Josh Pastner cooled any potential hot seat talking entering this offseason thanks to the Jackets performance in 2019-20 but the expectations will now be higher, heading into next season.
Entering this season, Josh Pastner was very close to the proverbial “hot seat”. The 42-year old West Virginia native was entering year four with the Tech program and was coming his second straight losing season with a 14-18 record. Add in that there has been some controversy during his time with the Jackets and their criticisms and warming seat for Pastner was surely
Fast forward six months and Pastner has certainty earned another season as the Yellow Jackets head coach. He’s coming off perhaps his best coaching job as the leader of the program.
This past season, the Yellow Jackets finished above .500 at 17-14, their best record since 2016-17 when they went 21-16. That being said, after a lackluster start to the season with non-conference play, the Yellow Jackets had a great showing in conference play especially as the season began to draw down.
The Jackets for the first time since the 1995-96 season won 10+ conference games, going 11-9 against ACC opponents. It was also their first winning season in conference play since 2007. Additionally, the Jackets won nine of their last 12 games down the stretch including each of their last four games.
Heading into next season, the expectations will be high for the Yellow Jackets. The Jackets return most of their core from this past season including the likes of Jose Alvarado, Michael Devoe, Jordan Usher, and Moses Wright. The only starter they have to replace from this past season will be center James Banks III.
Those four starters that the Jackets do return made up 51.6 of the Jackets 68.6 points this past season, 75.2% of their scoring. Three of them finished this past season with double-digit point per game averages in Alvarado (14.4), Devoe (16.0), and Wright (13.0). Together, those three helped lead the Yellow Jackets to their best offensive output in a season since the 2015-16 season under Brian Gregory.
The Yellow Jackets will be able to fill in their holes at center and on the bench most likely with the transfer portal. The Jackets should be a likable destination for transfers as they’re a program close to making a run for the NCAA Tournament and have immediate needs at both center and on the bench. Growing that bench depth for the 2020-21 season will be highly important for the Yellow Jackets success.
All in all, the Jackets roster for next season has a strong core with the need of a few complimentary pieces to truly be a team that has a strong chance of making the NCAA Tournament.
With all this being said, expectations are certainly high for the Yellow Jackets entering the 2020-21 season. For the Yellow Jackets, it certainly may be a “Tournament or Bust” season. At this juncture, anything short of the Jackets first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2009-10 season would be a disappointment.