Georgia Tech announced Wednesday it had “elected to forego” two basketball scholarships for the 2008-2009 season for what it believed would be its failure to meet the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report standard of 925. Sure enough, the just-released APR showed the Jackets falling to 914 in the reporting year of 2007-2008, down from 931 in 2006-2007.
This comes on the heels of Tech’s third losing season over its past four, the possible early loss of Gani Lawal to the NBA and the loss of assistant coach Charlton Young, who became head coach at Georgia Southern. It also follows Hewitt’s assertion that “our academics are in the best shape since I’ve been here.”
His point was that any academic issues might have had — in 2007-2008, say — have since been ironed out. In the same March interview, Hewitt noted that six Jackets made the dean’s list last semester. He also admitted he “tried to fight the APR hard because I thought it could have an effect on our program.”
The obvious immediate solution to this run of bad news would be to win a lot of games next season. And that could happen. Rivals.com rates Tech’s recruiting class as No. 3 nationally, and Scout.com has it No. 5. (Scout has signee Derrick Favors of South Atlanta as the nation’s No. 1 prospect.)
But the famous Andy Katz of ESPN.com doesn’t have Tech in his updated Top 25 for next season. (He does have four ACC teams — North Carolina, Duke, Clemson and Boston College.) Neither does ESPN Insider Doug Gottlieb, though he does list the Jackets as a team that “should see a major jump in wins.” (Link requires registration.)Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
(The consensus is that Kansas will be preseason No. 1, which should delight esteemed colleagues Dave O’Brien and Christoph Fuhrmans, if no one else. Me, I’ve got KU No. 3 behind Bucknell and Bradley, but maybe that’s just just me.)
And Fran Fraschilla, yet another ESPN Insider, quibbles with some of Katz’s and Gottlieb’s Top 25 picks but doesn’t raise any objection (requires registration) over Tech’s omission. And Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com, writing last month, didn’t include Tech in his Top 26 or in his 10 teams to watch.
Speaking of Lawal (well, we were a while ago): NBAdraft.net now has him going No. 23 to Sacramento. (It has Jeff Teague, the Wake Forest guard, going No. 19 to the Hawks.) The same site has Favors going No. 4 overall in the 2010 draft, with Wake’s Al-Farouq Aminu, formerly of Norcross High, going No. 6.
OK, back to the Hawks
Having watched Game 1 of Round 2, Gregg Doyel of CBSsports.com believes Cleveland will win in “four games, five at the absolute most.” And John Schuhmann of NBA.com made a big deal of LeBron James drawing a fast-break charge from Joe Johnson on Tuesday. (And it was a big deal.)
Of ESPN.com’s 10 NBA analysts, not one sees the Hawks winning the series or even inducing a Game 7. (Only J.A. Adande and Tim Legler see it going six.) Of more than 8,100 voters in an ESPN poll, 92 percent figure the Cavs will take the Hawks.
In a detailed analysis, David Thorpe of Scouts Inc. believes the Hawks “still have some growing up to do” but thinks they can take Cleveland to six games. And Elias Sports Bureau reports that the Hawks’ 27-point loss Tuesday matched the largest margin of defeat in Game 1 of a conference semi in the past nine years. Ouch, babe.
Braves = Spinal Tap?
In this week’s power ratings, Larry Dobrow of CBSsports.com puts the Braves 15th among the 30 big-league teams, and then he really gets going. He claims Bobby Cox shouldn’t have benched Kelly Johnson for “the inferior-in-every-way-that-matters-and-some-that-don’t Omar Infante.” And then this: “Left field for the Braves = quarterback for the Vikings = drummer for Spinal Tap.”
Tap-related question for discussion: Which is more mobile — Garret Anderson playing left field or Stonehenge?