We are officially past the halfway point of our top returning ACC guards countdown, and slotting in at #3 is Jose Alvorado of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. A three-year starter out of Brooklyn, New York, Alvorado shot 45% from the field last season and bumped up his scoring average to 14.4 points per game, to go with a team-leading 4 assists per game, as well as 3.4 rebounds. Alvorado’s bread-and-butter is his defense, as he lead the ACC with 2.2 steals per game, racking up as many as nine in a single contest. His versatility and production on both ends of the court earned him the #3 spot in our countdown of top returning ACC Guards.
Alvorado was not exactly on a tear out of the gate last season, but as the calendar flipped to 2020, and ACC play began in earnest, the junior guard turned up the heat. In the first game of the new year, Alvorado, after not scoring more than 14 points in any game to that point, poured in 25 against UNC, while dishing out seven assists for the road victory. 18 and 20-point efforts against Duke and Virginia soon followed, and Alvorado began to tear it up on the court. He posted his lone double-double of the year at #6 Louisville (13 points, 10 rebounds) and torched NC State for 26 points, 9 steals, and 8 boards.
Georgia Tech spent most of the season wallowing in the bottom half of the ACC standings, but behind the consistent and dynamic play of Alvorado, the Yellow Jackets skyrocketed up the standings in the final weeks of the regular season. Entering that aforementioned NC State game, Alvorado and Co. sat at 3-6 in conference play, but they used that big win as a launch pad, winning 8 of their final 11 ACC contests, and six of their last seven. In that stretch, Alvorado averaged 19 points a game to spur the ‘Jackets, and he boasted a four-game streak of at least 3 steals in each contest, highlighted by a 7-steal effort against Miami. Georgia Tech finished 11-9 in ACC games, their first winning record in conference play since 2003-04.
Alvorado is evidently an elite defensive contributor, but he brings a versatile set of tools to the offensive end of the court as well, as he can shoot the three decently (35% in that 11-game stretch, 33% on the year), and he’s deadly efficient when he gets inside the arc, making shots at a 53% clip. At the free throw line, Alvorado sinks 80% of his efforts, and he posted some clutch performances at the charity stripe, including a 13-15 outing against Wake Forest to seal a critical road conference victory. A defensive stud and steady offensive contributor, Alvorado could be the driving force behind a potential Georgia Tech run back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.