After analyzing the point guard and shooting guard positions, we head into the forward positions. Starting with small forward, Georgia Tech has a few key weapons that could contribute to a lot of success for the Jackets offensively.
#4 Jordan Usher:
Usher is a former 4-star recruit out of high school, who committed and played at the University of Southern California before transferring to the Jackets this past season. Usher is from Canton, Georgia, so moving back closer home had a lot to do with his decision to transfer. His basketball skills are definitely elite. He will play mostly at small forward but may even see playing time at power forward or even shooting guard at times. The Georgia Tech offensive style under Coach Pastner is flexible for position players such as Usher. Expect a lot of big plays from Usher down the stretch, we may even see a few 15-20 point games.
#12 Khalid Moore:
As a freshman, Moore saw a lot of extended playing time, even starting 10 games for the Yellow Jackets. Moore can shoot from outside, but he’s more of an inside attacker and will look to open up the floor with his athleticism and speed. At 6’7″, 203-pounds, Moore is a tall and lengthy small forward. Not to be mistaken for fragile with his weight, Moore has a lot of interior strength and showed that during games all season last year, offensively and defensively. I look forward to Moore having a big sophomore season and battling for time at the forward positions.
#35 Kristian Sjolund:
Sjolund was highly recruited by Pastner and the Jackets for his effective range and shooting ability outside of the arch. An European native, Sjolund has international experience and with his great offseason, he will look to have a BIG sophomore season. He gained over 10-pounds to his frame while adding 2″ to his jumping ability. Sjolund proved his threat from outside last season and will battle for playing time in the forward positions this season. I can see Sjolund averaging 5 to 7 3-point attempts per game if he can get open on offense. This will be huge for the Jackets with just how effective he is as a shooter, plus, having Bubba Parham as an effective shooter as well might open up space for both of them to drain a few from deep each game.
Overall Grade: B+
With the effectiveness of each forward, Georgia Tech will be hard to prepare for defensively at this position. The forward positions are very deep for the Yellow Jackets this year and that will determine how long we can handle opponents this season. In previous years, a few Jackets have played upwards to 38-40 minutes on average, meaning, the entirety of the game. I expect that average to go down this year with just how deep we are at every position. This roster could easily be deemed the most talented roster Pastner has had since coming to the Flats.
Pastner and the Yellow Jackets open up play on Nov. 5th on the ACC Network. Georgia Tech will travel to Raleigh and hope to start off the season with a road victory.