Just-Do-It Hewitt Prepares for Encore Performance

Paul Hewitt was named ACC Coach of the Year for his stellar work last season, leading the outmanned Jackets to the NCAA tournament. But his work over the offseason may have been even more impressive. Now Ramblin' Wreck Nation can enjoy the 2001-02 campaign knowing the future of Tech basketball is bright once again.

Well, first of all, the bad news. This team may take a slight step backward this year in terms of wins and losses. It may be asking too much for them to qualify for March Madness for the second year in a row. After all, they return only two starters and several freshmen will have to play significant minutes.Of course, on paper they had no chance last year.

We know now we can never sell Paul Hewitt short. He followed up an incredible first season in Atlanta with a remarkable offseason. He has methodically solved one problem after another while also looking out for the best interests of Georgia Tech. Let's review his handy work.

From Southall to Schenscher

When Michael Southall's scholarship was rescinded,it was clear to everyone that Coach Hewitt cared about the young man's future. He went on sports talk radio stations defending his character. But he also knew he had to take action that was appropriate for the school, even if it meant leaving his basketball program without one single center.

But by late August, Hewitt had found an intriguing replacement, seven-footer Luke Schenscher from Australia, the first high school player ever named to the Australian National team. Reports are that this young man has game and is an excellent passer for a center, which should fit in nicely with the Jackets athletic style of play.

This Year's Freshman Class

Guard Barry Elder from Morgan County, and Forwards Isma'il Muhammad from Atlanta, Ed Nelson from Fort Lauderdale, and Anthony McHenry from Birmingham round out Hewitt's first recuriting class and they will have to contribute right away.

Next Year's Class

Coach Hewitt, of course has already received verbal commitments that will become offical in early November. Next year's class, which includes 6-10 Chris Bosh of Dallas, one of the top players in the nation, will be neatly in the fold prior to the start of the regular season. Jacket fans can then enjoy the season knowing the future is looking bright.

The Schedule

Hewitt and Athletic Director Dave Braine have also put together a tough schedule for the upcoming season. You need a tough schedule these days to make the tournament.The schedule includes a minimum of 13 games with teams that made last year's NCAA tournament and 22 televised games. An appearance in the Las Vegas Invitional potentially adds a couple more top powerhouses to the schedule, depending on how the brackets play out. Unfortunately for Tech fans, the Vegas tournament falls on the same weekend as the Tech-Georgia football game.

GoJackets.com Top Stories