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Countdown to Tipoff: Expect the Jackets to Shoot More Threes in 18’-19’

In recent years, the Jackets have been shy from behind the arc, but expect things to change this season.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Countdown to Tipoff: 29 Days

Tech fans would have to go all the way back to the 2010-2011 season to find a year where Georgia Tech ranked inside the top half of the country in three point attempts. That season, they were ranked 68th, attempting nearly 21 long balls per game. Since then, the Jackets have not finished a season ranked higher than 186th in three point attempts. Even in 2015-2016, a team that featured possibly the nation’s top three point specialist in Adam Smith, Tech still came in outside the top 300 in attempts behind the arc. Under Josh Pastner, the Jackets have only gotten more shy from the three point line, finishing almost dead last both seasons (348th and 340th).

Georgia Tech 3 Point Attempts 2011-2018

Season 3PA / game National Rank
Season 3PA / game National Rank
2017-2018 15.3 340
2016-2017 13.8 348
2015-2016 16.6 315
2014-2015 15.8 288
2013-2014 16.7 234
2012-2013 17.5 186
2011-2012 16.4 238
2010-2011 20.7 68

Due to a combination of playing style and talent, the Jackets have preferred to play a slow pace, pound the inside type game for over half a decade now. However, there’s reason to expect things to change this year. And yes, I realize that I’m not saying anything crazy. When you’ve ranked in the bottom 11 in the country two seasons in a row, there’s not much place to go besides up. Let’s take a look though at some of the tangible reasons Tech fans should expect a significant jump this season.

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

Michael Devoe

Yellow Jacket fans should be very excited about incoming freshman Michael Devoe. Devoe is an outstanding floor general that does a little bit of everything, including shooting the three ball. On the AAU circuit in the summer of 2017, Devoe drained 42% of his attempts from behind the arc. Last season, playing for his high school, the prestigious Montverde Academy, Devoe hit five three pointers on his way to 21 points in the Geico high school national title game. After the game, Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle went as far as to say “Mike Devoe became the best 3 point shooter in the country this year.” Jacket fans will be hoping to see that same lights out shooting from day one on the flats.

Return of Curtis Haywood

Curtis Haywood came to the flats with high expectations to be the three point shooting threat that the Jackets desperately needed. However, as a freshman he was plagued by injuries and never really got into a roll on the court. He missed six games due to a shin injury and eleven games due to a stress fracture. In the games he was available, he was limited on how many minutes he could play and the injuries had a clear impact on his performance. Any basketball player knows how important leg’s are to a jump shooter and having multiple leg injuries threw off Haywood’s shot for much of the season. Despite all of that, Haywood still managed to shoot 37% on threes, showing his potential the most in a 5-7 performance against North Texas. After surgery to insert a rod in his leg, Haywood is expected to be fully healthy this year and could be poised for a big sophomore season.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Addition of Shembari Phillips

Most fans might be unfamiliar with the game of Shembari Phillips, who transferred to Tech from Tennessee and had to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules. In two seasons at Tennessee, Phillips shot 37% from behind the arc. While that’s not a number that will blow anyone away, it’s another capable three point shooter that the Jackets will have on the floor this season.

Perimeter Oriented and Guard Heavy System

For the last two seasons, the Jackets had Ben Lammers patrolling the paint night in and night out. This season, Lammers has graduated and the Jackets don’t exactly have a replacement for him. Abdoulaye Gueye, Moses Wright, and Sylvester Ogbonda are expected to fill that role, although none of them are true centers and all have more of a perimeter game, particularly Gueye and Wright. In fact, the Jackets don’t even have anyone listed as a “center” on the roster other than walk on Avi Schafer and transfer James Banks, who has to sit out this season. Due to the personnel that Tech has, the offense will have to transition more from an inside game to an outside game. Additionally, between Mike Devoe, Jose Alvarado, Shembari Phillips, Brandon Alston, and Curtis Haywood, the Jackets are loaded at guard and may roll out numerous guard heavy lineups this season.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Georgia Tech Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Alvarado Shooting Improvement

When Jose Alvarado came to the Flats, he was known as a capable shooter, but not a spectacular one. However, as the season progressed, Alvarado grew more and more confident and saw his three point shooting really take off. In non-conference play, Alvarado was shooting just 32% from behind the line. In conference play, that number went up to 42% before his season was ended due to injury. Alvarado hit four three pointers against Yale (which was played mid conference play), North Carolina, and Florida State. If that shooting improvement carries over to this season, Alvarado can be expected to be a major contributor from behind the arc.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What are your thoughts? Will the Tech offense feature a lot of the long ball?