Busting Brackets

Georgia Tech Basketball: Yellow Jackets prepare for 2019 Spain trip

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images /

Georgia Tech basketball is about to embark on a summer trip to Spain. How might this help the team going into this coming season?

It is no secret that aside from pure talent and God-given gifts, the most important thing for a college basketball team is chemistry. There is no better way to build team chemistry than to simply get into the gym and run. That is exactly what the Georgia Tech basketball team is doing now in their preparation to play a quartet of professional teams during an upcoming trip to Spain. The trip will last from August 8th-16th, during which the team will play in both Barcelona and Madrid. The games will be broadcast by flohoops.com; a subscription fee is required.

Per NCAA rules, the Yellow Jackets will receive 10 additional practices in preparation for the trip, something the staff is very excited about. The team also expects to play faster during the upcoming season and will receive a taste of that as they will be playing with a 24-second shot clock during the trip.

The broadcast will give Georgia Tech fans (who pony up the dough) an early look at transfers Jordan Usher (eligible after first semester), as well as Donald “Bubba” Parham (sit one, play two). Both will play in Spain. Usher, a transfer from USC, averaged 8.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in a dozen games for the Trojans last season before transferring closer to home. Parham, also from Georgia, comes home from Virginia Military Institute, where he averaged 18.1 points per game in 62 games for the Keydets. It is rumored that both players have petitioned for waivers, allowing them to play immediately.

One player who will not appear in the Spain games is junior forward Moses Wright. Wright has been in a walking boot in recent weeks and Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner has confirmed that he will not play. The injury is not supposed to impact Wright’s junior season. He is expected to have a big impact on the 2019-20 campaign as either the starter at the four spot or the first big man off the bench. His recovery and overall health are paramount to the Yellow Jackets earning their first NCAA Tournament birth since 2010.

The team returns a strong nucleus from last year’s team but also welcomes two Division-1 transfers, a JUCO transfer, and a freshman. The opportunity to get those players up to speed early is one that coaches will be sure not to waste.

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Some things to watch in the Spain games:

  • Kristian Sjolund’s defense. Last season, Sjolund was the shooter the program needed but was also a defender they could not afford to have on the court. Watch his rotations and recovery playing in that crazy zone that Coach Pastner likes to deploy.
  • Asanti Price’s shooting. The lone freshman in the 2019 recruiting class was a late bloomer as far as recruiting services reported. His strongest asset is his ability to shoot the ball “with NBA range.” Hopefully, he receives a good bit of run and can show off that stroke.
  • Khalid Moore. That’s it. I just want to see him play. I think his upside is tremendous.
  • The transfers. Jordan Usher might be the most athletic player at Georgia Tech since Isma’ll Muhammad and Bubba Parham might be the best shooter since Adam Smith.
  • David Didenko. I have had reservations about this signing since its inception. However, if rumors of a rift with his JUCO coach are true, that could explain his lack of production. At 6-foot-8, he could be a weapon if he really is the shooter that some people say he is.