Hewitt, Tech calm again, prepping for Miami

Hey, there’s some consolation for Tech fans after a nutty 48-hour stretch that included a blow-out loss at Duke and a hang-on-for-dear-life win over N.C. State.

The Yellow Jackets just moved up a step in the Associated Press poll today, from No. 21 to No. 20.

It’s just a figurative pat on the back, yes, but it also tells you something about the bigger picture. A loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium isn’t the end of the world, and a win is a win.

There’s no question this has been a wobbly stretch at a strange time from a Tech team that should be rounding into shape for the February run. But there’s not much time to sit around and pout and reflect, with a game at Miami coming up on Wednesday and at Wake Forest on Saturday.

From what I gathered in the time spent around Tech today, talking to Paul Hewitt and a few players before their walk-through practice this afternoon,  they are handling this like they should.

After some time to cool off, Hewitt thought he overreacted in the shots he took at his players in his postgame comments. (In case you missed it, here’s a link to my game story. http://www.ajc.com/sports/georgia-tech/tech-nearly-collapses-vs-293070.html)

“I probably overreacted,” Hewitt said. “Sitting back and watching it, not probably, I definitely overreacted. I can only think of one half all year we just didn’t play with the level of toughness and intent we needed on defense. It was more frustration than anything else.”

I’m assuming that one half he was talking about was the second half Thursday night against Duke, which is probably part of the reason he’d built up so much emotion, right along with Saturday’s meltdown from a 16-point lead with four minutes to play.

But Hewitt said the three players involved with many of the mistakes Tech made late, trying to inbound the ball against NC State’s press, took responsibility.

“The guys that were involved in it said ‘Coach, we just screwed up; we didn’t do the things we were supposed to do,’” Hewitt said. “They know we’ve got a good team. We’ve got a chance to do something pretty significant here, and we feel like we dodged one the other day. Now let’s take advantage of this opportunity we were granted.”

That’s not to say they didn’t address the issues they were having. In what Hewitt called a very spirited practice this morning, they worked on inbounds plays. And he said he was going to take a closer look at his players’ free throw shooting this afternoon.

Hewitt normally has players shoot 50 free throws every day. Sometimes that means it’s on their own time, if their class schedules and study halls keep them from staying late at practice. But after the walk-through today, Hewitt was going to make sure he watched them shoot their 50, especially Gani Lawal.

“You don’t go from making 17 of 20 at Charlotte to now 3 of last 12 (vs. Duke and State),” Hewitt said. “There’s definitely a flaw there. He’s going back and forth.”

After going 0-for-4 at the line vs. N.C. State, Lawal’s season free throw percentage was down to 64 percent. As a team, Tech is shooting 67.7 percent at the line.

Peacock on Hewitt’s post-game comments

Senior Zachery Peacock, for one, didn’t think Hewitt overreacted in his comments after Saturday’s game.

“I don’t feel like he overreacted at all because as a coach, he expects more than what we do from ourselves at times,” Peacock said. “He set the bar that we need to reach.”

He said players on the team discussed it, but not to whine.

“It wasn’t really something to talk about, it was something to correct,” Peacock said. “We discussed it again, but it was a discussion about what we can do better to make him happy.”

Shumpert’s over his sickness

Iman Shumpert, who played Tech’s last two games with a virus, which left him with a queasy stomach and a headache, is feeling better and back to himself. Hewitt said he practiced this morning at fullspeed and Shumpert was upbeat and said he felt good when I saw him this afternoon.

Glen Rice Jr. vs. Jon Scheyer

I didn’t get a chance to ask Glen Rice Jr. about his run-in with Duke guard Jon Scheyer late in the Duke game Thursday, when Rice pushed Scheyer down in frustration late in the game, while trying to defend Scheyer in a trap. Rice was called for a technical foul, and things calmed pretty quickly after that. But here’s what Rice had to say today about it:

“It was an intense game and he caught me with an elbow, and I lost a little control for a second,” said Rice, who spoke with Scheyer after the game. “I apologized to him and told him it was all in the game. And he understood.”

Rice actually said “bow” for elbow but I wrote it all out for any of you, who like me, aren’t up on the latest lingo.

I asked Hewitt about it too, about the fine line there where he doesn’t want Rice to lose his passion, but maybe a tad of his fire?

Here’s his take.

“That was an unfortunate, and I talked to him about that the next day,” Hewitt said. “He reacted very poorly and he knew it. I don’t want him to lose that passion, to lose that spirit that he has because it’s really been a positive thing. It’s been great to get him off the bench. He gets his hands on the ball and creates a deflection or gets out in transition and throws the perfect alley-oop pass to Derrick (Favors) or Gani. I just sparks us.

“What happened that night obviously was unfortunate, but I also chalk it up a little bit to youthfulness. And he knows. When I talked to him the next day, he readily admitted, ‘Coach I shouldn’t have done that. I lost my cool.’”

26 comments Add your comment

Tech Forever

February 8th, 2010
5:49 pm

GT For You And Me

February 8th, 2010
5:52 pm

Paul Hewitt will mot be coaching at Tech very long. Inside source…….

GT For You And Me

February 8th, 2010
5:52 pm


February 8th, 2010
5:54 pm

This article is a distraction. Paul Hewitt needs to be replaced before he wastes more talent. He is CLUELESS when it comes to game time coaching…

Can You Say?

February 8th, 2010
7:13 pm

Lifetime contract???

Buzzed Driving

February 8th, 2010
7:20 pm

” they worked on inbounds plays. And he said he was going to take a closer look at his players’ free throw shooting”

That’s refreshing to hear. Let’s see if they can inbound 100% in the next game. Also 75% from the line from here out.

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Biff Pocoroba

February 8th, 2010
7:42 pm

He should have started working more on these things six years ago when they started to become a problem instead of now when his job is on the line. And why did he wait to talk to Rice the next day? He should have talked to him immediately and yanked him to the side. It wasn’t like Hewitt was too busy coaching in the second half anyway.

Thrillerdome Forever

February 8th, 2010
8:11 pm

No time to pout about last week. There is still a lot to play for, and the season is far from done.
Anyone who believes Tech should make a decision now on Hewitt’s future is naive thinking this will make things better. It will make things worse. Let CPH and his players finish the season. You know there’s quite a bit left…

Basketball Sucks!

February 8th, 2010
8:33 pm

Who friggin’ cares?

Is Spring Football here, yet?

GT is Lame

February 8th, 2010
10:00 pm

Men’s basketball is supposed to be GT best team in their athletic program. But yet, they LOSE to an unranked UGA basketball team!!!! UGA 73 – gt 66!!!!


Oh yeah, our worst football team since 1996 beat your best team in 20 years!!!! UGA 30 gt 24!!!!!


Fear The Nerd

February 8th, 2010
10:38 pm

Still pretty sure Kentucky runs this state.


February 8th, 2010
10:51 pm

Can you believe it?!!? Hewitt still laying blame on the players (”3 players involved … took responsibility”) for the inbound mistakes at the end of the game. When it happens over and over, year to year, with different players might the coach and his system/technique have something to do with it?!! Duh!!!


February 9th, 2010
9:25 am

Sounds like Peacoat is the leader we’ve been needing.


February 9th, 2010
11:19 am

Zachery made both of his free throws in the near gifted win to NC State. But unlike UGA this year, we held on.
I’m “coaching” from the vent with the top two on 4/8 and many other mostly postive ones. The ones that knock Dave Braine and Homer Rice are the only ones of mine that get a negative vote. A smarter AD doesn’t give O’Leary a raise so he can promote Freigen. “Tech is coming down the field like we are Wake Forest” – Munson.
I do hear the detractors of Hewitt’s coaching and if I had followed Tech basketball more closely before this year, I might be in that group.
But we don’t have the 7 to 8 mil to pay him off so the only sensible reaction for me is to try to stay positive.
If u need to negative vent or post or boo the coach, fine but since we cannot do anything, I don’t see how it helps.


February 9th, 2010
11:31 am

I believe free throw shooting will be the difference in a very successful season or a very disappointing one. Go back and look at the ACC games we’ve lost or the very close wins and one thing that jumps out is our terrible FT% or our inability to get to the line. We’re 5-4 in conference right now. Our losses are FSU(2), @Duke, @Virgina. Here is our FT% in those games:
FSU (home) 5-7 71.4% Final Score 66-59 OT
FSU (road) 11-22 50.0% Final Score 68-66
Virgina (road) 3-11 27.3% Final Score 82-75
Duke (road) 16-28 57.1% Final Soore 86-67

I’d say our inability to get to the free throw line cost us the FSU game at home. If we shoot at least 70% in other games aside from Duke, I think we probably win those games, especially FSU on the road. I don’t think 70% is asking too much. Hewitt needs to make this a major priority in practice.

Here is our FT% in our 5 ACC wins

Duke (home) 22-28 78.6% Final Score 71-67
UNC (road) 11-15 73.3% Final Score 73-71
Clemson (home) 11-22 50.0% Final Score 66-64
Wake (home) 15-20 75.0% Final Score 79-58
NC State (home) 15-29 51.7% Final Score 73-71

When this team shoots at least 70% from the line with at least 15 attempts, we are very tough to beat. If we shoot 70% against Clemson and NC State, those games are blowouts and we’re not having this discussion about our inability to inbounds the ball in the NC State game. This team is one of the best defensive and rebounding teams in the country. If we can just shoot 70% from the line this team can make some noise in March.

Carroll Rogers

February 9th, 2010
2:21 pm

Well done, yellarjacket. Nice analysis. Thanks..

Saint Simon

February 9th, 2010
2:43 pm

How about this analysis:

Team Stat Comparison
Points 66 73
FG Made-Attempted 23-60 (.383) 21-48 (.438)
3P Made-Attempted 3-12 (.250) 7-14 (.500)
FT Made-Attempted 17-22 (.773) 24-29 (.828)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 3 9



February 9th, 2010
3:50 pm

Quote from Carroll above: I asked Hewitt about it too, about the fine line there where he doesn’t want Rice to loose his passion, but maybe a tad of his fire?

Why oh why can people not know the difference between the words “lose”, as in “if we play poorly, we will lose the game.”, and “loose”, as in “if we leave the gate open, the dog will get loose.”??????????? How hard is this for anyone, but especially someone trained in journalism??

Tech Fan in California

February 9th, 2010
5:31 pm

To follow up on the above post:

“Rice actually said “bow” for elbow but I wrote it all out for any or you, who like me, aren’t up on the latest lingo.

I asked Hewitt about it too, about the fine line there where he doesn’t want Rice to loose his passion, but maybe a tad of his fire?”

You actually meant “of” not “or”, and “lose”, not “loose”. I wrote it out for you. It is unacceptable for a professional writer to implicitly critique an amateur basketball player’s interview diction, especially if that writer can’t choose the right word in the subsequent run on sentence. Poor writing is acceptable; I will squint my eyes. Poor judgment is not; I will read From the Rumble Seat, the soon to come ESPN ATL, or the Tech Website. Like many of your readers, I grew up reading the Atlanta Journal. I hope that it remains viable, but I am not optimistic.

Carroll Rogers

February 9th, 2010
6:06 pm

Grammar Police, it’s called a typo. You might have been able to figure that out had you read the quote from Hewitt where I typed “lose” his passion, rather than “loose.” …It’s a typo and I was moving too fast, and with my sincere apology, it’s just going to happen on a blog. I’m playing without a net here. Nobody but you guys are reading after me to check for my grammar and typo mistakes. (Meaning no editors.) Thanks for pointing them out. I’ll gladly update the blog so as not to drive anyone crazy with mistakes. And I’m serious about that.

Tech fan in California? “a player’s interview diction?” I was making fun of myself for not knowing what Glen meant, and I did that right there in front of him. If you think that’s me critiquing a player’s diction, then you misread me.

And if you’d like to try to find the information from this blog somewhere else, that’s your choice. We’re not the Atlanta Journal anymore, by the way, we’re the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


February 9th, 2010
6:26 pm

GT fan in cali: Wow what crawled up your azz….

Its a shame were only #20 right now, because i really believe we have top 5 talent. I cant believe our idiot AD didnt FORCE Hewitt to bring in a big named assistant! I would like Hewitt to stay, but he must be forced to bring in some more qulified coaches on the bench. As in more qualified than Hewitt… Someone like Lefty Drisel, or a Bob Knight type. An ex head coach… not another startup coach that looks like they should be working at Mcdonalds.


February 9th, 2010
7:55 pm

Lefty was not young when he coached @ Davidson…and that was about 100 years ago.

carl s.

February 10th, 2010
10:34 am

Hewitt is a good coach. The ACC is a nightmare. Look at UNC for a complete collapse with McDonald’s allstars. Is Williams an incompetemt coach? These people who immediately demand the coach be fired are the same people in high school who couldn’t dribble a basketball if their life depended on it. They are all the losers that we meet in life who are so frustrated with their lack of talent that they scream on the sidelines. Go to any rec basketball league and you will see them sitting on the sidelines.


February 10th, 2010
10:52 am

carl s, thanks for telling us how you really feel lol


February 10th, 2010
11:50 am

repetitive posts just waste your time when you’re trying to glean out the useful info some folks sometimes give, i’m just going to let DRad take care of it, that’s his job & so far he’s doing a great one, as are you, Ms. Rogers…wow, dookie taking a flop at cameron, hope shyer can stand up better in real life…how are our redshirt frontline kids doing in practice, next year could be interesting(?)…sorry gramir nazis, not shur about punct(INGLISH SHUD BE FONETIK!)