Atlanta, GA - Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team has been ranked 20th in the ESPN/USA Today poll and 22nd in the Associated Press poll in rankings announced Thursday by the two organizations.
It is the first time the Yellow Jackets have been ranked in the pre-season since 2006-07, when head coach Paul Hewitt’s team was tabbed No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today rankings and No. 23 by the AP. Tech remained ranked that season until early December, but finished the year 20-12 and went to the NCAA Tournament.
The Jackets return three starters from last year’s 12-19 squad – forwards Zachery Peacock and Gani Lawal and guard Iman Shumpert - as well as one starter from the previous season in wing guard D’Andre Bell. They also have the nation’s top high school player in their freshman class in 6-10 forward Derrick Favors, the projected Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year. Tech was picked to finish fourth in the ACC by its media on Sunday.
Tech continues to practice in preparation for its Nov. 14 season opener against Florida A&M. The Yellow Jackets also host an exhibition game Nov. 8 against Indiana (Pa.).
LAWAL, FAVORS ON NAISMITH
Lawal and Favors both were named to the Naismith Award 2009-10 preseason watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. Six schools have two players on the list of 50, while top-ranked Kansas has three.
Lawal, a third-team All-ACC performer a year ago, averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds while ranking in the top five of the ACC in both rebounds and field goal percentage. The junior from Norcross, Ga., entered his name in the NBA draft but withdrew it and remained at Tech. Favors, a freshman from Atlanta, was the national high school player of the year by Parade magazine and USA Today. He is one of five freshmen on the list.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2009-10 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded at the 2010 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis, Ind.
SEVEN JACKETS ON OPENING NIGHT NBA ROSTERS
Seven former Georgia Tech players were on the opening night rosters of NBA teams this week, a number surpassed among ACC teams only by Duke and North Carolina.
Matt Harpring, the longest tenured Yellow Jacket currently in the NBA, is beginning his eighth season with the Utah Jazz and 12th season in the league. Chris Bosh, beginning his seventh season with the Toronto Raptors, is the next longest.
Bosh is joined on the Raptors this year by Jarrett Jack, with whom he played as a freshman at Tech. Jack signed with the Raptors in the off-season after three years in Portland and one in Indiana. Thaddeus Young is starting his third year in Philadelphia.
Will Bynum is beginning his second full season in Detroit, while Javaris Crittenton is in his second year in Washington (third in the NBA) and Anthony Morrow is playing his second season with Golden State.
A total of 53 players from 10 of the 12 current Atlantic Coast Conference schools are listed on the NBA opening day rosters for the 2009-10 season. In addition, six former ACC players are head coaches, and 11 assistant coaches (including former Tech player Fred Vinson with the Los Angeles Clippers) played at a current ACC school.
Duke leads all ACC schools with 14 players, while North Carolina is second with 13. Georgia Tech is third with seven and Wake Forest is fourth with six.