Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series. Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days. We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Firing their head coach, losing their best player to the NBA Draft, and being hit with NCAA violations; not exactly the ideal off-season for a program. Now the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets enter the season with only nine scholarship players and will likely be even worse this year than they were a season ago.
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
Last Season: T10th, 5-11 in ACC, 13-18 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 11th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Daniel Miller (So)/Nate Hicks (So)
F: Kammeon Holsey (So)/Julian Royal (Fr)
G/F: Glen Rice Jr. (Jr)/Jason Morris (So)
SG: Brandon Reed (So)/ Nick Foreman (Sr)
PG: Mfon Udofia (Jr)/Pierre Jordan (Jr)
Gone: G-Iman Shumpert, PG-Mo Miller, SG-Lance Storrs, F-Brian Oliver (transfer-Seton Hall)
The biggest change for Georgia Tech comes at the top where Brian Gregory comes from Dayton to take over for Paul Hewitt who was fired after 11 seasons with the Yellow Jackets. The past few seasons with Hewitt in charge, G-Tech underachieved despite seemingly having a talented roster. This year, Gregory has some skilled players to work but only nine scholarship players.
Iman Shumpert led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals a year ago but chose to declare for the NBA Draft after his junior season. Third leading scorer Brian Oliver decided to transfer to Seton Hall leaving Glenn Rice Jr. as the only returning player who averaged more than seven points per game last season.
The Yellow Jackets should get a sorely needed boost from combo guard Brandon Reed. Reed sat out last after transferring from Arkansas State where he was Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year averaging 15.1 points per game. He could step into the starting backcourt alongside point guard Mfon Udofia who has failed to live up to expectations in his first two seasons. Sophomore Jason Morris will be the primary option off the bench on the wing and is Tech’s top three-point threat. The addition of Florida State transfer Pierre Jordan (who becomes eligible immediately since he already graduated from FSU) gives the Yellow Jackets needed depth at the point behind Udofia. Seldom used senior Nick Foreman will try to fit into the rotation as well.
The Yellow Jackets have some size, but not a whole lot of skill inside. 6-11 Daniel Miller was the most productive post player a year ago but only averaged 4.4 points and 5 rebounds per game. 6-10 Nate Hicks will back up Miller at center. Kammeon Holsey and freshman Julian Royal will likely compete for the starting power forward spot although Gregory could go with a smaller line-up and start four guards.
Off the court, the NCAA placed the Georgia Tech basketball program on four years probation stemming from previous violations. The Yellow Jackets were also limited to ten official visits for the next two seasons which will hurt their recruiting.
With a thin roster, the Yellow Jackets cannot afford any injuries or other issues that might deplete their depth even more. There are several other ACC teams also going through a transition period which will benefit the Yellow Jackets, but they will still struggle mightily this season.
Player to Watch: Mfon Udofia
Udofia was highly-recruited coming out of high school but has been stuck in the shadow of Shumpert the past two seasons. The Stone Mountain, Georgia native (the same hometown as Jake “the Snake” Roberts) began the past two seasons in the starting line-up only to end the year coming off the bench. A true floor general is needed especially coming off a season in which the team averaged more turnovers than assists per game. If Udofia again fails to live up the hype he received coming out of high school, it could be a long season for Tech.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. St. Joseph’s (Charleston Classic)
11/18 vs. VCU/Seton Hall (Charleston Classic)
11/20 vs. Northwestern/LSU/Tulsa/Western Kentucky (Charleston Classic)
11/29 vs. Northwestern (Big 10/ACC Challenge)
TBA vs. Alabama
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraka Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes
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 fomer 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 on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.