The Hunt for the Most Interesting Team in the World is the Dagger’s 2009-10 countdown preview series. Check out the overriding principles here.
Last year’s record: 12-19
2009-2010′s toughest games:
Primary attraction: After a disastrous 2008-2009 season, can one of the nation’s top recruiting classes get Georgia Tech back to the NCAA tournament and help save Paul Hewitt’s job?
Three items of undeniable interest:
1. Hewitt’s tenuous job security — Since its surprise run to the 2004 national championship, Georgia Tech has just two NCAA tournament appearances, one NCAA tourney victory and an unsightly 29-51 ACC record. Last year the Jackets lost as many conference games (14) as any team in history. If not for his recruiting class, Hewitt likely would have been on his way out, and deservedly so. His teams frequently look ill-prepared and undisciplined. He substitutes so much its gives horn operators carpel tunnel. It’s because he likes to keep things up-tempo, but such movement often comes at the expense of flow. On the bright side, his players always give him maximum effort and, as mentioned, he’s a top-notch recruiter.
2. Recruits to the rescue — Hewitt pulled in four of Rivals Top 100, including Derrick Favors, the most highly-touted 2009 recruit not on his way to play for John Calipari. Favors’ presence should help free-up Gani Lawal, who was drawing the bulk of attention from opposing defenses near the end of last season. Point guard Mfon Udofia will give help to the dynamic, but turnover-prone, sophomore Iman Shumpert.
3. Non-conference nobodies – Even Jim Boehim thinks Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule is laughable. Hewitt thinks he "over-scheduled" in 2008 (although, as Mark Bradley points out, that squad lost UNC-Greensboro and Winthrop) so he’s clearly compensating this year. Aside from a trip to Puerto Rico where the Jackets will face Dayton and possibly Villanova or Mississippi, there is nary a possible at-large team on the non-conference slate. That may be a big issue come Selection Sunday.
Kenny Anderson and Lethal Weapon Three: