Charles Barkley and Hemingway

By Jeff Lippman - September 27, 2007

Walk into a bar...

OK, no this isn't the beginning of a bad joke, and the Hemingway I'm referring to is Georgia Tech freshman Iasia and not Ernest.

I am, however, referring to the real Round Mound of Rebound, Sir Charles himself.

That's because Iasia Hemingway, a five-star recruit ranked inside the top 20 by multiple publications, has been dubbed "mini Barkley" because he's her idol and she models her game after the ex-Philadelphia and Phoenix star.

Hemingway makes up a group of four heralded freshman in a top 10 recruiting class for Georgia Tech. As I wrote in this week's column on Tech's big win against Maryland last season, Hemingway and the other freshman all made their minds up to play for the Yellow Jackets well before that Maryland game.

So what made a player recruited by just about every program in the country pick an ACC also-ran like Georgia Tech?

It's all about Hemingway's attitude, which is one of the best I've ever heard from a freshman.

Hemingway knew she'd eventually excel on the basketball court, but was more concerned with getting the best possible education, so when Georgia Tech came calling, they said all the right things to make the 5-foot-11 guard/forward want to go to Atlanta.

"They never promised me anything but an education," Hemingway said about her recruitment by Tech. "And that was my main focus was getting an education. They weren't focused on basketball, they were worried about me doing well in school academically. That was a big part of it."

In a day and age when many players would rather hear, "you don't have to go to class at all," Hemingway wanted reassurance that if she did well for the basketball team, the school would do well for her.

And there aren't many schools with a better academic reputation than the Georgia Institute of Technology.

What's more, Hemingway brings the same great attitude to the basketball court. Choosing an ACC school because she knew the ACC would give her the best possible competition, night in and night out.

"I've always wanted to play against the best of the best," she said. "So when I hear that the ACC is the best conference, I just look at it like I'm in the best conference so I have to play as if I am one of the best. My whole attitude is I have to come in and give 100 percent."

With her on and off-the-court attitude, there is no doubt in my mind that Iasia Hemingway will succeed in both areas of her life.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 10:28 AM on September 27, 2007

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