Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hoops - Hewitt Inks a Star Studded Class

It's official - Coach Hewitt and staff have inked a top 10 recruiting class. says it's the #6 overall and says it's #7. Hoopscoop says it's #9. Rivals ranks this class as 2nd in the ACC, only behind the loaded UNC class. Bottom-line - it's building on the base established by the outgoing guys like Jack, Elder, Bynum, Schenshcer, T-Mac, Ish. It's a balanced class that fits needs. Oh yeah, and they're talented.

Building a truly elite competitive top program requires a nice balance of 3-4 year standouts with a mix of one-and-done "types". You have to build a strong base of talent that can withstand the departure of exceptional talent. We all saw the fall of Coach Cremins after the Stephon Marbury exit. Coach Cremins wasn't prepared for it. It appears Coach Hewitt is well on his way. The base is built. By adding 2 top 10 prospects in the backcourt and 2 solid 4-year post-players with huge upside, he might have the best Georgia Tech recruiting class since the Kenny Anderson / Malcolm Mackey / Daryl Barnes class. Add that to 2 top 20 recruiting classes on the current team and you are looking at an exciting future for Georgia Tech basketball.

So let's meet the class of 2006:

Javaris Crittenton, 6'4", 195lb, Atlanta, GA
Rivals #1 PG in the nation & #7 player overall
Scout #3 PG in the nation & #15 player overall
HoopScoop #7 in the nation, Street & Smith high honorable mention all-american

Clearly in the mold of Hewitt's ideal PG - big, strong and physical. Javaris has THE most NBA-ready body of ANY PG in this class. JC played with Dwight Howard for 2 years and together they won a state championship. However, without Howard, he still led his team to the state title game as a junior which they eventually lost. As a junior he averaged 28.4 pts, 7.5 assists, 8.2 boards, 3.6 steals. Uh - solid. Early on Javaris was tagged as a scoring guard, a guy who could get to the hoop with ease, but not a guy with a strong outside shot or an ability to lead a team. He has squarely changed that perception. His passing is crisp and effective and he is clearly a team leader on the floor. He works on his shot every day and has become a legit threat from the outside. There is no doubt he will be hard to prevent from taking over the starting PG spot once he arrives on campus. One thing is for sure - he has the potential and credentials to become the next great PG in a line that includes Price, Neal, Anderson, Best, Marbury, Akins, Barry, Barry, Jack. You get the idea.

Thaddeus Young, 6'8", 205lb, Memphis, TN
Rivals #2 SF in the nation & #3 player overall
Scout #2 SF in the nation & #7 player overall
Hoopscoop #14 in the nation, Street & Smith 2nd team all-american

Mr.Basketball AA - state of TN

After a roller-coaster recruitment, he finally chose the Jackets, to the delight of Tech fans and the anger of Memphis fans. He is considered by many to be the most versatile player in the nation. He can play any position on the floor if needed. However, he has a clear goal - roam the wing, fire from long-distance or slash to the hoop. He can bang and battle underneath, but it was the recruitment of guys like Sheehan, Peacock, Aminu, Smith, etc, that ultimately led to picking the Jackets. He sees himself as a 2/3 - period. You know what - that's fine with me. He can really do it all. He runs the floor, has a great handle, slashes, shoots, etc, etc, etc. As a junior he averaged 23.6 pts, 12.2 boards, 6.1 assists, 4.3 steals, 2.3 blocks at Mitchell High. His high school AD has nothing but praise for him. Actually says he's a choir boy. No, I mean really - like, on the choir. Oh yeah - 4.3 GPA, no issues on the academic side. Now, on the reality side of things - Thad is the most likely one-and-done guy of any in the class (in the nation). He's made it clear he would have declared for the NBA had he been allowed (send your thank you notes to David Stern). So don't go getting all huffy when he leaves after one season. You can hope and pray for a couple of seasons, but don't hold your breath. Now, we all know that getting the talent to campus is often half the battle. If you can do that, very few actually leave after one season. In fact, there's only been an average of 2 one-and-done players per year for the past 4 years. Not that common if you can believe it. But again.....don't...... hold....... breath

Zach Peacock, 6'7", 225lb, Norland, FL
unranked by Rivals & Scout.
Hoopscoop #183, Street & Smith high honorable mention all-american

2nd team all-state

(Picture from lunch-pail guy. Think hustle. Think effort. Think double/double...... well at the high school level. He seemed like a double/double lock all summer - didn't matter what event or who he was playing against. Zach is a VERY solid guy who gets after it. He seems to have a knack for being around the ball. He will play well in Coach Hewitt's system that needs long, physical bouncy players. He body is very developed and he has wide shoulders. In other words, he really has a college-ready body. He averaged 17.9 pts, 11.2 boards, 2.8 blocks as a junior. From the video clips I saw, he seemed to have a nice inside game and even a mid-range game out 12-15 feet. Peacock should be an excellent 4-year player, one of those guys you build the base of your program around that allows you to bring in one of those one-and-done guys and not absolutely crash the program. His reported academics weren't exactly top-notch, so hopefully the academic support system will ease him into the Tech culture. I could be making something out of nothing there. Duke was his dream school, but they never recruited him - another axe to grind?

Brad Sheehan, 6'11", 200lb, Albany, NY
Unranked by Rivals & Scout
Hoopscoop #245, Street & Smith high honorable mention all-american

Think Luke Schenscher Part II, only slightly shorter and more athletic. Coach Hewitt reached back to his Siena days in the Albany, NY area to pick-up this center. Syracuse thought they had this guy in the bag, but the Hewitt charms came through. It didn't hurt that Sheehan's mom works at Siena and remembers Hewitt fondly. As a junior, Brad averaged 15.5 pts, 10 boards, 5 blocks. It's going to take some muscle and development before he's a major force inside the paint in the tough ACC, but Sheehan has tremendous upside. He can run the floor very well, can block shots and has a nice little jumper out to 15 feet. He has some decent back-to-the-basket skills which can certainly be developed. He will have to pull a Schenscher and add a good 20-30 pounds of muscle to defend the strong ACC post-men, but the frame is there. During his official visit, he played some pick-up games with the current team and guys like Luke Schenscher. Players were pretty impressed with how he held his own. Consider him a guy that hit the national recruiting radar late in the recruiting process and is seen as having a tremendous upside. Another solid 4-year contributor and adds great depth underneath. He may not have a top 100 ranking, but the potential is high. Great get.

Overall, there is so much to get excited about that you find it hard to remember that we have a brand new 2005/06 season just getting underway. But let's look forward for a minute and think about this:

2006/2007 Roster?????
PG - J.Crittenton (F), Z.Fredrick (Jr)
SG - L.Clinch (So), A.Morrow (Jr), M.West (Sr)
SF - T.Young (Fr), D.Bell (So), P.Diaw (So)
PF - J.Smith (Jr), A.Aminu (So), Z.Peacock (Fr)
C - R.Dickey (Jr), B.Sheehan(Fr)

Wow. I mean wow. There is just so much to think about as a team. Next season will bring talent, experience and depth at almost every position. No doubt Coach Hewitt finally broke through in this class with some truly elite players. He made big headway with many top players, but struck out with many of them the past few years. But this class could change things. The last two classes truly re-build the base. Two years ago coach added 4 top 100 very very good guys, but no truly "elite" players. Lewis Clinch was THE elite player last year, but even he was outside of the truly top elite. With the NBA, Clinch ended up in the elite that actually headed to college. Now Hewitt adds two truly elite players in the first year with an age limit. Are you seeing a trend here? This class is one that could put the Jackets in truly "elite" company next year as a team. WWWAAAAYYY too early to make that call, but folks - that is a stacked roster.

Zach, Thaddeus, Javaris and Brad - welcome to Georgia Tech. We couldn't have been more pleased you chose the ATL for your homebase. You know how we do it in the dirty south. If not, you'll find out soon.

CONGRATS and GO JACKETS !!!!!!!!!!