4 Georgia Tech seniors look back on their Yellow Jackets basketball careers

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Michael Devoe and Khalid Moore came to Georgia Tech as freshmen in 2018. Bubba Parham and Jordan Usher arrived as transfers, Usher from USC in January 2019 and Parham from VMI in the spring of 2019. They’ve had thrilling wins and heartbreaking defeats and been set back by injuries. They played key roles in delivering Tech’s first ACC championship since 1993.

On Saturday, they’ll take part in Senior Day festivities before Tech’s game against Boston College at McCamish Pavilion. The four looked back on their careers with appreciation for their time as Yellow Jackets.

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Toughest opponent

Devoe: Zion Williamson, Duke

“Just how explosive he was, his physical strength that he also had. He really does have a high IQ for the game, as well. You had to find certain areas on the floor to be able to get easy points and stuff like that against his athleticism.”

Moore: Williamson.

“He’s, for his size, extremely explosive, so it’s hard to contain him.”

Parham: Elijah Hughes, Syracuse.

“He was just a three-level scorer. He could shoot it, (score) off the bounce, had a mid-range (jump shot), had a nice inside game as well. It’s kind of hard for me to pick one player, but if I had to pick one that would be a name that I would say.”

Usher: “I’m honestly not sure.”

Favorite trait or saying of coach Josh Pastner

Devoe: “There’s a lot of things that he says or does that make me laugh. He’s just a great guy to be around. He cracks a lot of jokes and stuff, too. But he also has a different seriousness when it comes to this game and how he takes his approach.”

Moore: “He has a lot of them. One that comes up off the top of my head is, he’ll be like, I was born at night, but I wasn’t born last night.”

Parham: “This is something we laugh about even nowadays. He would tell me, ‘Bubba, this is not VMI, this is the ACC.’ If I had to pinpoint one saying, it would probably be that.”

Usher: “Just that he doesn’t use any cusswords and says like, ‘rear ends’ and ‘butts’ and stuff like that. He finds a way to get us riled up without using cusswords.”

Favorite game (besides the ACC championship game)

Devoe: Tech’s November 2018 season opener against Lamar, Devoe’s first-ever game.

“It was just my first time actually playing in McCamish, my first-ever game playing in McCamish. You had to put your jerseys on and go out there and compete with my teammates.”

Moore: The five games against Duke and the first two against N.C. State, both decided in the final seconds with game-winning scores by James Banks. The latter of the two was won with two free throws with 2.1 seconds left in overtime for a one-point win in the season opener in November 2019 in Raleigh, N.C.

“He clutched the game with a free throw. I think it was a really intense game the whole way through.”

Parham: The win over Kentucky in December 2020 at State Farm Arena.

“I felt like we played at a really, really high level that game coming off of two tough losses to Mercer and Georgia State, we played Kentucky at the Hawks arena. I played well, our whole team played well, and I was happy. Kyle Sturdivant came in and also played well. I think that game, it brought me and Kyle together as friends. I think that was the game. I think that game pivoted our season for one and, for two, we played really well that game.”

Usher: A February 2020 home win over fifth-ranked Louisville. By ranking, it remains the most significant win of Pastner’s tenure.

“I remember one time, I tipped a pass and James dove on the ground and pushed it a little further and Jose picked it up and threw it to me and I got the dunk.”

Favorite off-court moment

Devoe: The team’s 2019 summer trip to Spain.

“That was an amazing trip. Just being able to sightsee all of Barcelona and stuff, seeing how the culture is different than what we see in the United States – how they eat dinner later, what type of foods they eat, their music culture, their fashion culture, all those types of things.”

Moore: The Spain trip.

“It’s just experiencing a different vibe. I feel like even the way that the people are and they act out there, the different sites out there. It’s just kind of getting out of our comfort zone and being able to go through it with some of my closest friends is really an amazing experience.”

Parham: The Spain trip.

“I think that trip not only did we win all the games out there, but that brought us together as a team. And for me, I was kind of new and that allowed me to get to know and get closer to my teammates. I feel like that’s definitely the one trip or the one moment that brought us together as a team and as individual players. That was a really, really good time, a fun time to go out of the country with my brothers.”

Usher: A trip Devoe, Moore, Rice and Usher took to the Bahamas in the summer of 2021.

“We got to hang out and just be on the beach and just take time off with just us. it was fun.”

First impressions of each other

Usher of Devoe: “I walked in on him when he was staying at the dorms, and him and (former walk-on) Malachi (Rice) were watching TV on some tiny little 10-inch screen. I thought he was real quiet, but when it came to basketball, he got a lot more confident than he was, loud and voiced his opinion more. So I just always liked that he was assertive on the court or he was confident in his game.”

Usher of Moore: “I thought he was super quiet, but I just liked how he was a just a genuine dude.”

Devoe of Parham: “I couldn’t believe that he was really coming here was my first impression when I saw him. But then when he got on the court and started competing with us over the summer – we had individual workouts – I thought that he was really good. He was a high-level guy. He competed with us. Every time we played one-on-one or two-on-two and stuff like that in the summertime he would always bring this high-level competitiveness that we definitely needed for our team as well, besides Jose (Alvarado) and stuff, too, it gave us another guard that could come in here and play.”

Parham of Usher: “I thought he was a crazy talent, but he’s also a crazy dude at the same time. I thought he was really, really good. … Once I first met him, I was like, Wow, he can pass, he has one of the best handles on the team, (can) shoot it, he’s athletic, he’s the most athletic guy on the team. I was thinking this dude, he’s the real deal.”

What they’ve come to appreciate about each other

Devoe about Parham: “If you looked up the definition of a teammate, his picture would be right there. He’s the genuine definition of a teammate. A guy that loves all of his teammates regardless of who it is and which guy it is. Great dude, he cares for everything about the team, he would do anything coach says. Just a great overall player, too, as well. One of the best shooters, too, I would say, that I’ve ever seen, as well. He can really shoot the ball at a high clip.”

Usher about Moore: “He really cares about his homeboys. He gives 100% each time on the court, never really talks back, does anything like that. He’s just a great friend, great player, great dude I like to be around.”

Moore about Devoe: “Just how much he cares for his teammates, his friends and the game. There’s a lot of respect in that aspect.”

Parham about Usher: “Jordan, he does a lot. People don’t know but what he brings each and every day to the team is unmatched. The energy that he brings, that toughness that he brings, playing hard and everything – you want to be around a guy like that.”