New Season

orientalnc

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We have had an entire off season to get any or all of 3+ big men options to be able to handle offensive and defensive roles. Hopefully, we've figured out something--possibly multiple somethings--that work for their abilities and the team needs
I agree. If this team needed anything as the 2020-21 season ended, it was development of these three players. Hopefully those videos we saw during the summer of guys working out and scrimmaging together helped toward that goal.
 

YlJacket

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We have had an entire off season to get any or all of 3+ big men options to be able to handle offensive and defensive roles. Hopefully, we've figured out something--possibly multiple somethings--that work for their abilities and the team needs

You are right but sometimes bigs just take time to get their body to do what they know they need to do. I keep going back to Huff for UVA who was buried for I think 3 years before he worked out and UNC used to have a parade of bigs they buried for 2-3 years before they were ready. No idea where our guys are on the continuum so we will see.
 

forensicbuzz

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Couldn't agree more.. I think that we will play a ton of zone this year. For many of the reasons you mention, but also due to the fact that we just don't have a legitimate shot blocker.

Throwing multiple defensive looks at the other team is part of CJP's philosophy, so I think that we will see him stick with whatever is working, but I totally agree that early on, zone will be our base D.

Maybe more of a traditional zone than a 1-3-1 look, but I expect to see some of it all.
I'm not sure we don't have a shot blocker. You may be 100% right, but I'm holding out that Howard is going to be a big body and Siba is going to be a shot blocker extraordinaire.
 

orientalnc

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I'm not sure we don't have a shot blocker. You may be 100% right, but I'm holding out that Howard is going to be a big body and Siba is going to be a shot blocker extraordinaire.
You could be spot on, but neither has shown that ability without getting into foul trouble. Someone posted about getting 12-14 points and 8-10 rebounds and multiple blocks from the trio. I will be overjoyed with that outcome if it happens. Given our guards and wings, that production from the spot would make us really difficult to beat.

Howard seems pretty comfortable on the offensive moving without the ball and can finish around the rim. Saba seemed reluctant and that may be primarily his relative youth and inexperience. Both guys seem to have excellent athleticism, so development beyond where they were last year should be doable. I hear a lot about Meka, but I have not seen him in a game.
 

Jacketman99

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You could be spot on, but neither has shown that ability without getting into foul trouble. Someone posted about getting 12-14 points and 8-10 rebounds and multiple blocks from the trio. I will be overjoyed with that outcome if it happens. Given our guards and wings, that production from the spot would make us really difficult to beat.

Howard seems pretty comfortable on the offensive moving without the ball and can finish around the rim. Saba seemed reluctant and that may be primarily his relative youth and inexperience. Both guys seem to have excellent athleticism, so development beyond where they were last year should be doable. I hear a lot about Meka, but I have not seen him in a game.
Meka is a guy who Pastner said would have helped us win games last year had he been healthy. He has natural instincts when it comes to shot blocking. We don't know how he will develop but Pastner did seem pretty high on him as a defender.
 

orientalnc

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Meka is a guy who Pastner said would have helped us win games last year had he been healthy. He has natural instincts when it comes to shot blocking. We don't know how he will develop but Pastner did seem pretty high on him as a defender.
I believe there is reason to be optimistic regarding Meka, but we are a month away from seeing him in action (I hope). Along with a lot of other fans, I have watching him high on my checklist of key things to do when the season begins.

Losing Jose and Moses has created holes in our lineup, but also opened up a lot of opportunities for other players.
 

lv20gt

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A couple of points.

A defensive liability will keep someone off the court. IMO that is what kept Christian Matthews off the court his freshman year. However, I don't think that necessarily means that a better defensive player will always play over a worse one. I think if Khalid stays as he has been, which isn't a given, and one of the other wings steps up and gives us a third reliable scorer with even average defense, I believe that will be the better lineup. Our recent success coincides almost exactly with the addition of Usher giving us a 4th scoring option. IMO Coleman is an elite level scoring recruit who has the physical tools to be at least a solid defender right away. That's why I think him in will be our best lineup, although Moore will certainly still play significant minutes.

As far as depth goes, I expect the following to be our "core" group that plays significant minutes just about every game. Sturdivant, Devoe, Moore, Usher, Howard, Parham, and Coleman. 4 of those were core players last year, 2 were in the next group out (what I consider being prepared for a bigger role the following year), and Coleman is our most college ready freshman IMO at a position of need. I would say the baseline would be that we would likely have 2 of Sturdivant/Devoe/Parham in at once, 2 of Moore/Coleman/Usher in at once, and Howard manning the 5 spot. I would imagine that one of Saba or Meka will emerge at least as an 8th such player because I doubt Howard can iron man it like Moses nor do I think we'll really consider playing Usher at the 5 in anything but very niche cases. It's also possible they split the back up role based on opponent and whether we want more height or more mobility. That would be 8, or 9, if they split, especially if meka plays in some two big lineups for us. Only other possibility I can see for getting regular playing time might be Smith but it's hard for me to see all three of Sturdivant, Parham, and Smith playing regular minutes. I think the most likely scenario is either 8 that we see almost every game, or 7 we see almost every game and Meka and Saba being situational back ups where we see just one on any given game.
 

orientalnc

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A couple of points.

A defensive liability will keep someone off the court. IMO that is what kept Christian Matthews off the court his freshman year. However, I don't think that necessarily means that a better defensive player will always play over a worse one. I think if Khalid stays as he has been, which isn't a given, and one of the other wings steps up and gives us a third reliable scorer with even average defense, I believe that will be the better lineup. Our recent success coincides almost exactly with the addition of Usher giving us a 4th scoring option. IMO Coleman is an elite level scoring recruit who has the physical tools to be at least a solid defender right away. That's why I think him in will be our best lineup, although Moore will certainly still play significant minutes.

As far as depth goes, I expect the following to be our "core" group that plays significant minutes just about every game. Sturdivant, Devoe, Moore, Usher, Howard, Parham, and Coleman. 4 of those were core players last year, 2 were in the next group out (what I consider being prepared for a bigger role the following year), and Coleman is our most college ready freshman IMO at a position of need. I would say the baseline would be that we would likely have 2 of Sturdivant/Devoe/Parham in at once, 2 of Moore/Coleman/Usher in at once, and Howard manning the 5 spot. I would imagine that one of Saba or Meka will emerge at least as an 8th such player because I doubt Howard can iron man it like Moses nor do I think we'll really consider playing Usher at the 5 in anything but very niche cases. It's also possible they split the back up role based on opponent and whether we want more height or more mobility. That would be 8, or 9, if they split, especially if meka plays in some two big lineups for us. Only other possibility I can see for getting regular playing time might be Smith but it's hard for me to see all three of Sturdivant, Parham, and Smith playing regular minutes. I think the most likely scenario is either 8 that we see almost every game, or 7 we see almost every game and Meka and Saba being situational back ups where we see just one on any given game.
I don't disagree completely with this, but I expect Smith to be in the mix for minutes right away. Also, don't forget that Sturdivant and Jose played a lot of minutes together late last year.
 

lv20gt

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I don't disagree completely with this, but I expect Smith to be in the mix for minutes right away. Also, don't forget that Sturdivant and Jose played a lot of minutes together late last year.

Jose and Sturdivant played a lot together, but that relied on two things that I don't think are necessarily there. One is that Jose could play off ball a good bit and be very effective. I'm not sure Sturdivant or Smith can, at least to the point of it being better than our other off ball options. I think we could, and probably will, run some three guard lineups but I'd bet it is one of them +Mike+Bubba more often than them playing together. The second is that last year we really only had Ush at the 4 and Moore at the 3. Whenever either of them came out we pretty much needed to go to a 3 guard lineup which meant We saw Jose+Mike+Devoe more than we probably would this year and so I think there will be less time spent in that kind of look with Coleman at the 3 and Meka at the 4 as options.

So that really leaves Bubba, Sturdivant, and Smith all competing for the minutes that Jose is leaving and those behind Mike when he comes out. I would expect something similar to a rotation like the following in competitive ACC games.

A mock distribution that I could see is something like

PG - Sturdivant (~28 mpg)- Parham (12 mpg)
SG - Devoe (~32 mpg) - Parham (8mpg)
SF - Moore (~15 mph) -Coleman (20 mpg) - Parham (5 mpg)
PF - Ush (~32 mpg) - Moore (8 mpg)
C - Howard (~23 mpg) - Saba (10mpg) - Meka (7mpg)

So
Sturdivant - 28
Bubba - 25
Devoe -32
Moore-23
Coleman - 20
Ush - 32
Howard - 23
Saba - 10
Meka -7

Obviously there are some things that could shift, like Meka's time and if Moore plays the 4 at all. I also think we'll see games where Meka/or Saba play but not both (of Meka and Howard if Saba starts. Now maybe it's Smith instead of Sturdivant but I don't like the idea of having a primary ball handler who is playing ~15 minutes a game. I think it would be hard to develop the game time chemistry and get into the flow of the game. Maybe Smith takes the back up minutes at the 1 and we run more 3 guard lineup (not including Moore/Coleman for that statement).
 

YlJacket

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Dang there are 2 hard to reconcile dynamics going on there. First is I too expect that Smith is going to get some run given his athleticism and potential to push things. How much depends on how he looks early on. On the other side that would mean Pastner is running a 9/10 man rotation which would send him into epileptic fits.

I do think that unless Bubba starts to shoot like originally advertised that Smith will eat into his minutes. But I still can't get over the Pastner will play like FSU hump for the whole season.
 

joehamiltonfan14

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One problem is given our history of losing nonconference buy games in November/December is that we shouldn’t have the luxury of using those games to play a bunch of guys and figure out a rotation. We need to play to win those games
 

Connell62

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Dang there are 2 hard to reconcile dynamics going on there. First is I too expect that Smith is going to get some run given his athleticism and potential to push things. How much depends on how he looks early on. On the other side that would mean Pastner is running a 9/10 man rotation which would send him into epileptic fits.

I do think that unless Bubba starts to shoot like originally advertised that Smith will eat into his minutes. But I still can't get over the Pastner will play like FSU hump for the whole season.
No way Smith eats Bubba’s minutes. While talented, he hasn’t been through the fires that Bubba has yet. You can’t teach experience, and I think Bubba is a better defender.
 

D-man44

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One problem is given our history of losing nonconference buy games in November/December is that we shouldn’t have the luxury of using those games to play a bunch of guys and figure out a rotation. We need to play to win those games
Trying to figure out the rotation takes awhile even with the best coaches look at Duke last year. Knowing your exact rotation game 1 literally does not happen.
 

Fatmike91

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I think Smith is going to play a lot. He's an athletic freak and he is difficult to defend.

Also think we're over-looking Jalon Moore. It seems like every highlight the basketball team puts out he's getting multiple dunks.

I'd be surprised if Bubba gets more minutes this season than last year. We have too much depth. Bubba doesn't score enough for the minutes he gets. He barely scores more than Khalid Moore (points per minute played) who we think of a defensive only player.

/
 

RamblinRed

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I don't see J Moore playing much at all this year.
He measured at 6'6, 211 - so he is basically going to have to play the three. You already have Deebo at 6'6, 215 and K Moore at 6'7, 208 who will be ahead of him and if they go to a pure 3-guard lineup at times then that crowds him out as well.
I think it will be a year or two before we see much of him.
 

orientalnc

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Given that Pastner is not famous for playing a deep bench, guys down at seat number 9-14 are not going to get a lot of PT.

My way too early prediction:

1- Devoe
2- Usher
3- Sturdivant
4- K Moore
5- Howard
6- Smith
7- Coleman
8- Meka
9- Parham
10- Saba
11- Kelly
12- Maxwell
13- J Moore
14- Hill*

Note: I think Coleman will get a lot of minutes; Meka and Howard could switch places; I see Hill as a wildcard and could be anywhere in the list after Meka
I put Hill as #14 because he is a non-scholarship player at this time.
 

RamblinRed

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I apologize if these have already been posted.
CBSSports has unveiled their countdown of every team in Div 1 college basketball.

GT is at #64, sandwiched between Clemson and Creighton.
64. Georgia Tech: I will put some respect on Josh Pastner's name in this capsule. (Reminder: Pastner is the Ted Lasso of college hoops.) He's 22-15 the past two seasons in the ACC and just coached up the league's 2021 Player of the Year, Moses Wright. Alas, Wright and inspirational PG Jose Alvarado are gone and that's what's going to probably prevent the Yellow Jackets from making back-to-back NCAA tourneys. Though these next two aren't as collectively big and small as Wright and Alvarado were, the new dynamic duo Pastner will rely upon is guard Michael Devoe and forward Jordan Usher. Also: Bubba Parham hasn't popped since transferring from VMI two seasons ago, but the bonus year allows him to fulfill his potential.

Also, Matt Norlander's 50 things you need to know about college basketball

30. Ted Lasso's still a thing -- it just won the Emmy Sunday night for best TV comedy -- so let's dedicate this paragraph to identifying college basketball's version of the most popular character on TV right now. The AP recently had a story about how Chris Beard has made a replica of the show's BELIEVE sign and put it up near his office. Beard's a good comp, and in some way it fits. Off-beat personality quirks and occasional one-liners that make you cock your head. But he's not all-out Lasso. Guys like him, Scott Drew and Mike Brey have some of those vibes. But you know who was college hoops' Ted Lasso? Roy frickin' Williams! Alas, he only plays golf now. No, no, I have your answer.
It's Josh Pastner. Guy literally bought a coronavirus piñata last season and had his team smash it in celebration, then gave everyone candy after a win. He also almost always wears white polo shirts that are doggedly tucked in. Be a goldfish, Josh.
 

Techster

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I see Jalon kind of the heir to Khalid's role: Athletic wing that's primarily more of a defender than a scorer. The problem with that is Khalid Moore is still on the team. I expect Moore may get some minutes early in the season, but unless he becomes an out and out stopper and really good rebounder, I think the early minutes will get reduced to almost nothing once we hit the meat of our schedule.

The best opportunity for a freshmen to come in and have an impact is at the 4/5 spots. Even then PF will have a rotation of Usher/Moore/Meka depending on the matchup and personnel on the court.

We all know Pastner values a player's ability to run his system and defend over talent. There will be some talented players that will either sit all season or get very small minutes because there's a glut of guard and wing players...and a lot of those players have been in Pastner's system for multiple years now.

Too much talent is good thing, but you also don't want young talented guys to become frustrated with their minutes.
 
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