Coach Pastner and the Jackets kick of year three with a home opener against Lamar this week. Here is what you can expect.
The Georgia Tech men's basketball team opens the season on Friday, November 9th at home against Lamar. The Jackets come into the 2018-19 with a lot of question marks that will be answered soon enough. Let's just take it one game at a time. First, let's take a look at Lamar.
The Lamar Cardinals are a Southland Conference program. For those of you who are not familiar with that conference, it's the one that Stephen F. Austin blows through each season. They are led by sixth year head coach Tic Price who has coached New Orleans, Memphis and McNeese State as well. He has a career record of 232-189. Last season he led Lamar to a 19-14 record overall, 11-7 in conference play.
Similar to Georgia Tech, Lamar has a lot of question marks this season. They lost 5 of their top 7 scorers from and 58% of their offensive production. Nick Garth and Josh Nzeakor both return however. Garth, a 5'11 guard, who averaged 13.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game last season. He shot 37.8% from deep and has made 238 triples in his career. Nzeakor is an undersized front court player, standing 6'6 and 207 pounds, but averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in 17-18.
The Cardinals welcome a quartet of JUCO transfers this season, the best of which seems to be Edwin Jeudy. Jeudy is a 6'7 forward who averaged a double double at Gillette last season logging 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Christian Barrett, another undersized JUCO forward, averaged 10.6 and 9.1 at Jacksonville. He is 6'6 and effective on the offensive glass, but I am not sure that will translate at the NCAA level. Vince Holmes is another incoming JUCO who has good size at the guard spot, but isn't much of a shooter. Brandon Battle is a physical specimen at 6'7 playing the three, but doesn't provide much floor stretching ability.
All in all, this is a favorable match-up for the Yellow Jackets. This should provide the guys an opportunity to get off to a good start on the season as they should physically and athletically dominate this Lamar team. This is the type of game where you could see Moses Wright be dominant as he often was against lesser opponents last season.
What I am really interested to see here is how freshman Michael Devoe plays after sitting out most of the preseason with a toe injury. Other interests include how Jose Alvarado and Curtis Haywood III are recovering from injuries.
I would also like to see senior AD Gueye impose his will on offense. I wouldn't mind seeing him be a black hole in this game. That move over the left shoulder was automatic at one point last season and he should go back to that well early and often this year. He needs to establish himself as an offensive threat early this season.
As we learned in 2017-18, no victory is guaranteed, but the Jackets should be able to outclass the Cardinals in this contest. Anything other than a convincing victory may raise questions about Coach Josh Pastner's effectiveness, especially after the departure of Coach Tavaras Hardy in the offseason.