The year is 2004, the month is March, and the college basketball national championship is about to be played. Coach Paul Hewitt is leading a Cinderalla-ish Georgia Tech team against a team that they boat raced five months ago, the UConn Huskies.
They throw up the tip…and it was all downhill from there.
Georgia Tech lost that game and has only made two NCAA tournaments since, bowing out in the first weekend each time.
Fast forward to the 2019-20 season and things are starting to look up, Georgia Tech fans can hold their heads high after an 11-9 season in league play. Their first season above .500 in ACC since that 2004 national runner-up season.
Heads up, Yellow Jackets fans, just high enough to take a chest pass right in the beak, because you’re sanctioned, baby. No postseason for you.
Which ended up being a blessing in disguise as conference tournaments are being gutted by a virus that originated in China but is named after a garbage Mexican beer. Crafty marketing by the Chinese there.
With the NCAA’s unreasonable sanctions behind them, Georgia Tech and Josh Pastner can once again focus on bringing this program back to the glory days, which were twelve years from the early ’80s to the mid-’90s.
Pastner’s curly-haired, non-cursing persona and polo tucked into gym shorts look doesn’t exactly scream: “Atlanta! The strip club capital of the south,” which has been a concern for fans, as his recruiting has been underwhelming.
He doesn’t let that stop him from being the beacon of mediocrity, however, and he does it all with a used car salesman-like smile.
The difference next season? Georgia Tech has the potential to be very good.
The Yellow Jackets will return their top three scorers from this year’s team in Mike Devoe (16ppg 43% 3pt%), Jose Alvarado (14.4ppg, 4apg), and Moses Wright (13ppg 7rpg). Jordan Usher and Bubba Parham will also return next season, as will Khalid Moore, making that six of their top eight players in terms of minutes played this season.
Good For The Bettors
Pastner may only have a record of 65-67 in his time in Atlanta, but he has been golden for bettors at 73-49 ATS, including best in the ACC in 2016-17 and 2019-20. The ATS numbers only include the regular-season games for the math majors out there.
Georgia Tech is welcoming a trio of decent prospects as well. Tristan Maxwell, son of former NBA role model Vernon Maxwell, is a high scoring guard from Mecklenburg County, NC. Maxwell is a scorer by nature and should step into Devoe’s role once Mike moves on.
Saba Gigiberia is a 7’ center from California by way of Georgia (no, the other one). Assistant Coach Eric Reveno, a former Stanford center, has done amazing work with Yellow Jacket big men since arriving on The Flats, turning Ben Lammers and James Banks into top tier centers in the ACC.
Gigiberia is the #91 player on the 247sports 2020 player rankings and should possess enough talent for “Rev” to coach him up.
Jordan Meka is a local kid who is a bit of an undersized big man but is a great athlete. If Yellow Jacket fans are looking for a comparison, think a poor man’s Jeremis Smith, but Meka has some upside as well.
The caravan of Georgia Tech players leaving town should not concern you either- that is college basketball in 2020, and the core remains intact. Plus, it frees up more scholarships for Pastner to disappoint the fanbase.
Until then, however, the immediate future is as bright as it has been in quite some time. Together we swarm.