There’s a stunning development down in Atlanta. Word is Georgia Tech’s Brian Oliver is transferring.
This is a blow for new coach Bran Gregory. The team is already bad enough, but now they’re down to eight scholarship players? Ouch.
There are always two basic questions that need to be asked when a player transfers. Why and what next (with the team)? Let’s deal with the why.
Obviously I’m not going to know why Oliver is leaving Atlanta. It seems odd when you consider out of all the returning players, he was second in scoring, rebounds and assists. He was also Tech’s best defender, capable of defending multiple positions.
Sure the Yellow Jackets are going to struggle in 2011-2012, but that never kept a string of Tech players from performing well enough in the past to get to the next level.
Maybe he was tired of losing to teams like Kennesaw State. Maybe he and new coach Brian Gregory didn’t see eye-to-eye on the direction of the team. Again, a lot of maybe’s and no facts.
I also wonder what the impact Ryan Harrow had on him. If you recall, Harrow is the North Carolina State freshman who left the Wolfpack this off-season and joined the Kentucky Wildcats.
I’m sure a player like Oliver could see himself making the same kind of upward move (after sitting out for one season of course).
As for Georgia Tech, this isn’t going to help their cause. They’ve already lost Iman Shumpert and Maurice Morris from last year’s 13-18 team. Now they lose arguable their best all-around returning player (for the record I had Oliver ranked #34 on my “ACC’s Top-100 Returning Players” list.
As for who benefits from this, look no further than sophomore, Jason Morris.
Who is this young man?
He’s a uber-athletic small forward who is always looking for that ESPN highlight. Morris will need to become a basketball player though and not just a athlete. He’s a solid player when he plays smart, but takes too many dumb shots and too many chances on the defensive end.
Prior to Oliver leaving, Morris was primarily going to be a backup who could count on 20 minutes or so on the court.
After Morris, there is no other true small forward. Coach Gregory could go small and let Brandon Reed come in as a third guard with Mfon Udofia and Glen Rice Jr. However, the better option is probably going to go bigger and longer with either Kammeon Holsey or incoming freshman Julian Royal.
Both are technically power forwards and one will need to start at the 4-spot, but both are talented and diverse enough to play the three if need be.
Either way, losing Brian Oliver is not a good start to the Brian Gregory era. Prior to Oliver’s transfer, I had Tech ninth in the ACC. I was already re-thinking Wake Forest and moving them up in my next power rankings.
For now, no one is as bad as Boston College, so I see the Yellow Jackets battling an inexperienced Maryland team for 10th and 11th place.