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Georgia Tech Basketball: James Banks adds needed frontcourt depth for Yellow Jackets

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 29: James Banks
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 29: James Banks /

Georgia Tech adds a much-needed frontcourt presence in Texas transfer James Banks. What will Banks bring to the Yellow Jackets roster?

Georgia Tech adds a much-needed piece to their future frontcourt as Texas transfer James Banks has joined the program. The 6’10” center barely played this season as a sophomore, but he is a former top 75 recruit so this move is worth the risk.

With Ben Lammers out of eligibility and Abdoulaye Gueye entering his senior year, Georgia Tech desperately needed a player to take over the starting center position. Banks fits this mold perfectly and will sit out the 18-19 season before having two years of eligibility remaining.

Many other prominent programs pursued Banks, but the mix of returning home to Georgia and the available playing time was too much to pass up. After Banks’ situation at Texas, choosing a school with an easier path to major minutes was a wise priority.

Banks was stuck behind Mo Bamba this season and Jarrett Allen last season so his lack of playing time can be attributed to the presence of these future NBA players. He has proven to be an excellent shot blocker in limited minutes and is very mobile and athletic for his size.

While Banks is certainly not an offensive standout, he does have the potential to be an excellent anchor for the Yellow Jackets’ defense. His length will alter shots around the rim and will deter some guards from even attempting to penetrate.

Playing with a talented lead guard like Jose Alvarado will also be extremely beneficial. Banks’ physical attributes make him an ideal lob target out of the pick and roll and Alvarado should be able to put him in advantageous positions.

Banks will bring a physical presence that was lacking in Georgia Tech’s projected 2019-2020 frontcourt. They have many promising young frontcourt players, but they are all stretch-four types rather than imposing bruisers.

Evan Cole and Moses Wright showed flashes as freshmen and Kristian Sjolund is a solid prospect, but adding a true center like Banks will be useful. Even if Josh Pastner prefers to use a smaller and more skilled lineup, having the option to bring in bigger and more physical players to match up with certain teams is crucial.

Adding Banks is also important because it improves the overall talent level of this Yellow Jackets team. The ACC is one of the most talent-rich conferences in the country so it is important to add as much talent as you can to keep up with the rest of the league.

Perennial bottom feeder Boston College has built a potential NCAA Tournament roster and even the 0-18 Pittsburgh Panthers have added a top 100 recruit (Trey McGowens) to speed up their rebuild. Georgia Tech has added a top 50 recruit of their own in Mike DeVoe, but it is important to stockpile as much talent across multiple recruiting classes.

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Overall, it is difficult to project where Georgia Tech will finish in the ACC until Josh Okogie makes a final NBA Draft decision. Without Okogie, the near future looks bleak for the Yellow Jackets, even with multiple talented young players. I bet Pastner wishes he could use Banks this season, but he will be an important cog in Georgia Tech’s future when eligible.