Saturday was a special night for Georgia Tech’s basketball family. At halftime of the Yellow Jackets’ game against Virginia, members of the 1990 Final Four team were introduced at halfcourt as the team celebrates the 30th anniversary of its storied run to the national semifinals. It was Tech’s first appearance in the Final Four, driven by the Jackets’ “Lethal Weapon 3” trio of Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott.
After the ceremony, coach Bobby Cremins, guards Karl Brown and Anderson and forward Malcolm Mackey shared their thoughts and memories with media.
“It’s a special group of guys. I’m sorry Dennis (Scott) and Brian (Oliver) were working today on TV, but they’re trying to make careers in the television business, and I’m proud of those guys. But it was a special group of guys. They all came together. We were very talented, and we had some great freshmen.
“This guy (Brown) came all the way from England. We got him out of a junior college. He turned the LSU game (in the second round of the NCAA tournament) around when he guarded Chris Jackson. It was just a great, great run. We had an advantage against UNLV (in the Final Four), but they played a great second half. But I just can’t say enough about these guys. It seems like it was 15 years ago, but it’s great to be back.”
“For me, it’s just great to be back, coming all the way over from England. We’ve got a brotherhood and what we did was very special. But for me, I didn’t know till years later – I think the strength and conditioning coach for Georgia Tech (Dan Taylor), he’s from England. And he used to watch me play. So it’s inspired a whole country. Being the first English player to play in the Final Four, I’m grateful. And also, this is like my second father, this guy here (Cremins). He kept me on the straight and narrow. I wasn’t the easiest player to coach, but he’ll be my second father for life.”
A side note: Taylor, who has been Tech’s director of player development since 2016, watched Brown play professionally in England after his career with the Jackets. In a text, Taylor called him a “pioneer of sorts for British Basketball at that time. Tough as hell and represented British Basketball to the utmost (still does).” As things would have it, Taylor actually came into possession of Brown’s Tech practice jersey when he was a teenager at a camp, trading a North Carolina cap with a camp counselor for it. Taylor didn’t realize whose jersey it was at the time, “but it was an authentic college practice jersey so I was all for it.”
“Very special group of guys. We’ve been in each other’s weddings, seen kids being born and we’re still partners to this day, still brothers to this day. Coach (Cremins) is included. I could never think of where I would be 30 years from that moment, and to be here 30 years (later) with this group of guys, my mind didn’t work like that.
“So to still see people actually celebrate us, actually remember us — I’m still in Atlanta and I’m around town and people talk about this team and talk about how inspiring we were to them. It’s just amazing.
“I’m so grateful to God for just being here and coach Cremins recruiting me, and having a program and playing with a great group of guys. Not only were they talented players, but we actually got along on the court and off the court.
“Our relationships and what you see was just all of us just being one big family. I don’t know how many more meetings we’re going to have like this, how many more times we’re going to be celebrated like this, but I’m going to soak all this up. I love it and I’m so grateful to be a part of this program and a part of this tradition.”
(Just before Anderson spoke, introduced as “Kenny Anderson,” Cremins interjected, ever supportive. “This is coach Kenny Anderson. He’s the head coach at Fisk University in Nashville. Go ahead, Kenny.”)
“Coming back here, I don’t like talking about it, but I had a health issue (in February 2019). I had a stroke. I don’t even like to talk about it. But I’ll say some things. My vocabulary and stuff is still out of whack. So I go to Vanderbilt every Thursday — Vanderbilt therapy — and I’ve been able to recapture some of what I’ve been going through, but I just thank God.
“All I had was some miscommunications upstairs (mentally). I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for (Cremins). And coach Cremins is great. He was great for me. He reminds me of a younger version of Jack Curran, who was my high school coach (at Archbishop Molloy in New York). And that’s one of the reasons I went to Georgia Tech. I went here and everything has changed or me. The guys are great. The school was great.
“I played in the NBA for 14 years, but I always give credit to my high school, Archbishop Molloy, and Georgia Tech. That’s where I was created, to play basketball and to have the type of dedication that I have and the friendships and things of that nature.
“The NBA was great as far as money. It took care of me and my mother, but it’s nothing like true love. And I think I got it here, at Archbishop Molloy and Georgia Tech. And that’s one of the reasons I came here.
“It was weird. I’ll tell you, my mother, when I was visiting Georgia Tech, came here with me on my visit and she fell in love with coach Cremins. I was still wanting to go to Syracuse. But I listened to my mother and she was just like, you’re going to Georgia Tech. It’s out. Don’t even say no more. And, listen, I did everything my mother said, and she said, ‘Mark my words, watch what happens. You’re going to be fine here.’ And I was fine.
“I loved when Malcolm and everyone called me and told me that they were having this. It was just a no-brainer, so I’m just happy to be a part of this.”
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