Several reports have come out in recent days that former University of Tennessee guard Trae Golden is transferring to Georgia Tech to be closer to his father who is “severely ill”, as Golden said in a statement. Golden is from Powder Springs, Georgia, and is hoping to attain a waiver to be able to play immediately due to these circumstances. As a Junior with the Vols, Golden averaged 12.1 PPG and 3.9 APG (3rd in the SEC) with slightly higher averages coming in conference play. He had a few nagging injuries that kept his numbers down for a few weeks in the middle of the season, but he played well otherwise. He also performed well as a sophomore when he averaged 13.6 PPG, 4.5 APG, and shot 82.8% from the free throw line. He has been a player who has been on the fringes of All-SEC caliber the past two seasons but has not quite reached that level.
As a Tennessee fan, I can tell you that Trae Golden has been one of the best players on their roster, but he is also a player who will drive you crazy at times. He can go off for 20 points on any given night, but there are also games where he struggles to score and turns the ball over more than you would like to see out of your floor general as Tennessee used him. That being said, many of his worst games came at times when he was battling nagging injuries, and Tennessee often struggled at the point guard spot when he wasn’t out there. This led Golden to play at times when he maybe should not have otherwise and shows what kind of team player he is to be out on the court when he might be best served by resting to regain full strength.
As far as how Golden will fit at Georgia Tech, he should be able to contribute right away as Tech is lacking at guard, but it is unclear whether Tech plans to use him as a point guard or an off-guard given that they have a somewhat highly touted point guard recruit coming onto the roster. When playing point guard, Golden is a score-first player who can also get some assists, which means he should do a good job of fulfilling either role for Georgia Tech this season. With Forward Robert Carter coming back to play in the post and wing Marcus Georges-Hunt returning, the addition of Golden should allow them to form a solid trio if Golden can learn the new system quickly enough. I am fairly confident that Golden should be able to learn a new system fairly easily because he has already learned two systems with the transition at Tennessee from Coach Bruce Pearl to Cuonzo Martin.
Overall, the addition of Golden will certainly make the Yellow Jackets better, and his addition along with the contributions of other players I have mentioned should put the Yellow Jackets in a position to hopefully push for a berth in the NCAA tournament. As a Tennessee fan, I will certainly miss seeing him wearing orange, but I am happy to see that he will be joining a local team who can contend for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Best of luck to Trae Golden as he moves on to Georgia Tech and to his father. Enjoy watching him play, Tech fans; he’s a good one.