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Georgia Tech #ProJackets Basketball Report

THE FLATSJosh Okogie’s role off the bench is key un Suns’ first-round series win in NBA playoffs … Check out a 2022-23 season in review for Jose Alvarado … more in this week’s #ProJackets Report.

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OKOGIE’S ROLE OFF BENCH KEY IN SUNS’ SERIES WIN

After the Suns eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers at home in Game 5 on Tuesday, Devin Booker said his team emphasized not wanting to return to L.A. and have to close out the first-round series in a potential Game 6.

Josh Okogie’s late fourth quarter steal from Clippers’ Norman Powell with about one minute left to play was a big reason why the series wasn’t going back to California.

“I thought JO’s (Josh Okogie) steal was one of the biggest plays in the fourth quarter and we just were able to make enough plays to win the game,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said.

Okogie had his postseason career highs 11 points and three assists plus two steals and two rebounds. He had hit best shooting performance (4-of-7 shooting, including a 3-pointer) and the most time he’s played for the Suns in the playoffs.

Okogie was back in his sixth man role like earlier this season before he became a starter for their final 25 games before the playoffs. Okogie, who signed a one-year deal with Phoenix last July, started in all of Durant’s eight appearances for Phoenix after he was acquired from Brooklyn on Feb. 9.

“Book, CP (Chris Paul), D.A. (Deandre Ayton), Kev (Durant), they get so much attention, when they just get me open, I just try to get in a position that I know I can knock down my shots,” Okogie said.

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JOSE ALVARADO’S 2022-23 NBA SEASON IN REVIEW

Due to a leg injury, New Orleans fans were denied the fun and enjoyment of watching Alvarado play in any March or April games. Partly as a result, basketball aficionados everywhere were denied the thrill of seeing Alvarado and the Pelicans participate in the NBA playoffs, after “Grand Theft Alvarado” had emerged as a 2022 postseason darling while facing Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. “It’s very emotional, because now we have to watch the games,” Alvarado said during his April 14 exit interview on the season concluding. “And we know we should be playing.”

After appearing in 61 of the regular season’s first 62 games, Alvarado was sidelined by a stress reaction in his right tibia. He tried to return to the court – half-jokingly saying that he was giving the team’s trainers “headaches” in the process – but couldn’t get back in uniform by NOLA’s April 12 play-in loss to Oklahoma City. The Pelicans lost five of the first eight games Alvarado missed from March 1-17, a span that proved costly in the Western Conference standings.

“We missed Jose a lot these last couple stretches,” forward Trey Murphy said. “He definitely was a difference-maker, and his presence definitely was missed. I know he’s going to come back and have that same hunger that he always has, especially (after) missing those games, thinking he could contribute.”

“The season was disappointing for all of us,” Alvarado said of the Pelicans going 42-40 after a 23-12 start. “We knew we were better than (the team’s final record). We dealt with a lot of adversity. For right now, you’ve just got to move forward, learn from this year. Injuries, you can’t control. Stuff is going to happen. It’s what you do with it.” Some of Alvarado’s top performances took place as the Pelicans were building the West’s best record, showing significant promise despite only having their top three scorers together for 10 games.

More from Pelicans.com

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USING OKOGIE AS A SCREENER ONE WAY SUNS SOLVING PROBLEMS

Over the course of the rest of the regular season — and moving past the departure of Mikal Bridges — Josh Okogie became progressively more and more integrated in the Suns’ offense. Monty Williams had to pick his spots and get a little more creative in some instances because of Okogie’s limitations as a true offensive threat, and one of the ways to do that is utilizing him in that Bridges-adjacent screening role.

However, when it came to the round 1 series against the Clippers, Okogie was almost completely a non-factor on offense, at least to start, averaging just 4.8 points and 1.0 assists over the first four games before an 11-point, 3-assist game 5. Part of that is, of course, due to minutes (averaged 16.8 in the first four and played 32 in the fifth), but that also speaks to a willingness to be more creative with his utilization in the fifth game.

In the first example of the Okogie screen from game 5, it closely resembles some of those Bridges plays. He slips — instead of setting — the screen and in the split second the defense is reacting, Booker finds him near the nail where he’s able to dump it off to Ayton for an easy finish.

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Eurobasket #ProJackets Report

Courtesy of Eurobasket LLC

Adam Smith (6’1”-PG-1992, played in 2015-16, plays pro in Spain) led Bilbao to a victory over the 15th-ranked Manresa (9-20) 80-76 in the Spanish Liga Endesa on Saturday night. He was MVP of the game. Smith scored 28 points (!!!), had 4 rebounds and dished 4 assists in 34 minutes. Surne Bilbao Basket (16-10) is placed third in the Liga Endesa. It was his team’s fourth consecutive victory in a row. There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical. Smith has relatively good stats this season 14.3ppg, 2.2rpg and 3.0apg.

Moses Wright (6’9”-F-1998, played in 2017-21, plays in China) was the main contributor in a Zhejiang Golden Bulls’ victory against the closely-ranked Aviators (28-14) 91-87 in the Chinese CBA in Tuesday night’s game. Wright was MVP of the game. He recorded 30 points (!!!), 9 rebounds, 3 assists and made 2 blocks; quite an impressive performance considering it’s only Wright’s second season in pro basketball. It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. Zhejiang Golden Bulls (35-7) are placed first in the CBA. It’s Wright’s first year with the team. He has relatively good stats this season 12.5ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.4apg and 1.4spg in 42 games he played so far.

Ben Lammers (6’10”-C-1995, played in 2014-18, currently in Germany), who plays in the German BBL could not help ALBA Berlin (29-3) in their game last Tuesday. Despite his good performance the league leader ALBA Berlin was defeated 84-77 on the road by the second-ranked Telekom Baskets. Lammers was the second best scorer with 13 points. He also added 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 21 minutes. There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial. This season Lammers averages 6.9ppg, 4.4rpg and 1.1bpg.

Jordan Usher (6’7”-SF-1999, played in 2019-22, plays pro in Turkey) was not able to help Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul in their game against Dacka (14-13) in the Turkish BSL, despite his very good performance last Sunday. Usher scored 16 points and grabbed 5 rebounds; not bad, considering it’s only his first season in pro basketball. But Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul lost 93-100 in a derby game to the lower-ranked (#6) Dacka. Usher’s team will play only one more game in the Regular Season. And now that game is quite important. Usher has relatively good stats this year 15.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.2apg and 1.2spg in 26 games.

Josh Okogie (6’4”-G-1998, played in 2016-18, plays in the NBA) contributed to a Phoenix Suns’ victory against the Los Angeles Clippers (44-38) 136-130 in the NBA in Tuesday night’s game. Okogie scored 11 points and added 3 assists in 33 minutes. The Phoenix Suns have 45-37 record this season. It’s Okogie’s first year with the team. He has relatively good stats this year 7.2ppg, 3.4rpg and 1.4apg. Okogie is a naturalized Nigerian.

Josh Heath (6’1”-PG-1994, played in 2014-17, currently in Belgium) helped his Belgian team Stella Artois Leuven Bears win their game against the sixth-ranked BAL Weert 74-71 in the BNXT League last Saturday. Heath scored 11 points, had 4 rebounds and dished 4 assists. This year he averages 9.1ppg, 2.7rpg, 6.6apg and 1.3spg in 19 games.

Experienced Anthony McHenry (6’8”-SF-1983, played in 2001-05, plays pro in Japan) helped Shinshu BW win their game against the fourth-ranked Hiroshima Dragonflies 83-80 in the Japanese B1 League on Saturday night. He recorded a double-double by scoring 13 points and getting 10 rebounds. McHenry also added 5 assists in 36 minutes. He has relatively good stats this season 10.6ppg, 7.3rpg, 3.3apg, 1.1bpg and 1.3spg.

Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5”-F-1994, played in 2012-16, plays in Kuwait) helped his Kuwaiti team Kuwait win their game against the closely-ranked Shabab Al Ahli 110-100 in the West Asia Super League in Tuesday night’s game. He scored 16 points, made 5 passes and 6 steals. Georges-Hunt has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages 16.0ppg, 5.8rpg, 3.8apg and 2.0spg in eight games. Georges-Hunt is a naturalized Virgin Islander.

Brandon Alston (6’5”-G-1995, played in 2017-19, currently in Georgia) was not able to secure a victory for Batumi in their game against Kavkasia in the Georgian Superleague. Alston cannot count Tuesday’s game as one of the best ones. He recorded only 3 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 26 minutes. His team was edged 84-82. Alston has relatively good stats this season 10.5ppg, 3.9rpg and 2.8apg.

Glen Rice Jr. (6’6”-F-1991, played in 2009-12, plays pro in Venezuela) was the major contributor in Brillantes’ victory against the ninth-ranked Taurinos crushing them 119-78 in the Venezuelan SPB on Saturday night. Rice Jr. scored 16 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished 5 assists. He has very impressive stats this year 15.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 3.7apg and 1.3spg in 15 games.

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

  • Derrick Favors (6’10”-F-1991, played in 2009-23) plays for Atlanta Hawks in the NBA
  • Jose Alvarado (6’0”-PG-1998, played in 2017-16) plays for New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA
  • Thaddeus Young (6’8”-F-1988, played in 2006-07) plays for Toronto Raptors in the NBA
  • Avi Schafer (6’8”-C-1998, played in 2017-19) plays for SeaHorses Mikawa in Japanese B1 League
  • James Banks III (6’10”-F/C-1998, played in 2018-20) plays for Texas Legends in the NBA G League
  • Trae Golden (6’3”-PG-1991, played in 2013-14) plays for Beijing Royal Fighters in Chinese CBA
  • Charles Mitchell (6’8”-F/C-1993, played in 2014-16) plays for Obera in Argentinian La Liga
  • Tadric Jackson (6’2”-G-1994, played in 2014-18) plays for Atlanta Aliens in the ABA
  • Evan Jester (6’7”-F-1999, played in 2017-19) plays for Atlanta Aliens in the ABA
  • Abdoulaye Gueye (6’9”-C-1994, played in 2014-15) plays for Samsunspor in Turkish TBL
  • Michael Devoe (6’5”-G-1999, played in 2018-22) plays for Ontario Clippers in the NBA G League
  • Robert Sampson (6’8”-F-1992, played in 2013-13) plays for Yamaguchi in Japanese B3 League
  • Gani Lawal (6’9”-F/C-1988, played in 2007-10) plays for Runa Basket in Russian Superleague 1

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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