Returning players for 2021-22

RamblinRed

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Best wishes to Jose and Moses. They gave all they had for 4 years and got us back to a place we haven't been in a decade. I'll miss seeing them at the Thrillerdome but I am excited to see new faces and a new team and hopefully see the program continue on an upward trajectory.
 

slugboy

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I was thinking of our roster the last few years in terms of how many established players we had vs our results.

In 2017-18, we had Lammers as an established player, and Okogie had a monster season. Alvarado and Wright were brand new. Okogie was our big scorer, but not enough on his own and we only won 13 games.

In 2018-19, we lost Lammers and Okogie, but got Banks. Aside from Banks, the team was raw. No one scored much, and we won 14 games.

In 2019-20, Devoe, Wright, and Alvarado were seasoned, and were our scoring leaders. We still had Banks, and we still looked at him as the anchor of the team. Usher and Parham came over that season, and Usher played the back half. We won 17 with no ACC tournament. Alvarado only played 24 games. We had three established players, and were a bubble team. If we’d been healthier at the beginning of the season and not under NCAA penalties, we’d have been a tourney team.

Last year, we stayed pretty healthy (considering), and won 17 games (17-9) in a shortened season. We lacked experienced depth at center, and had to work around that. Usher stepped up, and we had four established players—Usher, Devoe, Alvarado, and Wright. We shifted the roster and played Usher at the 4 and Wright at the 5. We got old at a lot of positions, but were young at a couple and had to cover.

This upcoming season, we lose our #1 and #2 players in terms of minutes played and points per game with Alvarado and Wright going pro. In minutes played, 3 through 7 are Devoe, Usher, Parham, Moore, and Sturdivant. So the good news is we kind of got old and stayed old. Bad news is that we lost our two leading players. Good news (again) is that we had one of the higher ranked recruiting classes we’ve seen in years.

2019-20 had some issues with injuries and depth. This upcoming season, we should have more depth. We especially have depth at 2-3-4.

Next season still looks foggy to me. We have Smith and Sturdivant at PG. We’ll need some points and really good distribution from that position and the 2-3. I think we’ll see a lot of a Sturdivant-Devoe-Parham-Usher-Howard/Saba lineup and maybe a small-ball lineup with Khalid or Meka if Howard and Saba are still growing into the 5. If Sturdivant or Smith grow into the PG position, then we’re in great shape, but I’d guess we’ll share some of the load to Parham and Devoe.

Going back, last year started the season looking strong 1-4 (Alvarado,Devoe,Usher,Wright) and needed a new player to grow into the 5. That didn’t happen, so we put Parham into the 3 and shifted Usher and Wright to the 4 and 5. This year, we’re filling in the 1 and 5 and have a lot of depth 2-4. While we have more depth, this is a bigger stretch than we had after Banks left. It’s more like what we had when Lammers and Okogie left.

Next year could be a really good season, but a couple of things from this list would need to happen:
  • One or more of the new players (Kelly, Moore, Smith, Hill, Coleman) has a good 3 point % and provides an outside threat to compliment Devoe
  • Meka fills in where Wright left off
  • Howard or Saba adjust to the pace and physicality of P6 basketball and become a solid starter at the 5. (I think this can happen)
  • Either Sturdivant or Smith picks up where Jose left off at PG, or the coaches tweak the offense to shoulder some of the ball distribution to multiple players. I think we probably give Smith and Sturdivant a little time to grow into the role this year.
Howard and Saba have had a year here to train and learn and grow. One or both of them have a shot to be solid this year. It’s still a question mark for me, but there should be progression from last year.

PG is a bigger question mark for me. It’s hard to take over from a four year starter. We could use some luck or magic there.
 

orientalnc

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In the ACC Championship game I believe Sturdivant was the PG for all of the 2nd half with Jose playing the 2 and Devoe the 3. Because Wright could hold his own down low we were able to play Usher at the 4. That was a really good lineup for us. So, I am not as worried about PG. I also think Smith will give us some quality minutes at PG and be a serious change of pace. And, don't forget, Bubba played the point at times last year.

One of the keys you mentioned is Meka. If he is healthy and has the ability to get significant minutes it could really help us. Some of the ACC teams (Duke and UNC come to mind) will have huge front court players with a lot of talent.
 

Ramblingon

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We have the depth...big question will be how many players CJP will play in a game on a regular basis. Just going from 7-8 to 10 will be a big change. I believe Kelly will get minutes if he continues to shoot the 3 as well as he did in HS. And PG could be Smith or Sturdivant, probably getting similar minutes. I hope Meka is healthy and has grown slightly to play the middle. May be our best option. Should be fun to watch our growth this coming season.
 

YlJacket

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In the ACC Championship game I believe Sturdivant was the PG for all of the 2nd half with Jose playing the 2 and Devoe the 3. Because Wright could hold his own down low we were able to play Usher at the 4. That was a really good lineup for us. So, I am not as worried about PG. I also think Smith will give us some quality minutes at PG and be a serious change of pace. And, don't forget, Bubba played the point at times last year.

One of the keys you mentioned is Meka. If he is healthy and has the ability to get significant minutes it could really help us. Some of the ACC teams (Duke and UNC come to mind) will have huge front court players with a lot of talent.

I agree that the worry is more at the 5 than PG. Sturdivant showed enough and Smith going deep in the U18 tryouts says we have legit current talent there. Not Jose level yet but legit. The question for the 5 is what do we need from them to be successful and I would place the bar sort of low and say we can be good/very good if one of the potential 5's can simply play good D and rebound effectively. Not to Banks' level but say 5/6 boards and legit rim defense while being able to stay on the floor. Do that and at least be active on offense with screens and dump offs and we should be OK. And I think between them we should be able to get to this level.

Now that bar assumes Ivy's point about the 3rd scorer. Coleman being able to score at an ACC level is a big assumption. Seems reasonable given his film/reputation but still a big question.

It will be interesting to see if CJP calls Leonard Hamilton over the offseason and learns the tricks to playing 9 or so guys legit minutes. :p
 

Jophish17

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Thanks, Jose. I remember your family coming down from NY your freshman year, cheering loudly. Your family has a million reasons to be proud. The fire you brought to GT was awesome. My favorite GT player ever. Keep ballin wherever you go

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Northeast Stinger

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We have the depth...big question will be how many players CJP will play in a game on a regular basis. Just going from 7-8 to 10 will be a big change. I believe Kelly will get minutes if he continues to shoot the 3 as well as he did in HS. And PG could be Smith or Sturdivant, probably getting similar minutes. I hope Meka is healthy and has grown slightly to play the middle. May be our best option. Should be fun to watch our growth this coming season.
Started to say this earlier but I think CJP knows how to use players/minutes and the more pieces you give him the better in-game coach he becomes. He may not have to “work around” certain positions and may have more interchangeable parts as well as different types of lineups he can throw at you.

Of course all of this depends on how players develop. But I love all the talent we’re collecting.
 

lv20gt

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I believe Kelly and Smith with get into the mix outside and Meka might push Howard and Saba for minutes down low.

I view Smith and Sturdivant basically in the same situation. High potential guys with some experience, but not proven. Both will need to figure out how they want to run the team, and in general the team needs to find an identity. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Smith won the starting job at the point some time next year. I give the edge to Kyle because he was here last year getting used to our systems and building chemistry. I do think Bubba has the edge over whoever doesn't take hole of the starting spot though. Odd situation where I think either of the other two are better fits for starting but Bubba's versatility and experience likely is more valuable off the bench than whatever the person who doesn't win the starting job would bring. Hell, I could even see us running something like Mike starting with Deebo and Khalid both playing alongside him. I wouldn't expect it, but I think it's an option.

I really like Kelly as a prospect but I'm not sure where his minutes would come from. He seems very similar to Coleman as a recruit but less physically developed and more issues with his shot (low release point) that he might have to adjust to. I think him, Maxwell, and J. Moore are basically guys we are looking at to help replace Mike/Bubba/Khalid when they move on. That being said, if Bubba and Khalid don't improve it could be a situation where as the year goes on one or more of the young guys eats into their minutes. It'll be interesting to see, if that is the case, how comfortable Pastner is in reducing the roles of seniors in favor of freshmen (or practically freshmen in Maxwell's case).

I think Meka will be a spot player who we may use against more mobile bigs or against teams who run double bigs where we may be worried about Usher's ability to defend. But he would be undersized at the 5, and with no experience and coming off a back injury it's hard for me to really see him as a rotation player at the 5 this year. Not impossible but unlikely to me.
 

Fatmike91

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In the ACC Championship game I believe Sturdivant was the PG for all of the 2nd half with Jose playing the 2 and Devoe the 3. Because Wright could hold his own down low we were able to play Usher at the 4. That was a really good lineup for us. So, I am not as worried about PG. I also think Smith will give us some quality minutes at PG and be a serious change of pace. And, don't forget, Bubba played the point at times last year.

Against certain teams, I can see Mike playing point, surrounded by one big (ex. Saba) and 3 shooters. Mike just drives and scores, if they help he kicks and we hit a three. Rinse and repeat.

/
 

MtnWasp

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Alvarado has been one of my all time favorite players and I have been watching Gt hoops since Cremins first arrived at GT. My memories of him are as favorable as any Tech player in my mind. He put a dead program on his shoulders and was the key cog in turning the thing around.

But I think it is best for the program that he moved on. I think that his return would have disrupted the progression of talent in the back court which is actually lined-up quite nicely. I think that Alvarado returning would have mucked-up team chemistry and resulted in a lot of transfers. Frankly, the minutes that Alvarado would have commanded this year are better used to pass the torch to the next guys.

It is easy to focus on what is lost when the guys following are "unproven." But a team's performance is a function of who is on the floor and not who is not. And I think the odds are better to bet on talent, and next year's team has more talent, depth and balance than we have seen at GT since at least '06-'07 (Crit, Thaddeus, Clinch, Morrow) and I would argue since the '04 team, lack of proven production returning notwithstanding. That '04 team had a lot of 6'3 to 6'7 guys that defended like crazy and could make tough shots. The make-up of our roster this season is not dissimilar.

My biggest question for next season: is it Sturdivant OR Sneaks or, is it Sturdivant AND Sneaks?

Sturdivant played 11 minutes per game in the ACC and shot 45% from the floor, 40% from 3, .875 from the stripe and had 17 assists to 11 turnovers even while assuming a good share of being the primary ball handler in his minutes. He looks like a Jarret Jack clone to me and he is ready for a bigger role.

I don't know what the heck the coaches were doing with Sneaks at his last gig, but I am betting that our coaches will get way more out of a kid with his physical talent and swag. He wasn't invited to the National team trials because of his good looks.

I suspect that both of these payers will prove themselves to be major talents this coming season and that the combination of them will cause major headaches for opposing teams and will open up tons fo open looks for the other guys on the floor.

Is it possible that the pieces won't come together this season? Sure. But there are so many pieces for the staff to work with. Really, what are the holes? Look at the roster and say, 'what are the match-up vulnerabilities?" What do we see that we KNOW that we can't do?
 

orientalnc

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Alvarado has been one of my all time favorite players and I have been watching Gt hoops since Cremins first arrived at GT. My memories of him are as favorable as any Tech player in my mind. He put a dead program on his shoulders and was the key cog in turning the thing around.

But I think it is best for the program that he moved on. I think that his return would have disrupted the progression of talent in the back court which is actually lined-up quite nicely. I think that Alvarado returning would have mucked-up team chemistry and resulted in a lot of transfers. Frankly, the minutes that Alvarado would have commanded this year are better used to pass the torch to the next guys.

It is easy to focus on what is lost when the guys following are "unproven." But a team's performance is a function of who is on the floor and not who is not. And I think the odds are better to bet on talent, and next year's team has more talent, depth and balance than we have seen at GT since at least '06-'07 (Crit, Thaddeus, Clinch, Morrow) and I would argue since the '04 team, lack of proven production returning notwithstanding. That '04 team had a lot of 6'3 to 6'7 guys that defended like crazy and could make tough shots. The make-up of our roster this season is not dissimilar.

My biggest question for next season: is it Sturdivant OR Sneaks or, is it Sturdivant AND Sneaks?

Sturdivant played 11 minutes per game in the ACC and shot 45% from the floor, 40% from 3, .875 from the stripe and had 17 assists to 11 turnovers even while assuming a good share of being the primary ball handler in his minutes. He looks like a Jarret Jack clone to me and he is ready for a bigger role.

I don't know what the heck the coaches were doing with Sneaks at his last gig, but I am betting that our coaches will get way more out of a kid with his physical talent and swag. He wasn't invited to the National team trials because of his good looks.

I suspect that both of these payers will prove themselves to be major talents this coming season and that the combination of them will cause major headaches for opposing teams and will open up tons fo open looks for the other guys on the floor.

Is it possible that the pieces won't come together this season? Sure. But there are so many pieces for the staff to work with. Really, what are the holes? Look at the roster and say, 'what are the match-up vulnerabilities?" What do we see that we KNOW that we can't do?
I agree. Smith may be the sleeper in this group (if just missing the national team qualifies as a sleeper). He looks like he can be a wild card at times, so playing within the system could be his transition challenge. One thing is certain. The man does not lack confidence.

Can he play defense in the CJP system? We all know guys who might be a big help on offense but are unable, or unwilling, to give 100% on the other end.
 

MtnWasp

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I would observe that our staff has done a great job of reigning in wild talent (Tadric, Gueye, Jose, Usher) and I think this bids some optimism regarding Sneaks moving forward. Pastner has not struggled to get his guys to play as a team. Hopefully next year's team does not break the trend.
 

gt24

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My biggest question for next season: is it Sturdivant OR Sneaks or, is it Sturdivant AND Sneaks?
This part! This is the million dollar question. (And complicating it even further is lv20gt's point about Bubba.)
 
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