After losing to TCU in the NIT final to end the 2016-17 season, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are looking for their first NCAA Tournament appearance in the Josh Pastner era.
Unfortunately, the month of October is going to end on the wrong foot, as the Yellow Jackets’ leading scorer Josh Okogie suffered an open dislocation of his index finger on his left hand. The injury, which was suffered during an exhibition against Georgia State on Saturday, will keep the sophomore guard out indefinitely, according to AJC.com.
“We’ll just have to wait till the doctors to come back (with a diagnosis), but he could be out for a while,” Pastner said. “We just don’t know yet.”
“If we don’t have Josh for a while, we’ll just have to deal with it, and next man’s got to step up and just get the job done,” Pastner said. “No one wants to hear any excuses about it. I love Josh, and he’s an unbelievable man, so I hate it for him.”
If Okogie misses a portion of the season, isn’t ready for opening night or isn’t 100 percent at the beginning of the year, this will be a huge blow for the Yellow Jackets. Okogie is not only the best player on the team, but he is expected to be a “veteran” leader alongside Tadric Jackson and Ben Lammers.
During his freshman season, Okogie provided an unexpected spark, helping a GT team that was predicted by many to finish in last place in the ACC, shoot up the ACC standings and reach a postseason tournament.
Okogie averaged 16.1 points, grabbed 5.4 rebounds, dished out 1.6 assists and snagged 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. He also made the ACC all-freshman team after having big games against North Carolina State (27 points), Florida State (35 points) and Wake Forest (23 points).
The 6’4″ guard from Georgia had a terrific NIT too, dropping 19.8 points, including 26 on 8-of-17 shooting in a quarterfinal win at Ole Miss.
With Okogie out, this puts more pressure on freshmen guards Jose Alvarado and Curtis Haywood II, and veterans Jackson and Justin Moore.