We’re counting the top 100 returning players in the ACC, and it’s a classic white guy vs. white guy battle, the winner gets the starting center spot in Atlanta. The loser gets ranked No. 87 on my countdown. Oh the pity.
PLAYER: Nate Hicks
TEAM: Georgia Tech
TAPE: 6'10", 220
2010-2011 STATS: 1.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG (.567/.333/.000)
With the departure of Brian Oliver, the Yellow Jackets will be playing extreme small-ball this fall. Currently new coach Brian Gregory has only two players standing over 6'9", Daniel Miller and Nate Hicks. Both will be sophomores in 2011-2012.
Last year Miller got the start, but I don’t think too many Tech fans would call him impressive. The fact is he was a freshman being thrown into the lion’s den last season. That is a lot to ask of anyone.
Nate Hicks was Miller’s backup, playing about nine minutes per game.
While both players stand 6'10", Miller is a lot wider and stronger. This gets him more time on the court because his size allows him to clog up the lane and defend the rim better.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Hicks isn’t tough. He broke his nose last year and didn’t miss a game. Then three days later, he had his appendix removed and only missed three games. I stubbed my toe once and took a week off of work. The kid has guts. He just needs some muscle to handle the wear and tear of the ACC.
While neither is an offensive threat, I would argue that if Hicks has one advantage over Miller, it’s that he is more agile on the offensive end and is a better scorer. Will this translate into more playing time? I think a little, but I suspect Miller will start the entire season again.
The fact is, the Yellow Jackets desperately need depth in the frontcourt. I’m not sure Coach Gregory can afford to have both his big men on the court at the same time. After these two, there are no others.
If they can bring in some more size the next couple years, I could then see an experienced Hicks playing alongside Miller as a sizable duo.
No. 88 – Kenny Kadji, Forward-Center (Miami)
No. 89 – Melvin Tapp, Power Forward (Wake Forest)
No. 90 – Jordan Vandenberg, Center (North Carolina State)
No. 91 – Tyrone Garland, Combo Guard (Virginia Tech)
N0. 92 – Catalin Baciu, Center (Clemson)
No. 93 – Raphael Akpejiori, Forward/Center (Miami)
No. 94 – Pierre Jordan, Point Guard (Florida State)
No. 95 – Deirunas Visochas, Guard (Boston College)
No. 96 – Nick Foreman, Guard (Georgia Tech)
No. 97 – Keil Turpan, Power Forward/Center (Florida State)
No. 98 – DeAndre Hopkins, Guard (Clemson)
No. 99 – Kyle Speller, Guard (Georgia Tech)
No. 100 – Jay Lewis, Guard (North Carolina State)