Sunday, February 14, 2010

As Losses Continue To Mount, Paul Hewitt Feels No Pressure

Georgia Tech lost another basketball game Saturday night to fall to 5-6 in the ACC and is now squarely on the NCAA bubble. This is with a team of three McDonald's All-Americans (four Parade All-Americans), including two of which are projected NBA first round draft picks next year. Yet with all these expectations and potential unfulfilled, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt feels no pressure.

Hewitt's contract is essentially a lifetime contract with a rollover agreement each year he is employed on April 15. To get rid of the 10 year Yellow Jacket coach, Georgia Tech would have to pay a buyout of at least $9 million. (Full Contract)

This is on top of the buyout being paid for former football coach Chan Gailey, who has landed two NFL jobs since his dismissal two years ago, and numerous other athletic facility expenditures.

Now while this season may not be over, it probably feels that way in Atlanta. Even if the Yellow Jackets make the Tournament, history suggests they won't get very far.

Outside of the 2004 run, Georgia Tech has just one NCAA Tournament win in 10 seasons. A NCAA Tournament this season with just one win would hardly suffice the frustrated fan base after missing the last two.

Despite all of this perceived talent, Georgia Tech now sits eighth in the ACC standings with five conference games to go. You can already chalk two of those games up as losses as they are road contests with Maryland and Clemson. Ga. Tech is 6-32 in ACC road games over the last four plus years under Hewitt.

Last year, Georgia Tech was a paltry 2-14 in league play. Their win total matched the number of McDonald's All-Americans on their squad. But there was hope for the future with the arrival of four very talented freshman including many people's player of the year Derrick Favors.

Favors was the MVP of the McDonalds All-American game a year ago and would likely have been a top five pick last year if not for the new rule requiring players to spend one year beyond high school before entering the NBA Draft.

Likely gone after this year, Favors is averaging just 11 points and 8 rebounds per game. Compare that to DeMarcus Cousins who is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds at Kentucky and doing it four less minutes per game.

2007 provides a similar course where two NBA first round picks were able to lead Tech all the way to a 10 seed and a first round loss.

Watching that first round game led ESPN's Bill Simmons to coin the phrase "clogged toilet" offense watching the Yellow Jackets try to score.

For good measure, Billy Packer described Ga. Tech as directionless. Sadly, not much has changed since that 2007 loss to UNLV.

Ever since 2004, Georgia Tech has underachieved under Paul Hewitt. Ironically, Hewitt signed his new contract just days after that Championship Game run. Even with the 2004 season, Hewitt is just 65-90 in ACC action.

I know Paul Hewitt is a competitive guy who wants to win, but would you feel pressure if the worst that could happen in your job was a $9 million check to go away?

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  1. I think it's clear Hewitt's final 4 team was a total fluke. He's had some of the best talent in the ACC for years. NBA players like Mario West, Anthony Morrow, Thaddeus Young, Javaris Crittenton, future NBAers Gani LAwal and Derrick Favors and he has exactly 0 NCAA tournament wins.

    Somehow Tech's AA has to find a way to buy him out if misses the NCAAs again this year.

  2. You know - his 2004 team wasn't a fluke, but it did have tough, hard-nosed, playmakers who knew how to win and could overcome poor coaching.

  3. Anonymous9:13 AM

    I think Mr. Hewitt has been a product of his assistants. When he had Cliff and Keaner, he was able to supplement his shortcomings. Cliff took Jarrett Jack under his wing and got great guard play out of him. The offense flowed better in tight games. Much of that is gone now that those guys have gone.

    I think that an overall objective approach is needed. We wouldn't have these high expectations if Hewitt weren't able to bring in such talented kids to the program. However, if he is given another chance after this season, he MUST find an assistant that can coach TEAM offense. This team has all the pieces to do great things on the offense(great inside guys, a couple of talented outside shooters and a point guard with the ability to penetrate), but spaces itself so poorly and is so disorganized often that they can't peform well against even adequate defenses. Also, hotel Hewitt, must stop taking stays for less than a minute. Part of the reason the kids have such a hard time getting in an offensive flow is that many are only in for 1-2 minutes at a time before rotating off.

    I hope Mr. Hewitt can find the answers this year,but the last few years do not give good examples to hope for.

  4. Anonymous6:22 PM

    This has been the most frustrating year of basketball i have ever experienced, even though an improvement over last year. Hewitt seems to have no clue how to coach. He substitutes just to substitute. He doesn't let the team get into the flow of the game. Our little joke is "uh oh! peacock scored 6 points in a row and has 4 rebounds better send in a sub for him", Hewitt needs to settle in on a starting lineup, and if they are playing good leave them in. if a player tires, then sub. Let the team get into the flow.


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