Coach Paul Hewitt already knew coming into the season that his 2010-11 Basketball team would be thin in the front court. Tech will start the season with only three true post players on the roster due in large part to the early departures of Gani Lawal and Derek Favors to the NBA. Now injuries to the already thin front court are hampering Tech's preparations for the upcoming season.
Six foot eleven inch Center Daniel Miller redshirted last season due to Tech's overall depth up front. He benefited from a season of banging with Derek Favors and Gani Lawal. Miller is being counted on to give the Yellow Jackets some much needed size and rebounding muscle in the front court this season. Now it appears that Miller could be lost for about three weeks with a suspected case of mononucleosis.
True freshman center Nate Hicks will also be out for a week or two after suffering a concussion in practice on Sunday. Hicks took an elbow to the head from Glen Rice Jr. during a dunk attempt. Kammeon Holsey sat out last season with a torn ACL and he also has suffered some tendinitis in that surgically repaired knee this preseason.
So not only is Tech relying on three freshman to anchor their front court this season, now all three have spent time on the sidelines due to injury or sickness. Miller's condition is by far the most damaging because of the length of time it could take him to get over mono. If he did miss about three weeks as expected that would put him back at practice around the time of Tech's first exhibition game against Clark Atlanta and about a week ahead of the regular season opener. The question would be, how much time would it take Miller to build stamina before he could get back in the lineup?
"It’s what happens this time of year," Hewitt said. "We’ll be fine."
Because of the lack of front court players at his disposal, coach Hewitt has installed a more perimeter based attack this season with Tech lining up in a 4 out 1 in alignment on offense. What that means is there will typically be four perimeter players on the court while going with only one big man inside. The strength in that decision is that Miller, Holsey, and Hicks will be only providing depth for one position on the floor. The switch also will put more of Tech's best players like Iman Shumpert, Brian Oliver, and Glen Rice Jr. on the floor at the same time. The challenge will come on the defensive end when Tech matches up against some of the bigger teams in the ACC.