Josh Pastner strongly backs waiver for James Banks

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner was born Sept. 26, 1977, in Glen Dale, West Virginia. Pastner grew up in Kingswood, Texas, and graduated from the University of Arizona. Pastner was introduced as Tech's men's basketball coach April 8, 2016. Tech won 21 games in Pastner's first season, which ended with a loss in the NIT final. The Yellow Jackets slipped to a 13-19 record in Pastner’s second season. In Pastner's first two seasons at Tech, the Jackets were 14-24 in ACC games, including the ACC tournament. Tec

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner expressed his belief Wednesday that transfer James Banks deserves to receive a waiver for immediate eligibility. Banks, from Decatur, transferred from Texas in May in part because of a family circumstance.

“Absolutely,” said Pastner, speaking at the ACC’s “Operation Basketball” media event. “One hundred percent.”

Tech has applied for a waiver for Banks to play right away, but Pastner said Wednesday that there were no updates. The NCAA appears to be taking a more lenient approach in granting waivers to transfers. In the past two weeks, Virginia guard Braxton Key and St. John’s guard Mustapha Heron were granted waivers as they transferred to schools closer to home for family reasons, cases that on the surface do not appear significantly different than Banks’.

Banks, a 6-foot-8 forward/center, played two seasons at Texas and has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Were he to play this season, he would be helpful for Tech’s depth in the frontcourt. Pastner has two scholarship post players, Abdoulaye Gueye and Sylvester Ogbonda. Gueye is prone to foul trouble, and Ogbonda played 21 minutes last season.

Pastner said that Banks runs the floor well, can protect the rim and has improved with his ball skills. At Texas, he averaged 1.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 10.7 minutes in his two seasons. Pastner also likes the way that Banks plays with energy and communicates on the floor.

“He does a lot of things that don’t always show up in the box score,” Pastner said. “You can’t put enough premium on his kind of team leadership.”

Tech opens the season Nov. 9 at home against Lamar.

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