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Georgia Tech Basketball: Five Takeaways from Tech’s First Two Games

Two games is enough to try and draw some conclusions about this Georgia Tech roster.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 11 Elon at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Georgia Tech has now played two games this season, including a big time overtime win on the road against NC State. Two games is a pretty small sample size, but not small enough to not try and draw some conclusions. After watching those two games, there were five takeaways I had, which I discuss further below.

Khalid Moore Is Tech’s Best On-Ball Defender

As a freshman last season, Khalid Moore averaged just 16 minutes per game. Through two games this year, he is averaging almost 34 minutes per game, starting both games for the Jackets. While his scoring has improved, his presence has been felt most on the defensive end of the court. Through two games, he has already racked up six steals. According to Kenpom, Moore has a 7.2% steal percentage. This metric is defined as the percentage of possessions that a player records a steal while he is on the court, and Moore’s 7.2% is good enough for 23rd in the country. In the first game against NC State, Moore was switched into man-to-man defense on NC State guard CJ Bryce after Bryce had scored 8 straight points. There were three minutes left in the game, NC State had the ball, and Tech was down three. In his first possession defending Bryce, Moore stole the ball and was subsequently fouled, leading to two points on the other end of the court, cutting the NC State lead down to one. This particular defensive sequence can be seen in the video below. The Jackets undoubtedly have one of the best defenders in the conference in James Banks, but Khalid Moore is making a case to deserve that recognition as well.

Mike Devoe Looks like He Could Be One of the ACC’s Top Scorers

Before the start of the season, I mentioned Devoe as my pick to lead the Jackets in scoring this year. As a freshman, he flashed the talent, but seemed to lack confidence at times. With an offseason of development, Devoe looks to have found that confidence and he is leading the Jackets in scoring through the first two games of the season. Devoe scored 22 in both games and is doing it in an efficient fashion. He’s shooting 56% from the field including 67% from behind the three-point line and 83% from the charity stripe. He is shooting with more confidence and playing more aggressively, leading the jackets with 12.5 field goal attempts per game, up from the 8 per game he averaged last season.

Asanti Price Can Be an Important Bench Player

Coming into the season, freshman Asanti Price was mostly an afterthought. An under the radar three star recruit, Price was a solid pull for Josh Pastner and his staff, but not a player that I expected to contribute right away. But through two games, Price has already shown that he can be a major contributor this season, averaging 20 minutes per game. In those two games, he has scored 9 points, including a critical go ahead three-pointer in overtime against NC State. However, what may be most surprising is his 5.5 rebounds per game. According to Kenpom, Price leads the team in defensive rebounding percentage. Not so bad for a 6’5” guard. As the season rolls on, Price will continue to see minutes and Josh Pastner already appears to trust him in critical situations.

Bubba Parham May Need Time to Adjust to the Offense

I for one am a little bit shocked by what we have seen from Bubba Parham so far this season. Parham, the highly touted transfer, is expected to be a leading contributor for this Georgia Tech offense. Yet, through two games he has just two field goals and only six points, despite playing 26 minutes per game. Last season at VMI, he scored in bunches, averaging 21 points per game. Watching Bubba play so far this season, he looks a bit lost on the court, he isn’t looking to create his own shot, and he isn’t even looking to shoot when he is open. As a result, his shooting attempts are down over 70% from last year’s season average. The scoring will surely come, but it looks like it may take more time for Parham to get comfortable with his new teammates and new offensive system.

James Banks Looks Even Better Than Last Year

Last season, James Banks did it all for the Jackets. The junior big man led the team in rebounding, was second in scoring, and made the ACC all-defensive team. Is it crazy to say he looks even better this year? Through two games, his scoring is up five points per game thanks to a 20 point outing against NC State. His free throw attempts have doubled, and his conversion rate at the line is up almost 20 percentage points. His offensive post game looks more developed. His rebounding is up by three boards a game. He already has 11 blocks (his 13.7% block percentage ranks 24th in the nation according to Kenpom). Obviously two games is a small sample size, but Banks looks better than last season in nearly ever facet of the game.