Countdown to Tipoff: 11 Days
Rob - For me, Moses Wright is going to be the biggest X-factor for this team. Wright really came into his own down the stretch last season, playing significant minutes and scoring 78 points over the final five games of the year. If Wright can build upon that production this season, he has a chance to be an important contributor for the Jackets. On the flip side, if Wright doesn’t perform, and with not much depth in the front court, Tech could be forced into playing a lot of smaller lineups this season.
Reed - Maybe I’m overreacting to what I saw last Saturday in the exhibition but I am going with Bubba Parham. The impact he made in the limited minutes he played was astounding. He gives the Jackets a totally new dimension with his quickness and unlimited range, something they haven’t had in a while. We’ve talked about how this team needs to improve offensively and if he can shoot from deep like he looks capable of it’s a huge boon for this team and really opens up things for everyone else as they should have more space to operate. I think he can be a legit Sixth man of the year candidate in the ACC.
Patrick - Although he will miss the first handful of games due to transfer rules, I think Jordan Usher is the x-factor for this team. Usher should make an instant impact, contributing in almost every aspect of the game and bringing high energy/effort. Usher’s biggest strength is on the drive, where he smooth finisher. In addition, he has excellent vision to find a cutting Banks for an easy dunk or locate Parham/Devoe for three.
Rob - Once again, I’m going with Moses Wright. I think that he is in fact going to be able to continue playing at the same level where he left off last season. When Wright arrived in Atlanta, he was an incredible athlete, but very raw as a basketball player. Something clicked at some point for Moses midway last season, and he looked like a completely different player. Fouls and turnovers were down and scoring and rebounding were up. If that same level of play carries over to this season, he should have the opportunity to play significant minutes with the graduation of AD Gueye. And based on the tweet below, we might have to increase our expectations even more.
#MetricMonday@mant12_ has been putting in the work and the results are undeniable.#BuiltDifferent /// #TogetherWeSwarm pic.twitter.com/LKdKcdDuDY— Georgia Tech Basketball (@GTMBB) September 16, 2019
Reed - Moses Wright is the obvious choice he based on how he finished last season and the increased minutes he should receive. We know he is a great athlete but we saw him start to finally figure things out in those last few games last year. He is a prime candidate to pick up where he left and put together a big season.
Patrick - Agree with Reed here. Wright played lights-out down the stretch last season, putting up an average of 16 points and 6 rebounds on 62% shooting in the last 5 games. According to GTMBB twitter, Moses gained 30 pounds this offseason, while improving his lateral speed, vertical leap, and second jump each by over 3.5%. All signs are pointing to a breakout year for Wright.
Most Important Player
Rob - Jordan Usher is the most important player for Georgia Tech, in large part for me because I think he will be the best player for the Jackets. Unfortunately, Usher will be unable to play for the first six games due to transfer rules, but he will be an instant impact player once he’s on the court. Usher has the ability to attack the basket unlike anyone the Jackets had on their roster a season ago. This uncanny ability will not only provide critical scoring, but will also breakdown the defense to allow players like Bubba Parham, Mike Devoe, and Jose Alvarado get open shots. Usher plays with high energy and will be a menace for opposing teams on both ends of the floor.
Reed - Given how important guard play and especially point guard play are in college basketball I am almost tempted to pick heart and soul, Jose Alvarado. But the truth is the Jackets should have solid depth in the backcourt. The wing is where they lack proven, solid options, hence Jordan Usher being the pick here. Usher will need to come in and immediately contribute in all facets of the game.
Patrick - I think it’s James Banks. Banks will be a major contributor on both ends of the floor and will probably play as many minutes as physically possible due to the Georgia Tech’s lack of front court depth. James should be a double-double machine on offense, while anchoring the defense as one of the best interior defenders/shot blockers in the ACC.
Rob - In my opinion, the amount of weapons on this Georgia Tech team is one of the things that will make them successful this season. An argument could be made here for Bubba Parham, Jose Alvarado, Jordan Usher, or even James Banks. However, for my prediction of who will lead the team in scoring, I am going to go with Mike Devoe. A season ago, Devoe came to Atlanta as the highest rated recruit since Robert Carter back in 2012. The highly touted four star freshman ended up third on the team in scoring and improved as the season went on. He bumped his scoring by around two points per game from the first half of the season to the second, thanks to an increase in confidence, as his field goal attempts jumped by 40% over the second half of the year. With an offseason of development, I think that increased confidence translates into improved scoring.
Reed - It’s either Alvarado or Devoe and I will go with Devoe. I expect a lot more to be put on his plate this year by Coach Pastner now that he is a sophomore. Look for him to be more aggressive than he was last year from the beginning of the year especially from beyond the arc. I also think Parham will take some of Alvarado’s minutes as it will be hard to play them both together given their size.
Patrick - I’m a little torn on this one. I don’t think that there will be anyone that is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of scoring average. I see the scoring attack as very balanced with Parham or Devoe slightly leading the way. I will go with Bubba Parham due to being more of a pure scorer. It will be hard for Pastner to keep Bubba off the floor with how deadly his 3-point shot is.
Rob - This one is pretty easy. James Banks led the Jackets in rebounding by a significant margin a season ago and there’s no reason to expect this to change. At 6’10”, Banks will command the paint for the Jackets this season, as long as he can stay on the court. He also led the team in fouls a season ago, which will be something to keep an eye on this year.
Reed - Last year it was Banks and there is no reason to think that changes in his senior season.
Patrick - This is an easy one. Banks was far and away the best rebounder for the Jackets last season and there’s no indication that that will change. Another offseason to develop under Coach Rev could allow him to improve on his rebounding output of 7.7 in his senior year.