#54 Georgia Tech Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #54
Conference Rank: #9 ACC
Georgia Tech Logo
Georgia Tech entered the 2016-17 season with little to no expectations in Josh Pastner’s first year as head coach. However, the Yellow Jackets went on to win 21 games and were competitive all season long in the strong ACC. Now this year Georgia Tech returns their top three scorers and will be expected to play even better. The Yellow Jackets had one of the best defenses in the ACC, but their offense didn’t produce at a high level. If the offense improves in Pastner’s second season, an NCAA Tournament bid could be on the horizon.
2016-17 Record: 21-16, 8-10
2016-17 Postseason:
Josh Pastner
Coach Record:
21-16 at Georgia Tech, 188-89 overall
Who’s Out:
The Yellow Jackets get their stars back, but they will lose three key senior contributors from last season. Quinton Stephens and Josh Heath were starters who provided experience and leadership to the Georgia Tech lineup. Stephens started all 37 games, averaging 10.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Stephens did a little bit of everything for the Yellow Jackets, and his intangibles will be hard to replace. Heath started 24 games at point guard, averaging 5.3 points and a team-high 4.4 assists. Corey Heyward wasn’t as productive, but he also started 24 games and averaged 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds. Seldom-used reserves Kellen McCormick, Christian Matthews and Jordan Price are also all now departed. McCormick and Price both graduated, while Matthews elected to transfer.
Who’s In:
Georgia Tech will add an experienced grad transfer and four incoming freshmen to the roster this season. Brandon Alston comes over from Lehigh where he averaged 6.7 points and 2.2 rebounds last year. Alston will help replace some of the experience Georgia Tech lost this offseason. The Yellow Jackets also have three three-star recruits to add depth to the roster. Curtis Haywood is a long 6-4 guard who should only add to Georgia Tech’s defensive success. Jose Alvarado is a pass-first guard who could see some minutes running the point this season. Evan Cole is a 6-9 forward who will likely be groomed to replace Lammers after he graduates. They also added Moses Wright, a 6-8 forward who was unranked out of high school.
Who to Watch:
Georgia Tech returns their top three scorers along with three promising reserve players from last season. Josh Okogie was the team’s leading scorer with 16.1 points per game. Okogie also averaged 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and shot 38.4% from three on his way to All-Freshman Team honors in the ACC. Okogie is a big 6-4 guard who has the talent to be drafted in the NBA. Ben Lammers had a breakout junior season, averaging 14.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. Lammers went from playing 14.8 minutes per game as a sophomore to earning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and making the all-conference second team. Tadric Jackson also had a breakout season as the Yellow Jackets’ sixth man, averaging 12.1 points off the bench. Jackson was the runner-up in the ACC Sixth Man Award, and this season Jackson should see a bigger role within the Georgia Tech offense. Justin Moore, Abdoulaye Gueye and Sylvester Ogbonda are all back after seeing reserve roles a year ago. Moore averaged 4.4 points and 2.4 assists as a freshman, and should replace Heath in the starting lineup at point guard. Ogbonda played just 5.2 minutes per game as a redshirt freshman, but could see an expanded role this year. Gueye had been playing effective minutes until he injured his wrist in February, ending his season.
Final Projection:
Georgia Tech was an overachieving team in 2016-17, but this season they won’t catch anyone by surprise and will have higher expectations entering the year. Coach Josh Pastner will get his top three scorers back, but he also loses several key experienced depth pieces from a year ago. If stars Josh Okogie and Ben Lammers play as well as they did last season, the Yellow Jackets can compete in the loaded ACC. However, if the Yellow Jackets regress to where they were expected to be coming into last year, then they could get left behind in the conference.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Justin Moore, Sophomore, Guard, 4.4 points per game

Tadric Jackson, Senior, Guard, 12.1 points per game
Josh Okogie, Sophomore, Guard, 16.1 points per game
Abdoulaye Gueye, Junior, Forward, 1.2 points per game
Ben Lammers, Senior, Forward, 14.2 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.5 (292th in nation, 14th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 66.8 (51, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (209, 15)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (13, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.6 (343, 15)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.1 (266, 15)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (247, 14)
Rebound Margin: -0.4 (209, 11)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (58, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (212, 13)
Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#146 Jose Alvarado