Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner was hired last April with limited expectations for his first season. Some didn’t expect the Jackets to win a single Atlantic Coast Conference game.
Instead, the ragtag squad Pastner inherited from fired coach Brian Gregory won eight conference games and went 17-14 overall in the regular season.
The 39-year-old Jewish coach’s surprising success was recognized Sunday, March 5, when he was named ACC Coach of the Year. He was the choice of 24 of the 53 voters.
“From where we started Year 1 in a rebuild job with the least experienced team in all of college basketball and where we are right now with 17 wins is a lesson in team over individual and how we’ve become a really good basketball team,” Pastner said after the Jackets won their final home game of the season Feb. 28 against Pittsburgh. “I believe eight wins in the ACC should be an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.”
Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and second-team All-ACC, and guard Josh Okogie was named to the five-player All-Freshman team.
The Jackets entered the ACC Tournament as the 11th seed and were scheduled to face No. 14 seed Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, in Brooklyn. After losing the regular season finale 90-61 at Syracuse on March 4, Tech likely needs a deep run in the conference tournament to get an NCAA tournament berth.