THE FLATS – Derrick Favors eases back into life at a member of the Utah Jazz … Former Yellow Jackets Thaddeus Young and Josh Okogie begin new seasons with the Bulls and Timberwolves, respectively.
This week’s #ProJackets Report compiles more of the latest news, stories and social media posts on former Jackets and their activities of the past week.
DERRICK FAVORS’ RETURN TO UTAH
From KSLSports: There was an outpouring of joy from the Jazz players when the news broke Favors was returning. There were excited text messages and jubilant video calls, and it gave the Utah Jazz head coach a chance to reflect. Read more
From the Deseret News: Derrick Favors’ first touch in his Jazz return came on a pocket pass from Joe Ingles, which Favors laid in with ease. Read more
From KSLSports: Jazz center Derrick Favors scored the first points of his second stint with the team during the first quarter of Utah’s preseason game against the Phoenix Suns. With 2:04 left in the opening quarter, Jazz fans saw a familiar sight as Joe Ingles found a rolling Favors in the lane. The Jazz big man banked the ball off of the glass and into the bucket for the first points of his return. Read more
From Salt City Hoops: …the Jazz went from 2nd to 13th after losing Favors. Getting him back should be enough to ensure the Jazz can be a top-5 defense again if the wings simply do their job. Read more
One reason Favors returned to Utah: “I’m just a believer in his coaching style,” Favors said of head coach Quin Snyder. “The leadership he shows as a coach. He’s a player’s coach. He communicates with you. I just love him. That was one of the main reasons why I decided to come back was because of him.”
OKOGIE BEGINS SEASON 3 IN MINNESOTA
From the Star-Tribune: Josh Okogie is only entering his third season as an NBA player, but on the landscape of the Timberwolves’ roster, Okogie counts as one of the more veteran statesmen on a team filled with young players.
“I definitely do feel a little old, it’s weird,” Okogie, 22, said. “Physically, I’m not old. I feel as young as ever with this long break that we’ve been given, but just mentally, I feel like I know what’s going on, I know what the coaches expect, I know what the fans expect.”
For Okogie, that boils down to defense. His defensive tenacity is what helped him become a first-round pick and likely will keep him getting minutes as he develops an inconsistent shot (27% from three-point range for his career). Read more
From The Athletic: One of the most interesting discussion points in the early days of Timberwolves training camp has been coach Ryan Saunders’ willingness to explore using Josh Okogie at power forward in some lineups. There are several conclusions that can be drawn from such a declaration.
First and foremost, Saunders is a big fan of Okogie’s toughness, tenacity and defensive versatility. Saunders believes the third-year pit bull is strong enough to overcome what would be a significant height disadvantage and smart enough to find ways to make an impact next to Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt. Read more
From Dunking With Wolves: The idea of Josh Okogie playing the 4 isn’t something we’ve heard before, but it isn’t shocking. Okogie’s height and wingspan will play, and his ability in transition and as a cutter on offense and versatility on defense will give him a chance to earn some minutes there. Read more
From Timberwolves.com: Third-year guard Josh Okogie, arguably one of the team’s best defenders, is looking to enter into the new season with a renewed mindset on that end of the court.
“My first couple years, defensively, I was really aggressive,” said Okogie. “Now that I’m going into my third year, I’m looking forward to mixing in that same aggressiveness, but using it in a more efficient way by mixing it with film and smarts.”
YOUNG BEGINS SEASON 2 IN CHICAGO
From the Chicago Tribune: Forward Thaddeus Young said most of the team volunteered to return to Chicago before this week — about nine months since they last played — to start working out early and get a jump-start on learning the new coaching staff.
“It was a lot of individual work, but the good thing is we’re getting a feel for the coaches and we’re getting a feel for some of the stuff we’re going to be doing,” Young said. “They were able to give us worksheets of the plays and stuff like that that we can go through.” Read more
Young misses preseason opener (NBC Sports): Chicago was without Thaddeus Young, who sat with a lower left leg infection, something announced by coach Billy Donovan pregame.
“[Young] was dealing with a little bit of a lower leg infection that really was not too terrible to be honest with you, and then today in shootaround he kind of came in and it was bothering him,” Donovan said. “But he said he was fine, that he went through shootaround… They wanted to take him to the doctor and took him to the doctor and they advised with the lower leg infection that he sit out tonight and not play.”
More tests are coming for Young and there is no timetable for his return.
Young is in his second season with the Bulls after signing a three-year, $43.6 million contract (the third season of that deal is only $6 million guaranteed). Last season he averaged 10.3 points a game coming off the bench, but this is a different Bulls team under Donovan.
Young on new coach Billy Donovan: “I think a lot of guys within this franchise just needed a fresh start with a fresh face and just a new voice. Something different that they can look forward to each and every day. You know, different opinions, different mindset, but also with certain goals at hand.”
RANKING STEPH CURRY’S TEAMMATES
From the category of some people have too much time on their hands, Brady Klopfler of SBNation ranks all of Steph Curry’s teammates with the Golden State Warriors, in great detail, and lists former Tech star Anthony Morrow at No. 34 out of 106. Read more
GEORGES-HUNT MAKES SPLASH WITH NEW TEAM IN CHINA
Marcus Georges-Hunt notched a game-high 42 points as the Sichuan Blue Whales came from behind to beat the Zhejiang Lions 112-110 in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league here on Monday. Read more
#ProJackets on Social Media
At the end of the first quarter, the @UtahJazz lead the Phoenix Suns 33-26.
Mitchell has 9 points, Clarkson added 6.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) December 13, 2020
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 21, 2020
My day, week, year has been made!!! OMG!! 😭Thank you SO much @dfavors14. This literally means the world to me. You are not only an incredible athlete but an equally incredible human being. NEVER change. 🥺❤️ pic.twitter.com/sMZMZqpoJ3
— Morgan Gobert ( or go home )🐐🐻 🕷🕸 (@jazzedupmorgan) December 12, 2020
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) December 12, 2020
— Josh Okogie (@CallMe_NonStop) December 6, 2020
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Eurobasket #ProJackets Overseas Report
Courtesy of Eurobasket LLC
Every week we bring you a list of the top former Yellow Jackets players who continue their career in pro basketball.
Trae Golden (6’3”-PG-91, graduated ’14, plays pro in China) could not help Fujian Sturgeons (1-15) in their game last Saturday. Despite his very good performance the bottom-ranked Fujian Sturgeons were defeated140-134on the road by the higher-ranked Aviators (#14). Golden recorded a double-double by scoring 54 points and making 19 passes. He also added and 3 steals in 46 minutes. Golden has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages 32.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 12.2apg and 2.0spg.
Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5”-F-94, graduated ’16, plays in China) led Sichuan Blue Whales to a 2-point victory over the closely-ranked Guangsha Lions (9-7) 112-110 in the Chinese CBA in Monday night’s game. He was MVP of the game. Georges-Hunt had a double-double by scoring 42 points and getting 11 rebounds. He also added 5 assists. Sichuan Blue Whales (9-7) are placed eighth in the CBA. It was his team’s third consecutive victory in a row. It’s Georges-Hunt’s first season with the team. Georges-Hunt has very impressive stats this year 21.8ppg, 7.0rpg and 3.5apg in four games he played so far. He is a naturalized Virgin Islander.
Experienced Zachery Peacock (6’8”-C-87, graduated ’10, currently in France) was not able to help JL Bourg Basket in their game against Unics (6-3) in the Eurocup. He scored 9 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 26 minutes. But the third-placed JL Bourg Basket (5-3) was defeated76-71in Kazan by the second-ranked Unics in the group A of Eurocup. There are only two games left until the end of the Eurocup Regular Season. So now every game will be critical. It’s Peacock’s sixth season with the team. Peacock has relatively good stats this year 10.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.9apg and 1.1spg.
Avi Schafer (6’8”-C-98, graduated ’19, plays pro in Japan) was the major contributor in a SeaHorses Mikawa’s victory against the ninth-ranked Niigata Albirex (6-15) crushing them 100-69 in the Japanese B1 League on Sunday night. Schafer had a double-double by scoring 18 points and getting 10 rebounds; quite an impressive performance considering it’s only his second season in pro basketball. SeaHorses Mikawa (16-5) is placed first in West group. It was his team’s eighth consecutive victory in a row. It’s Schafer’s first year with the team. This season Schafer averages 7.4ppg, 4.6rpg and 1.4apg in 21 games. He is a naturalized Japanese.
Adam Smith (6’1”-PG-92, graduated ’16, plays in Greece) led Ionikos Nikaias to a victory over one of league’s weakest teams Larissa BC (1-4) crushing them 97-76 in the Greek A1 in Saturday night’s game. He was MVP of the game. Smith recorded 19 points and added 4 assists in 28 minutes. AO Ionikos Nikaias (2-5) is placed ninth in the A1. But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen. It’s Smith’s first year with the team. This season he has very high stats. Smith averages 15.4ppg, 2.1rpg, 4.6apg and 1.6spg.
Gani Lawal (6’9”-F/C-88, graduated ’10, currently in Qatar), who plays in the Qatari D1 was not able to secure a victory for Al Rayyan (0-3) in their last game. Despite Lawal’s very good performance the bottom-ranked Al Rayyan lost99-94in a derby game to the higher-ranked (#5) Al Ahli. He had a double-double by scoring 33 points and getting 18 rebounds. Lawal also added 3 assists and 4 blocks. He has very impressive stats this year 22.7ppg, 13.7rpg, 2.7apg and 2.0bpg in three games. Lawal is a naturalized Nigerian.
Daniel Miller (6’11”-C-91, graduated ’14, plays pro in Japan) couldn’t help Sendai 89ers (13-9) in their game last Sunday. Despite Miller’s very good performance the fourth-placed Sendai 89ers were defeated93-85at home by the second-ranked Cyberdyne Ibaraki Robots in the East group. He recorded a double-double by scoring 16 points and getting 14 rebounds. Miller also added 3 assists in 37 minutes. He has relatively good stats this season 12.0ppg, 9.6rpg, 4.2apg, 1.2bpg and 1.1spg.
Robert Sampson (6’8”-F-92, graduated ’15, plays in Romania) couldn’t help Focsani (14-5) in their last game. Despite Sampson’s very good performance Focsani was crushed102-72on the opponent’s court by the lower-ranked (#4) Sibiu. He had a double-double by scoring 22 points and getting 10 rebounds. Sampson also added 3 assists and 2 blocks. He has very impressive stats this year 16.0ppg, 8.5rpg, 2.0apg and 2.0bpg in two games. He is a former Eurobasket Summer League player, which is considered top summer league for players who want to play basketball overseas.
Anthony McHenry (6’8”-SF-83, graduated ’05, currently in Japan) contributed to a Shinshu BW’s victory against the eighth-ranked Yokohama BC 64-58 in the Japanese B1 League last Sunday. He scored 9 points, had 7 rebounds and dished 9 assists in 31 minutes. McHenry has relatively good stats this season 11.2ppg, 6.7rpg, 4.4apg and 1.1bpg.
James Banks (6’10”-F/C-98, graduated ’20, plays pro in Israel) managed to help Hapoel Altshuler Shaham Beer Sheva in a victory against the ninth-ranked Hapoel Tel-Aviv 88-75 in the Israeli Winner League on Sunday night. Banks recorded 5 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. This year he averages 3.2ppg, 4.5rpg and 2.3bpg in six games.
Other former Georgia Institute of Technology players, who play in pro basketball:
- Ben Lammers (6’10”-C-95) signed for ALBA Berlin in German BBL
- Glen Rice Jr. (6’6”-G/F-91) played for Juventus in Lithuanian LKL
- Josh Okogie (6’4”-G-98) plays for Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA
- Thaddeus Young (6’8”-F-88) plays for Chicago Bulls in the NBA
- Derrick Favors (6’10”-F-91) signed for Utah Jazz in the NBA
- Charles Mitchell (6’8”-F/C-93) signed for Nacional in Uruguayan LUB
- Kammeon Holsey (6’8”-F-90) played for Mykolaiv in Ukrainian Superleague
- Joshua Heath (6’2”-PG-94) plays for Stella Artois Leuven Bears in Belgian Euromillions League
- Brandon Alston (6’5”-G-95) played for Team Ehingen Urspring in German ProA
- Evan Jester (6’7”-F-99) plays for Atlanta Aliens in the ABA
- Abdoulaye Gueye (6’9”-F-94) signed for E.Netanya in Israeli National League
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 2020-21
Team: Utah Jazz
NBA Experience: 10 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2009-10
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
|6-9, 265 lbs|
Standing: 3rd / 2 GB
Last 10: 6-4
Team: Sioux Falls Skyforce
NBA Experience: 15 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2002-05
Hometown: Fort Washington, Md.
Status: Active/G League
|6-3, 197 lbs|
|Not currently signed|
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
NBA Experience: 2 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2016-18
Hometown: Snellville, Ga.
|6-4, 213 lbs|
Standing: 15th / 6 GB
Last 10: 2-8
Team: free agent
NBA Experience: 9 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2008-11
Hometown: Oak Park, Ill.
|6-5, 212 lbs|
|Not currently signed|
Team: Chicago Bulls
NBA Experience: 13 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2006-07
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
|6-8, 235 lbs|
Standing: 12th /3.5 GB
Last 10: 4-6