Quinton Stephens needs to be a catalyst for the Jackets

December 20, 2016, ATLANTA: Georgia Tech forward Quinton Stephens drives against Georgia in a NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, in Atlanta.    Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

December 20, 2016, ATLANTA: Georgia Tech forward Quinton Stephens drives against Georgia in a NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia Tech forward Quinton Stephens dunked for the first time in his life when he was in the seventh grade. He was practicing in the gym at Henderson Middle School in DeKalb County with his father, Bob.

“It was weak,” Stephens said of his first throwdown. “But he did confirm it was a dunk.”

He put down his two most recent dunks — at least in a game — Thursday in the Yellow Jackets’ 75-63 win over Clemson. He got the first when guard Josh Heath found him cutting down the baseline to the basket and the other when guard Josh Okogie set him up with a no-look bounce pass after winning an offensive rebound. The baskets helped Tech hold off the Tigers as they tried to make a late charge.

“I thought it brought a lot of energy,” Stephens said. “I had fun doing it. I’m glad both Joshes saw me, so shout-out to Joshes.”

They were four of Stephens’ season-high 16-point night as the Marist School grad showed the attacking edge that coach Josh Pastner has tried to draw from him, particularly in scoring and rebounding. It almost certainly will be required of Stephens for the Jackets to have a chance in their road game at N.C. State on Sunday. Pastner has defined Stephens’ role as getting double figures in point and rebounds, as he plays out of the “stretch 4” power forward spot.

“He has to score and rebound,” Pastner said. “If he doesn’t, it’s going to be hard for us to win.”

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