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Mailbag 1/18

Are you more excited about the current state of the football team or the MBB team?

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl - UCF v Georgia Tech Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The mailbag is brought to you by Section 103, home of the most unique and comfortable Georgia Tech apparel. Get 10 percent off your next order with coupon code FTRS to order items such as the Miles Kelly Jersey T-Shirt for MBB season.


BillOBrienEnthusiast: Looking at the schedule, I don’t think men’s basketball can make the tourney(Let’s make the tourney!). What are your goals for the rest of the men’s basketball season? Miles: >33% on 3 and >75% on FT. Ndongo: >10 Rb/Gm, No Fouling Out. Nait: >6 Asts/Gm. Deebo: >10 pts/gm. Gpare: <2 3PA/gm. Kowacie: >6 clean 3PA/gm. Sturdivant: 0 TOs/rest of year.

Rob: I think making the tournament is not yet a lost cause, but I agree with you that it is highly unlikely. Which is completely fine, since that was not my expectation coming into the season. Maybe we could squeak out an NIT berth which would certainly still be an extremely successful season in my books. I cannot say I really disagree with any of your individual goals you laid out. They seem to focus on the areas that are most critical for the team’s performance. There has yet to be a game where Miles, Ndongo, Nait, Deebo, and Kowacie have all reached those targets and in fact, there has only been one game where 3 of them have reached them which was the Clemson game. The next best games were Penn State, Hawaii, and Boston College where 2 of the 5 hit their metrics. If we can consistently get 3, 4 or all 5 of those guys to reach those targets, this team could really start to excel.

Asa: I would probably agree that the tourney is not a realistic goal for this season, but that certainly does not mean that this team is a lost cause. I think the main thing we should look for is improvement from our two freshmen, Ndongo and George. Firstly, I would love to see Ndongo be given more opportunities to operate facing the basket. He has shown an ability to create with the ball in his hands and if he can begin refining that face-up game early it could rapidly accelerate his development. For George, I would love to see any sign of life on defense. He has been a revelation offensively, but he’s currently the weakest link on an already shaky defense. This is the kind of thing that rarely improves in-season, so I’m just looking for any marginal step forward. Outside of those two, I’d hope for Kelly to improve his efficiency. The issue is that he does not score well with the ball in his hands, and that’s what we keep asking him to do. Hopefully, George’s emergence will allow Kelly to operate mostly off-ball where he has been much more successful during his time at Tech.

tyler_pifer92: The fact that Naithan George and Baye Ndongo are only freshmen is so exciting. Throw in two top 100 recruits in Mustaf and Sutton and we have arguably the most exciting young core we’ve had in a long, long time.

Would you say you’re more excited about the football or basketball team?

Ben: This is probably just because I’m more of a football guy than basketball, but I’m very excited about the direction that Brent Key has the football team going. I really like the Santucci and Jess Simpson hires, and I think (depending on how they do this offseason and who they add) Tech could make some noise next year.

Jack: What the last couple years of college basketball have taught me is that experience and seniority matters a ton. We are about to get out of the era of 6th/7th/8th year seniors using covid eligibility, but Tech is still another season away from actually being a real threat in the ACC. My barometer for if the Damon Stoudamire experiment worked is the 2025-2026 season. Football is much closer to a high level of success. The 2024 schedule is rough, but the talent is there and has proven itself. If the new coaching staff on defense is any better than what we had this year, that’s more games we can be competitive in, which is only a good thing knowing we have Haynes & Haynes & Singleton at the ready. So, to answer your question, I’m going football. But, in terms of which team is actually going to compete for a national title, look to our golf team led by future Presidents Cup International Team member Christo Lamprecht.

Logan: I think this is an unfair question in some ways because GT football got to end on a high note while we are still unsure of where the basketball season will be at the end of the season, so that may impact how excited people are for which sport. My thought would be that I am more confident in the progress I am seeing in the basketball program. Despite some tough losses as of late, the team has shown that they have the talent and cohesion to compete against high level opponents. That combined with the young talent and impressive recruiting makes me think that Stoudamire has a strong foundation to build on. I’m not sure where the season will end, but I am not particularly worried about how things are developing with basketball.

While I love what Brent Key has done, football just has more questions right now. Despite the talent we have on offense the defensive side of the ball is what lost us most of our games. While I like the hires we have made on defense until I see results on the field I’m still going to be worried about things. Another thing that concerns me is that a lot is riding on Haynes King next year. While King is still probably one of the best QBs in GT history; if something happens to him health wise, or if he regresses in terms of the number of turnovers it leaves a lot of questions regarding how our offense will perform. While I am certainly more excited for football given how the season ended, I am also very nervous about what will happen going into next year.

Rob: Brutal question here because I’m extremely excited about both teams (who wouldn’t be). I have always been more of a basketball guy than a football guy so I’ll use that as my tiebreaker, but I think there is no question that both programs appear to have bright futures ahead of them. Another thing that could break the tie here is that I think it is much easier to reach the pinnacle of the sport in college basketball than it is in college football. As fun as the last football season was and as much progress as we saw from the previous era, I think we would be foolish to claim we are anywhere close to the Alabama’s, Michigan’s, and georgia’s that sit at the top of the college football world. However, when it comes to basketball, there seems to be much more parity. We see this year in and year out when it comes to March Madness. Smaller schools upsetting larger schools. Lower seeds making the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, or even the Final Four. For football, it seems that bowl games are becoming more and more irrelevant outside of the college football playoff, while the same will never be said about March Madness. Not to mention that one elite player can make such a bigger difference than he can in football. Because of this, in just one or two seasons, a basketball team can go from irrelevant to prominence which is much harder to do in football.

DressHerInWhiteAndGold: “Among Power Five Conference schools, UCLA had the next lowest GSR after Georgia at 64. Shipley said Georgia focuses on how it compares to other SEC schools and state rival Georgia Tech, which had an 88.” AJC 1/17/24

Are you more surprised that they are this low, or that they benchmark us?

Ben: I would be curious to know how seriously they benchmark Tech. It’s one thing to say it, but how much accountability is there to get that number up to even compete with Tech.

Logan: Honestly, I am a little surprised they are that low in GSR. I’m not super clear on how GSR is measured, so maybe players leaving early for the draft or transferring affects those numbers. Considering the majors available to players at that school I would feel like their graduation rate would at least be in the below average category instead of being bottom of the barrel. As a University it feels like getting students to graduate should be a priority, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for uga based on the numbers. As far as us being a benchmark for them... I’ll agree with Ben, it sounds like something uga is just saying to have it out there but that they don’t really take seriously. How seriously can they be taking us as benchmark when they are more than 20% lower than us on the totem pole.

TkTheGoat: May have asked this before, but when was the last time BDS was packed with all Tech fans. Even the top of North endzone seats?

Ben: I don’t have an exact date for you, but I’m pretty sure that even in 2014, Tech had trouble packing BDS, so my guess would be early CPJ-era.

Logan: Define packed... I’ve seen the lower levels be packed before, but I’ve never seen people pack in on the nose bleeds up top. I don’t have an exact date, but I remember in my early years of school from the 2008 to 2010 that people used to show up in droves, but I’m not sure if the stadium was ever filled to capacity.