Photo: Michael Collins/yellowjackedup.com
The Georgia Tech men’s basketball team held their annual Blue & Gold Scrimmage this past Saturday, which was open to season ticket holders and some of the student body. Fans got a chance to take a look at the 2013-14 Yellow Jackets squad, and to see what the incoming freshmen were going to be bringing to the table.
The scrimmage was broken into four 8-minute periods, and the score subsequently was reset at the end of each period. The idea being, it wasn’t so much about whether blue team or gold team won the game, but to see how the players reacted in semi-game situations, with shot clocks, referees, penalties, and of course, screaming coaches.
OK…verbally intense coaches.
Here are some observations from Saturday’s scrimmage.
Daniel Miller may be the best center in the ACC this year:
In all four periods, Miller showed why coach Brian Gregory wanted to go out and get this 6’11, 275 pound stud. The redshirt senior ranked 13th in the ACC in total rebounds, and 2nd in blocks in the ACC last season, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see those get even better this year. Miller was taking charge during the scrimmage periods and was flat dominating in the paint. Granted, no one else on Tech’s roster can really compare with his size and strength, but then few in the conference do. The one noted weakness seemed to be on the offensive boards. Miller got in an boxed-out his man, but then seemed to give up on the play before he really had a chance at grabbing the board – something that will be addressed and corrected by Gregory.
Solomon Poole is going to be lethal from downtown:
Some of the wildness and lack of control dribbling the ball is still evident from the younger of the two Poole brothers (junior G/F Stacey Poole, Jr. is also on the team), but Solomon showed one of the reasons why he was looked at so favorably coming out of high school. His 3-point shooting was spot on. Poole might see time starting as a 2-guard, but where he might be the most valuable to the Jackets is coming off the bench and providing a spark with his trademark enthusiasm and long range shots. Still some bad decisions being made when hes playing the point guard, so that might be a bit of stretch.
Travis Jorgenson may actually revive the lost art of the bounce pass:
Jorgenson is a 6’0 freshman guard coming out of Columbia, Mo. and he’s got that B1G point guard mentality. His passes are like lasers, hitting their targets on the numbers, and he seems to already have a good grasp of Gregory’s offense and how to set the plays. Best of all, twice during the scrimmages he attempted great looking (and unexpected) bounce passes–one being fumbled the other hitting its mark–and has a real Stockton-like look when dishing the rock. There are some mechanics that need to be addressed in his shooting, but this kid will definitely compete for the 1-guard spot.
Ball handling and turnovers may be a problem for the Yellow Jackets:
Despite a lot of good things going on, something that cannot be avoided when you have a team as young as this one is ball control issues. There were a lot of unforced turnovers, misdribbles, and just out of control runs toward the lane. Gregory is going to have to work on some fundamentals of ball handling, and teach some of the freshman that faster isn’t always necessarily better. There were a lot of sloppy missed fast break opportunities as well because of poor passing, or no-look passing where neither guy was looking.
Rebounding and second chance points will be key this season:
There are a lot of great rebounders, and a number of mediocre shooters on this squad from the looks of things. That means grabbing offensive boards and giving the Jackets second chance points is going to play a big role in keeping Tech in some games. The Yellow Jackets have guys in the paint that can score, and a couple of long-range shooters, but it looked like the mid-range jumpers were a problem.
Possible Starting Five Prediction:
Based on what we know about the returning players and what was seen from the freshmen on Saturday, here’s a very early look at a possible starting five.
Travis Jorgenson – PG; Trae Golden – SG; Marcus Georges Hunt – SF; Robert Carter Jr. – PF; Daniel Miller – C
The only thing that could thwart that lineup is if the NCAA, in its ultimate wisdom, decides not to grant Golden eligibility this season. Golden transferred from the University of Tennessee, and is currently waiting on an NCAA waiver which would allow him to skip his one year of ineligibility. He’s definitely someone the Jackets will need as a leader on this team.