What many are thinking, but won't say publicly
November, 2, 2009
By Doug Gottlieb
College basketball is an interesting clique. There are some dysfunctional elements to the game (like the path some travel to recruit players through intermediaries), and some elements that display their utter perfection every year (like the NCAA tournament's ideal three-weekend setup). In talking to the coaches and players who are preparing for what I believe will be an incredibly entertaining season, there are some "elephants in the room" that need to be let out. We -- and by we I mean those in the know or those with the passion to truly care -- have probably uttered these sentences to our friends, and coaches have discussed them amongst their colleagues, but no where have I seen these "elephants" put together. So here goes 10. It's now or never for Georgia Tech. Is Paul Hewitt a really dynamic coach who has been bitten by injury, NBA defection and academic suspension? Or is he just a good recruiter who is great on TV and lucked into one run to the NCAA finals? Georgia Tech is loaded. Yes, the Yellow Jackets are young, but so too is UNC and yet the Heels never fail to make the tournament. Derrick Favors is good real good. And when you combine his talents with those of Iman Shumpert, Gani Lawal and Favors' fellow stud freshmen, you have a team that should make a lot of noise. If not 9. Cut off the western United States in terms of true national championship contenders. Good luck finding "home" teams for the West Region. Washington has great guards, but does not shoot it all that well and will miss Jon Brockman. Cal is solid, sound and has very good but not great wings, and is limited inside. Gonzaga is Gonzaga, but in truth, is rebuilding somewhat. 8. One down year at Georgetown is an exception -- two years is a trend. Greg Monroe should be far more consistent in year two, as should guards Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. The Hoyas, as with most Princeton-style teams, struggled with rebounding last season, but they also took bad shots and gave up way too many good looks. With a limited bench, still no replacement for the steadiness and shooting of Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown needs to ride Monroe to the Dance and get out of the January-March black clouds that rained on its NCAA parade in 2009.
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