Georgia Tech on My Mind: Talking Turkey with From the Rumble Seat

BirdGT from From the Rumble Seat was kind enough to give us Miner fans the skinny on the Yellow Jackets basketball team as UTEP and Georgia Tech prepare for a Friday afternoon game in Atlantic City.  Tip off is set for 3:30 MST and the game of course will be televised on HDNet.  Miner fans be sure to check out From the Rumble Seat for all the best news and notes on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. 

Miner Rush:   Last season Derrick Favors seemed to get most of the headlines related to Georgia Tech basketball.  Who has stepped in to fill the void after his departure to the NBA?

From the Rumble Seat:  True freshman Daniel Miller from my hometown of Loganville, Georgia is playing the 5 this year.  We haven't really started a true center since Luke Schenscher's senior year (2004-2005 season).  He's playing pretty well for a true frosh and has almost all of the team's blocks.

We don't expect anyone to really "fill" the void left by Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors this season.  We're just hoping to have some semblance of a low post game before the season is over.  Otherwise, we'll be incredibly one dimensional and easy to shutdown (ala the Kennesaw State game).
 It's obviously early in the season, but it looks like Iman Shumpert has become your "Go-To Guy."  He was highly touted coming out of high school.  How good can he be as Tech's primary scoring threat?

Iman is a decent point-wing hybrid type guard.  He's matured for Paul Hewitt unlike a lot of top prospects and definitely has the ability to blow up a game (30 points at Chapel Hill last season).  He doesn't have the smoothest stroke and has a tendency to play hero rather than lead the team.  And what we need this season is the leader version of Iman not the hero.  We're starting 3 sophomores and a freshman opposite of Iman.

In the 2009-2010 season, he averaged 8.2 points and 3.3 assists in wins and 8.5 points and 3.4 assists in losses. The first hand full of games this season has shown that Iman is gonna be the focal point of our offense.  Because of this he'll get his looks no matter what and I think most Tech fans are confident in Iman's scoring ability but as I mentioned earlier Tech fans want to see Iman carry the team in not only points but in assists.

Both UTEP and Georgia Tech already have an early loss.  What happened in the Kennesaw State game?
 
Without a dominating presence inside, Georgia Tech has got to be hot from behind the arc to open up the lane.  We've also gotta be able to penetrate to open up shooters.   Against Kennesaw, our shooters were ice cold.  Lance Storrs, Glen Rice, and Brian Oliver are our best three point shooting returners (shot 40.8% from behind 3 point line in 2009-2010 season).  Against Kennesaw State, those three dudes only shot 3 for 9 from behind the arc and the team only had 9 assists against 19 turnovers.  Tech has only had 5 games with less than 10 assists since 2009 and we've only won one of them.

What are "reasonable" expectations for Georgia Tech this season?  Where do you think the team ends up in ACC play?  Postseason?

Reasonable expectations are to receive a bid to the NIT.  We've got a lot of basketball to play still. We can further evaluate our team after a few more games but based on early game performances, we expect to be better than only BC, Wake, and possibly Clemson.  So a 9th or 10th place finish in conference.  Those aren't great expectations but Paul Hewitt hasn't given us much hope. 

Any predictions for the game and for the Legends Classic final?

I think Tech can beat UTEP especially if we play like we did against Albany.  I don't like our chances against Syracuse or Michigan but Paul Hewitt relishes tournament style games with short turnover.  He's gone 29-19 in midseason/postseason tournaments since he started at Tech.  He has a frantic style of substitution that Tech fans have dubbed "Hotel Hewitt."  It's great for tournaments because it keeps players fresh for the run but it's tough for regular season games in that no one ever gets in a rhythm.  He has a terrible habit of subbing guys out after big shots or taking awkward timeouts right when we take momentum by the horns. If we lose a few games, it's to be expected.  If we win the thing, we'll be happy.  Apathy has set in for 84% of Tech fans.
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