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Georgia Tech Basketball: Yellow Jackets Make Huge Offseason Splash

Charles Mitchell georgia tech basketball transfer

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing 16-17 campaign that ended in the second round of the ACC tournament, head coach Brian Gregory has immediately positioned the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to have a bounce-back year in a competitive ACC by adding four offseason transfers.

The Yellow Jackets’ depth in the post will receive a much-needed boost as Charles MitchellDemarco Cox and Nick Jacobs, three players from separate universities, signed on this summer to play for the Jackets. Josh Heath, the only backcourt addition for Brian Gregory’s staff, will also join the Yellow Jackets for the upcoming season.

Mitchell, a transfer from Maryland, averaged 18.8 MPG and shot 52 percent from the floor during his sophomore season with the Terrapins. Impressively, the Atlanta native led Maryland with 6.3 RPG over 32 contests and managed to start the last 10 games for the Terps.

The 6-foot-8 forward will presumably fill the void that Robert Carter Jr. left when he transferred out of Georgia Tech last month. Mitchell is a high-energy player who has the potential to dominate the paint on any given night, as he showed on multiple occasions last season.

His best performance came against North Carolina State, when he snatched down 18 rebounds and added eight points. His poor performance at the free throw line has severely limited his minutes, however, as he hinders his team late in games and often finds himself on the bench late in the second half.

Mitchell has the ability to help Georgia Tech take the next step towards competing with the elite talent of the ACC, but not without some improvement this offseason. He has requested a waiver from the NCAA for immediate eligibility for the 2014-15 season.

Cox is another timely addition for the Yellow Jackets, as the 6-foot-8 Ole Miss transfer will attempt to take the place of former Yellow Jacket Daniel Miller, who eclipsed the 1,000 point mark during his senior season and started all 126 games he played in during his Georgia Tech career.

Cox played at Ole Miss for four seasons, averaging 3.0 PPG and 2.8 RPG during his career in Oxford. He showed signs of dominance early on in the 2013-14 season and, ironically, turned in one of his best performances against Georgia Tech, when he scored 15 points and added 13 rebounds.

When paired with Mitchell, Georgia Tech looks to have a formidable frontcourt for the upcoming season. Like Mitchell, Cox has the potential to dominate a game on any given night. It is not a question of potential, but rather consistency. Cox has already been granted a waiver by the NCAA for immediate eligibility.

Jacobs, an Alabama transfer, has a degree of familiarity with Georgia Tech, as he played with Yellow Jacket standout Derrick Favors at South Atlanta High School. Jacobs is the only transfer landed by Gregory and his staff who will not be eligible to play in the upcoming season. Despite this, the 6-foot-8 forward is still an impressive acquisition for the Yellow Jackets.

Jacobs is a seasoned veteran who played in 93 games during his career in Tuscaloosa, starting 57 times and averaging just under 8.0 PPG.  The former South Atlanta star scored in double figures eight times last season, including a 23-point performance against Drexel.

Heath played his freshman season in the AAC at South Florida, where the point guard average 2.6 PPG and 3.6 APG for the Bulls. Like Mitchell and Cox, Heath will be immediately eligible to help Georgia Tech in the 2014-15 season.  With three years of eligibility remaining, there is still ample time for improvement for the assist-minded point guard under Gregory.

Heath averaged nearly two turnovers every half, and will need to improve upon that statistic if he hopes to measure up to the lofty expectations of Yellow Jacket fans, who have seen the likes of Jarrett Jack and Iman Shumpert run Georgia Tech’s offense in recent years.

These offseason acquisitions couldn’t have come at a better time for Georgia Tech, a team that lost its two best players at the end of last season. With the likes of DukeSyracuse, and recently-added Louisville to compete against, the Jackets will need to be stronger than ever when conference play rolls around.

Jacob Dennis is an ACC basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @jakeyd_8, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

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2013-14 ACC Basketball Season Grades: Georgia Tech Struggling for Relevance

Remember Georgia Tech? Remember Kenny Anderson and Dennis Scott? The days of Georgia Tech’s time as a nationally-known college basketball program have long since passed. And the 2013-14 season did nothing to bring the Yellow Jackets back to the front burner of hoops thought. Georgia Tech again struggled majorly in the ACC, finishing the season 6-12 in the ACC and 16-17 mediocrity. While Georgia Tech’s overall records screams an up and down year, the ACC mark continues a trend for the Yellow Jackets. The once proud program led by then-head coach Bobby Cremins hasn’t won more than seven conference games since 2007.

That trend didn’t change this season. Georgia Tech is 21-47 the last four seasons in league play. Whether it’s talent, coaching or just apathy as the ACC has gotten larger, the Yellow Jackets seem to be forgotten on the regional and national scenes. Here’s an evaluation on both sides of the ball, plus overall, for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 2013-14.

OFFENSE: For a couple years now, Georgia Tech’s offense hasn’t been effective. This year, the Yellow Jackets managed just 66.7 points per game, 281st nationally. A big factor in that was poor shooting. Georgia Tech hit just 43.1 percent of its shots from the field. Also, the Yellow Jackets were a modest 31.5 percent from three-point range, which in this era where it seems like everyone hits in the 40- to 45-percent range, won’t cut it. Trae Golden led the club with 13.3 PPG as one of four Yellow Jackets to average in double figures. Georgia Tech was even weak from the free-throw line, shooting 68.4 percent. GRADE: D.

DEFENSE: While forcing turnovers wasn’t Georgia Tech’s thing, the Yellow Jackets weren’t bad defensively. Georgia Tech ranked in the top 100 of the country in scoring defense and blocks per game. The Yellow Jackets also grabbed almost 25 defensive rebounds per game. But the defense had a lot of pressure on it game after game because of the inability of the offense to put points on the board. Under the circumstances, the defense did fairly well given all it was asked to do if Georgia Tech was going to have any chance to win. GRADE: B.

OVERALL: The 2013-14 season was another year in which Georgia Tech was just kind of there. The Yellow Jackets have been under .500 overall in seven of the last nine seasons and seem a world away from their NCAA Tournament title game appearance in 2004. There’s a lot of work to be done for the Yellow Jackets to be relevant again. They were average for what they were expected to be, which wasn’t much. GRADE: C.

Twitter-style, the 2013-14 Yellow Jackets in 140 (or less): “And finally Saturday in the ACC, Georgia Tech lost. Now, back to the Georgia State Fencing Championship. #GTHoopsDoNotMatter”

Ed Morgans is an ACC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google

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North Carolina Tar Heels Prove They Can Grind Out Win

Shots weren’t falling, players were riddled with foul trouble, and North Carolina overcame it all to pick up their second straight ACC victory (78-65) at Georgia Tech Wednesday.

This game was incredibly important for the Tar Heels for multiple reasons. The Tar Heels desperately needed another conference victory, they had to show they could win on the road, and they needed a win without having everything go right. The Tar Heels found out they could win when the game doesn’t go according to plan.

The Tar Heels were held to only 44 percent shooting and had to play much slower than they probably wanted. However, Carolina was able to run their offense in the half court successfully enough to counter Georgia Tech, slowing the game down. The Yellow Jackets clearly did not want to run with the Tar Heels and kept the game close for about 30 minutes. Tech’s pace did not allow Marcus Paige to run up-and-down and the offense took some time to get rolling.

What helped counter the lack of offense was a strong defensive effort that carried over from the Clemson game over the weekend. North Carolina held Georgia Tech to only 43 percent shooting and 4-of-15 from behind the arc. This played a big role in allowing UNC to figure things out on offense. Finally, Carolina started hitting shots and that gave the team the confidence they needed. The offense actually played surprisingly well in sets, as is evident with the 20 team assists.

North Carolina took all of it in and expanded on a one-point halftime lead slowly, but surely. Paige shook off a couple less-than-great performances and did a little bit of everything en route to 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

James Michael McAdoo, despite sitting much of the second half with four fouls, notched a team-high 17 points before fouling out. Kennedy Meeks also continued his recent solid play with nine points and a team-high 10 boards. He could be a key player down the stretch as North Carolina tries to find a way into NCAA tournament. Carolina also hit its free throws — 15-of-21 — going against their season average of around 61 percent.

It may not have been pretty for coach Roy Williams and his Tar Heels, but picking up the win Wednesday could be as important as any other victory this season.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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