45 minutes per game available at the guard position. With Justin Moore as the only true point guard left on the roster, Alvarado will be forced to play significant minutes. Whether he can deliver is still to be decided, but I have no doubt that he will be able to. At every stop of his career, Jose has been a leader and a winner and he should be able to come in and handle NCAA basketball immediately. He gets his teammates involved and should make every player on the floor better. I expect Alvarado to get significant minutes early on and may end up as a starter before the season is over.

Last year, the Jackets ranked 266th in the country in three-point field goal percentage. Freshman Curtis Haywood will be looking to change that this year. As previously mentioned, there are plenty of minutes to go around at the guard position and while he may not be as college ready as Alvarado is, he possesses a trait that will be sure to get him in games, three-point shooting. Haywood is a sniper from beyond the arc and if he can prove to the coaching staff that he can consistently knock down threes, there’s no doubt they’ll find a way to get him in the lineup.

Haywood isn’t the only good three point shooter Pastner has brought in this year. Despite standing at 6’9”, PF Evan Cole is lethal on threes, among other things. Unfortunately for Cole, despite the loss of Quinton Stephens, there are not as many minutes available in the post with Ben Lammers, AD Gueye, and Sylvester Ogbonda all returning this season. However, his stock exploded last spring and if he is able to continue his meteoric rise, he would fit very well into Ben Lammers role in the offense and may be a good option to give him a quick breather here or there.

The last freshman in the class is Moses Wright. While Moses is loaded with raw talent, he would benefit greatly from a redshirt season, where he could work closely with Coach Reveno and develop his skills in the post. I wouldn’t expect him to make much of an impact on the team this season, but he’s still a name to know for fans looking towards the Jackets future.

What do you think? Will someone make the same impact Okogie made last year?