Brookwood graduate Bubba Parham may play a larger role for Georgia Tech on Wednesday when the Yellow Jackets meet rival Georgia in Athens.
Georgia Tech point guard Jose Alvarado has been out 10 days with an ankle injury that forced him to miss the game against Elon. Alvarado was unable to practice over the weekend and Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner listed his floor leader as “questionable.” He had 10 points and seven assists in the season opener against NC State.
“We’re a better team with Jose, but if he’s not there, guys will have to step up and get the job done,” Pastner said.
That means a larger role for Parham, the VMI transfer, who had five points and no assists in 28 minutes against Elon last Monday.
“We’re asking him to do things a little different than at VMI,” Pastner said. “He’s got to get in the flow and have a comfort level with the system. It’ll happen. He’s a good player.”
It may also mean that sophomore Michael Devoe could be asked to spend some time at the point. Devoe is averaging 22 points and has posted back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in his career.
Pastner tried to downplay the importance of the game against Georgia, painting it as another tough non-conference contest in a difficult schedule. Georgia Tech also has games against Arkansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and Ball State before competing in a holiday tournament against Boise State, Houston and Portland.
“I recognize the importance of the Georgia game for Georgia Tech, for the fans, for the alumni,” Pastner said. “But you look over our next five games and there aren’t any gimmes. That’s our whole schedule and obviously the ACC schedule. We’re going to give our best to prepare and play well. If we want to beat Georgia, we’ve got to pay well.”
Georgia Tech will need to find a way to slow Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards, who is averaging 19.7 points. Edwards, a graduate of Atlanta’s Holy Spirit Prep School, was one of the nation’s top five-rated prospects. He is projected to be a high first-round pick in the NBA draft, possibly as soon as 2020.
The Georgia Tech basketball team has made a concerted effort to speed up its pace this season. Coach Josh Pastner wants his team to play faster and avoid waiting until the end of the shot clock to fire one toward the basket.
Although it’s a small sample size, the strategy is working. In two games, the Yellow Jackets have averaged 72 possessions. That’s nearly six more per game than last season, which the potential to produce 18 more points per game. The Yellow Jackets average 76 points.
“We’re all about motor and playing hard,” Pastner said. “That’s who we’ve got to be.”
Georgia Tech (2-0) may need all the possessions possible when it travels to Athens for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. game against the University of Georgia (3-0). The Bulldogs, who have won the last four meetings between the state rivals, are averaging 93 points.
“They put a lot of pressure on you offensively with the way they attack downhill and they’ve got very good players,” Pastner said.