Saturday, as perhaps most Georgia Tech fans were still celebrating their football team’s win over Georgia, Tech freshman guard Josh Okogie made history at McCamish Pavilion, scoring 38 points in a win over Tulane.
It broke the school record for points by a freshman and put him in very esteemed company. Only three freshmen in the history of the ACC had scored more in a game, and all three (North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Tyler Hansbrough and Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan) won ACC rookie of the year. The school record is remarkable considering the number of high-achieving freshmen have come through Tech. The Jackets have had 11 ACC rookies of the year.
Simply put, scoring 38 points in a college basketball game is not easy. In the past two years, only two ACC players done it. And, it typically doesn’t happen by an average player simply catching fire for one game. One piece of evidence is the list of 15 Tech players who have scored 35 or more in a game.
Of the 15, each did at least one of the following and all but two accomplished more than one:
a) play in the NBA;
b) earn All-American honors;
c) earn All-ACC, All-Metro or All-SEC honors;
d) earn induction into the Tech athletics hall of fame.
Okogie, from Shiloh High in Snellville, was not a standout recruit by ACC standards. He picked Tech and then-coach Brian Gregory over Tennessee, Clemson and Kansas State. ESPN did not rate him among the top 19 players in the state.
One thing coach Josh Pastner has said repeatedly in regards to recruiting is the necessity of luck, either in convincing a top-flight recruit to sign or to bring in a recruit who proves far better than advertised. Okogie has just about his entire Tech career to prove what sort of player he’ll be, but he may be the biggest stroke of luck Pastner has had since arriving in Atlanta.