Changing tides for Tech mens’ basketball

Michael Devoe lays the ball in against Notre Dame. He highlights Tech’s returning players for the upcoming season. // Photo by Tuna Ergan Student Publications

At around the halfway point of the college basketball offseason, last season’s stars are preparing for their next chapter and newcomers have begun to arrive. The NBA’s Draft Combine was on June 21-27 and featured Tech’s Moses Wright among its 69 participants. Wright is one of two Tech players with their names eligible to be called on July 29 when the NBA holds its annual draft. Jose Alvarado is the other eligible prospect, and was one of 40 prospects at the G League Elite Camp that ran on June 19-21.

Wright got off to a strong start on day one of the combine. In five-on-five play he recorded 14 points and five rebounds while adding a block and a steal in 22 minutes. He had a balanced second game, scoring eight points and grabbing five boards, as well as a pair each of assists, steals and blocks. He measured at 6’7.75” without shoes and had a standing reach of nearly nine feet. He weighed in at about 226 pounds, putting him on the heavier end of the power forwards, but his low body fat percentage shows a player full of lean strength.

Wright’s testing numbers were generally strong. His 11.2 lane agility time was good for third among power forwards, but his shuttle time was second slowest among that group at 3.42. His three-quarter court sprint, which tests straight-line speed, was again good for third among his position group with a 3.15 time. His standing vertical of 31.5 was tied for third in the position, and his max vertical of 38 was third best as well. These numbers should boost his draft stock and cement him as one of the more athletic players at his position in the draft.

Alvarado measured at 5’11” and 175 pounds, making him the third shortest and second lightest player at the G League camp. His 7’10” standing reach was the second smallest and his 6’1” wingspan was the shortest among all players. His testing numbers were respectable, with a 27.5-inch standing vertical and a 34.5-inch max vertical. His three-quarter court sprint was near the top ten at the camp at 3.05 seconds, and he posted a lane agility time of 11.57 as well as a shuttle time of 3.13.

During scrimmage play at the camp, Alvarado recorded eight points, three assists, and two rebounds per game, shooting well from three point range but struggling inside the arc and at the free-throw line. He also blocked 1.5 shots per game, tied for third most, and his two steals per game was second most at the camp, showcasing his elite defensive play.

Michael Devoe was the first Tech player to test the draft waters after the 2021 season, but eventually declared his intent to return to Tech for another season in early June. Devoe was the ACC Tournament MVP for the Jackets’ miracle run to an ACC title and was the team’s third leading scorer on the year. He averaged about 15 points, four rebounds and three assists per game and shot at a 40-percent clip from three-point range.

Alongside Devoe, Jordan Usher, Bubba Parham and Khalid Moore will be the returning players with significant minutes played. Saba Gigiberia and Rodney Howard will likely battle for the starting center spot.

Joining the returning players is a top-30 recruiting class, highlighted by a pair of four-star shooting guards. Dallan Coleman is ranked as the 64th-best prospect by 247Sports and is listed as the 13th-best shooting guard.

Four-star shooting guard Miles Kelly is ranked 115th nationally and 27th at his position as the second half of that duo. Rounding out the class is three-star small forward Jalon Moore, ranked 157th nationally, and transfer Deivon Smith, who was a four-star point guard in high school and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA, allowing him to factor this year.

Tech came off of what may have been its best season in over a decade last year. Returning multiple starters from a tournament team and fielding a top-30 recruiting class should help keep the Jackets in the thick of the ACC and could land them back in the tournament. Coach Josh Pastner’s shifting defenses should continue to be a problem for opponents, and with some offensive firepower to help, Tech will be on the path for another strong year. Last season’s success may become more of a norm for the program.