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Georgia Tech #ProJackets Basketball Report

THE FLATSJose Alvarado is not fooling around in second year with Pelicans … Derrick Favors embracing leadership role in Houston … Josh Okogie gives Suns another ball hawk … Thaddeus Young on rule changes and role with Raptors … more in this week’s #ProJackets Report.

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PELICANS SEE ALVARADO NOT FOOLING AROUND

Jose (Alvarado) is hard to describe, but you just know he’s going to bring that passion and energy to the game that you would want to see from anybody. He knows how to make himself a threat. Don’t let him fool y’all…”

Those were Zion Williamson’s words after watching Alvarado put on a show for the Smoothie King Center faithful who came out to the only true home preseason game of the year. Williamson is not falling for the tricks that destroyed the Detroit Pistons. Not after Alvarado “had 28 (points) and how many rebounds? Five? He’s doing this off the bench. We have a special group.”

The New Orleans Pelicans are running it back with last season’s playoff roster but also adding Zion Williamson and rookie Dyson Daniels. Alvarado, who started the run as part of the hyped-up DNP-CD bench mob, ran with his two-way rookie contract opportunity last year to carve out some minutes on a playoff team.

Alvarado secured a guaranteed NBA deal by doing the small things like pestering Chris Paul into 8-second violations. It’s that same attention to detail that will keep him on the court this season. The Puerto Rico National Team star did not take much time off this summer and has made some obvious improvements to his game.

The Georgia Tech alum was also adamant during media day that his intensity levels will remain at the same high level through all 82 games. Through three preseason games, Alvarado’s production and energy this preseason has impressed his teammates. Those teammates are in turn putting the NBA on notice: Grand Theft Alvarado is no one-hit-wonder.

More from SI.com

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FAVORS MAKES GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION IN HOUSTON

The lone positive that came out of practice was the arrival of Derrick Favors and Theo Maledon, who have made great first impressions inside the Rockets’ locker room.

“Those guys are professionals — it’s almost like they have been here since day one,” Jae’Sean Tate said. “They are going to help us, and they add depth to our bench.”

The Rockets landed Favors and Maledon in the eight-player trade that sent David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Houston also obtained Moe Harkless and Ty Jerome, but they were waived before joining the team.

Assistant coach John Lucas II described Maledon as a “solid player” who can shoot the ball. He defined the addition of Favors as another veteran leader who can teach Houston’s young corps how to be a professional.

More from SI.com

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FAVORS EMBRACING LEADERSHIP ROLE WITH ROCKETS

Veteran NBA big man Derrick Favors wasn’t expecting the recent trade that sent him from the Thunder to the Rockets, which was primarily completed for financial reasons (on Oklahoma City’s end) and draft compensation (on Houston’s end).

But now that he’s arrived, Favors is ready to make the most of it — regardless of whether he plays or watches from the bench.

In comments prior to Friday’s preseason victory over Toronto, which was the first for Favors as an active player for the Rockets, he said:

I’m happy to be here. This is a young team, and they play hard. It was a little bit unexpected, for me, but I’m happy to be here. I think I can provide some good leadership to the team, and help them in any way that they need help.

I’ve been on young teams before. This isn’t my first rodeo with this. I know how to approach it.”

More from USAToday.com

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OKOGIE’S ARRIVAL BRINGS BALL HAWK TO SUNS’ ROSTER

Entering Year 4 of the Monty Williams and James Jones era, the Phoenix Suns have never had a player quite like wing Josh Okogie.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds, you can sense how Okogie can come across as physically imposing. Okogie said Saturday that when Williams saw his thigh muscles, he compared it to the athletic phenomenon Bo Jackson.

On top of his strength with a 7-foot wingspan, Okogie sprinted at 20 miles an hour during the Suns’ summer testing. That speed prompted Williams to bring up Jackson when discussing Okogie.

The recently turned 24-year-old Okogie has built up a deserved reputation on the defensive end, where he puts those gifts to use. Given the positions he can cover with his size, strength and length, Okogie is unlike anyone Phoenix has had who could slot into the guard rotation.

“I think he can be a guy that comes off of our bench and just goes in and shuts somebody down,” Williams said of Okogie on Sept. 28. “He’s a guy that hasn’t found his niche in the league just yet where it’s consistent but that doesn’t mean he can’t. We hope over the course of time he makes it hard on me to keep him off the floor. From that standpoint, that was the excitement.”

More from ArizonaSports.com

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THADDEUS YOUNG TRAINING CAMP AVAILABILITY

Thaddeus Young, heading into his 16th season in the NBA, speaks at the Toronto Raptors’ media availability on October 11.

WATCH: Young media availability video

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Yellow Jackets Eurobasket Report

Courtesy of Eurobasket LLC

  • Adam Smith (6’1”-PG-1992, graduated ‘2016, plays pro in Spain) led his Spanish team Bilbao to a victory against the closely-ranked Nymburk (0-1) 68-54 in the Basketball Champions League last Tuesday. He recorded 11 points in 23 minutes. It was his first game for Bilbao this season. It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. His team is placed second in the Basketball Champions League.
  • Jordan Usher (6’7”-F-1999, graduated ‘2022, plays in Turkey). He could not help Besiktas Icrypex Istanbul to beat Manisa. Usher scored 8 points. his team was defeated 73-66 on the road by the lower-ranked Manisa. It’s Usher’s first season with the team. He has relatively good stats this year 11.0ppg, 3.0rpg and 2.0apg.
  • Charles Mitchell (6’8”-F/C-1993, graduated ‘2016, currently in Argentina), who plays in Argentina was not able to help Obera (2-1) in their last game. Despite his very good performance the second-placed Obera (2-1) lost 79-85 at home to the lower-ranked (#3) Regatas in the group B of Liga Sudamericana. Mitchell had a double-double by scoring 22 points and getting 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. The Regular Season already ended in the Liga Sudamericana. It’s Mitchell’s first season with the team. He has individually a very good year with high stats. Mitchell averages 18.3ppg and 7.0rpg in three games he played so far.
  • Robert Sampson (6’8”-F-1992, graduated ‘2015, plays pro in Japan) was not able to secure a victory for Tokyo Z (1-3) in their last game on Friday. Despite his good performance the seventh-placed Tokyo Z (1-3) was crushed100-68 in a derby game by the leading Koshigaya Alphas in the East group. Sampson was the second best scorer with 12 points. He also added 6 rebounds. But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen. This year Sampson averages 9.3ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.3apg and 2.8spg. Sampson is a former Eurobasket Summer League player, which is considered top international summer league in the market.
  • Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5”-F-1994, graduated ‘2016, plays in Kuwait) led his Kuwaiti team Kuwait to a victory over the closely-ranked Ahly Benghazi (1-2) 76-60 in the Arab Club Championships on Wednesday night. Georges-Hunt was MVP of the game. He recorded 19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 36 minutes. It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. Al Kuwait SC (3-0) is placed first in the Arab Club Championships. So far his team won all three games in the Regular Season. They will play only one more game in the Arab Club Championships Regular Season. And that game will be critical. Georges-Hunt has relatively good stats this year 11.0ppg, 5.5rpg and 5.3apg in four games. He is a naturalized Virgin Islander.
  • Avi Schafer (6’8”-C-1998, graduated ‘2019, currently in Japan) contributed to a SeaHorses Mikawa’s victory against the sixth-ranked Sendai 89ers 80-70 in the Japanese B1 League in Sunday night’s game. He recorded 6 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. This season Schafer averages 4.5ppg and 4.3rpg. He is a naturalized Japanese.
  • Experienced Anthony McHenry (6’8”-SF-1983, graduated ‘2005, plays pro in Japan) helped Shinshu BW win their game against the third-ranked Gunma CT crushing them 80-55 in the Japanese B1 League last Saturday. He scored 13 points, had 6 rebounds and dished 3 assists in 27 minutes. This year McHenry averages 7.8ppg, 4.5rpg and 2.0apg in four games.
  • Gani Lawal (6’9”-F/C-1988, graduated ‘2010, plays in Russia) helped Runa Basket win their game against the eighth-ranked Kupol-Rodniki 75-70 in the Russian Superleague 1 (second division) on Thursday night. Lawal recorded 10 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. It was his first game for Runa Basket this season. Lawal is a naturalized Nigerian.
  • Abdoulaye Gueye (6’9”-C-1994, graduated ‘2019, currently in Turkey) couldn’t help Samsunspor in their game against Cagdas BS in the Turkish TBL (second division), despite his very good performance in Friday night’s game. Gueye was the second best scorer with 20 points. He also added 8 rebounds in 36 minutes. It was his first game for Samsunspor this season. But his team lost 86-90.

Other former Georgia Tech players who play in pro basketball:

  • Ben Lammers (6’10”-C-1995) plays for ALBA Berlin in German BBL
  • Thaddeus Young (6’8”-F-1988) plays for Toronto Raptors in the NBA
  • Josh Okogie (6’4”-G-1998) plays for Phoenix Suns in the NBA
  • Derrick Favors (6’10”-F-1991) plays for Houston Rockets in the NBA
  • Jose Alvarado (6’0”-PG-1998) plays for New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA
  • Alade Aminu (6’10”-F/C-1987) plays for Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rican BSN
  • James Banks III (6’10”-F/C-1998) played for Texas Legends in the NBA G League
  • Kammeon Holsey (6’8”-F-1990) played for College Park SkyHawks in the NBA G League
  • Glen Rice Jr. (6’6”-F-1991) played for Power in the Big3
  • Moses Wright (6’9”-F-1998) plays for Zhejiang Golden Bulls in the China Basketball Association
  • Michael Devoe (6’5”-G-1999) played for Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Summer League

Notice: The list above includes only some of alumni playing currently in pro basketball. Check complete list of Georgia Tech basketball alumni.

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