Kowacie Reeves, Ebenezer Dowuona happy to be back home in Georgia

A pair of former Georgia high school standouts are back in their home state and poised to make plays for the Yellow Jackets this season.

Kowacie Reeves and Ebenezer Dowuona transferred to Georgia Tech this summer, and each will make his (unofficial) debut for his new squad Nov. 1 when Tech hosts Clark Atlanta in an exhibition. The Jackets open the regular season against Georgia Southern on Nov. 6 at McCamish Pavilion under first-year coach Damon Stoudamire.

“It was closer to home, obviously, but what drawed me here the most was (Stoudamire) – his genuine basketball knowledge, he really supports us as players,” Reeves said of his return to Georgia. “Just from my first conversation, he was one of the first coaches that called me when I went in the portal, and I just knew, ‘OK, this is one of the guys that I need to be taking serious. I feel like he’ll be the right fit for me.’”

Reeves, a 6-foot-7 guard, transferred to Tech from Florida where he averaged 5.5 points as a freshman and 8.5 points as a sophomore. Those numbers were a far cry from Reeves’ outputs at Macon’s Westside High when he scored 27 points per game as a senior and was McDonald’s All-American nominee.

But Reeves seemed at ease Tuesday when he spoke about not having to necessarily put up such gaudy offensive stats with the Jackets. He said he’s ready to help the Jackets win in other ways.

“All my impact on the court is not predicated on me scoring. I think in the past that was like my rap, I had to be scoring to be in the game,” he said. “Now I need to set screens, pass – I just get to do the little stuff that might not come up in the stat sheet, but coach knows that’s helping us win games.”

Credit: Chad Bishop/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dowuona came to Tech after 70 games with ACC-rival North Carolina State, where he averaged 2.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He has actually played twice against the Jackets, totaling four points two rebounds and four blocks.

Originally from Ghana, Dowuona helped lead Heritage to a pair of GISA Class 3A state championships, and he still lives with his host family in Newman. Like Reeves, playing college ball closer to home was key when looking for a new team, but Stoudamire closed the deal.

“Talking to coach Stoudamire, I felt like it was just time to have a fresh start and just listened to what he had for me,” Dowuona said. “Just talking to him, I feel like this was going to be the best decision I ever did. So far, I feel like it was one of the best decisions I made.

“As a player and as an athlete, that’s one of the things we all want, to try to be in position where we feel like we’re needed, where we feel like we’re playing to our strength and also being used by coaches in the right way.”

Dowuona added his role with the Jackets will be to do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor and that he’s focused on putting his teammates in the right position to be successful.

Both he and Reeves returned to practice this week as the Jackets make their final preseason push toward the 2023-24 campaign. Reeves said he’s liked what he has seen thus far from his new teammates, but now it will all come down to how cohesive they become over the next four months.

“I these guys are really good, man. I think we got depth. I think we got everything,” Reeves said. “We got energy guys like (Ibrahim) Souare. We got big guys like (Dowuona). We got really great defenders that haven’t even played a lot but just picking up on stuff so easy like (Ibrahima) Sacko. Really great offensive players to match that like Myles Kelly, Lance Terry, Deebo (Coleman).

“I think we have all the right tools, now it’s just time to have that overall connectivity between us.”

Tech tops UAB in closed scrimmage

Tech hosted Alabama-Birmingham on Sunday for a closed scrimmage, according to a person familiar with the event.

The two teams played three 16-minute periods, and the Jackets came out on top 93-82. Kelly and Carter Murphy, an Air Force transfer, each scored 11 points.

Tech had 20 assists and only nine turnovers in the 48 minutes of action.