THE FLATS - Georgia Tech (21-16 in 2016-17) gets its final preseason tune-up Thursday night when it entertains Faulkner University in an exhibition game that tips at 7:30 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets, entering their second season under head coach Josh Pastner, went 8-10 and finished 11th in the ACC last season, then reached the championship game of the NIT. Tech dropped a 65-58 decision to Georgia State Saturday in an exhibition game played to raise money for ongoing hurricane relief efforts.
Faulkner, a member of the NAIA located in Montgomery, Ala., is in its fourth season under head coach Scott Sanderson. The Eagles are coming off a 17-13 campaign in 2016-17 and finished fourth in the Southern States Athletic Conference with a 12-6 mark. Faulkner has already opened its 2017-18 regular season with a pair of victories over Selma and the College of Coastal Georgia.
Thursday’s game is the last of two exhibition games for Georgia Tech before the Yellow Jackets travel to Shanghai, China to open the regular season Nov. 10 against UCLA. The Faulkner game will be streamed live via ACC Network Extra, available on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by student station WREK-FM (91.1).
THE STARTING LINEUP
• Sports Illustrated has rated Georgia Tech’s defense No. 6 in its pre-season projection of the top 50 defenses in Division I.
• Lammers is one of 20 Division I players named to the preseason watch list for the Kareen Abdul Jabbar Award, given annually to the nation’s top center.
• Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook has projected Georgia Tech to finish ninth in the 15-team ACC, and tabbed Ben Lammers to its All-ACC team.
• In Tech’s exhibition loss to Georgia State, three of the Yellow Jackets’ four freshman started, and the foursome combined to play 102 of the available 200 minutes.
STORYLINES FOR 2017-18
• Despite the fact that Georgia Tech lost six seniors from the 2016-17 squad, its top three scorers and two of its top three rebounders from that team - Josh Okogie (16.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Ben Lammers (14.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Tadric Jackson (12.1 ppg) - return for Pastner’s second season on The Flats. Five players who averaged 10 or more minutes per game return for 2017-18.
• Georgia Tech is the only ACC team that has three returning players who averaged 12 points or more per game in 2016-17.
• This year’s Georgia Tech team has only two seniors - second-team All-ACC center Ben Lammers and guard Tadric Jackson, who finished second in the ACC Sixth-Man Award voting - and 12 scholarship players altogether. The other holdovers include ACC All-freshman guard Josh Okogie, 6-4 sophomore point guard Justin Moore, 6-9 junior forward Abdoulaye Gueye and 6-10 sophomore center Sylvester Ogbonda.
• The Yellow Jackets welcome four freshmen and two transfers, and turned over their entire walk-on group, meaning there are 10 new faces on the 16-man roster. Guard Brandon Alston, a graduate transfer from Lehigh University, has two years of eligibility remaining and is eligible to play immediately. Guard Shembari Phillips, a transfer from Tennessee, also has two years of eligibility remaining but must sit out this season.
• The freshman group includes 6-foot point guard Jose Alvarado from Brooklyn, N.Y., 6-5 guard Curtis Haywood II from Oklahoma City, Okla., 6-9 forward Evan Cole of Cumming, Ga., and 6-9 forward Moses Wright of Raleigh, N.Y.
• The Jackets have three scholarships to give for the 2018 recruiting class.
• Reflecting growing interest in Georgia Tech’s program in Year 2 under Josh Pastner, 15 of the Yellow Jackets’ 31 regular-season games will be televised on an ESPN network, including five of the team’s non-conference games. Three other non-conference games will be aired either on the ACC Network or the ACC’s Regional Sports (Cable) Network. Every ACC game will be televised.
• Twenty-seven of Georgia Tech’s 31 regular-season games will be broadcast on linear broadcast television, a program record, including all 18 Atlantic Coast Conference games. Fifteen of those 27 televised games will air on one of the ESPN networks. The four remaining games will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, available on the ESPN app.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its second year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.