Last year, Tech brought in a transfer point guard and wound up leading the team in points and assists. Can lightning strike twice?
Measurables and background:
Josh Heath comes from Tampa Preparatory School, incidentally the same school as new "Iron Five" member Bernard Woodside. Tampa Prep has a long history as a breeding ground for collegiate basketball players. He signed a letter of intent to stay home and play at the University of South Florida, then coached by his father, Stan. He followed in the footsteps of his older brother Jordan Heath also played at USF as a walk-on in 2010 under his father.
When Stan Heath was relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Bulls, Josh sought a new destination to continue his collegiate basketball career. Because of this circumstance, upon finding an opening with Georgia Tech's basketball team, he was granted an immediate waiver to begin playing for Tech immediately.
Of note, Brian Gregory and Stan Heath were assistants together under Tom Izzo for a period of time that including the 2000 Michigan State national championship, which may have swayed Heath toward the program here.
At 6'2" and just 172 lb., he has a smaller frame and as a result may struggle defensively.
The initial plans were for Heath to redshirt last year, but injuries to the point guards at USF pushed him into regular playing time after sitting out the first 15 games. In 20 minutes a game, he averaged 2.6 points and 3.6 assists. His production increased as the season wore on and was able to get into more of a groove with the team. USF was a very bad team last season with a record of 12-20 (3-15 in the new American Athletic Conference), so if Heath couldn't contribute much to that team, it's not a good sign for this year's prospects.
Introducing Josh Heath:
Role on this year's team:
Heath profiles as an old school, pass-first point guard. He finished last year's abbreviated campaign with 62 assists and 27 turnovers, good for a solid 2.3 ratio. Heath seemed hesitant to look for his shot in Saturday's open scrimmage, but still managed to run the offense to the tune of 5 assists and no turnovers. If Travis Jorgenson is good for at least 20 minutes a game, Heath's minutes may be few and far between. Presumably he'll have to fight Corey Heyward for the backup point guard spot, and Coach Gregory, like his predecessor, is known to value defense in his guards.
As I mentioned with Heyward, adding a three point shot could help the team immensely. Still, don't expect too much from him on the offensive end. For now he seems like merely a deep bench option, but it's still a positive to have someone with experience in another program running a different offensive scheme. Point guard depth is always a priority, as last year's calamity behind Trae Golden proved.