Once again leading a team picked by many to finish near the bottom of the ACC, Paul Hewitt will have a chance to see his squad, including five freshmen, play outside competition for the first time. The exhibition opponent, Nike Elite, includes former college players like 7-2 ex-Georgia center Robb Dryden and former Texas forward Trey Wingfield and is coached by former Michigan and Arizona State coach Bill Frieder.
Hewitt led last year's team to a season of surprising success including an NCAA tournament bid, and has spent much of the offseason securing Tech's future with an outstanding signing class already committed for next year.
This year's freshman class, which includes four players ranked in the Top 100 in the nation among high school seniors last year, and seven-footer Luke Schenscher from Australia, will all be asked to contribute immediately. Fans attending the game will have the opportunity to see Schenscher, who should start, play alongside other freshmen like 6-7 forward Ed Nelson, 6-5 forward Isma'il Muhammad, and 6-6 swing man Anthony McHenry. Nelson was named USA Today Florida Player of the Year last year and the No. 29 player in the nation by PrepStar. Muhammad was ranked the No. 44 player nationally by PrepStar, and McHenry was PrepStar's No. 42 player. Tech's other freshman, 6-3 guard B. J. Elder of Madison, will also be aked to contribute immediately.
Point guard Tony Akins and shooting guard Marvin Lewis, who moves to the backcourt from small forward, are Tech's two returning starters. But Clarence Moore, the 6-5 forward from Louisiana, is back from a broken foot, which caused him to miss most all of last season.
Coach Hewitt is clear that the emphasis will not be so much on winning tonight as on "establishing our style of play."