James Banks III Will Have Crucial Role In NC State Rematch

Matthew McGavic

The Yellow Jackets have reached a critical point of their 2019-20 season. Approaching the halfway point of the conference schedule, Tech finds themselves at 3 games under .500 in both ACC play and overall for the season. With limited opportunities left in the season to alter the course and right the ship, Georgia Tech is simply but slowly running out of time.

To the team's credit, they recognizes the position they are in. While they have dropped their last 3 in a row, it has only been by a combined 13 points, and they are seemingly within reach of turning a corner. 

With just a handful of games left in his collegiate playing career, senior center James Banks III knows the importance of getting back on track more so than most on the team.

"This is the most important game of our season right now," he said. "We gotta put what happened on Wednesday [against Louisville] behind us."

Of course life in the ACC doesn't make bouncing back easy, as Tech is primed for a rematch with NC State tomorrow. Since their 82-81 overtime loss against Tech to start the season, the Wolfpack has not lost at home and compiled a 14-4 record. NC State will also have DJ Funderburk back, who did play in the season opener and is now the team's runner up in points and rebounds.

James Banks III was not short on praise for Funderburk. Recalling the last time he faced him in Tech's 63-61 win over the Wolfpack last season, he said: "He was really heavy on the offensive boards, especially in the first half. He's a skill guy, he can shoot it, he's really athletic, really bouncy. He's definitely a good player."

Like in that game, Banks III will be expected to guard Funderburk for a majority of the game tomorrow. Not only will he play a pivotal role in that regard, but Banks himself has had success against NC State. In 2 games against the Wolfpack, he has compiled 39 points, 22 rebounds and 10 blocks.

Even though it's clear he does well against NC State, Banks III said it didn't come easy. "[The season opener] was intense, it was a battle. Those guys play hard. We made tough shots, they made tough shots. We were lucky to escape with a win."

If Tech is lucky enough to escape with yet another win, it will more than likely come from another dominant performance out of the 5 spot. Without overstating it too much, the course of the rest of the season could depend on it.

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