Busting Brackets

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Can This Year’s Edition of Georgia Tech Basketball be Trusted?


Fans of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets basketball have suffered for the past five seasons watching mediocre basketball at an institution that has fielded some really good basketball teams.

In the Georgia area, the Yellow Jackets are popular for what they do on the football field. But to the rest of the country, they are known for Bobby Cremins, Chris Bosh, Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott, James Forrest, John Salley, Travis Best, Jon Barry, Malcolm Mackey, and Stephon Marbury.

So as much as Tech hoop fans are feeling bad about the state of their hoop program, the rest of the country that are simply fans of basketball are seeing Georgia Tech as that missing piece to their March bracket.

Head Coach Brian Gregory is in his fifth season of trying to build the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets basketball program back to national prominence and this season he has the Yellow Jackets off to a strong start at 7-2.

The only thing is that Jackets’ fans have seen this whole scenario play out before. As a matter of fact it was just last season when the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets got off to a 9-3 start in non-conference play only to have the bottom fall out from under them en route to going 3-16 the rest of the way.

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  • That 12-19 record had fans calling for Gregory’s ouster as we all know, but the administration gave him another chance in order to right the wrongs of last season.

    So in order to do so Brian Gregory has meshed together a team consisting of transfers and established players in his system in order to get the job done.

    But even with how positive the start to the 2015-16 season has been for the Yellow Jackets the question still is, “Can Georgia Tech fans trust this year’s edition of Yellow Jackets basketball?” Or better yet, “What makes this season so much different than last year?”.

    Both questions are valid, but honestly there are some differences in this year’s edition of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets that actually bode well for their chances to play in a postseason tournament for the first time since 2010.

    One of the differences being the confidence that point guards Travis Jorgenson and Josh Heath are playing with this year.

    Heath is shooting the ball very efficiently in the early going knocking down 48.4% of his shots from the floor. He is averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 assists this season in 22 minutes of work.

    Jorgenson has done a great job of not turning over the basketball in the 17 minutes of work that he puts in. And though he is shooting a mere 35.5% from the floor this season, that is an improvement over his first two seasons in Atlanta.

    The most important difference in this year’s Yellow Jackets squad is the fact that this year’s team can expect scoring from different people who can get their points in different ways.

    Adam Smith has been a great addition to Georgia Tech bringing the outside stroke that this club lacked last season.

    Nov 19, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Adam Smith (2) shoots the ball against the Green Bay Phoenix in the first half at McCamish Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    Not only is he bringing double-digit scoring to the Yellow Jackets at 11.8 points per contest, but he is knocking down the three-point shot at a 41.4% clip so far this season.

    Nick Jacobs has been a solid compliment to what Charles Mitchell brings to the blocks giving the Yellow Jackets a nice post tandem.

    Last season, the Yellow Jackets had Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell in the post and due to the fact that they were virtually the same type of player, the lane was clogged a lot of the time making the offense look stagnant in the halfcourt.

    With Nick Jacobs playing the power forward spot, he does not need to necessarily get the ball with his back to the basket and is able to knock down shots out to about 17-feet.

    Because of this, Charles Mitchell is able to be the bruiser in the paint that Brian Gregory’s club needs and the ball is able to flow a whole lot better in the halfcourt than it did last season.

    The results have been pretty staggering from the Yellow Jackets post play. Nick Jacobs has put up a career high in points averaging 10.2 points to go along with 5.9 rebounds and Charles Mitchell has been a beast in the paint averaging a double-double of 14.2 points and 12.8 rebounds.

    Lastly, Marcus Georges-Hunt is playing decisive basketball and is having his best season ever as a senior.

    MGH is putting up a team high 15.2 points and is shooting 44.2% from the field and a decent 34.6% from three-point land.

    This is the one player that the Yellow Jackets are going to need to have a big season in order for their fortunes to turn around. The fact that he has been efficient in his play to this point in the season is huge.

    The Yellow Jackets bench depth has even been a factor with Quinton Stephens, Jame White and Ben Lammers all making solid contributions.

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    In all, the Yellow Jackets are a team that can go ten players deep and all ten players are able to contribute. Plus Brian Gregory is able to wear down opponents with the depth he has at his disposal.

    Going forward the concern is going to be whether or not the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be able to find enough three-point shooting to get through the ACC gauntlet.

    Though the addition of Adam Smith has bolstered the three-point shooting some and Quinton Stephens is hitting the long ball at a 45.8% clip, there are not many other sources of consistent outside shooting on this club.

    The Yellow Jackets as a team are shooting 34.4% from beyond the arc which is a vast improvement from the 26.7% they shot last season. But with only two or three players being semi-consistent from beyond the arc, it still would be nice for another shooter to emerge.

    Georgia Tech has four more games left before they begin ACC conference play. With a road game against the Georgia Bulldogs and three home games to close out against Southeastern Louisiana, Colgate and Duquesne.

    The way Georgia Tech is playing, they should be able to win out and go into ACC play with some momentum.

    But the question of whether or not fans will be able to trust this year’s team to get some kind of postseason bid will be answered in conference play.

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    These things we know for sure, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have the depth, they are scoring the ball better, and they are shooting the three-pointer better.

    Hopefully all of that translates into a better showing in the ACC this season.