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Georgia Tech #ProJackets Basketball Report

THE FLATS – Recent stellar play has put Josh Okogie in position for a starting role as Suns prepare for Kevin Durant’s debut … Kenny Anderson finds fulfillment coaching at an HBCU with deep history … Jose Alvarado has his high school jersey retired …  more in this week’s #ProJackets Report.

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OKOGIE “LOOKING LIKE” FIFTH STARTER AS DURANT MAKES SUNS DEBUT

Josh Okogie kept hoisting and hoisting shots after a lengthy practice with Suns coach Monty Williams and several coaches and staff applauding his effort at Spectrum Center.

Sweating through and through his practice jersey, Okogie was the last player on the court.

On the grind is nothing new for Okogie, but he has worked and played his way into a position to be the fifth starter with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton.

“I feel like I’m a starter in the NBA,” Okogie said. “That’s why I work the way I do. Here, the opportunity presented itself that I would be starting. So my job is to make sure that I can solidify that and hopefully stay here.”

In his last six games, with the last five being starts, Okogie is averaging 18.5 points on 53.4% shooting and 5.8 rebounds.

The athletic 6-4 guard with the 7-foot wingspan, who Phoenix signed to a one-year deal last summer, is shooting 48.6% from 3 (18-of-37) during this six-game stretch.

And Okogie has done all of this wearing a protective mask after having his nose broken from an inadvertent elbow from Ayton in a game Jan. 16 at Memphis.

More from AZCentral.com

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OKOGIE’S CAREER-BEST STRETCH COULD EARN HIM BIG SPOT IN SUNS’ PLAYOFF ROTATION

But the shining light of the Suns development program might be Josh Okogie, a 24-year old washout from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had to accept a minimum-salary contract this past summer after his $11 million, 4 year rookie contract expired.

The 6’4”, 213 pound Okogie is incredibly athletic and physical, blessed with a 7-foot wingspan and the motor to be one of the best defensive players in the league. But his offense was so non-existent — damaging even — that he simply couldn’t stay on the floor for a Wolves team that needed all kinds of defensive help to shore up the deficiencies of stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. And they just let him go after the season.

Okogie was at best a mildly interesting add to the Suns roster last summer. The Suns had no ready spot for a shooting guard who couldn’t shoot in their rotation.

More from Bright Side of the Sun

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KENNY ANDERSON NYC HOOPS LEGEND, FINDS FULFILLMENT AT HBCU

Kenny Anderson walked north along the main pathway through the campus of Fisk University, amid buildings that represent some of this city’s most important moments, toward the dormitories, where a recruit and his parents were supposed to meet him.

But wait. Were the dorms supposed to be later? Anderson stopped, sighed and pulled out his phone. Short-term memory loss is a lasting effect, a likely permanent one, of the massive stroke he suffered in February 2019 and the smaller stroke he had about 14 months later.

The list of complaints beyond that is short. Anderson, 52, is where he wants to be. He hasn’t done much winning since Fisk hired him to be its men’s basketball coach in the fall of 2018, and he hasn’t made much money — relative, at least, to the more than $63 million he earned in a 14-year NBA career and to the salaries of college basketball coaches at higher levels.

NAIA coaches typically sweep their gym floors, wash their uniforms and need multiple years to reach six figures. Anderson’s name did not award him a higher salary than the norm when Fisk hired him, and his practices start at 6 a.m. because class schedules at Fisk don’t adjust for athletics.

But this job is what he saw in it, fulfillment in a journey through missteps that have played out in public and trauma he no longer needs to keep private. Certainly, they are linked, as therapy, a near-death experience and his wife of 16 years, Natasha, have helped him see.

More from The Athletic

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ALVARADO’S HIGH SCHOOL COACH TALKS ABOUT HIS SUCCESS

On the latest Pelicans Podcast presented by SeatGeek, Joe Cardosi and Jim Eichenhofer speak to Jose Alvarado’s high school basketball coach, Joe Arbitello of Christ the King High School (10:10). Coach Arbitello discusses retiring Jose’s high school jersey number, the local reaction to Jose’s success, and how he applies the lessons of Jose’s success at each level to the kids he coaches.

Listen to full podcast

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Eurobasket #ProJackets Report

Courtesy of Eurobasket LLC

Ben Lammers (6’10”-C-1995, played in 2014-18, plays pro in Germany) contributed to an easy victory against the 13th-ranked Crvena Zvezda (11-14) 87-72 in the Euroleague in Friday night’s game. He recorded 8 points and blocked 2 blocks in 21 minutes. ALBA Berlin (7-18) is located at the very bottom in the Euroleague. But the situation may improve as they ended a series of six consecutive loses. This year Lammers averages 6.5ppg and 3.0rpg in 21 games he played so far.

Josh Okogie (6’4”-G-1998, played in 2016-18, plays in the NBA) led Phoenix Suns to a victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-31) 124-115 in the NBA last Friday. Okogie scored 15 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. The Phoenix Suns have 33-28 record this season. It’s Okogie’s first year with the team. This year he averages 6.5ppg, 3.3rpg and 1.3apg. Okogie is a naturalized Nigerian.

Jose Alvarado (6’0”-PG-1998, played in 2017-16, currently in the NBA), who plays in the NBA could not help the New Orleans Pelicans (30-30) to beat the Toronto Raptors (29-31). Alvarado recorded 7 points in 15 minutes. The New Orleans Pelicans (30-30) lost 110-115 on the road to the Raptors. Alvarado has relatively good stats this year 9.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.1apg and 1.1spg in 59 games.

Josh Heath (6’1”-PG-1994, played in 2014-17, plays pro in Belgium) was not able to help Stella Artois Leuven Bears in their last game on Saturday. Despite his good performance Stella Artois Leuven Bears was defeated 78-74 in Liege by the lower-ranked Basket (#12). Heath recorded 13 points and added 6 assists. It’s Heath’s fourth season with the team. He has relatively good stats this year 10.2ppg, 2.5rpg, 6.5apg and 1.2spg.

Charles Mitchell (6’8”-F/C-1993, played in 2014-16, plays in Argentina) was the major contributor in Obera’s victory against the 17th-ranked Comunicaciones (7-20) crushing them 95-63 in the Argentinian La Liga last Sunday. He recorded 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 24 minutes. It was his first game for Obera this season. His team is placed fifth in the La Liga. There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.

Experienced Gani Lawal (6’9”-F/C-1988, played in 2007-10, currently in Russia) contributed to a Runa Basket’s victory against the closely-ranked TSU 75-68 in the Russian Superleague 1 (second division) on Friday night. He recorded 14 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. This season Lawal averages 9.7ppg, 6.7rpg and 1.1bpg. He is a naturalized Nigerian.

Michael Devoe (6’5”-G-1999, played in 2018-22, plays pro in the NBA G League) was not able to secure a victory for the Ontario Clippers in their game against the Stockton Kings in the NBA G League. He cannot count it as his best performance. Devoe recorded only 2 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 14 minutes. His team were edged 114-113 in the NBA G League. This year Devoe averages 6.8ppg, 3.4rpg and 1.6apg in 37 games.

Other former Georgia Tech players, who play in pro basketball:

  • Adam Smith (6’1”-PG-1992, played in 2015-16) plays for Bilbao in Spanish Liga Endesa
  • Thaddeus Young (6’8”-F-1988, played in 2006-07) plays for Toronto Raptors in the NBA
  • Derrick Favors (6’10”-F-1991, played in 2009-23) played for Atlanta Hawks in the NBA
  • Jordan Usher (6’7”-SF-1999, played in 2019-22) plays for Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul in Turkish BSL
  • Avi Schafer (6’8”-C-1998, played in 2017-19) plays for SeaHorses Mikawa in Japanese B1 League
  • Moses Wright (6’9”-F-1998, played in 2017-21) plays for Zhejiang Golden Bulls in Chinese CBA
  • Alade Aminu (6’10”-F/C-1987, played in 2005-09) played for Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rican BSN few monts ago
  • Zachery Peacock (6’8”-F/C-1987, played in 2006-10) played for FOS Provence Basket in French Betclic ELITE ProA last year
  • James Banks III (6’10”-F/C-1998, played in 2018-20) plays for Texas Legends in the NBA G League
  • Kammeon Holsey (6’8”-F-1990, played in 2009-09) played for College Park SkyHawks in the NBA G League last year
  • Trae Golden (6’3”-PG-1991, played in 2013-14) plays for Beijing Royal Fighters in Chinese CBA
  • Brandon Alston (6’5”-G-1995, played in 2017-19) plays for Batumi in Georgian Superleague
  • Daniel Miller (6’11”-C-1991, played in 2009-14) played for Levanga Hokkaido Sapporo in Japanese B1 League last year
  • Anthony McHenry (6’8”-SF-1983, played in 2001-05) plays for Shinshu BW in Japanese B1 League
  • Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5”-F-1994, played in 2012-16) plays for Kuwait in Kuwaiti D1
  • Evan Jester (6’7”-F-1999, played in 2017-19) plays for Atlanta Aliens in the ABA
  • Tadric Jackson (6’2”-G-1994, played in 2014-18) plays for Atlanta Aliens in the ABA
  • Abdoulaye Gueye (6’9”-C-1994, played in 2014-15) plays for Samsunspor in Turkish TBL
  • Robert Sampson (6’8”-F-1992, played in 2013-13) plays for Tokyo HT in Japanese B3 League
  • Will Bynum (6’0”-PG-1983, played in 2001-05) played for Bivouac in the Big3 last year
  • Glen Rice Jr. (6’6”-F-1991, played in 2009-12) played for Power in the Big3 last year
  • Shembari Phillips (6’3”-G-1997, played in 2017-17) played for EPG Baskets Koblenz in German ProB last year

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

#PROJACKETS IN THE NBA/G LEAGUE IN 2023-24

PLAYERDATANUMBERSTEAM
JOSE ALVARADO
Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Number: 15
NBA Experience: 3rd year
Years at Georgia Tech: 2017-21
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Status: Active
6-0, 179 lbs
2023-24 Stats
7.1 ppg
2.3 rpg
2.1 apg
41.2% FG
Record: 49-33
Standing: 7th place, -8.0 GB
Streak: L1
Last 10: 5-5
JAMES BANKS III
Team: Maine Celtics
Number: 5
G League Experience: 3rd year
Years at Georgia Tech: 2018-20
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Status: Active
6-10, 250 lbs
2023-24 Stats
5.3 ppg
4.7 rpg
1.5 bpg
54.2% FG
Record: 21-13
Standing: 2nd place, -1.0 GB
Streak: W1
Last 10: 8-2
MICHAEL DEVOE
Team: Memphis Hustle
Number: 10
G League Experience: 2nd year
Years at Georgia Tech: 2017-21
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
Status: Active
6-4, 183 lbs
2023-24 Stats
13.9 ppg
3.9 rpg
3.1 apg
47.4% FG
Record: 15-19
Standing: 12th, -9.0 GB
Streak: W1
Last 10: 3-7
DERRICK FAVORS
Team: Windy City Bulls (G League)
Number: 14
NBA Experience: 12 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2009-10
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Status: Active
6-9, 265 lbs
2023-24 Stats
6.2 ppg
4.7 rpg
0.7 bpg
66.7% FG
Record: 15-19
Standing: 13th place, -7.0 GB
Streak: L1
Last 10: 4-6
JOSH OKOGIE
Team: Phoenix Suns
Number: 2
NBA Experience: 5 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2016-18
Hometown: Snellville, Ga.
Status: Active
6-4, 213 lbs
2023-24 Stats
4.6 ppg
2.6 rpg
1.1 apg
41.7% FG
Record: 49-33
Standing: 6th place, -8.0 GB
Streak: W3
Last 10: 7-3
THADDEUS YOUNG
Team: free agent
Number: 30
NBA Experience: 16 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2006-07
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Status: Active
6-8, 235 lbs
2023-24 Stats
4.2 ppg
3.0 rpg
1.7 apg
60.2% FG
Record: 49-33
Standing: 6th place, -8.0 GB
Streak: W3
Last 10: 7-3

 

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