Josh Pastner Has the Keys to the Ramblin Wreck

The Josh Pastner Era at Georgia Tech is off to a good start they won the opening tap and went on to win their opening game against their Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee Tech, always nice to get that first win under your belt. Pace apparently is the name of the game starting in a full court press they wanted to play fast. The coach is looking for violent cuts to the basket, and fast play. I don’t know how fast Ben Lammers is but I do know he’s 6’10 with the arm span of a fly swatting ball hawk who protected his house (the lane) with 5 aggressive shot blocks. The only thing missing was the no, no, no, finger wagging to mimic Dekembo Motumbo. Offensively he scored 15 points going 7 of 9 from the field which was a career high complimented with 8 rebounds, perhaps the best game of his career to date. If this is an indication of how he’s going to play these season ACC opponents should be on notice.

Josh Okogie added 18 points to be the games highest scorer while Quinton Stephens chipped in 12 points in a supportive role. Overall the team went 3-11 from behind the 3 point stripe which was an improvement from the scrimmage game against shorter when they shot 0-14. The starting five consisted of only one senior (12) Quinton Stephens a 6’9 forward from Atlanta who played in all 36 games last year making 14 starts, scoring double figures in seven. Junior Center (44) Ben Lammers the HAMMER had a team high 47 blocks in a reserve role playing only 14.8 minutes a game.

Red Shirt Sophomore (34) Abdoulaye Gueye saw action in eight games in the 2014-15 season before redshirting last season. Two freshmen, 6’5 forward Josh Okogie from near by Snellville.  He is a three-star guard prospect from Shiloh High School where he was a first-team all-state as a junior and senior. And two time all state and all CIF three star 6’4 Guard (0) Justin Moore out of Mission Bay High School in San Diego, California. The mix of the old and the new should serve as the building blocks for what’s to come to support the vision of Coach Pastner of returning Georgia Tech to the NCAA Tournament. It’s a strategic plan playing one senior and four others in their first collegiate starts. They will be back next season with a year of Pastner Seasoning. It’s a rebuilding project; the best way to do that is to ensure you got guys who can grow with you.

In another life, if I were to ever coach, I would build the program with mostly freshmen and sophomores. The first two years I would take a beating but that third year I would have something special 2 or 3 seasoned veterans who understand me, my coaching style, and the system sprinkled in with some top young energetic freshmen recruits. Head Coach Pastner, each time I see him seems to be salivating at the bit with a strategic plan and vision for what he sees down the road. Admitting he has never been a part of a rebuild like this, he seems to be excited about the opportunity to put his signature on a program. In Memphis following legendary coach John Calipari a successful program was intact that’s like someone giving you the key to the car and be under a microscope of questions. Calipari didn’t’ t do It that way so why are you etc. in 7 years they went to the NCAA tournaments four times and had a winning record 167-73

At Georgia Tech he has the opportunity to build the engine put on the wheels, doors, and roll up the windows and choose the type of paint and color. The great thing about a rebuild you the coach is the face of the franchise. With their physical gift of size the Yellow Jackets s outscored Tennessee Tech 28-40 in the paint. They really separated in the second half shooting 69% from the field going 18-26. For the game they connected on 28-50 attempts resulting in a 56% outing. Meanwhile their counterparts shot 33% from the field going 21-63. Georgia Tech ran an offense with a lot of motion changed defenses throughout the game from a full court press to increase the pace,  to half court, zone and man to man. The team scored 70 points tonight but the coach wants to see them up around 80 or 90. He had both praise and criticism of his players.”

“Coach Reveno has done a good job with Ben with the big men stuff; he’s done a good job helping him develop. Again, Ben had 15 [points] and 8 [rebounds] and he should have had about 25 and 16. He’s good enough to get that. He’s got to be more aggressive, even though he had five blocks. He didn’t play a lot of minutes last year, … A lot of these guys have just not played minutes and so they’re going to be thrown in the fire and there’s going to be highs and lows because they’re going to just get better by just playing.” Ben in his post-game interview admitted to playing passive saying “I guess it’s finally starting to sink in that my team will be better if I play more aggressive on the offensive end.” He is projecting Josh Okogie could be an All-ACC player.

“Josh did a nice job, he had 18 [points] and five [rebounds] in 21 minutes, I think Josh Okogie has got a chance down the road to be an All-ACC player. He’s really good; I’m a big, big fan of Josh Okogie. I just didn’t think he played really well tonight; he can even play way better. He’s got a chance to be an excellent, high level, big time Georgia Tech basketball player; he’s got that ability. He’s got to be really focused on being disciplined with the little details, on every little thing. Two of his three fouls were 94 feet from the basket in the first half, they were silly fouls. Those are just little things that he has got to get better at.”

The coach shared a glimpse of his vision to how basketball should be played “I don’t want to call a play every time down 1, 2 I don’t like doing that I want our guys to be able to play with freedom and discipline within structure, be a basketball player and make plays along with that comes a lot of responsibility they have to understand how to play the right way, how to play with freedom how to play in attack mode and how to play with pace.” Sounds like he is saying don’t always think about the play everything can’t be scripted sometimes you have to use your natural abilities just have to recognize the opportunity and react.


Next up for Georgia Tech is Southern at home in McCamish Pavilion, Monday night at 7:30 PM.

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