ATLANTA (AP) Marcus Georges-Hunt says playing in the NIT is better than being left out of the postseason, like his first three seasons at Georgia Tech.
''I'm thankful to be able to make the postseason, being as it's the first time ever for me,'' Georges-Hunt said Monday. ''It's better than sitting at home and watching other teams play.''
Georgia Tech hasn't made the NCAA field since 2010. The program missed the postseason in coach Brian Gregory's first four seasons. That's a big reason Gregory entered this season needing to show improvement to keep his job.
It's not known if the Yellow Jackets' (19-14) season meets the standard of improvement. Athletic director Mike Bobinski told The Associated Press last week he wouldn't evaluate Gregory until the season was over.
Georgia Tech will play a home game against Houston (22-9) in a NIT first-round game on Wednesday night. Georgia Tech is a No. 4 seed and the Cougars are seeded fifth. The Georgia Tech-Houston winner will play the South Carolina-High Point winner in the second round.
Georges-Hunt, a senior who leads the team with his average of 16.7 points per game, said he ignores speculation about Gregory's future.
''I feel like he's going to be here,'' Georges-Hunt said. ''As of right now the only thing on our minds is winning this first game here at home.''
Clearly, the NIT wasn't the goal for a team that has five seniors in its playing rotation.
''I'm not going to sugarcoat it, I wish we were playing (in NCAA) and had an opportunity,'' Gregory said Monday.
Georges-Hunt proved he pays attention to the NIT by citing the fact Stanford beat Miami in overtime in last year's final. Georges-Hunt also remembered Gregory's Dayton team winning the 2010 NIT final over North Carolina.
''I remember Dayton running people out of the gym,'' Georges-Hunt said.
Gregory also had two NCAA Tournament appearances in his eight years at Dayton. He's had difficulty building a winner at Georgia Tech in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference. He is 74-85 overall and 27-61 in the ACC through five seasons, but this year's team has won six of eight games, including a split of two ACC Tournament games. Following a first-round win over Clemson, Georgia Tech was knocked out of the tournament by Virginia.
Georges-Hunt missed a few minutes of the Virginia game after a hard fall on his tailbone. He said before Monday's practice ''I feel great.''