2009-2010 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Basketball Preview
Last season head coach Paul Hewitt saw his Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12- 19 overall, 2- 14 ACC) crash and burn as they finished last in the conference and out of the post-season. This year looks to be different, as the Yellow Jackets have signed one of the best new classes in the nation. The Tech Jackets could be one of the best clubs in the conference and the nation. How can that be?
The Yellow Jackets were ranked 10th in scoring offense and defense last season, averaging 71.2 PPG and allowing an average of 71.5 PPG. They were rated eighth or lower in every major category, including 12th in free throws, hitting just 63% from the charity stripe. The team averaged 17.5 turnovers in ACC games, which was the most in the conference.
The Jackets will play freshman forward Derrick Favors, the odds-on favorite for ACC Rookie of the Year, immediately. His addition greatly strengthens the frontcourt. Favors is not a flashy player, but his fundamentals are exceptionally solid. Junior forward Gani Lawal (15.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 0.6 APG), whose production fell off part way through last season, should find more consistency due to the addition of Favors. Senior forward Zachary Peacock (9.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.9 APG), who was mediocre in 2008- 2009, needs to become a major contributor.
Last season, the backcourt suffered injuries to point man Maurice Miller (5.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 4.3 APG) and swing D’Andre Bell. Additionally, shooting guard Lewis Clinch did not play the first half due to being ruled ineligible. Clinch is gone but Miller looks to be healthy and Bell, who offers strong leadership and tough defensive chops, is ready to play. After a fine but extremely tiring freshman season, point guard Iman Shumpert (10.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.0 APG), who was third in scoring and first in assists for ACC rookies, will play in a deeper backcourt. There are also some fine guys coming off the bench, including downtown shooter Lance Storrs (4.1 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.2 APG).
In the past five years, the Yellow Jackets have missed the post-season three times, including the past two seasons. This year, Georgia Tech has a lot going for it. They see skilled veterans return, have a top recruiting class and look to be healthy. Depth, determination and hard knocks should make this team one of the best in the highly competitive ACC and a force in March Madness.