Evaluating Trae Golden to Georgia Tech

There are over 450 transfers every year in college basketball, and each one of them is a story. But for Tennessee’s Trae Golden, that story isn’t really known.

Golden’s transfer announcement was almost the last of the 450 players on the move, not coming until several days into May. First, it was announced academic issues were the reason he was leaving. But his father quickly dispelled that rumor.  What came next surprised everyone, and still hasn’t been settled.

A couple of days after the transfer was announced, Tennessee’s Director of Student Judicial Affairs – Jenny Wright – was fired. She had refused to cooperate in an investigation where officials were examining whether she had had inappropriate relationships with student athletes.

Now, a couple of months later, the story still doesn’t have an ending, but it does have another chapter. Now we know what the 6-1 point guard will be doing next. He’s going home to Atlanta and enrolling at Georgia Tech.

But Golden doesn’t have his degree. So a) he’ll have to sit out a year, or b) he’ll need a waiver to play immediately. His father is ill and lives just north of Atlanta, so that’s the road Georgia Tech will go in an effort to get him qualified.

If he can play this year, that adds significantly more talent to an already talented roster. The Yellow Jackets will now have six consensus top 100 recruits on their roster. In the ACC, only Duke, UNC, and Syracuse have more.

There’s no denying Golden’ talent. His on-court production, however, has been mixed. He has great vision, especially in transition, but his career has been marked by questionable decision making. His assist rate was 2nd in the conference as a sophomore, and 4th as a junior, so he can definitely distribute the ball.

Defensively, he regularly takes plays – or even games – off.

He does most of his scoring by slashing and getting buckets off of his mid-range game. Only 9% of his 2-pt jumpers were assisted. He’s tough to contain off the bounce. He’s also able to get to the line, and drew 5.4 fouls/40, which easily would have led Georgia Tech.

Tech graduated Mfon Udofia, so the minutes are there for the taking. If a waiver is secured, this significantly improves Georgia Tech’s position in the ACC.