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ACC Team Previews: Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets were 6-12 in the conference last year, due mostly to an inability to consistently score the basketball. Tennessee transfer Trae Golden will help in that regard, but this team is still likely to struggle offensively. They rebound well and they defend pretty well, but the offense will need to be better if this team will go anywhere.

Andy Lyons

Last Season Record: 16-15 (6-12)
Preseason ACC Media Poll: 11th

Projected Starters:
Trae Golden, G Senior
Chris Bolden, G, Sophomore
Marcus Georges-Hunt, F, Sophomore
Robert Carter, F, Sophomore
Daniel Miller, F, Junior

Key Reserves:
Kammeon Holsey, F, Senior
Solomon Poole, G, Sophomore
Travis Jorgenson, G, Freshman
Quinton Stephens, F, Freshman

Brian Gregory enters his third season at the helm in Atlanta with perhaps the shortest bench of any team in the ACC. He brings in Trae Golden, who was granted a waiver to play this season, but loses Brandon Reed - who started 15 games for the Yellow Jackets last year - to Arkansas State, where he started his college career. Golden's situation is similar to Phillip Sims' in that he transferred, at least in part, to be close to an ailing family member (his father).

Other than Reed, the Jackets return nearly their entire team from last year. They lost just one player of consequence, Mfon Udofia. They return their top 4 scorers and rebounders. Their problem last year was scoring. They simply didn't do it well, averaging well under a point per possession. They were one of the worst teams in the nation at getting to line, a strange stat for an interior oriented team. This was probably not that big a loss, since they were also among the worst teams in the nation at shooting FTs. But, they also rarely shot 3s and shot them poorly when they did. This makes for a bad combination.

Golden will be the PG, and the only real experienced playmaker. Poole backs him up and Jorgenson will get some minutes there too. Jorgenson is the best passer of the group. Golden is the best scorer. In fact, Golden may well lead the team in scoring. He is adept at getting into the lane and drawing fouls, which will be useful on a team that struggled to get to the line. He's also an 80% FT shooter, which will also help late in games. Bolden is a decent shooter who needs to be more consistent to really help. Most likely, he'll just cause confusion because of the Golden/Bolden backcourt.

Carter is a very strong player, with an interior game to go with a decent face-up game. He shot far too many jumpers last year, and made just 28% of his 3s. Georges Hunt shot better (33%) but also needs to spend more time inside and less time on the perimeter.

This team will go as far as Carter and Georges-Hunt will take it. Golden will help with his ability to play on the perimeter, and Miller is a solid interior post-presence who can block shots and rebound. But the two stars of this team will have to be better, more aggressive and more efficient if the team is going to go anywhere. They'll probably do better than 6-12 in conference, but a .500 conference record seems a stretch and they are likely an NIT team, if that.