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Apr
01
2017

NIT Championship loss doesn’t detract from Josh Pastner’s solid first season at Georgia Tech.

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Georgia Tech lost in the NIT Championship game 88-56 to TCU. The Horned Frogs were the better team. They spread Georgia Tech defensively out and seemed to knock down every open shot. It was a tough way for the Yellow Jackets to finish a 21-16 season. That said the loss shouldn’t take away from Josh Pastner’s solid first season at Georgia Tech.

In fact what Pastner accomplished in his first year at Georgia Tech, could be described as pretty remarkable. This was a team who’s leading returning scorer averaged 5 points a game. Most previews of the Georgia Tech basketball team had them finishing 14th or 15th in the ACC. Coming into the season, the Jackets roster looked like one of the least talented in the ACC. Even the most optimistic Jacket fans weren’t predicting more than 4 or 5 ACC wins, and maybe 15 or 16 total wins. It’s a well known story that Pastner was told the Jackets may not win any ACC games.

Not only did the Jackets win 8 ACC games, Josh Pastner ended up winning the ACC Coach of the Year. They flirted with an NCAA bid for nearly the entire basketball season, and earned a NIT bid. In the NIT the Jackets won 4 games to the reach the finals and win 21 games.

Even by the end of the year, the Jackets still only had I would say 3 maybe 4 ACC caliber players on their roster. Pastner built his defense around the shot blocking Ben Lammers. Josh Okogie was a revelation. Under recruited, he was one of the country’s best freshman. Those were the Jackets top players, but others like Quinton Stephens, and Tadric Jackson could surprise with big scoring nights. Josh Heath was a steady point guard. Pastner mixed defenses, and coaxed better offense out of this team than expected.

I don’t think you’ll find any Georgia Tech faithful that were disappointed in this year. In fact, many called it as enjoyable a Georgia Tech basketball season as they’ve seen in years.

Pastner had a strong foundation year. It relieved concern that he may be a question mark as a hire. Now, obviously Pastner needs more talent to come to Atlanta, and to get those talented players to be as coach-able as this year’s blue-collar surprising team.

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