March 16, 2021 –
BY DAN MATHEWS
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – We’ve been a little worried about our head coaches in this town, when they usually have the same upbeat message about their team. Credit to Josh Pastner about his message and winning with it.
This Georgia Tech team needed somewhat of a miracle to get their season on track, after two losses to start the year at home. A tall order was answered, when they went to State Farm Arena to beat Kentucky.
After that game in the press conference, there was still a coach talking upbeat about his team. He said the difference was them actually being able to practice with contact, after being limited in their work to adhere to COVID protocols. Some people would say that’s making an excuse. I’d take it as him telling us the truth.
This team got better as the season went along. Sure, there were losses here and there. Aside from the trip to Louisville, the scattered losses were ones that came in close contests. Soon enough, they were winning those games.
If you’re going to say that it is on the players, you’d be right. Plus, Pastner would be the first to tell you this is the case. I mean, he’s got the ACC’s player of the year in Moses Wright. He’s got the conference’s defensive player of the year in Jose Alvarado. Also, got great performances in the ACC Tournament from the MVP Michael Devoe and Jordan Usher.
The players do make a coach. However, Pastner seems to have found the right pulse of this team. His repetitive press conference quotes are almost surely the same message that he’s giving to his players. Obviously from the results, it is working.
Plus, what does a good coach do? They know their players. He shows this with how he talks about each player, when asked about them. We’ve all heard the same stories by now… One, having to take Moses Wright out of a game against North Carolina early on in his career. Another, coaches telling him that signing Jose Alvarado was a mistake, because he was too small to play in the ACC.
These stories are being told over and over for a reason. Josh Pastner like all coaches, is always recruiting. He’s already trying to reach the next Moses Wright or Jose Alvarado. He’s going to need players like these two in the future, in order to sustain success on “The Flats.”
The “one and done” player is never going to fit what Josh Pastner wants as a coach. He wants the grinders. He wants the players who have to prove to you on a nightly basis, that they can play at this level. He wants these players, because that’s who he is as a coach.
It will be fun to see what the Jackets can do against Loyola-Chicago on Friday. I for one hope this is just the start of multiple trips to the NCAA Tournament for the Jackets, with Pastner as their coach.
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