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?Point guard U' alive and well at Tech

By Doug Gorman

What do Mark Price, Kenny Anderson, Travis Best and Stephon Marbury all have in common?

Don't worry, this is not a trick question.

Of course they were all part of a long line of talented guards to play basketball at Georgia Tech.

All four went on to enjoy successful NBA careers. Tech produced so many talented players at the position in a short period of time, the school became known as `Point Guard U."

Under former Georgia Tech head coach Bobby Cremins, the Yellow Jackets rose to basketball prominence in the 1980s.

The white-haired coach with the New York accent earned a reputation as a great recruiter, finding away to sell Georgia Tech to players from all around the country.

For nearly a decade, admission to a Georgia Tech game was the hottest tick in town as the Yellow Jackets became a yearly visitor to the NCAA tournament, even making it to the Final Four during the 1989-90 season.

Tech, it seemed, always had a great cast of characters, but personally I fell in love with Yellow Jacket basketball because of their collection of talented point guards.

To this day, Price (1983-86) remains my all-time favorite college basketball player. Who would have ever thought a skinny kid from Oklahoma would go on to capture the hearts of the Tech community the way he did during his four years with the Yellow Jackets.

Before he was finished, Price went on to score 2,193 points. His retired jersey now hangs from the rafters at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

He only stayed two years, but Kenny Anderson (1990-91) also put plenty of smiles on the faces of Georgia Tech fans.

He left early for the NBA draft after scoring 1,497 points and dishing off for 454 assists in an era that saw Tech go to its only Final Four, but when he was on the floor there was a good chance he's play would make the difference.

Best (1992-95) came to Tech the year after Anderson left for the NBA and quickly became a fan favorite. Not only did Best stay four years, he became only the sixth player to score more than 2,000 points in school history.

Yes, he only stayed one year, but during his short stay with the Yellow Jackets Marbury (1995-96) made jaws drop as he led Tech to a 24-12 season with an 18.9 points per game average. It was Tech's last 20-win season as the team posted 24 wins.

Tony Akins (1999-2002) didn't play in the NBA, but he also enjoyed a nice career at Tech, scoring 1,658 points.

"Point Guard U" is a live and well again down at Georgia Tech again in the form of Jarrett Jack. Jack has helped propelled head coach Paul Hewitt's club into the Top-20 after a seven-year absence, and now the whole country is again starting to sit up and take notice of Tech hoops.

Like those Tech guards who came before him, Jack is a gritty, hard-nosed competitor who can handle the basketball, shoot, score and even rebound.

In his last three games, victories over No.-1 ranked Connecticut, Texas Tech, and Ohio State, Jack has scored 12, 17 and 14 points respectively.

Jack is surrounded by great players such as B.J. Elder, Clarence Moore, Marvin Lewis, and Issma'il Muhammad among others, and Tech appears to be the real deal once again. But Jack is the nuts and bolts of this basketball team.

He plays for one of the brightest young coaches in America and Jack is already being called by some basketball gurus "the best college point guard in America."

Tech fans have been down this road before. So stay tuned because if history repeats itself it's going to be an exciting ride.

(Doug Gorman is the sports editor of the Daily. E-mail at dgorman@ news-daily.com. His column appears on Thursdays.)