With finals over, Georgia Tech faces a different type of challenge.
The Yellow Jackets will play three games over five days starting Sunday with a home matchup against Alcorn State at 2 p.m. Two more home games follow Tuesday and Thursday, including the annual matchup with Georgia on Tuesday night. Final exams ended Thursday.
While coach Josh Pastner typically plays rotations of seven players, sometimes eight, he is not concerned about heavy legs.
“That’s why we’ve conditioned so much,” he said. “All the conditioning that we’ve done in the preseason, so that, in these types of environments, they’re able to stay in great shape, so they can play a lot of minutes with short amount of rest.”
It’ll be a considerable test for center Ben Lammers, who is averaging 35:22, which is second in the ACC and 38th nationally. It’s the result of not having much dependable frontcourt depth. Forward Abdoulaye Gueye might be considered a backup, but he has not played more than eight minutes in the past five games.
The 35:22 is a fairly remarkable number for Lammers, who is 6-foot-10 and 227 pounds and is being asked to play the sort of minutes that people with his body typically don’t play.
Consider this: Of the top 50 players nationally in minutes per game, 44 are guards, five are forwards and Lammers is the only center. Of the 50, 43 are 6-5 or shorter and Lammers is the tallest of the group.
The NCAA website lists the top 252 players in minutes played (top 25o plus ties). Of the top 252 – the lowest-ranked of whom has averaged 32:06 – Lammers is one of just two centers, and no players are taller than 6-10.
He has met the challenge thus far. He leads the country in blocked shot at 4.6 per game, is 16th in the ACC in scoring at 15.8 points per game, is second in the ACC in rebounding at 10.8 per game and is fourth in field-goal percentage at 59.1 percent. His five double-doubles are tied for 17th nationally.
Pastner paid Lammers something of a compliment Thursday when he was discussing his disciplinary measure of banishing players who aren’t practicing with sufficient effort to the weight room, where they have to go through a high-intensity workout with strength and conditioning coach Dan Taylor before being allowed to return to practice.
In practices since their last game, against VCU, he said, “Everybody’s been over there, including Ben Lammers.”
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