After two tumultuous years that saw Tech finish below .500, hire a new coach, Brian Gregory, and play an entire season away from home, the Jackets enter the 2012-13 campaign hoping to bounce back and make a run in a weakened ACC. With the majority of last year’s roster returning and a slew of talented newcomers, the Jackets have the potential to emerge as a quiet contender in the conference.
Redshirt juniors Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey are experienced leaders of a front court group that should be the team’s strength. Miller’s defensive presence and Holsey’s ability to score at the rim complement each other, and the strong shooting abilities of sophomore Julian Royal and highly-touted freshman Robert Carter offer flexibility in the forward/center rotation.
In the back court, Tech will lean on three familiar players, junior wing Jason Morris, redshirt junior guard Brandon Reed, and senior point guard Mfon Udofia, to bounce back after struggling last year. The Jackets have plenty of young depth at the wing positions, with freshmen Marcus Georges-Hunt and Chris Bolden, and Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole in the rotation. Grad student Pierre Jordan brings additional experience at the point, and Tech may add a younger option if Poole’s younger brother, freshman point guard Solomon Poole, enrolls early and joins the team for the spring.
Gregory has rapidly improved the team in his short time at Tech, particularly on the defensive end. The 2012-13 team will rely heavily on young, untested players, but the talent is in place for the team to contend.
The women’s basketball team comes into the 2012 season riding momentum from a historic 2011 campaign featuring major tournament runs. Tech is ranked as high as No. 20 nationally and has been picked to finish second in the ACC by preseason polls. Tech is also hoping to have the first women’s sellout in school history as the season opens in McCamish Pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 11, against Tennessee. The game will feature the 40th Anniversary celebration of Title IX and will feature prominent figures in the women’s sports movement.
Head coach Machelle Joseph begins her 10th season at Tech, coming off a season in which the Jackets won a program-record 26 games. The Jackets also played in their second ACC Championship game, narrowly falling to Maryland, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 round for the first time in the program’s history before bowing out to eventual national champion Baylor.
Junior guard Tyaunna Marshall returns as the eighth-leading scorer in Tech history, averaging 14 points per game. She started in all but one game last season and finished her sophomore year with 503 total points, the second-highest total of any Tech sophomore in team history. She finished the season as a second team All-ACC member including a berth on the first team All-ACC Tournament roster.
Sophomore Sydney Wallace was named to the 2012 ACC All-Freshman team and played in 34 of 35 games, improving throughout the season and setting Tech scoring records in the first round tournament game. She will remain a key figure alongside Marshall in Tech’s backcourt.