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Georgia Tech Basketball: Midseason Grades

An individual assessment on each of the key Jackets half way through the season

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Georgia Tech has only played 12 games to this point, the reality is that their season is probably about half way complete with 11 scheduled games remaining plus any postponed games that are able to be squeezed into the calendar. With that in mind, it’s time to hand out some midseason grades. Keep in mind that these grades are given relative to pre season expectations. Only players averaging at least 10 minutes per game were included.

Jose Alvarado: A+

Per Game Stats: 18.1 points | 3.5 rebounds | 4.3 assists | 2.8 steals | 2.2 turnovers

Shooting Percentages: 54.3 FG% | 44.1 3PT% | 86.7 FT%

We start on a high note with the Jackets unquestioned leader who has also been their best player. Jose has done everything asked of him and more. His numbers have continued the upward trend that has defined his career now in his senior season with his ability as a scorer having taken massive leaps. His shooting percentages dwarf anything he showed in his first three seasons, particularly from deep which was maybe the one area of potential improvement for him entering this season. His defense, which really started to stand out as a junior has now reached an elite level as he ranks 6th in the nation in steals. And beyond everything on the stat line, there’s a competitive spirit that I have rarely seen before in a player. Alvarado certainly has a great chance to earn all-conference honors but for him, more important will be the opportunity to lead his team to the NCAA tournament.

Michael Devoe: C

Per Game Stats: 13.1 points | 4.4 rebounds | 3.1 assists | 3.1 turnovers

Shooting Percentages: 41.8 FG% | 39.7 3PT% | 72.0 FT%

We quickly go from our highest grade to our lowest grade. Full disclosure, I originally mocked these grades up before the Duke game and was thinking I had maybe been too harsh on Devoe. After another disappointing performance, I was confirmed in my assessment, if anything feeling I had been too generous with this grade. It’s been a brutal 13 games for Devoe, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. A lot was expected after the improvement we saw from him in his sophomore season. Instead, it’s been a step back so far with almost every significant stat category going the wrong direction. For Devoe, he got off to a really rough start in the first four games but seemed to find his groove after that and by the Clemson game in which he scored 22 points on 5 three-pointers, it seemed he had turned the corner. That was followed by 7 combined points against UVA and Duke and he appeared to be benched during the second half of the latter game. There’s been numerous games so far where Devoe just seems completely disengaged and he’s too talented for that. What I see is a player who is unsure of his role in this smaller lineup which has relegated him to playing almost entirely off the ball. When he’s not hesitant, his outside shot is still the most reliable on the team but he has to find some confidence in his game going into the second half of the season.

Bubba Parham: B-

Per Game Stats: 8.1 points | 3.4 rebounds | 2.0 assists | 0.5 turnovers

Shooting Percentages: 41.8 FG% | 34.5 3PT% | 70.6 FT%

Bubba is now a full time starter and as such has seen his opportunity and production increase from last season. Overall, I see a more confident player who definitely knows his role in the offense as a guy who can stretch the defense. While his shooting percentages have improved, they’re still not great but I see that almost entirely as a function of his shot selection. When Bubba gets an open look it has a good chance of going in. Unfortunately there are a few too many ill advised shots, especially deep, contested threes. He’s a good shooter but not a great one, and the team would be better served if he didn’t force it quite as much as he does. Something that stands out is Parham’s assist to turnover which is a sterling 4.0. He’s an underrated facilitator and his ability to do so without turning it over has been big on a team that as a whole has done a much better job taking care of the ball this year.

Jordan Usher: B+

Per Game Stats: 11.3 points | 4.9 rebounds | 2.8 assists | 1.4 steals | 1.0 blocks | 2.1 turnovers

Shooting Percentages : 51.0 FG% | 38.1 3PT% | 63.6 FT%

Another guy who has seen all of his numbers take a big jump from last year, Usher has been a much more vital cog this season despite his minutes staying relatively the same. He has the ability to do a little bit of everything and I always felt while watching him last year that the stats didn’t quite do justice to just how well he reads the game. Unfortunately, his shooting percentages really held him back and made him a non factor for opposing defenses as a scorer. This season, his percentages have gone through the roof and now he’s a legitimate scoring threat. He’s always good for one fancy assist per game and I think he’s at his best in transition or when he can attack the basket with the option to score or pass. He’s almost gotten too confident in his offensive game as I’m noticing his shot selection and decision making can get a little erratic at times which is somewhat strange for someone who’s basketball IQ is so high. Overall though, big steps forward this season for Usher.

Moses Wright: A

Per Game Stats: 16.6 points | 7.1 rebounds | 2.4 assists | 1.8 steals | 1.4 blocks | 1.3 turnovers

Shooting Percentages: 51.0 FG% | 41.2 3PT% | 67.9 FT%

Another year, another season of growth for Moses Wright it appears. He’s adjusted extremely well making the move to center with his game seeing huge improvements in previous areas of weakness. Tasked with expanding his range in the off season, he’s become a legitimate 3 pt threat at over 41%. His volume is low but the fact that the defense has to respect his ability all around the court is huge. He’s also seen his steal and block numbers jump up as the team’s only real rim protector. Finally, the biggest area of growth has been his assist to turnover ratio which he’s flipped upside down seeing it go from 0.35 last year to 1.8 so far this year; showing an ability to play make while cutting down on the mistakes that we’ve seen most of his career. Moses has been relied on a ton this year and has really delivered for the most part.

Khalid Moore: B

Per Game Stats: 5.3 points | 3.4 rebounds | 1.0 steals

Shooting Percentages: 39.1 FG% | 29.2 3PT% | 62.5 FT%

At this point in his career, we know what Moore is. A sixth man, whose value lies in his athleticism and defense and goes beyond what you see in the box score. I thought maybe we would see a jump from him this year on the offensive side of the ball but it just seems like that isn’t in the cards. Regardless, he fills a needed role as an elite perimeter defender who coach Pastner elects to use in specific matchups where additional length is required.

Kyle Sturdivant: B+

Per Game Stats: 3.5 points | 1.3 rebounds | 1.2 assists

Shooting Percentages: 41.7 FG% | 27.3 3PT% | 75.0 FT%

I didn’t know what to expect out of Sturdivant coming into this season but at the very least, the USC transfer looks to be a capable player who has carved out a role for the next two seasons. Don’t look too much at the numbers as he’s averaged just over 12 minutes per game. Sturdivant has given the team a spark off the bench on more than a few occasions which is exactly what you want to see from someone in his role. He has a good knack for getting to the basket in order to create for himself and others.

Coaching Staff: B

Look, I don’t want to get too much into the decision made before the season not to hold contact practices. As we have seen already in the four postponed games, if COVID wants to find you, it will. The bottom line is that losing those first two games has given this team very little margin for error if it wants to make the tournament. Pastner’s responsible for that decision and he’s owned it. Moving past that, he’s done a good job as a leader getting this team to get back into a position where that goal is still within reach. This is a veteran group but as the man at the helm, he deserves some props for not letting that derail the season when it could have. Almost every key player has seen major improvements this year under him and his staff’s tutelage, especially offensively, which has been this team’s weak point for years. This grade honestly doesn’t mean a whole lot, it’s what he is able to do in these next 11+ games that will go a long way to defining Pastner’s legacy as a coach.