Georgia Tech's impressive NIT run came to a disappointing end last night with a frustrating loss to the San Diego State Aztecs in the quarterfinal game. The loss marks the end of the line for a number of very accomplished Tech seniors, including Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, and Adam Smith, but also very well could be the end of Brian Gregory's tenure on The Flats. I'm not sure when athletic director Mike Bobinski will make his final decision on that front, but it seems practical for him to make a call sooner rather than later. No matter what happens, thank you and congratulations to both Gregory and his class of seniors on the most successful season of basketball in a long time. It ended all too soon but was quite fun while it lasted, at least at times.
Ken Sugiura's position-by-position breakdown of the 2016 football team continues today with a look at the wide receivers, a position that often teetered on the brink of black hole status in the first post-Smelter and Waller season of 2015. Like the A-back position, the wideout corps returns almost all of its production from a season ago -- the only productive starter who will not return is Micheal Summers, who left the team last year. There are some exciting names on the list of new arrivals, including big freshmen Christian Philpott and Steve Dolphus, as well as some returning consistency in the form of Ricky Jeune. If Justin Thomas can dial in his arm once again and a few key players step up, this year could be one of the most productive ever in terms of receiving.
ESPN's Andrea Adelson published a fantastic piece on the journey of Tech freshman Jaylend Ratliffe yesterday, perhaps the best I've read on the topic since Ratliffe's tragic ATV accident almost two years ago. It is truly amazing that Ratliffe has made as good a recovery as he's been able to so far given the severity of his head injury. It's still sad and disappointing that he will never see the field as a Yellow Jacket after being medically disqualified by Tech's staff earlier this month, but his drive and motivation to both recover and continue his academic career is inspirational. I have a feeling that a guy of Ratliffe's character will have plenty of impact on the team, even if it is exclusively from the sideline. Congratulations to him on beginning his Georgia Tech career and kudos to Paul Johnson and the coaching staff for deciding to honor his scholarship.
The ACC is making a serious statement during this year's NCAA Tournament with six of the final sixteen teams coming from Tech's home conference. That figure becomes even more remarkable when you consider that the number very well could have been seven had Louisville not self-imposed a postseason ban during the regular season; the Cardinals were one of the best teams in an absolutely stacked conference. The cherry on top for the ACC and commissioner John Swofford is the fact that appearances by that many team is not only a record, but will also net over $30 million in reward money. I have no idea what that money will go towards, but I sincerely hope that at least some of it gets distributed to certain Atlanta-based basketball programs which may be incurring some steep *cough* expenses in the coming days.
What will become of Brian Gregory now that the season has come to an end?