Tech shorthanded again as it tries to hone in on UGA


Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner brought in a speaker last week to give players perspectives to consider. At least one of the messages should be useful Tuesday night when the Yellow Jackets play Georgia in the annual showdown.

“One of his main things was, like, if you think you got fouled or something bad happens, don’t do anything, don’t react,” center Ben Lammers said of guest speaker Christian Conte’s address to the team last Thursday. “Just go right to playing, because you don’t know how that can affect the game in the future.”

The application for Tech when it plays the Bulldogs in Athens? Forget about the fact that the Jackets will likely be without guards Tadric Jackson (ankle) and Curtis Haywood (shin). Jackson’s past two games were among his most efficient offensive performances in the senior’s career, with a combined 37 points on 15 of 20 shooting in 50 minutes. Haywood has largely been a help and perimeter threat as a freshman season. Pastner said Monday he does not expect either to play, and added that post man Sylvester Ogbonda (ankle) is somewhere between questionable and doubtful.

It has been that sort of a season thus far for Tech, in which preseason All-ACC guard Josh Okogie missed eight games with an NCAA suspension and an injured/infected finger, Jackson missed three games with a similar suspension and then tweaked his ankle in Sunday’s win over Florida A&M and Lammers has been hobbled by a sprained ankle. The ailments and absences of Tech’s three best players are not insignificant reasons why the Jackets are a modest 5-4.

Lammers will try to heed the advice of Conte and stay in the present and not consider who isn’t on the court at Stegeman Coliseum, just who is.

“Like what happens, whether it’s the past game or just the past call, learn to let things go, because they can hinder you and prevent you from succeeding in the future,” Lammers said.

The task on the floor will be tough enough. Georgia is 7-2 and will target a third consecutive win over the Jackets, a string the Bulldogs last accomplished 1999-2001. Forward Yante Maten is averaging 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

“I feel like each and every year, year in and year out, they’re really a team that likes to grind things out, really good running their sets, crashing the glass, a really physical team,” Okogie said.

Tech has been boosted by Okogie’s return from his finger dislocation and subsequent infection. In his first game back, on Sunday, Okogie contributed 19 points and four rebounds in 28 minutes. His conditioning needs to improve, as does his shot selection and his defense, but he tore out of the gate driving hard to the basket and playing with abandon. The infusion of energy and speed he gave the Jackets in transition was obvious.

After missing eight games, Okogie will be quite pleased to get on the floor again, no matter what Bulldogs fans may have to say to him to get him off his game.

“Trust me, I’m feeling so good to be on a court, I don’t think they can give me a bad time,” said Okogie, who prior to this trip had never been to Athens, the same as Pastner.

Conte is a published author, speaker and licensed counselor who specializes in the field of anger management. He has worked in the past with football teams from Florida State, Oregon and Tennessee. Pastner decided to fly him in from Pittsburgh, thinking that his players needed something to help get them re-centered after their bumpy start. 

“There’s a profound statement that I teach, which is people see your actions, not your intentions, and it’s simple, but it’s profound,” Conte said. “When we really realize that it doesn’t matter how we think we’re coming off to the world, we have to be mindful of how we are actually coming off to the world, that’s a powerful message in all parts of our lives.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech golf team nails down 17th ACC title
Georgia Tech golf team nails down 17th ACC title

The Georgia Tech golf team won its ninth ACC championship in the past 13 years, clinching the title Sunday with a birdie on the 18th hole by anchorman Chris Petefish. It’s Tech’s 17th ACC title overall, and coach Bruce Heppler’s 12th. The fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets defeated Clemson by two strokes at the Old North State Club in New...
5 observations from Georgia Tech’s spring game
5 observations from Georgia Tech’s spring game

For those keeping track, the Blue team bettered the White team 24-14 in Georgia Tech’s annual spring game Friday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium. In the score kept by coach Paul Johnson, the most important statistic was zero serious injuries suffered. “He said, ‘The most positive thing was that at the end of the scrimmage, everybody came...
5 updates from Georgia Tech’s spring practice
5 updates from Georgia Tech’s spring practice

Georgia Tech concludes its spring practice Friday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium with its annual spring game, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Before the game, five updates from the Yellow Jackets’ four weeks of practice. The first-string offense and second-team defense are on the blue team, and first-string defense and second-string defense...
Georgia Tech introduces Adidas gear, word mark, gold shade
Georgia Tech introduces Adidas gear, word mark, gold shade

When Georgia Tech’s athletic department sought to create a uniform word mark for its uniforms, gear and the like, the process looked back and up. Back into the school’s history and up to its iconic Tech Tower. The new word mark, debuted Friday through the athletic department’s website and social media and in the form of new Adidas...
5 things to watch in Georgia Tech’s spring game
5 things to watch in Georgia Tech’s spring game

Georgia Tech will conclude spring practice Friday with its annual spring game, starting at 7 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The primary objective for coach Paul Johnson will be to make it through the game with no injuries, but for fans (and media) who are getting their first glimpse of the 2018 Yellow Jackets, there is plenty to observe and glean. The...
More Stories