This year’s recruiting class is headlined by 4-star recruit Michael Devoe and most of the attention has been focused on him. You should pay attention to the rest of the class, though. It consists of 6’9” Kristian Sjolund and 6’6” Khalid Moore, a pair of intriguing small forwards. They will be joining sophomore Moses Wright in playing either the 3 or 4 this year. Given Tech’s lack of depth all three should play a factor this year, particularly Moses.
One thing that these three have in common is that they could use some bulking up. Sjolund is listed as 6’8” and 200 pounds on Tech’s roster and looks like he could get pushed around if he ever gets any minutes at the 4. Khalid Moore was listed by recruiting websites as only 175 pounds although Tech’s website has him at 200. Hopefully he has started to get in college shape already. One other thing these guys have in common is rawness. Moses played significant minutes out of necessity, not because he was ready to contribute. Sjolund and Moore both have questions about their ability to play at a college level right away. Sjolund has defensive questions while Moore might struggle on offense at first.
Last season Moses had his chances to make a big impact as a freshman with lots of playtime available. Instead, he struggled with the speed of the college game. This was not a shock to anybody who was familiar with his scouting report. He was a late bloomer who had grown (literally) into a big time recruit his junior and senior year in high school. He didn’t play the highest level of competition in high school so the jump to ACC basketball was especially stark. Hopefully with a year of experience the game slows down for him and he starts to release his enormous potential.
Tech has long had issues on the offensive side of the ball. Sjolund could be one of the solutions to that issue. He is a very creative offensive player who is good at using his height on mismatches. He has a smooth stroke and is a solid shooter which is much needed on this team. But, he has some questions about his defense. That’s a tough sell on playtime for Josh Pastner when the defense has been carrying the team to respectability the last two seasons. Additionally, there’s some questions about his decision making which could be exacerbated in the faster college game. Sjolund could be a contributor this year, but I definitely have my worries.
Khalid has a few connections to Georgia Tech. He played on the same AAU team as Jose Alvarado who started off his Tech career last year. He also is the first Yellow Jacket to come from Archbishop Malloy High School in New York since Kenny Anderson. Hopefully he continues the success of both of those players on the Flats.
Moore is veeeeery athletic and long, clocking in at somewhere between 6’6” and 6’8” depending on who you ask. The combo of athleticism and length helps him excel on the defensive end of the ball and gives him the potential to be a shut down defender who can guard up and down the lineup. That is immensely valuable, particularly in modern basketball that emphasizes the ability to switch and be “positionless”. Unfortunately Moore pairs his defensive ability with a very raw offensive game. His shooting stroke is a little awkward and he needs more seasoning on his decision making.
All three of these players are similar in size and share the reputation of not being ready to contribute. These guys will certainly get some play time and getting a solid player out of this group would seriously help a team lacking proven contributors.