Georgia Tech’s Evan Cole put together a reputable sophomore season in 2018-19.
Coming out of South Forsyth High School in Cumming, GA, Cole was known to be a prolific shooter and one that could be a dangerous scorer at the next level. During his freshman season with the Yellow Jackets, Cole played in 24 games, starting 7. He averaged 3.2 points per game while shooting .460/.273/.500. Entering the 2018-19 season, Cole was looking to take the next step forward. Let’s see how the sophomore forward did in his second season with the Jackets.
Overall, Cole played in 18 games this past season, six fewer than his freshman campaign. He also saw his games started drop from 7 to 3 while playing 12.3 minutes per game about 1.5 less than his freshman average.
This season, Cole saw his shooting percentages from the field fall across the board. His overall field goal percentage of .460 fell to .433 while he had some difficulties from both inside and beyond the arch (when compared to his freshman stats). From inside the arch, Cole saw his shooting percentage drop 11% from .561 to .550. That being said, .550 is still very much a respectable shooting percentage. From beyond the arch, it was another season of struggles for Cole making just 4-of-20 shots, a .200 shooting percentage. It dropped from a lowly .273 from his freshman season. The one place he did improve however was the charity stripe, raising his shooting percentage from .500 to .692.
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The advanced statistics say much of the same for Cole, showing that the sophomore forward struggled. After posting a strong offensive rating of 111.7 as a freshman, Cole saw his rating plummet in 2018-19 to just a mere 70.7, among the lowest on the team. That is despite seeing a notable rise in his usage rate go up from 13.7% to 22.5%.
Overall, it was a tough season for Cole offensively and one that he probably would rather forget and will try to bounce back next season Cole has a tremendous skill set and great size for a forward, one that could be a prototypical stretch four style player. Now, he’ll need to be able to translate that skill set and size on the court into better production.
Defensively, Cole was about the same from his freshman season. After posting a 107.7 defensive rating as a freshman, Cole saw that number go down to 103.2, still a tad high but it’s a drop in rating that the coaching staff definitely likes to see out of the Georgia native.
Across the board like his defensive rating, Cole’s numbers stayed right around where they were when he was a freshman. His defensive rebounding percentage was about 15% while his steal rate rose from 1.1% to 2.0%. His biggest rise came in blocks where he went from 2.0% to 4.5%, a strong increase for the sophomore. His defensive win share was the same as his freshman defensive win share of 0.2
Overall, Cole’s defensive was about what was expected out of him entering the season. Not too great but not bad either. While he probably won’t win a game any given night due to his defense, he’s not a liability for the Jackets either. He had a nice year-to-year improvement, now it will be important to see if he can take another step forward.
Overall, Tech fans have yet to see Evan Cole maximize his potential. The 6-foot-9 shooting guard hasn’t gotten off to the start he probably expected and his junior year is without a doubt mightily important for him. With his skill set, Cole could become a dangerous player for the Yellow Jackets but it will take a serious developmental offseason for Cole to reach that level. He may be the Jackets’ “X-Factor” next season.