Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ACC basketball preview: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

2009-10 record: 23-13 overall, 7-9 ACC (seventh)

Postseason: NCAA Tournament (1-1, lost to Ohio State)

Projected starting lineup: G Moe Miller, G Iman Shumpert, G Brian Oliver, F Glen Rice Jr., F Kammeon Holsey


• Pain in the ...

With a four-guard lineup, Georgia Tech's going to be the most annoying team in the ACC. The Jackets are going to present matchup problems, pressure the ball, hand check, knock off screeners and play as physical as any team in the league.

No one will want to play this group of gnats.

Still, there's talent. Junior guard Iman Shumpert is the best of the group but he's not always engaged. You figure he should be more focused considering this is his team and his ticket to the NBA.

Brian Oliver, Glen Rice and Moe Miller are all functional players, although Rice needs to work on his on-court demeanor. The sophomore guard's body language is off-the-charts irritating (and that's not necessarily a bad thing).

• ACC schedule

A year after playing the toughest schedule, GT gets one of the easiest with Wake and Virginia twice and Duke and UNC once (with the UNC game in Atlanta).


• Where's the size?

A year after being the ACC's biggest team, the Jackets have turned into the smallest.

You can imagine coach Paul Hewitt weeping when Justin Knox chose to transfer to UNC over GT. At least UNC has Tyler Zeller and John Henson. GT, after losing Lawal and Favors early to the NBA, has nothing, at least in terms of experienced big men.

Kammeon Holsey, a top 80 recruit from the class of 2009, is the most talented forward but he hasn't played a game of college basketball after sitting out last season with a serious knee injury.

Daniel Miller also redshirted last season but that was by design.

That leaves Brad Sheehan, who may or may not decide to stay with the program for a fifth season. Given his career output, 1.6 points per game, it's telling that Hewitt cannot afford to lose Sheehan.

And that's it at forward, unless you want to label Rice and/or freshman Jason Morris one but really, you're just talking about a wing playing the "four" because there are no other options.

Bottom line

Only Hewitt could find a way to win seven ACC games with a pair of studs like Favors and Lawal. Without those two, it stands to reason the Jackets will freefall back to the 2-14 days of 2009.

The problem with that logic is the schedule is too loose and their guards are too good. College ball will always be about guard play and there are enough parts, and enough breaks on the schedule, to float to 6-10.

Returning players
G Iman Shumpert Jr. 10.0 3.6 4.0
G Mfon Udofia Soph. 5.9 2.5 1.9
F Glen Rice Jr. Soph. 5.4 3.1 1.7
G Moe Miller Sr. 3.9 1.8 2.3
G Lance Storrs Sr. 2.8 0.7 0.5
F Brad Sheehan Sr. 1.2 1.6 0.2
F Kammeon Holsey R-Fr. DNP
F Daniel Miller R-Fr. DNP
F Gani Lawal (NBA) 13.1 8.5 0.4
F Derrick Favors (NBA) 12.4 8.4 1.0
F Zach Peacock 8.6 4.1 1.0
G D'Andre Bell 6.1 2.5 1.6
G-F Jason Morris Fr. 6-4 190 84

Recruiting analysis by Dave Telep, scout.com:

Morris: "He would have fit in on the Final Four team Hewitt fielded a few years ago. He's a mega-leaper with major rise. His jumper is inconsistent but the athleticism is elite."