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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

October 22nd, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

 

Overall Rank: #22

Conference Rank: #4 ACC

 

2005-06: 11-17, 4-12, 10th (t)

2005-06 postseason: none

 

Youth and inexperience were the problems last year at Georgia Tech.  The squad is still young with just one eligible senior on the roster, but the inexperience excuse won’t work anymore.  However, Coach Paul Hewitt hopes there won’t be any need for excuses.  With six of the seven top scorers returning and a stellar recruiting class, the Yellow Jackets are ready to make a big turnaround in the ACC.

 

Who’s Out: Zam Fredrick averaged 10.6 points before opting to transfer to South Carolina.  Big man Theodis Tarver started 13 contests, averaging 3.1 points and 3.0 rebounds.  His departure will leave the depth up front mostly inexperienced.  Seldom used Keith Jones has wrapped up his career for the Ramblin’ Wreck.

 

Who’s In: Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton are the big pickups for Coach Hewitt.  Young is a super talented small forward who can hit the outside shot and get to the basket.  The 6-8, 215 pound Memphis, Tennessee native is tough enough to battle inside, but has all the skills of a shooting guard.  Crittenton can break down anybody off the dribble and, at 6-4, has great size for a point guard.  He won’t knock down the outside shot with consistency, but it will be hard to match up with his size, speed and strength.  With so much talent returning, Young and Crittenton might start out on the bench, but they’ll both get their shot to earn starting roles.  Mouhammad Faye will have to wait a little longer to suit up for the Jackets.  After redshirting last year, the 6-8 forward is expected to be sidelined with an injury until December.  Faye, who can play both forward spots, has a decent stroke and is developing into a solid athlete.  Zach Peacock and Brad Sheehan will add more depth to the frontcourt.  Peacock is a great rebounder and can face up and hit the mid-range jumper, while Sheehan has good size at 6-10, but needs to get stronger before making a big impact.

 

Who to Watch: Former walk-on Mario West will have to battle with Crittenton for minutes at the point.  West won’t put up big numbers, but he is a solid floor leader and a tenacious defender.  By the end of the year Lewis Clinch was coming into his own.  Despite being slowed early in the season with a stress fracture in his leg, Clinch averaged 8.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists on the campaign.   Anthony Morrow is an excellent shooter from everywhere on the floor and should once again lead the squad in scoring after averaging 16.0 points per game last year.  However, Morrow is battling a back injury and is expected to miss most of the practice time leading up to the start of the season.  Paco Diaw is a versatile backcourt player who can provide depth at every spot on the perimeter.  D’Andre Bell showed plenty of promise on the wing as a freshman and, after earning 11 starts last year, should battle for a starting gig. 

 

Final Projection: Jeremis Smith struggled at the very end of last season, but the 6-7 forward earned nine double-doubles on the season and has the potential to average a double-double on the season after nearly missing out last year with 11.0 points and 8.2 boards.  Ra’Sean Dickey will be by his side.  The 6-9 Clio, South Carolina native is an underappreciated post scorer and a solid offensive rebounder.  Alade Aminu saw limited minutes backing up the four spot as a freshman.  Experience and strength were his major issues last season, so with another year to build on, Aminu could develop into a solid contributor off the bench.  Jumping from tenth to fourth in the ACC is no easy feat, but if the talent comes together Georgia Tech can easily meet the expectations. 

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Mario West, Senior, Guard, 7.8 points per game

Lewis Clinch, Sophomore , Guard, 13.5 points per game

Anthony Morrow, Junior, Guard, 3.8 points per game

Jeremis Smith, Junior, Forward, 14.8 points per game

Ra’Sean Dickey, Junior, Center, 2.0 points per game

 

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