Former Texas Longhorn James Banks III was declared eligible a few games into the season and quickly became one of the Jackets best players.
One of Georgia Tech’s biggest tasks coming into the 2018-19 season was replacing center Ben Lammers. At the start of the season, it looked like the Jackets may have to try out a few options at center to find the right. However, the Jackets were lucky and found out that Banks would be eligible in time for their second game of the season against Tennessee. From there, Banks was a fixture in the Jackets lineup and after brushing off some rough quickly became one of the Jackets top players.
All stats courtesy of James Banks III’s Basketball Reference page.
Banks in his first season with the Jackets ended up being their second-best scorer over the course of 31 games, averaging 10.5 points per game. When stretching out his offense over 100 possessions, Banks had a 106.0 offensive rating which was third best on the team overall and second best of any regular on the team.
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What makes Banks’ offensive numbers all the more impressive is the fact that he had one of the lowest usage rates on the team at just 19.6%. He also put up a team-high in offensive win shares with 1.3.
Shooting wise, Banks was effective shooting .564 from the field and had a true shooting percentage of .591, the second-highest on the team only behind Brandon Alston. Additionally, Banks’ effective shooting percentage matched his actual shooting percentage at .564 for the season.
The Decatur, Georgia native did have his struggles however at the charity stripe where he made just 68% of his free throws. That being said as mentioned in Michael Devoe’s season recap, the struggles are not just that of Banks’ but of the entire team.
Overall, he had three games of 20+ points and 16 games of double-digit performances. With 15 games under double-digits, it shows that Banks did struggle quite a bit at times throughout the season. He’ll need to be more consistent next season but it was a good start offensively for Banks.
When it came to his defense, Banks was tremendous for the Yellow Jackets, putting together a defensive rating of 95.4, the best for any Tech regular. A tremendous rebounder, Banks was able to bring down 18.4% of all available rebounds while doing pretty well on the offensive boards as well, bringing down 10.9% of all rebounds.
Additionally, Banks was a blocking machine at times this season, blocking a total of 78 shots over the course of the season or approximately 9.4% of all shots when he was on the court. Overall, he put together a strong defensive win share of 1.9 for the season, giving him a total of win share of 3.2 for the season. He was one of two Yellow Jackets to have win shares of 1.0+ on both offense and defense. Banks’ defensive BPM (Blocks Plus-Minus) was the highest by far of any Yellow Jacket at +7.0. The next closest number for any Jacket was +4.5 by Aboudlaye Gueye.
Overall, Banks’ first season with the Yellow Jackets was pretty strong all things considered. The Texas transfer was able to contribute heavily on both sides of the ball and was able to be a game changer quite a few times in the process. While he wasn’t always on his game offensively, he was always a major defensive threat to opposing teams and his defensive stats show just that. Banks will be an important player in the Jackets success next season and will need to take a step forward if the Jackets hope to get closer to an NCAA Tournament appearance.