The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are next in our set of ACC basketball previews as we prepare for the start of the 2014-15 college basketball season.
We’re going in alphabetical order through every team in the new-look ACC, but we’ll be excluding Duke – seeing as how the Blue Devils already receive a fair amount of coverage on this site.
Let’s take a look at the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech.
2013-14 Record: Overall – 16-17 | ACC – 6-12 (11th Place)
Games against Duke this season: Wednesday, February 4 at Duke
For a variety of reasons, the pieces never came together for the Yellow Jackets last season. Whether it was the injury to Robert Carter Jr., the ACC’s leading rebounder at the time he went down, the lack of production from Chris Bolden, or the failed additions of Stacy & Solomon Poole to the roster, this was a team lacking on both ends of the floor.
Seniors Trae Golden and Daniel Miller were bright spots for Brian Gregory’s team (particularly Miller, who was one of the better centers in the ACC), but they didn’t have enough help around them to make Georgia Tech competitive.
Aside from a 67-62 victory in the Carrier Dome that was part of Syracuse’s season-ending tailspin, there aren’t many positives that could be taken from last season for the Jackets. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it – this team was just plain bad.
Key Players: Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell
Marcus Georges-Hunt is the team’s leading returning scorer and the 6’5”, 215-pound guard will likely be counted on as Georgia Tech’s primary scoring option. He showed some promise last season, but he’ll need to become much more consistent and efficient with the ball in his hands.
Charles Mitchell was a granted a waiver by the NCAA to be able to play immediately for Georgia Tech after transferring from Maryland, and he should be an upgrade from the other options in the paint. Mitchell is a big body who does his damage around the basket and he’s always given Duke fits when the Terps faced the Blue Devils.
X-Factor: Tadric Jackson & All Post Players
This is a roster that is desperately in need of playmakers. Incoming freshman Tadric Jackson has the potential to be one of those playmakers. He’s a guard who can create off the dribble and find his own shot and he was rated as a 4-star prospect coming out of high school. Brian Gregory is known for defense and rebounding, but Jackson might serve as an offensive spark this team will need.
Your guess is as good as mine with the Georgia Tech frontcourt. The Yellow Jackets have four transfers in the frontcourt in Charles Mitchell (Maryland), Nick Jacobs (Alabama), Robert Sampson (East Carolina) and Demarco Cox (Ole Miss). It’s difficult to know how they’ll adjust to playing for Brian Gregory and facing ACC competition on a regular basis. We’ll also have to see how the chemistry develops with the Georgia Tech guards and the type of rotation Gregory elects to use.
Looking at this roster gives me a headache. And I feel like watching this team this season is going to give people migraines.
He’s heading into his fourth year on the job and it’s difficult to see what Brian Gregory is building with this program. If anything, the talent is getting worse.
There’s been a lot of roster turnover from the previous season, but the biggest loss will be the transfer of Robert Carter. He was one of the few players who had the size to be effective in the paint, but the skill and versatility to also be a weapon on the perimeter. In what turned out to be an essential trade with Maryland (Carter transferred to the Terrapins while Charles Mitchell joined the Yellow Jackets), the Terps came out on the better end of the swap.
It looks like Georgia Tech will go as far as Marcus Georges-Hunt can carry them this season. And while Georges-Hunt is a nice player, I doubt he’ll be leading them very far.
If I had to put money on it, the Jackets would be my pick for the worst team in the ACC. (I might think differently when taking a closer look at Virginia Tech in the coming weeks.)