99 in 99: #76 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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Yellow Jackets mascot

Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal are now in the NBA.  Translation: Georgia Tech is in trouble.  So much trouble that I do not think Paul Hewitt will still be coaching this team when the 2011-2012 season rolls around.

The Sports Bank’s 99 team college basketball preview in 99 days breaks down the 72 power conference teams and top 27 mid-majors and will lead you right into the opening tip of the season.  Click here if you missed teams #77-#99.

By: David Kay

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7th, 7-9 in ACC, 23-13 overall)

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Daniel Miller (Fr)/Nate Hicks (Fr)
F: Brian Oliver (So)/Kammeron Holsey (Fr)
G/F: Glen Rice Jr. (So)Jason Morris (Fr)
G: Iman Shumpert (Jr)/Nick Foreman (Jr)/Lance Storrs (Sr)
PG: Mfon Udofia (So)/Maurice Miller (Sr)

Gone: F/C-Derrick Favors, PF-Gani Lawal, F-Zachary Peacock, SG-D’Andre Bell, C-Brad Sheehan

2010-2011 Outlook:
Here is the thing: the Yellow Jackets were incredibly reliant on the talented post tandem of Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors last season.  Their guard play was extremely inconsistent and repeatedly made terrible decisions on the perimeter rather that constantly feeding the post.  With Lawal and Favors leaving school early for the NBA (and the loss of their physical back-up Zacharay Peacock,) G-Tech now only has three players who stand taller than 6’6 and none of them have played a single minute of college basketball.  Yikes.

The success of the Yellow Jackets will rest on the shoulders of expected starting guards Iman Shumpert and Mfon Udofia.  Both players were highly recruited coming out of high school but have yet to show the ability to become floor leaders at the college level, making poor decisions with basketball and often having awful shot selection.  Maurice Miller does provide a veteran option behind Shumpert and Udofia in case they once again fail to reach their potential.  Wing players Glen Rice Jr. and Brian Oliver should see more minutes and progress after respectable freshmen seasons.

Where will the inside presence come from?  Daniel Miller is a big body who redshirted last season but is not much of an athlete.  Nate Hicks is lengthy and athletic but needs to add a lot of muscle before he can be a factor in the ACC.  Kammeron Holsey is also coming off a redshirt year due to a torn ACL and might be the most capable, but shortest of the three bigs.

Whatever the case may be up-front, Paul Hewitt’s seat is getting awfully warm at G-Tech.  His resume is not all that impressive in his decade as the Yellow Jackets head coach, only once leading the team to a winning conference record (the 2003-2004 in which were runner-up in the NCAA Tournament.)  Barring an incredible transformation and increased maturity in the backcourt, Georgia Tech will likely struggle this season… and you heard it here first; Hewitt will be fired at the end of the season.

Iman Shumpert Georgia Tech

Player to Watch: Iman Shumpert, G

The Oak Park, Illinois native definitely has league potential.  He has a somewhat unique skill set having a point guard’s ability in a shooting guard’s body which NBA executives find attractive.  His inconsistency though drives people nuts.  Maybe it was the arrival of Udofia and Favors, but Shumpert’s numbers decreased last season compared to his freshman year and he was actually held scoreless in back-to-back game which is completely unacceptable for someone with Shumpert’s potential.  G-Tech needs Shumpert to become this team’s leader and go-to player on a regular basis.  To be frank, he needs to become that as well if he hopes to have a future in the association.  He cannot show up one night and then disappear the next.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/26 vs. UTEP (Legends Classic)
11/27 vs. Michigan State/Syracuse (Legends Classic)
11/30 at Northwestern (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
12/7 vs. Georgia
12/18 vs. Richmond (in Bahamas)
12/22 at Siena
1/2 vs. Charlotte

Other 99 in 99’s:
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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