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Leadership Factor Worrying Hewitt

Oct. 29, 2002

ATLANTA – Facing a season without a senior on his team made Georgia Tech head basketball coach Paul Hewitt wary as pre-season practice approached, and little more than two weeks in, it remains a concern for the third-year coach.

In an intrasquad scrimmage Monday, the White team led by walk-on point guard David Nelson routed the Gold team led by freshman Jarrett Jack, 65-49. Nelson, who took just one shot in the 40-minute scrimmage, had plenty of scoring help from junior guard Marvin Lewis, sophomore guard Anthony McHenry, sophomore center Luke Schenscher and freshman forward Chris Bosh.

“The leadership on this team really worries me,” said Hewitt after the workout. “Quite frankly, our most vocal leader and our best leader right now is a walk-on, David Nelson. In our intrasquad scrimmages, he ran an absolute clinic, keeping his team organized offensively and defensively, and they beat a pretty good group by 16 points. He ran that group with Marvin Lewis on his team, Tony McHenry, Chris Bosh and Luke Schenscher. He just ran a clinic on the other guys.”

Jack’s Gold team included ACC Rookie of the Year Ed Nelson and ACC all-Freshman guard B.J. Elder, as well as sophomore forward Isma’il Muhammad, junior Robert Brooks and freshman Theodis Tarver.

“Our leadership really concerns me, and it’s what I said about the early part of our season,” Hewitt contined. “It can be pretty dangerous for us, and we just have to get to work. The physical is not the problem. It’s communicating and making sure everyone is on the same page.

“It doesn’t matter what you put in, you still have to go out there and defend, box out and rebound. You have to play basketball. You have to pass the ball and make shots. It’s about how well you play, the nuts and bolts and fundamental parts of the game.

“Luke Schenscher is better. Isma’il and B.J. have made normal progress. Ed has made normal progress. But we need a lot of work.”

The Yellow Jackets, coming off a 15-16 season with seven players returning who played 10 minutes a game or more, continue preparations for their first exhibition game, Nov. 10 against the Southeastern All-Stars. The regular-season opener is Nov. 23 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Pre-season publications have generally predicted Tech to finish fourth in the ACC this season, with one magazine, Lindy’s, giving the Jackets the nod for third place. All of them include Tech in their projected NCAA Tournament field in March.


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