Playaz Senior To Receive Some Love Today

Reporter Mike Sullivan has the story on Playaz senior prospect Brian Oliver, who is currently preparing himself for a career at Georgia Tech. Oliver competed and overcame an ankle injury this summer playing for Jimmy Salmon's AAU program ...

It's been a busy weekend for Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt. He's spent much of his time showing his love for the highly ranked prospects Derrick Favors and Kenny Boynton.

Each of these players competed in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game held at Rucker Park last month. And Favors and Boynton are likely to be selected for some of the top all star games this year.

Hewitt, who grew up on Long Island worshipping the New York Islanders' Cup run years of 1979-1983, is hoping someday to land the big prize on the college basketball scene like all head coaches. Hewitt's Georgia Tech team was in the championship game a several years back but lost to Emeka Okafor and the Connecticut program.

Like the New York Islanders' Cup teams, Hewitt is banking on players like Oliver to be part of a big run to the ultimate prize. The Islanders featured goal scoring Hall of Famers Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier. But the team was built on hard working players that helped grind out many important victories.

Landing Favors and Boynton would be similar to having a Bossy and a Trottier aboard for such a championship try. But having Brian Oliver aboard already gives a big piece to that puzzle.

Oliver, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who has solid range on his jumper and will present mismatches with his skill level. Perhaps Oliver ends up as Hewitt's Bobby Nystrom? The right-winger scored some of the biggest goals in Islanders' history and had his number retired.

Whatever Hewitt's plan is his goal is simple and Oliver is included in it. And Brian is very happy to be part of the plan.

Oliver gave his commitment to Hewitt during the Rumble in the Bronx event in June while playing at Fordham University. He then rolled his ankle while competing at the Joe Brown Memorial tournament in early July as a member of the Playaz Gold team. This came after he got a tooth knocked out from an elbow at another event.

Brian has had to deal with some illness in his family as well. So it's been a challenging year for him physically and mentally.

There are few in the game who know basketball talent like Hewitt or work as hard as him. But the former Siena head coach and Villanova assistant, has started to formulate a solid recruiting class.

Oliver expects to have a visit today by Hewitt, who will work the 18 hour shift Sunday to help boost his chances in getting back to the championship game of the NCAA tournament.

"I like Coach Hewitt a lot," said Oliver previously. "He's easy to talk to. I'm excited about having a chance to play for a great coach in a great conference."

Brian also stated the academic challenges of Georgia Tech were attractive too. "I want to make sure after basketball I have something else as well."

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