A solid returning group combined with a talented freshman class is cause for excitement for the West Georgia Technical College men’s basketball team in 2017-18.

Golden Knight head coach Niki Okolovitch has led WGTC to four GCAA championships in the last six years and is optimistic that this year will mark five out of seven.  

“We bring back a lot of experience,” Okolovitch said. “We also have a talented group coming in. Our goal is to win another championship and make a run at a NJCAA national championship tournament bid.”

The returning class is led by 6-foot-4 guard Joy Boyer. The Douglasville native and New Manchester High School product averaged a league-leading 19.5 points per game and was a First-Team All-Region selection.

Point guard San Rozier started every game last season, averaging 8.0 points and 5.5 assists per contest. Redan High alum Chris Haye is back after suffering a season-ending knee injury shortly into the 2016-17 season. In a handful of games, the 6-1 guard was averaging 16 points and seven rebounds before being lost to injury.  

One of the most improved players over the offseason is guard Dennis Wilkins. As a freshman, he averaged just over seven points, but is pushing for more time this year.

The front court is expecting to play a larger role this season.

Antonio Smith, a 6-foot-7 post from Covington, returns after sitting out last season. The sophomore averaged five points and five rebounds during the 2015-16 campaign and is expected to make a much larger contribution this year.  

Also down low will be Jacob Ali and D’Shawn Foster. Both Ali and Foster come to West Georgia Tech via Middle Georgia Prep and are expected to make major contributions. Noah Thomas plays much bigger than his 6-4 frame would suggest and is expected to be a force on the glass.

Several other newcomers are expected to make an immediate impact. Two McEachern High School products — Chris Freeman and Devante Garside — played on one of the top high school teams in Georgia and bring that experience to Carrollton. Another talented freshman is 6-4 swing man Isaiah Greer, who is expected to stretch defenses with a post presence but can also score from long range.  

Other newcomers include 3-point threat Malik Amos, Sterling Bonds, Jordan Brown, Quayshawn Long and local product Rodney Thomas of Villa Rica.

Depth and quickness is exactly how what Okolovitch wants in his up-tempo style. “Last season we were second in the country, averaging 108 points before several injuries slowed us down. We have a good returning group and I believe that our frontcourt is much stronger than last season," Okolovitch said. "We have more quickness and I believe that we can pick up where we left off last year.”

West Georgia Tech opens the season tonight on the road against the junior-varsity squad of Reinhardt. The home opener is Saturday when BC Howren comes to town. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Oak Mountain Academy.

Trending Videos