Georgia Tech Basketball: Yellow Jackets Make Huge Offseason Splash
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 Mitchell, Demarco 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 Duke, Syracuse, and recently-added Louisville to compete against, the Jackets will need to be stronger than ever when conference play rolls around.
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