LAS VEGAS — The air conditioning in his rental car was on full blast, and so was Josh Pastner.
It was just after 8 a.m., and the Georgia Tech coach was on the phone with the mother of a prospect updating him on his new schedule now that he had switched AAU teams. (She would text back later informing him that he had switched back.) At the end of the short phone call, Pastner told the woman she appreciated the call. Between winning the lottery and her calling, he told her, he would choose the phone call.
“Make sure you’ve got (the phone number) locked in,” he said. “Coach Pastner. Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech. Coach Pastner.”
This was last Thursday, Pastner’s first full day in a four-day stay in Las Vegas, one of the major destinations on the summer recruiting calendar. Hundreds of AAU teams descend upon the desert to play in one of three tournaments, drawing hundreds of college coaches, including Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, as well as the ACC’s reigning coach of the year.
Pastner allowed the AJC to accompany him as he drove around Las Vegas to watch parts of 16 games in five different gyms (visiting some more than once), all the while operating on an empty stomach, in an effort to put together the 2018 signing class.