ATLANTA -- The focus for most fans is on football, but the Georgia Tech basketball team has hoops on its mind. The Yellow Jackets are taking a seven-day, six-night trip to the Bahamas, where they will compete against a Bahamian all-star team.
Georgia Tech will play games Thursday, Saturday and Sunday before returning home. The Yellow Jackets will also participate in a community service project. It is the first time the team has been out of the country since 1991.
“It’s going to be great for our team,” head coach Brian Gregory said. “It also gives us a chance to really start working on some things that we believe are important for our team to be successful this year, things that we identified at the end of last season that we’ve worked on more individually in the spring and early part of the summer.”
The Yellow Jackets have nine players back from last year’s 12-19 team, including leading scorer Marcus Georges-Hunt, who averaged 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds, and forward Charles Mitchell, who averaged 9.8 points and team-high 7.0 rebounds.
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The team is allowed to conduct 10 practice days on campus in preparation for the trip. The Yellow Jackets had their final practice Tuesday afternoon.
“We get the 10 practices but we also get a chance for bonding, the camaraderie and building of the team chemistry,” Gregory said. “This is a good time to begin building our team’s identity and leadership.”
The trip will be a good chance for three of the program’s four newcomers to get some court-time with the others.
Nick Jacobs, a transfer who averaged 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds at Alabama, sat out last season but was with the team.
Adam Smith is a graduate student transfer from Virginia Tech. He was the top scorer for the Hokies last year, averaging 13.4 points, and led the ACC in 3-point percentage (43.8 percent).
Sylvester Ogbonda is the team’s lone freshman recruit. Ogbonda is 6-foot-10 and averaged double figures in points and rebounds for the past two years at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Maryland.
The other graduate transfer, James White, is not scheduled to graduate in time from Arkansas-Little Rock in order to make the trip. He averaged 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds last season and averaged 9.6 points in three seasons.
Demarco Cox, who graduated last season, has signed with Fribourg Olympic, a professional team in Switzerland. The 6-8 center averaged 8.8 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Chris Bolden, who was suspended last year and decided not to return, plans to graduate from Georgia Tech and transfer to another program as a graduate senior.