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Jim Gober's Georgia Tech Preview!

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30 years ago, when it was rumored that Georgia Tech would be joining the ACC, a few Tech friends and I (being a Duke grad) bought season tickets to watch the Yellow Jackets. We witnessed the rise of the Jackets from the awful Duane Morrison teams to the great Bobby Cremins teams. Admittedly, we are not true basketball experts, but we have seen a lot of Yellow Jackets and ACC basketball teams over the years and know sports.

The consensus view (not mine) is that Georgia Tech will not win any ACC games this season and will be lucky to win 10 games overall. I disagree, but mainly because I know about UVA and Wake. Even so, my preseason pick for GT to be the 10th best ACC team may be 1 or 2 spots too high. The OT exhibition struggle and 3 point win against Clark-Atlanta, which is part of the Atlanta University complex, definitely was not a fluke. Tech is every bit that bad as the season begins, and the potential to improve is limited.

In the season opener, GT won 52-39 against Charleston Southern, a team that has few players over 6-4 in height. Also, CS is nothing like College of Charleston in talent or competitiveness. Had the Yellow Jackets not started the game on a 10-0 run and scored the first 8 points of the 2nd half, they would have lost to a very, very weak and disorganized CS team. 28%, 13%, 53% - These %s are, respectively, FG%, 3s% and FT% for Georgia Tech. The Buccaneers also outrebounded the Jackets 46-34 What offense does Tech run? The answer is none that we could find. Rarely did the Jackets move the ball purposefully to get an open shot.

Tech's point guards, starter Mfon Udofia and sub Moe Miller, had 0 assists to go with 4 turnovers. Iman Shumpert, with 5/1 assists to turnovers ratio replaced them at the PG position late in the game. Udofia and Moe Miller have had poor games and serious trouble protecting the ball in the first 2 games (exhibition included).

The starters included Shumpert, Udofia, Brian Oliver, Glen Rice and Daniel Miller, a 6-11, 260 redshirt freshman. Shumpert is a streak shooter at best, who misses open shots and does not know how to play PG. Rice is a solid ACC player at both ends of the court and is Tech's best player. He is, however, a role player at this point in his development. Oliver would be solid too if he had not been moved from the wing where he buried many 3s last season to the power forward position at all of 6-6.

Daniel Miller has good hands, blocked 7 shots and reminds me a lot of Jordan Williams of Maryland in certain respects. D. Miller is fundamentally sound, sets solid picks, passes well and shows promise as an inside player. The main difference between Jordan W and D Miller, besides talent, is that D Miller runs the court like his shoes are as heavy as cinder blocks. Picture, a slightly more athletic Brad Sheehan (GT player last season) with much greater basketball scoring, passing and shot-blocking skills.

The frontcourt rotation of D Miller, Oliver and 6-8 redshirt freshman Kammeon Holsey is quite unimpressive. Holsey seems lost even if he is fully recovered from his ACL tear from August 2009. Similarly, true freshman super athlete Jason Morris appears to have no idea about team play. Indeed, Coach Paul Hewitt seems to have no clue about how to get this team to play as a team and run an offense. Supposedly, Tech runs a motion offense. In reality, the offense is so inept that the player with the ball as the shot clock is about to expire pretends to be Michael Jordan and goes 1 on 5 against the defense without the benefit of the Jordan Rules the NBA created to help Jordan put on a show.

Essentially, Georgia Tech has a shallow 8 player rotation with Morris, Holsey and M Miller getting minutes off the bench. We expected Tech to run and press, but the bench is too short for that to happen. Tech can press and play with fire and hustle only in spurts because the quality of the bench is very poor. One big difference this season is that the Jackets do not foul nearly as much as in the past. The reason is that the Jackets do not have much of an interior defense.

In sum, Tech really, really sucks1

By the way, Mississippi Valley State was tied at 68-68 with the Georgia Bulldogs, a team picked by many to surprise, with less than a minute in the game. UGA won 72-70. Admittedly, the Dawgs were without Trey Tompkins and did not have Johnny Dawkins to come to the rescue.

Hoopfully yours from Atlanta, Jim Gober

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