2017-18 record: 13-19, 6-12 in the ACC
Head coach: Josh Pastner
Tenure at Georgia Tech: Third season
Career coaching record: 201-108
Home court: McCamish Pavilion
Starters: G Jose Alvarado, G Michael Devoe, G Curtis Haywood II, F Khalid Moore, F Abdoulaye Gouye
Bench: G Shembari Phillips, G Brandon Alston, F Kristian Sjolund, F Moses Wright, F Evan Cole
Overview: Head coach Josh Pastner’s first year as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach was a big one, leading the team to a 21-16 season in 2016-17 that included a win over then-No. 5 North Carolina. The next year spelled disaster, though, as Georgia Tech dove back under .500 while losing to the likes of Grambling State, Wofford and Wright State. To make matters worse, star forward Josh Okogie was promptly drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves following the Yellow Jackets’ first-round exit in the ACC tournament. In addition, guard Tadric Jackson and center Ben Lammers graduated, leaving holes both on the perimeter and in the paint.
Georgia Tech loses out with Lammers’ departure especially. The Yellow Jackets have talent from beyond the arc, but no interior presence to speak of. They could try playing more forwards, but their current big men lack scoring ability. Georgia Tech could resort to a small-ball approach, but defense in the paint will suffer as a result. Either way, Pastner will be hard-pressed to engineer a feasible solution.
The team’s problems have only been compounded by a relatively weak recruiting class. Things likely won’t improve on that front, though, as sexual assault allegations against Pastner have tarnished his reputation—even though a Title IX investigation cleared him of those allegations this summer. Four-star recruit Michael Devoe—the rookie headliner—is unlikely to carry his team far in the ACC tournament, much less to an NCAA tournament berth. The Yellow Jackets’ buzz has disappeared, and it’s going to take a miracle for them to get it back.
One thing that needs to go right: Abdoulaye Gouye fills Ben Lammers’ shoes and develops into a scoring threat down low. If defenses have a reason to watch the paint, Gouye could provide Yellow Jacket guards with the spacing they need to get off their shots.
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One thing that could go wrong: Injuries or slumps hamper Georgia Tech shooters, leaving nothing in the offensive arsenal and paving the path for yet another disappointing season.