Rip Tech’s Hewitt for losing already? Not just yet, I say

Iman Shumpert handles the ball against Dayton. (AP photo)

Iman Shumpert, who made four turnovers. handles the ball against Dayton. (AP photo)

About now, you’re expecting me to rip Paul Hewitt for losing to Dayton in Puerto Rico. But here’s where I throw the ol’ changeup and say: Losing to Dayton is not a bad loss.

Dayton is good. (Indeed, the Flyers were ranked higher and were favored by a point.) Dayton is expertly coached by Brian Gregory, whom I’d have preferred Georgia had hired over Mark Fox, who managed to lose to Wofford on Tuesday, which was a bad loss. And Tech, as talented as it is, is going to need some time to coalesce.

Yes, this assumes it will coalesce, and after some dud seasons with loaded teams — 2002-2003 with Chris Bosh remains the not-so-shining example, with 2006-2007, when a team with four players who would work in the NBA managed to lose 12 games, not far behind — there’s cause to wonder if this will be any different for Hewitt. I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt. But I’m not willing to extend it forever. This team has all it needs to reach the NCAA tournament and play deep therein, and if it doesn’t … well, it won’t be for lack of manpower.

Certain aspects of the Dayton game were familiar. Twenty-six turnovers. Nine missed foul shots. A late lead squandered. But I say again: It’s early. And Kansas, which is ranked No. 1, nearly lost to Memphis, and Kentucky, which I consider the nation’s best team, needed John Wall’s jumper to override Miami (Ohio), which hasn’t had Wally Szczerbiak for a while now. Nobody ever wins a national championship in December, let alone before Thanksgiving.

I expect Tech to get better. I expect it to be no worse than third-best in the ACC. I expect Hewitt to maximize resources. But I have, as we know, been wrong before.

150 comments Add your comment

dmortone

November 20th, 2009
7:07 am

dmortone

November 20th, 2009
7:09 am

Ironic the first time I get first post is on a column about GT basketball, when GT academics has me up this late/early to begin with.

Just Sayin'

November 20th, 2009
7:13 am

Gel, gel, gel! Be ready when the ACC portion of the schedule begins. Go Jackets!

louisville slugger

November 20th, 2009
7:15 am

26 turnovers. Wow. If that trend continues, we have a serious problem; we can no longer use “inexperienced guards” as an excuse.

NerdLover

November 20th, 2009
7:18 am

I hear that Tubby Smith is available:)

Matt

November 20th, 2009
7:20 am

Nerdlover: No, Tubby is doing just fine in Minnesota with a nicely talented roster.

Peachtree John

November 20th, 2009
7:28 am

6th! That’s a first.
Wishing Paul well, but his history is not good. Hopefully GT will hire a winner next time.

hellavuengineer90

November 20th, 2009
7:30 am

Turnovers, Turnovers Turnovers, poor free throw shooting, poor free throw shooting. These have been the hallmarks of Paul Hewitt teams. I truly hope this team gels, but my patience is wearing thin because I see the same problems all the time. You can thank me later Mark when you have your article later in the year about how turnovers and poor free throw shooting have played GA tech during the Hewitt years. Hopefully you will not have to write it. Ironically this is the first year I have purchased season bball tickets as I have high hopes. It could also be my last for quite awhile too.

John

November 20th, 2009
7:33 am

No one is ripping him for losing. It’s the way he loses. The same crap every year. 26 turnovers? Around 50% free throw shooting. He doesn’t teach fundamentals. He just recruits these idiots who run around the court with no discipline. Hewitt would learn a lot from coach johnson and his players about discipline. Hewitt is a joke. 26 turnovers.

hogmtnplayer

November 20th, 2009
7:43 am

Hewitt’s a great guy and a great recruiter, but obviously struggles building a “team”. Reminds me of Ray Goff . . .

DRC

November 20th, 2009
7:45 am

Mark, this team plays just like a typical Paul Hewitt coached team. Poor foul shooting, turnovers galore, and poor outside shooting. Team is just not fundamentaly sound. This same type of coaching has been going on it seems forever. Frankly, I’m just tired of watching his product on the court and I am a loyal Tech fan. I would think he could see the same thing we see and do something about it. Maybe he spends too much time on his other job. “Time For Change”.

MalibuGT

November 20th, 2009
7:47 am

I’m with you mark. I’m not ready to start wailing with a November game, far from home, against a quality opponent. But Hewitt doesn’t have much of a safety net anymore….

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

November 20th, 2009
7:53 am

How does a guy go from genius to moron? He has taken the team to the final four and to the bottom of the ACC. He needs to recruit a legit point guard, That has always been Techs strong point, no pun intended.

Tech75

November 20th, 2009
7:54 am

Beat the rush, start criticizing now

Seven point lead, 5 to play, go back to his statements (”this team has a chance to be really special”), Gani Lawal’s statements (”not on my watch”).

What BS.

This will end up being another 15-12 bubble team, and Hewitt’s death knell.

Any other decent coach could have pulled this one out – all these games require more mental toughness than Hewitt can bring or create.

Sorry, really disappointed.

MK

November 20th, 2009
7:57 am

He did not take “His Team” to the final four! That’s the point…

SamInAtlanta

November 20th, 2009
7:57 am

Tech had at least one streak of 4 straight trips down the court without attempting a single shot due to turnovers. They say their strong point is in pounding the ball inside to Lawal and Favors. The few times they do this good things happen, but they seem to want to shoot from the outside instead much too much. Really not a good idea when you only have one 3 point shooter. Maybe with experience they will settle down go with the game plan. I hope so. This can be a really good team.

Hey Dogtards

November 20th, 2009
7:59 am

I don’t know why everyone is freaking out. This was against a ranked team on a neutral site. If it was #18 [insert Big 10 or Big East team name here], nobody would care. Yeah it was sloppy. IT WAS THE SECOND GAME OF THE SEASON. CPJ got to lose to Miami without much criticism. If we end up at 15-12 then yes, he deserves to be criticized. But sloppy play during one game at the beginning of the season against a ranked opponent, who you place close, does not deserve the chicken little treatment.

dgroy

November 20th, 2009
8:01 am

Based on what I saw against Dayton……Paul, you better get busy man……your team’s gonna get killed by the elite of the ACC. Overall season record probably won’t be any better than “last year” (quotations because this is the “last year”).

SamInAtlanta

November 20th, 2009
8:03 am

Both teams were ranked; and Tech was ranked higher in the Coaches’ Poll. Tech, being an ACC team and having a 10 man rotation, shouldn’t have lost this game. However, I too thing they will develop and become much better.

Ezekiel

November 20th, 2009
8:06 am

Coach Hewitt needs to win games early in the year to get the fan base interested in basketball game. The Tech basketball program is hemorrhaging money and can’t afford to have this team stumble out of the blocks. Tech fans aren’t going to throw good money after bad after what happened last year. Won’t happen. Talk more Tech hoops at: http://www.bbuzzoff.com

Ozzy

November 20th, 2009
8:06 am

The way he substitutes two and three players every two minutes, they look like a 3rd grade recreation league team.

Does every player get a participation “trophy” at the end of the season, paid for by their parents?

Pick the five that play best together (not necessarily the five best individuals) and let them play. Substitute them when they’re gassed, Paul, not because you want to spread the minutes. (i.e. pulling Lawal after two minutes in the Fl A&M game).

No excuses this year Paul. Produce or do the honorable thing and resign.

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 20th, 2009
8:08 am

Turnovers, foul shots… ah yes, GROUND HOG DAY is back.

BUBBLE BOUND BABY!!!

pws

November 20th, 2009
8:08 am

Hey John, isn’t that what we started accusing Bobby Cremins of doing, recruiting super stars but not being able to coach them on fundamentals? I’m not sure any of the kids are being coached on the fundamentals anymore, they are all trying to play like what they see in the NBA. As much as I hate Coach K, I do think he is one of the few that still coaches fundamentals, along with Roy. And both of those guys continue to win, year after year. PHewitt should watch and learn from them.

GT JJ

November 20th, 2009
8:10 am

Dogtards – i would agree with you (don’t freak out yett) if Hewitt’s teams didn’t have sloppy play at the END of every season. i would be willing to agree with you if there weren’t years of proof that hewitt’s teams do not get better due to coaching. this team should improve just from the fact that the freshmen will settle down and figure out FOR THEMSELVES how to play college level ball. Our final four run was a product of Jack and Bynum stepping up and taking over on their own.

Mark – The most telling comment you made was “Dayton is expertly coached by Brian Gregory”. When has ANYONE been able to say that about a CPH team?

blackprix

November 20th, 2009
8:10 am

Unfortunately ripping Paul Hewitt is deserved these days. Chan Gailey was ripped because we all knew we could be better, AND WE ARE.

Same thing holds true for Hewitt. I hope the GT Alums pony up the $$$ cause this mess is not going to change unless the current coach is let go.

GTpak

November 20th, 2009
8:10 am

Sorry, but I don’t think Paul has a clue. Decent recruiter, but cannot coach and seems to be too lackadaisical. If he were serious about winning, the team would shoot 70% from the free throw line, and reduce turnovers to a respectable level. He would foster team play, rather than a game approach where the players at times seem to have no clue on how to run a half court offense.

His coaching skills appear to be mediocre at best. How do you get outscored 13-2 in the last 2 minutes?

SamInAtlanta

November 20th, 2009
8:11 am

If Coach K had coached this Tech team during the Dayton game we would have won with a double digit win.

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 20th, 2009
8:11 am

I praise and wish I had his agent who got him the best buy out clause in the history of mankind!

B'Ham Jacket

November 20th, 2009
8:12 am

This game looked like a continuation of last year.
Looked like the same team.
Kept trying to get it inside and that did not work last year and is not working now, missing free throws, turnovers: can’t win with the big boys like this. Is it the players or is it the coaching???
Frustrating to watch.

eBuzz

November 20th, 2009
8:22 am

Struggled mightily to barely win the first game, and now beaten in the third by a lower tier Dayton team, with according to everyone – can’t miss stars. More Hewitt incompetance. He’s taken what finally did in Bobby Cremins (great recruiting, poor game coaching) to newer and newer depths. Time to take charge, D-Rad, and make the tough call (Why do I say tough? Actually, it should be easy by now.) and do what you have done for football.

Dooley's Cardiologist

November 20th, 2009
8:24 am

I’ll start caring as soon as football season is over. That said, he should have been gone a long time ago.

dagnabit

November 20th, 2009
8:25 am

Hewitt is the dreggs of the barrel.

Tech Fan

November 20th, 2009
8:28 am

If the body of work included “this year” then it would be improper to make harsh judgements. The body of work; however, includes a lot more than “this year”. The body of work is consistent: TONS of tallent which significantly underachieves, unless there happens to be a couple guards who can win in spite of the coaching (final four team). The things we were upset about last year, were the same things we were upset about the year before that, and in fact every year, sans the final four team (which didn’t have all his players and I believe won in SPITE of Hewitt, not because of.) The same players who don’t win much for CPH go onto the NBA and are awesome. NBA scouts have admitted that much and scratch their heads. Whoever said Coach K would win with our players is right. The problem isn’t recruiting, fan base, dollars, the weather or anything else…the problem is the captain at the wheel CPH, with the golden parachute.

Herschel Talker

November 20th, 2009
8:32 am

63-59!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ZamBonE

November 20th, 2009
8:33 am

Same stuff, different year. The turnovers are bad, but we are young, and that is expected from a young team. The free throw shooting however, has been awful from Hewitt’s first day. You can’t shoot 55% from the charity stripe and expect to compete at a high level. Look at memphis a few years ago. That team was loaded with talent (Rose, CDR, Dorsey). Granted, they won a ton of games and played in confernce usa, but free throw shooting was their undoing against kansas. Last year Hewitt talked about not being able to finish and win close games. Well maybe if we practiced our FREE THROW SHOOTING, we could have put away at least half of the close games we lost. These guys are elite scholarship athletes and as a team we should shoot very close to 70%. These are uncontested shots from 15 feet away, and for some reason (poor coaching), we can’t make them.

Tech75

November 20th, 2009
8:35 am

DRad needs to fire a shot across Hewitt’s bow – NOW, if he hasn’t already done that.

I don’t give a rip about the buyout. If we need a new coach, let’s go get one, the alumni will fund the buyout if necessary.

I think Hewitt knows he’s on the way out.

If this team, at the half-way point of the season has more than 5 losses, Hewitt should be taken out back and just plain shot.

A VERY FRANK DISCUSSION IS REQUIRED – NOW, before another season slips away.

Brock

November 20th, 2009
8:36 am

slugger- …if that trend continues? it has continued…from last year. Along with the horrible free throw shooting. You would at least think they worked on that over the summer. 2 ACC wins last year was the outcome of poor discipline. Get it on track or get the hell out.

Mark Bradley

November 20th, 2009
8:36 am

Actually, the Final Four team of 2004 was Hewitt’s team. None of those guys had played under Cremins, and only Marvin Lewis had signed to play for Cremins.

TechHoops

November 20th, 2009
8:37 am

The team is young. I am tired of all the Hewitt bashers. He has teams that compete, but lose too often. This Ga Tech’s best recruiting class ever!! You gotta get up there if you want to play against the big boys. That team was a bunch of guys playing together for years. They will get much better. The comeback and play in the second half was really good except for the stretch, which is what matters.

Tech is gonna be really good for the next few years with these guys and a couple coming too. You guys need to lay off Hewitt. I tell you be careful what you wish for. If he leaves I think we will have Chan Gailey type medicre seasons but won’t be great. Remember, his teams gel at the end of the season. We were awful last year but almost went to the semis in the ACC. If Hewitt is pushed out I don’t think we will fare well for a while.

Tech will be different this year. LEts see how we do against James Mason who took Villanova to the wire. We should be able to impose our will. I wish we had won as I think we would take Villanova this year.

We also got a bad call that gave them the go ahead 3. Our problem is the perimeter still leaves their man on defense. Even Bell did it and did it more than Miller did (who was really bad about that last year)

This team did not look like last years team. That team would have folded and lost by 15. We came back and were winning. Just no confidence and defensive problems on the perimeter. But don’t worry. That coupled with taking care of the ball will have this team looking really good before Christmas. I think we will win our ACC opener against Fla State (who is ranked)….just watch.

Baba O'Riley

November 20th, 2009
8:39 am

If he can’t win with this talented group, HE CAN’T WIN. Does it matter what players are here? I know it’s early, but Hewitt teams make the same mistakes over and over and over again. I get tired of seeing the other team hit uncontested 3’s. I get tired of HOPING we hit 1 of 2 foul shots. I go into every game KNOWING we will dribble the ball off of our own feet and out of bounds at least twice. Unforced turnovers galore. Welcome to another season of GT basketball. Thank you Dave Braine.

sidewalk74

November 20th, 2009
8:39 am

As long as Hewitt’s the coach this is what we will get. One lucky season out of 9 does not make him a good coach. It makes him a lottery winner based on the crazy contract he was given. Since the Final Four run in 2004 he has done nothing worthy of keeping his job. Poor win\loss record and an even worse graduation rate. For him its only about getting kids to the NBA, everything else is secondary.

Johnny dee

November 20th, 2009
8:42 am

If only coach Hewitt were as good a coach as he is a person. Same ol same ol…too many turnovers, lapses of concentration, sloppy play, no energy etc. etc. Nothing changes until the coach goes bye bye

Tech Fan

November 20th, 2009
8:43 am

The good news, if you want to call it that, for CPH is that he has a lot of games to prove the doubters wrong. Anyone who says, “well if so and so stays we will be awesome”, is automatically an idiot in my view though. No stud player you would tend to say that about stays. They all leave as soon as they can. I don’t blame them. I agree with that choice. My point is, don’t hold your hat hoping some top 25 NBA prospect is gonna stay just to help GT win. Anyway, it’s Groundhog Day so far this year, and last year, and the year before, and….ahh well…who really cares…isn’t that the point?

GTGuy44

November 20th, 2009
8:43 am

The only positive going on is the Hewitt supporters are shrinking in number. Before last season they said we would be really good. We were 2-14 in the ACC. Pitiful. Then they said wait until the frosh arrive and we will be great. We will have a losing record in the ACC. He simply cannot coach. I pray that our new president has the guts to broom him and just face up to his buyout which Dave Braine totally screwed Tech with.

Mark Bradley

November 20th, 2009
8:45 am

Tech plays George Mason this afternoon, and GM nearly beat Villanova in Puerto Rico. Let’s see what develops in this one, shall we?

Paul Johnson>paul hewitt

November 20th, 2009
8:46 am

Hewitt again finds a way to allow his team to squander a lead late in the game. Different team, same results. We’re up by 7 with 3:30 left to play. Turn it over twice in that span and miss the front end of a 1-1 (just like a turnover).
Dayton didn’t seem to have a problem making their free throws down the stretch.

You had a chance to pad your NCAA tourney resume with this one and you blew it. Being up 7pts late should result in a W every time with the talent we have on this team. Had we won though, Villanova would have beaten us like a drum. After we underachieve again and miss the tourney, DRAD needs to go get Jay Wright at Nova.

Whatsthegoodword

November 20th, 2009
8:46 am

Don’t y’all have someone up there that can delete all this “first” crap – and all the posts that have nothing to do with the blog??

thebull35

November 20th, 2009
8:46 am

Why is it that Derrick Favors only got SIX SHOTS in a game that is a close loss, and DeMarcus Cousins can go for 26 and 18. Derrick was the CONSENSUS player of the year by most voting services and has dominated Cousins everytime they have faced each other in the past couple of years on the AAU circuit, AND when they faced each other last year in high school. This is a clear sign that Hewitt is not using the kid right and not allowing the offense to go through him through critical stretches of ball games. I have always been a follower of Tech Basketball and have supported Hewitt through his tenure, but it seems as if Hewitt is delibrately trying to freeze out Derrick so that he can keep him for more than one year. Everybody (including me) has used that excuse for Paul Hewitt, saying that Tech cant have continued excellence due to the enormous amount of one-and-dones that he has had. But this is outrageous. Let the kid play, because if not you wont see many more big time recruits coming to the flats while Hewitt is there.

GTGuy44

November 20th, 2009
8:48 am

The only positive going on is that the Hewitt supporters are shrinking. Before last season they said we would be great. We finished 2-14 in the ACC. Pitiful. Before this season it was wait until the frosh get here we will be great. Face facts Hewitt cannot coach. I pray that our new president sucks it up and fires him. I absurd buyout that Dave Braine left us with is painful, but necessary to get rid of him.

acowa

November 20th, 2009
8:50 am

Fan apathy has set in. People aren’t buying tickets and students aren’t coming to the games either. CPH really needs to get off to a good start. We have great talent this year.