April 13, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s basketball program celebrated its return to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the championship game of the ACC Tournament and 23 overall wins Monday night as the Yellow Jackets’ players, coaches and support staff gathered at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center for the annual team banquet.
Several players were honored for their performances in various areas Monday night, including D’Andre Bell as the recipient of the Michael Isenhour Inspirational Award, named for the former Yellow Jackets who succumbed to leukemia in 2002. Also recognized were Zachery Peacock with the Sixth-Man Award, Maurice Miller with the Perseverance Award, Gani Lawal as the team’s leading scorer, Iman Shumpert as the Top Defender, Derrick Favors as the Top Newcomer, and Sam Shew as the Top Student-Athlete.
Georgia Tech earned its fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament in 10 years under head coach Paul Hewitt this year, advancing to the second round of the Midwest Regional after defeating Oklahoma State in the opening round, and finished the season with a 23-13 record.
The Yellow Jackets also won three games in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., defeating North Carolina, Maryland and NC State before Duke outlasted Tech, 65-61, in the championship game. The Blue Devils eventually won the national championship.
Tech won 20 games this season for the first time since 2007, for the 14th time in its history, and for the fourth time under head coach Paul Hewitt. Tech’s 23 wins were the most for the program since the Yellow Jackets’ run to the 2004 national championship game, when it won 28.
During the course of the year, Georgia Tech posted a 4-3 record against top 25 teams, including a homecourt win over Duke on Jan. 9. The Yellow Jackets won two games in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Shootout and finished 7-9 in the ACC regular season.
Individually, junior forward Gani Lawal was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference third team, while freshman forward Derrick Favors became the 11th Georgia Tech player to be named the ACC’s Rookie of the Year. Favors also was named to the national All-Freshman team by the Sporting News.
Tech loses four players from the 2009-10 team, including seniors D’Andre Bell and Zachery Peacock. Bell returned for his senior year after sitting out the 2008-09 season with a congenital spinal condition, and Peacock became the 40th Tech player to surpass 1,000 career points. Lawal, who also surpassed 1,000 points, and Favors have declare their intention to enter the NBA Draft in June.