Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
As expected, year one of Brian Gregory’s rebuilding effort at Georgia Tech encountered several bumps in the road. While the Yellow Jackets return six of their top seven scorers and bring in a solid recruiting class, they still lack the firepower to be a real competitor in the ACC.
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
Last Season: T-9th, 4-12 in ACC, 11-20 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 9th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Daniel Miller (Jr)/Robert Carter (Fr)
F: Kammeon Holsey (Jr)/Julian Royal (So)
G/F: Jason Morris (Jr)/Marcus Hunt (Fr)
SG: Brandon Reed (Jr)/Stacy Poole (So)/Chris Bolden (Fr)
PG: Mfon Udofia (Sr)/Pierre Jordan (Sr)/Corey Hayward (Fr)
Gone: SF-Glen Rice Jr. (dismissed), SG-Nick Foreman, C-Nate Hicks (transfer-Florida Gulf Coast)
Tech struggled to score the basketball last and that won’t come any easier this year to the dismissal of leading scorer Glenn Rice Jr. He was dismissed in the off-season after being suspended on two separate occasions during the regular season. Luckily for the Yellow Jackets, they have a pair of talented freshmen wing players in Marcus Hunt and Chris Bolden along with the addition of Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole. The return of likely starters Brandon Reed and Jason Morris provide Gregory with enough depth to replace what Rice Jr. brought to the court but it will take a group effort to do so.
Back to run the point is Mfon Udofia who will look to turn around what has been a rather underwhelming career as a Yellow Jacket. He has never fully lived up to his build after being rather hyped coming to Tech and is the team’s leading returning scorer despite not even averaging double digit points a year ago. Udofia has struggled with his shooting and never really taken command of the offense as a playmaker/distributor which has led to his disappointing career. Pierre Jordan will retain his role as the back-up point guard since freshman guard Corey Hayward tore his ACL and will likely be sidelined for the entire season.
Starting post players Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey are back to anchor the inside. Both players are serviceable but certainly a step below most ACC-caliber big men. Julian Royal was the top post player off the bench and is also back, but all three guys may lose minutes due to the addition of big man Robert Carter. The 6-8, 250 pounder is beastly inside and knows how to clear out space with his big body but also has decent touch with his mid-range game. He is a big-time recruit who could very easily work his way into the starting line-up.
With only two seniors on the roster, Gregory will hope that Tech can develop and take a step in the right direction with the hopes of being more competitive when the ACC expands in 2013-14. Right now, the Yellow Jackets just don’t possess the firepower to make a serious run for tourney berth.
Player to Watch: Robert Carter
A consensus top-35 recruit in the nation, Carter is a prized get for a team like Tech that lacks any real star power. Ideally, Carter would make a monster impact for the Yellow Jackets a freshman but at the very least, showing the potential to be a future face of the program will be enough to bring some life back to G-Tech.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/22 vs. Rice (Anaheim Classic)
11/23 vs. California/Drake (Anaheim Classic)
11/25 vs. Xavier/Pacific/St. Mary’s/Drexel (Anaheim Classic)
11/28 at Illinois (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/4 vs. Georgia
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.