De’Andre Hunter was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 4th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Hunter led the Virginia Cavaliers to an NCAA Championship with his immaculate defensive ability.
Hunter will immediately take over the role of Taurean Prince for Atlanta. I expect De’Andre to start the majority of his rookie year. Last year, the Hawks lacked perimeter defense. Hunter will provide a much needed help in that area. Hunter can guard four different positions effectively. He will probably guard the opposing team’s best wing player almost every night. This will be a tough task for a rookie. He is already one of the team’s top defenders.
On Atlanta, De’Andre probably won’t carry much of an offensive load. We drafted him for his size and defensive ability. That is why he will probably average around 10 points per game. With Trae, Huerter, and Collins carrying much of the offense, Hunter won’t need to attempt to create his own shots even though he can if need be. He will average around 6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. On the defensive end of the court, we could see Hunter average about 1 steal a game or even more and maybe half a block per game. That probably won’t tell the whole story though. He will cause the offense to take tough, contested shots, giving us a better chance to win ball games.
I know it is really early and kind of a long shot, but there have been some comparisons to the Klaw, Kawhi Leonard. They are both very talented and lengthy defenders that have a very laid back personality. I could see De’Andre Hunter making any of the three NBA’s All-Rookie teams.
Georgia Tech landed a big time transfer commit from VMI point guard, Bubba Parham. Parham will have two years of eligibility remaining starting in the 2020-21 season and is a native of Snellville, Ga. Parham is an elite scorer as he averaged 21.4 points a game including a 24 point outburst at Kentucky in November where he drilled 10 threes. Parham shoots 40% from behind the arc, and is exactly what Pastner needs in his offense. We will likely have to wait a year to see him but this kid will put on a show when he gets on the court.
Troy Brown is a 6-7 forward with a listed wingspan of 6-11 that played one year of collegiate ball at the University of Oregon.
In his freshman year, Brown averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. He was able to finish the season with a 44.4% field goal percentage as well as being the former Nevada player of the year coming out of high school.
Brown can do a little bit of everything on the floor which would make him a good fit for any team that decides to draft him. Brown helped Oregon finish their season with a 23-13 record as they were one of those bubble teams that barley missed out on the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. Oregon went on to be eliminated in the NIT tournament by Marquette in the 2nd round.
(T-Highlights via Youtube)
Brown has a very high basketball IQ that is also very disciplined on the defensive side of the ball.
Brown was given a lot of chances to create opportunities for his teammates at Oregon as he was the primary ball handler for pick and rolls and repeatedly showed that he is able to read a defense and make the correct pass when needed to.
His play-making ability has also opened up the eyes of many NBA scouts as he possesses the ability to dribble like a guard at 6-7 and slash to the basket with the ability to finish through contact.
Brown has also shown that he knows where to be off the ball while playing defense and rarely gets caught ball watching which goes back to him showing off glimpses of his discipline which can carry over into the next level very nicely.
His jump shooting would probably be his number one concern coming into the NBA as at times it has shown to be very inconsistent. Watching the film, at times his jump shot is very smooth and hits nothing but the bottom of the net and other times it looks clunky and will clank off the back of the rim. If Brown could develop some confidence in his shot, it would add another feature to his already versatile game.
Keep in mind that Brown is still very young and has lots of room for development for his game. Brown can find himself possibly being selected late in the first round and can be a solid role player coming off the bench for any team that selects him. If the Hawks find themselves on the clock with Brown still on the board, it wouldn’t be a bad selection to take him and watch him develop possibly into a 6th man role.
Brown’s ability to do almost about everything on the floor ranging from his high basketball IQ as well as his tremendous defensive ability would only help the Hawks improve their roster. If Brown can develop his jump shot, this pick could turn out to be a steal for the Hawks down the road if he were to fall into their lap.
After a solid four years at Purdue, Vincent Edwards looks to take his talent to the NBA.
Vincent Edwards is a 6-7 forward that spent his collegiate career at Purdue University, starting all four years being a very productive player for the Boilermakers throughout.
Over his four years, Edwards averaged 11.9 points, 2.9 assists, and 5.6 rebounds. He was able to shoot 47.3 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from behind the arc.
Edwards is coming off his best season as a Boilermaker averaging 14.6 points, 2.9 assists, and 7.4 rebounds. Edwards had a bigger role last season as he was the teams third leading scorer and he leads the team in total rebounds. His performance last season was a big reason Purdue was able to the finish the season with a record of 30-7.
(dunksallday via YouTube)
Edwards is more of an all-around player he doesn’t really specialize in any particular skill set and he can help a team in a lot of ways.
On the offensive end, Edwards has shown the ability to score in many ways. He can shoot, take you off the dribble and even sometimes make a move in the post if he has the advantage. He isn’t limited to range as he is able to knock-down the three ball at a pretty good rate and has improved his jumper throughout college. However, Edwards might have to make some minor changes to his jump shot to make sure he is able to get it off quicker against NBA talent.
Edwards lacks top-notch speed so, he will have to find other ways to get himself open off the dribble which, he did in college.
Fight is something Edwards doesn’t lack at all. He will get after it on the glass on both ends of the floor. Keeping the other team on their heels when a shot goes up.
Edwards is a decent defender however, he can have a few lapses on the defensive end and can sometimes struggle against someone that is longer or a little more athletic.
In the NBA, if his talent transfers over and he is able to improve some things with professional trainers, he could be a very solid role player for many teams in the league.
Edwards could possibly find himself getting picked late in the first-round of the draft, however, it is more likely he is taken in the second-round. However, the Atlanta Hawks find themselves with the last pick in the first-round and if Edwards is available it would not be a bad pick for the Hawks.
With his all-around ability, he is able to do many things for a team and help in a lot of areas. The Hawks are more of looking for the best players in the draft rather than the best player at a certain position. With them already having a rising talent at the forward position with Taurean Prince, don’t be surprised if the Hawks look to add another forward in Edwards to the team.
3 years ago, Georgia State was the talk of the town in the first week of the NCAA tournament for multiple reasons.
R.J. Hunter had just hit a big shot to upset Baylor. On the sideline was his coach, who had fallen out of his rolling chair celebrating. What makes the story even better, the coach, Ron Hunter, is R.J.’s father.
Yesterday, Georgia State punched their ticket to the tournament again for the first time since then. Ron Hunter won’t have his son this time around, but he does have a great group of guys that are ready to go to battle for him.
The Panthers were close to returning back to the tournament last year, but a loss against Troy in the semifinals left them to focus on the next season. Not only did they come back this season motivated, but they came back hungry.
Georgia State played great all season. Their offense was efficient and their zone defense was something special that left teams frustrated at times. They went on a 10 game winning streak, and it looked like the favorites to win the Sun Belt.
Malik Benlevi was the voice of the team, and they looked for him to give them an energy boost. Isaiah Williams took a limited role this season coming off the bench. Devin Mitchell and Jeff Thomas are players that can shoot it from almost anywhere. And then you have the Sun Belt Player of the Year, D’Marcus Simonds.
The Russell Westbrook of the Sun Belt is what they like to call him. Simonds was everything for the Panthers this year. When the team needed a bucket, he was the go-to option. When they needed a stop, it was his defense that came through big for them.
When you have all these players together clicking at the same time, it’s going to be tough to stop them. So don’t sleep on them in the tournament, they might make some noise.
As the final minutes of their 2017-18 season ticked away, Georgia Tech as always, fought until the end. The Jackets fell 87-77 to Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament Tuesday to end their season. Unlike a year ago, Georgia Tech had its fair share of bad breaks. It seemed like this team was just snake bitten all season. When things seemed to be going right, the Jackets would suffer a setback. Both on and off the court, the Jackets had several obstacles to overcome throughout their difficult season.
Before the season even started, the Jackets bad luck had already begun. A few days before the UCLA game in China, a report came out that Georgia Tech head coach, Josh Pastner, had been paying his players dating back to his Memphis days. Ron Bell was the one who made the accusation. He was an ex close friend to Pastner. Bell also claimed to have provided Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie many benefits when they stayed at his house for a week during the summer prior to the season.
Once Pastner found out about the impermissible benefits received by Jackson and Okogie, he reported the violations immediately to the NCAA. Jackson was suspended three games and Okogie six. In a separate NCAA violation, three games into the season, Sophomore PG Justin Moore was suspended for two games.
The off-court distractions kept piling up. Assistant coach and former Georgia Tech player, Darryl LaBarrie, was suspended indefinitely for an issue that occurred during a recruit’s visit. LaBarrie later resigned due to length of the investigation even though no wrong doings have been found up to this point. However, his presence was missed on the Jacket’s bench and his recruiting efforts will be missed dearly.
In the beginning of February, Pastner was accused of sexual harassment by Ron Bell’s girlfriend. Pastner strongly denied the story and I do not see how anybody would believe such a story. This accusation came after Pastner had filed a law suit against Ron Bell for blackmail amongst other things. This is the last we have heard from this saga and hopefully we hear nothing else from it.
The Inconsistency and Bad Luck
Again, before the season even started, Georgia Tech this time had on court issues. In an exhibition game against Georgia State, Josh Okogie dislocated a finger on his left hand that ultimately kept him out until mid-December.
Georgia Tech opened the season with a 3-point loss against UCLA. However, in this game, Ben Lammers suffered an ankle injury that would affect him for the rest of the season. The Jackets rattled off four wins in a row after that capped by a Tadric Jackson buzzer beating layup against Northwestern. This run was followed by a three-game losing streak, the first of Pastner’s coaching career, that included Grambling State and Wofford. The Grambling State game was decided by an own goal by the Jackets in the final seconds. Sitting at 4-4, Georgia Tech’s four loses had been by a combined 14 points.
Georgia Tech entered ACC play with a mere 6-6 record. After dropping their ACC opener to Notre Dame, Georgia Tech won their next four games which included a win against Yale to jump out to a 3-1 start in the ACC. The Jacket’s knocked off Notre Dame and #15 Miami and many began wondering if Georgia Tech was poised for a surprise run in the ACC again.
Those dreams were all but lost during the next twelve games. Georgia Tech lost 11 of its next 12 games. During that stretch Georgia Tech lost Jose Alvarado, and Curtis Haywood, two promising true Freshmen and electric three-point shooters, for the season. Alvarado went down with six games left and he truly was the heart and soul of this team. His energy and New York “swagger” was contagious.
Glimpse at the Future
Jose Alvardo went down in the Duke game. A game in which Georgia Tech trailed by as many as 30 in the second half. However, true Freshmen, who were going to red shirt, were forced into action. Evan Cole and Moses Wright, two unsung heroes sparked a furious rally against Duke that brought the game within 9 points at one point. Whether it was electrifying put-back dunks, or hustling and fighting for loose balls and rebounds, the pair of youngsters did it all.
The last two games of the rough 12 game stretch really stood out to me. Yes, the Jackets lost, but they lost to @ #1 UVA and @ #18 Clemson. The latter game was one in which the refs took over down the stretch and gave the Jackets almost no chance to win a game in which they led for the whole second half. The UVA game was one that the Jackets gave the #1 team in the country everything they had and all they could handle. These two games were the first time Moses Wright and Evan Cole were both in the starting lineup and their energy was contagious.
The Jackets ended the season with impressive wins against Wake Forest and NC State and seemed to have some life entering the ACC tournament. It was a first round date with Boston college that ended in an 87-77 defeat. A disappointing season for sure, but this team kept fighting until the end. Still, there seems to be a bright future at Georgia Tech.
A Look at Next Season
Georgia Tech’s recruiting class ranks 33rd in the country according to 247 Sports. It consists of 4 star sharpshooting PG Michael Devoe, 3 star stretch big Kristian Sjolund, and a 3 star freak athlete in Khalid Moore who is from New York. All three should have an opportunity at early playing time. With Ben Lammers and Tadric Jackson graduating, there are plenty of minutes available.
The expected growth of players like Jose Alvarado, All-ACC player Josh Okogie, and AD Gueye, who has nasty hook shot, make it exciting to think about next season. Adding a quality transfer big would be huge for the Jackets to take pressure off Gueye as well as the youngsters that still need time to develop.
If Georgia Tech can avoid the distractions and bad luck that they had this season along with their returning roster, then the Jackets could be dancing next March for the first time since 2010.