It has been this correspondent’s contention that Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt has underperformed for five consecutive seasons. In three of those he has finished with a losing record, and in the other two — 2004-2005, when the Jackets returned four starters from a Final Four team, and 2006-2007, when Tech had four future NBA players on the squad — he manged to lose 12 games each time. But now Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal has gotten all analytical and determined that, lo and behold, Hewitt is the most overpaid coach in college basketball.
Futterman measures a coach’s contract — Hewitt makes $1.3 million — against his team’s annual RPI to ascertain that the Institute is paying its coach $288,888 for what he calls “each [rating] point beyond the threshold of mediocrity.” Futterman writes that Hewitt declined a request to comment, but Tech publicist Mike Stamus writes in an e-mail that,”Matthew asked to speak either to Dan [Radakovich, the AD] or Paul, and Dan volunteered to speak for us on that subject. We never presented the request to Paul.”
(Here’s what Radakovich had to say in January about Hewitt’s status and his massive contract.)
The WSJ also ran this chart, and it should be stipulated that Futterman ranked only those coaches who have been at their schools for four or more seasons and whose million-dollar contracts could be verified. Meaning: Kentucky’s Billy Gillispie isn’t featured. But Bruce Pearl of Tennessee is rated the best bargain. And now the thrifty Vols have surely pulled off another coup by hiring the crafty Lane Kiffin.
Kidding about the last part.
The Bulldogs are reportedly prepared to offer Jeff Capel $2 million to leave Oklahoma and come to Athens, and that might not be such a deal, either. According to Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com, Capel “simply cannot coach.” And it must be noted that, even with the presumptive national player of the year in Blake Griffin, the Sooners didn’t win either the Big 12 regular-season or tournament title.
Full disclosure: I saw Capel’s Sooners play Louisville in Round 2 of the NCAA tournament last March and wasn’t impressed with his team. Neither were the Cardinals, who won 78-48.
Last week at the ACC tournament I asked Jason Capel if his older brother was UGA-bound. He said he didn’t think so. “I don’t think Oklahoma will let him leave,” Jason Capel said.
And here’s another Georgia semi-update, this from Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald: The Bulldogs might be interested in the Hurricanes’ Frank Haith. Me, I’d rather re-up Pete Herrmann than hire Frank Haith, whose team didn’t even make the NCAA tournament. But maybe that’s just me.
According to Russ Lande of Sporting News’ War Room, Matthew Stafford won’t be the first player taken in the April NFL draft or even the ninth. He’ll go 10th. And Mike Mayock of NFL.com, who famously championed Matt Ryan last year, went on the Dan Patrick Show and said Stafford isn’t worth the No. 1 overall pick and contends, evocatively enough, that “the streets are littered” with big-armed quarterbacks. Why, I believe I saw Ryan Leaf on the corner of Marietta and Spring just the other day!
Also from Lande: Tech defensive end Michael Johnson, who was thought to be cliff-diving out of the first round, is now on the uptick. And Johnson has scheduled a meeting with the Falcons, who could use another pass rusher.
The partnership of Mike Woodson and Josh Smith, now in its fifth season, is ultimately doomed. So writes Chris Mannix of SI.com. And here’s where I, being just a no-name local guy, step in and say: Wait a minute.
It’s my belief that this Woody/J-Smoove thing has been totally overblown. Yes, Woodson benched him in the second half of a loss at Charlotte 10 days ago. But can anyone really say Smith won’t (or doesn’t) play for this coach?
Let me channel Matthew Futterman and look at the numbers: In the five games since the Charlotte snafu, Smith has averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds. Averaged a double-double, in other words. And he has, wonder of wonders, hoisted only one three-pointer in that span.
Can Smith be capricious? Yes. Can Woodson be obstinate? Absolutely. But I see no reason to believe these two can’t continue to co-exist. And those five games? The Hawks won all five.
If you haven’t entered the 22nd annual Final Four Fiasco, please take a moment and do so here. You might not be glad you did, but we folks at the ol’ AJC sure will.
Oh, and here’s who I’m picking. More important, you’ll discover who Elizabeth Bradley, who has outdone her dumb dad each of the past two years, is picking.