Live from Tech-FSU hoops, along with 25 NBA scouts!

One of the 25 clubs represented here today. (Photo by M. Bradley)

One of the 25 clubs represented here today. (Extremely artistic photo by M. Bradley)

The press section is jammed today, and not with press. Twenty-five NBA scouts have been credentialed for today’s game — Georgia Tech is playing Florida State — and there are only 30 NBA teams. I conclude from this that the absent five are simply slackers.

The scouts are coming to see three big men who could wind up in 2010 first round — Solomon Alabi of FSU and Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal of Tech. Indeed, DraftExpress has two in the lottery. Favors is No. 2 behind John Wall of Kentucky, and Alabi is No. 14. And Lawal sneaks into Round 1 at No. 29.

Nine games into his one and surely only collegiate season, Favors hasn’t disappointed. He’s not going to be voted the freshman of the year nationally — Wall, who’s not just the best freshman but the best player in the land, will be — but that’s because Tech hasn’t needed him to score big every night. Lawal actually leads Tech in scoring and rebounding, but there’s no question who’s the bigger talent.

And to have two such big men at a time when big men are so scarce — ask Illinois coach Bruce Weber how much he’d trade for either of Tech’s guys — is the key reason Tech should have a splendid chance of reaching the Final Four.

That’s correct. I didn’t say the NCAA tournament. I said the Final Four. Tech has more talent than it has ever had under Hewitt, and early returns indicate there’s mesh being strung together. Iman Shumpert is out until January after knee surgery, but point guard Mfon Udofia has been better than advertised — among Jacket insiders, he was considered the key to the famous signing class — and rookie Brian Oliver has proved he can hit enough jump shots to keep defenses from zoning everything up.

(Tech fans know this already, but here, for newcomers, it is: This Brian Oliver is not the son of the Brian Oliver who helped drive the 1990 Jackets to the Final Four. They’re not related. Although Glen Rice Jr., yet another freshman, is indeed the son of Glen Rice, who helped drive Michigan to the 1989 national title.)

Tech fans will also recall that last season ended in despair after a last-gasp loss to FSU in the ACC tournament at the Georgia Dome. Shumpert took the last shot that day and missed. I’m pretty sure he won’t take a shot of any kind today. And I have great faith that the Jackets will win today. For one thing, Toney Douglas no longer plays for the ‘Noles. For another, Tech is good.

But I am, as we know, wrong on occasion. Indeed, I was wrong just last night at the Arena in Gwinnett. I figured the Illini would win that one going away. Georgia won and deserved to win. So just because Joe B. Hall and I got together and invented college basketball doesn’t mean I’m always right.

Join me for today’s proceedings and we’ll see how wrong — or, as happens once every 20 years , right — I am. I’ll be here until someone other than Shumpert takes the final shot, and I’d be obliged if you’d ride along. Thanks in advance.

443 comments Add your comment

Keith

December 20th, 2009
5:22 pm

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:23 pm

Kudos, Keith.

it is what it is

December 20th, 2009
5:23 pm

I will believe it when I see it, a final four…go Jackets

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:26 pm

Actually, I’ve twice seen Tech make the Final Four. (Once under this coach.) It can happen.

wardo

December 20th, 2009
5:27 pm

No final four with Hewitt on the bench.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:33 pm

Could have sworn that was Hewitt on the bench back in 2004.

jacket3

December 20th, 2009
5:33 pm

I have not seen the Jackets much besides the ‘nooga game. Since this is the first ACC game of the year it should be quite entertaining. I’ve got it on Direct 628. Looking forward to it because most all the games have been close.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:37 pm

Tech honoring the 1960 team and wearing throwing uniforms. They’re an improvement on the ordinary uniforms, IMHO.

But I love gold numbers on white jerseys. That was the Maysville Bulldog look.

GTFan

December 20th, 2009
5:38 pm

Should be a good game…glad to see Tech having success in both football and bball. (Nothing like ACC basketball–I remember from my college days how charged the atmosphere would get when UNC or Duke rolled in to play Tech at home–hard to beat it!).

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:43 pm

Pretty good crowd on hand. Not full, but not half-empty, either.

FSU up by a point after 2 1/2 minutes.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
5:46 pm

Mark, thanks for your consistent, perceptive coverage of Atlanta sports over the years. Do you think this is FINALLY a make-or-break season for Hewitt? Despite the huge buyout in his contract, if he doesn’t coach the team to a couple of wins in the NCAA can D-Rad really justify keeping him any longer? What’s your take?

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:48 pm

Noles up two at the first TV timeout. Tech will three consecutive turnovers. Noles very quick defensively, as is customary for them. Tech was playing a zone, then switched back to man-to-man and yielded a layup.

2BT

December 20th, 2009
5:48 pm

Crowd doesn’t look ’sold out’. Are there really tickets available for ACC games in Atlanta this year?

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
5:49 pm

Surprisingly good crowd for a winter break game. Gave my tickets to the neighbor kids since I had to chauffer the wife and daughters around on last-minute shopping duty. Don’t plan to miss another ACC home game. Go Jackets!!!

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:49 pm

Thanks, FMJ. And I don’t think, owing to the size of his buyout, there is a make-or-break season. Although not making the NCAA tournament — which won’t happen — could make things interesting a year from now.

GT#1

December 20th, 2009
5:50 pm

Hewitt was on the bench for a final four, but with Cremins recruits. Will we ever see Hewitt on the bench with his own talent, on his own merits? I certainly hope so but have been hoping since ‘04.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
5:50 pm

good hustle. great to see Bell back.

2BT

December 20th, 2009
5:52 pm

Nice to see! We’ve almost played 10 minutes of an ACC game and have YET to get SCREWED by Ted Valentine! :)

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
5:53 pm

I was afraid you’d say that but I agree. Then again, I am afraid that EVERY season is make-or-break with CPH’s buyout: We MAKE him our coach again the next year or he BREAKS the bank…grins.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
5:55 pm

Keep it close and then see if CPH has changed really changed his stripes and can coach’em through to close it out strong.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:55 pm

Tied at the second TV timeout. Tech with six turnovers.

Florida State is hard to play. The Noles have a talent, but Lenny the Ham — Leonard Hamilton, their head coach — likes games in the 60’s. They don’t run much.

Lawal just made a turnaround banker to tie. A year ago he’d have missed the backboard. He’s come a ways.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
5:56 pm

Ted Valentine worked the Georgia-Illinois game. But he’s not here today. Mike Wood is, however.

2BT

December 20th, 2009
5:57 pm

Why do I CRINGE every time Peacock jacks up a 3? Has he EVER hit one?

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:00 pm

Tech has missed 14 of 18 shots.

Alabi follow slam makes it FSU by two. But an Oliver trey puts the Jackets ahead.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:00 pm

I am a bit surprised at FSU’s talent this year, but IMO this (and every ACC Home game) is virtually a must-win game for Tech, which still should be better than Noles.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:01 pm

Peacock hits just enough treys to make him think he’ll hit the next one.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:01 pm

Nice strong move by Favors.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:01 pm

then Favors throws it away…..ahhhhhhhh, Freshmen!

DTECH

December 20th, 2009
6:02 pm

Why does D’Andre Bell see so much playing time? Am I the only one that think he has no offensive skills!!!

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:02 pm

Tech is 5 for 15 from the field. FSU is 4 for 19.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:02 pm

Crowd looks OK, but on t.v. here it sounds mighty quiet….is it?

2BT

December 20th, 2009
6:03 pm

I’d rather see Dr. Sid Williams launch treys than Peacock! State’s perimeter ball movement makes us look as if we’re standing still :(

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:03 pm

I agree Bell is offensively challenged, but in the past he’s been so tough on D.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:04 pm

FSU by two at the under-8 timeout. Tech now with seven turnovers. Against five hoops.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:04 pm

It’s quiet because, to be blunt, not much is happening.

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:05 pm

Speaking of Dr. Sid Williams … he’s seated in the front row. Six seats from Taz Anderson.

BravesFan79

December 20th, 2009
6:06 pm

Hopefully we win today, and the students currently at GT realize how special this team could be! I see Final 4 type talent on this roster.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:06 pm

Enter your comments here

Dawgs2009

December 20th, 2009
6:07 pm

((((((30-24))))))))!!!!!!!!!!!HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Not Disappointed

December 20th, 2009
6:08 pm

Howdy all! I rather be here with Jacket Fans than shopping with Mother-in-law. Oy!

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:09 pm

Not to state the obvious, but Tech needs to get it going. This game is way to slow for the Jackets.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:09 pm

True not much to cheer about if you’re a Tech fan. Need to hit some solid shots to close out half. 5 seconds.

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:10 pm

Spot on, we are playing Lenny’s game now

2BT

December 20th, 2009
6:10 pm

Peacock again – :(

FullMetalJacket

December 20th, 2009
6:10 pm

NOW we’re moving…

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:11 pm

Rice with a nice pull-up over Alabi to tie it. And Lenny the Ham, not wanting the game to get into a back-and-forth, calls timeout.

DTECH

December 20th, 2009
6:11 pm

we need to play rice more!

Moron Alert

December 20th, 2009
6:12 pm

do the morons who write “first’ get a prize?

2BT

December 20th, 2009
6:12 pm

Still trying to learn these guys….. Names on the shirts would help!!!

Mark Bradley

December 20th, 2009
6:13 pm

Chris Singleton of FSU finally makes a shot. He’d missed seven.