Just 18 games into his first season at, Josh Pastner is already showing that he has Georgia Tech basketball headed in the right program.
On Wednesday night, the Yellow jackets dropped a 62-61 heartbreaker to the Virginia Tech Hokies. Despite the loss, Josh Pastner showed once again on Wednesday that he has the program moving in the right direction just 18 games into his first season.
Everyone knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It was going to take time for Georgia Tech to get to the level that athletic director Todd Stansbury wants the program to be. Entering the 2016-17 season, the Yellow Jackets were expected to barely compete in a strong ACC and even potentially not win a single conference game.
Six games into the ACC conference slate and the Yellow Jackets are 3-3. Not only are they .500 in ACC play, but they have been in every game besides the 110-57 loss to Duke. Even in their 65-50 loss to Lousiville, the Yellow Jackets were competitive for most of the game until the Cardinals were able to pull away late in the game.
All that can be traced back to Pastner’s ability to make the Yellow Jackets believe they could beat any opponent they come across. That belief instilled in the team has allowed them to deliver key victories so far this season including all three ACC victories. Despite obvious talent gaps at times, the Yellow Jackets have not look intimidated once this season and never quit.
As good as a motivator Pastner is, his ability to coach is being showcased this season. Entering the season, there were questions of who will provide scoring for the Yellow Jackets this season. Especially with losing their top four scorers from last season’s NIT team. While they still only rank 293rd in scoring nationally, the Yellow Jackets have found their leader for the future.
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While they still have one more year of junior center Ben Lammers, the Yellow Jackets have found their future in freshman guard Josh Okogie. Okogie this season is second on the team in scoring averaging 14.6 points per game. The Georgia native has proven to have a consistent scoring touch and could be in the consideration for the best player on the team.
While their defense is superb, it isn’t horrendous. For being a young team, that’s not something to be ashamed of. For the Yellow Jackets, improving is the name of the game going forward. Win or lose, if the Yellow Jackets can consistently improve on the fundamentals and all aspects of the game this season. The future is bright, no matter the record at the end of the season. So far under Josh Pastner, the Yellow Jackets have done just that and the future may be closer than everyone orginally imagined.
With that being said, the next three game stretch will be very telling of where Georgia Tech truly stands in the stacked ACC. If they can stay competitive in their games against Virginia, Florida State, and Notre Dame, it will be a moral victory going forward. If they can pull off a potential upset, even better. Either way, the Yellow Jackets’s offensive, defensive, and mental abilities will be tested over those three games.
The Yellow Jackets return to the court on Saturday when they take on the the 16th ranked Virginia Cavaliers at 2 pm.