In case you missed it, Tech’s top two hoops recruits capped their high school careers with state championships.
They’re among five, and possibly six, incoming freshmen. Tech still has one scholarship available, and is trying to add another big man. Brian Okam, a 6-11 senior at an Orlando prep school, was at the top of the list, but he just committed to Rutgers over Tech.
D’Andre Bell (spinal surgery) has started his rehab and it will be about six weeks before we know if he’s cleared to return for a final year. If he isn’t, Tech would have two scholarships available.
In any case, 7 of the 9 Jackets who played in the ACC quarterfinal loss to Florida State are scheduled to be back. (This assumes Gani Lawal doesn’t opt for the NBA draft). Everyone except Lewis Clinch, who made the ACC’s All-Tournament Second Team, and Alade Aminu.
Here’s a quick look at how each performed this season and where they need to improve:
Gani Lawal: The sophomore forward averaged 15.1 points (second to Clinch’s 15.5), 9.5 rebounds (second in the ACC) and 1.5 blocks. His shooting percentage of 55.6 also ranked second in the league.
Made a huge jump from Year 1 to Year 2, earning third-team All-ACC honors. Brings relentless effort, combined with tremendous athleticism. Has developed a nice 12-foot bank shot from either side. Needs to improve his foul shooting (55.9 percent) and his reaction to double-teams. Had 79 turnovers and 19 assists.
If Lawal makes another substantial leap from Year 2 to Year 3, Tech would be in great shape in the frontcourt.
Iman Shumpert: The freshman guard ranked fourth in the ACC in assists (5.0) and led the league in steals (2.1) while averaging 10.6 points and 3.9 rebounds. Made the ACC’s All-Freshman team. But he shot just 39.1 percent and was way too careless with the ball (3.7 turnovers).
With Clinch and Moe Miller sidelined at various times, Shumpert played too many minutes (31.6) and appeared to wear down. Only Clinch averaged more minutes for Tech, and he missed the first seven games due to academics. Shumpert played 981 minutes. Next highest was Lawal, at 919.
Shumpert’s talent is not overrated, as some have said. But his decision-making must improve. Shumpert launched some very questionable 3-pointers from 25 feet. (On an unrelated note, he took full blame for letting FSU’s Derwin Kitchen break free for the game-winning 3-point play.)
Zachery Peacock: A somewhat puzzling year for the junior forward. Averaged 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds while playing 24.7 minutes. Was bothered by knee tendonitis, and a lot of his shots came up short. Also wasn’t comfortable playing on the perimeter early in the season.
Led the regulars in free throw shooting at 73.3 percent (though your guards should shoot better than that). Also showed nice touch when stepping into 3-pointers (6 of 15).
Like everyone, committed too many turnovers. Peacock had 62 turnovers, 28 assists.
Looked like he was going to be the hero of the FSU game — his turnaround gave Tech a 62-61 lead with 29 seconds left — until the defensive breakdown.
Moe Miller: Almost a lost year. The sophomore point guard missed eight games with a pair of concussions and a broken nose, underwent surgery, and never consistently found the form he showed at the end of his freshman season.
Averaged 5.8 points and 4.3 assists, in 24.5 minutes. Also 2.9 turnovers.
Shot a team-worst 29.6 percent.
It will be interesting to see the backcourt rotation among Shumpert, Miller, Udofia and Lance Storrs.
Lance Storrs: The sophomore averaged 4.1 points while playing 20.8 minutes. Shot 35.3 percent on 3-pointers, best among the guards. Pretty good defender.
Needs to become a better ballhandler. Must work harder to get open and be ready to shoot as soon as he catches it.
Nick Foreman: You can’t ask for more from a walk-on freshman. Played in every game, starting two. Averaged 12.8 minutes because of his in-your-face defense. Had 17 steals, and more assists than turnovers (12-9).
Shot 37 percent, averaged 1.7 points. Will be left open sometimes so needs to be able to hit midrange jumpers.
Brad Sheehan: The 7-foot sophomore played 9.1 minutes. Averaged 2.1 points, 1.8 rebounds. Must continue to get stronger so he can be used 12 -15 minutes a game backing up Lawal/Favors/Peacock.
Sets the best screens of anyone on the team.
Do you agree or disagree with those player assessments, and why?