Failing is something Bobby Cremins doesn't have much experience with. Perhaps the Georgia Tech coach should look to his golf game to help the Yellow Jackets reverse their fortunes on the hard wood.
Cremins suffered through the worst season of his 22-year career last year as Tech finished 9-18 overall and 3-13 in the ACC. He is an avid golfer who said he usually has respectable scores on the links - with the exception of the Augusta National Golf Club course.
Tech's fiery coach hasn't broken 100 either time he's played on the world famous course. However, that hasn't dampened his desire to play the National. It has made him yearn to return.
"Ever since I played Augusta National I love Augusta," Cremins said Monday night before he spoke to the Georgia Tech Club of Augusta at Julian Smith Casino.
"It's really an incredible experience. I get nervous but I've learned how to play golf better."
If Cremins learned one thing from last year it was how great the competition really is in the ACC. He said he has been caught in a whirlwind the past two seasons, watching the Jackets go from first to worst in the conference.
"The last two years have been like a real roller coaster ride, from the top to the bottom," he said. "Two years ago we didn't expect to finish first and last year we didn't expect to finish last."
"We'd like to bounce back. In today's climate it's tough to always be at the top. We're going to do everything we can to try to bounce back and get Georgia Tech basketball belongs."
Cremins said losing freshman phenom Stephon Marbury to the NBA hit the Jackets doubly hard because other top point guard recruits were hesitant to sign with Tech during Marbury's year in Atlanta.
"We did a very poor job of not anticipating Marbury's leave. I take full responsibility for that. That's my fault," Cremins said. "The kids were telling us `Coach, you don't need a point guard; you just signed the best point guard in America."'
Three recruits give Cremins hope things will be better this year. Atlanta's Deon Glover, point guard Travis Spivey of Mount Zion (N.C.) Academy and 6-foot-11 Alvin Jones from Florida will get their chance to shine this year alongside senior Matt Harpring.
"I'm really happy Matt decided to stay. I told him it was going to be his decision," Cremins said. "I felt it was the best thing for him to do. I don't think he would have been drafted as high as those others (Marbury, Dennis Scott, Kenny Anderson)."
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