Posts Tagged ‘Tech’

It’s a big year for Hewitt, even if he doesn’t think so

Give Paul Hewitt credit. He sees reality, or at least half of it. “We should have a very, very good team,” he said, and Hewitt’s 2009-2010 Jackets seem, at least in terms of manpower, as strong as any basketball squad in Georgia Tech annals.

But here’s where the coach sails down the river of denial. Asked if 2009-2010 is a big season for the program in general and Paul Hewitt in particular, he said, “No.

Hearing, his questioner — who has, it must be stipulated, been critical of Hewitt — repeated the word: “No?” Then I half-laughed.

And Hewitt half-smiled. “Two years ago we had a very good team that was overscheduled out of a very good year,” he said. “Last year we had a lot of adversity off the court. That might not be the way other people see it, but it’s the way I see it.”

This is what’s frustrating about Paul Hewitt. Nobody expects a coach to say, “If we don’t win every game by 30 points I deserve to be fired.” (In 2000 Jim Donnan stood before a Bulldog Club convocation in …

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Bradley’s Buzz: ESPN damns Georgia Tech with faint praise

When last we encountered Chris Sprow of ESPN.com — and if it seems like just yesterday, that’s because it was — he was saying nicer things about the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs than you’d expect regarding a team ESPN ranks No. 16 in the land. Well, guess who ESPN ranks No. 15?

Aw. You guessed.

The same Mr. Sprow takes on 15th-ranked Georgia Tech (link requires registration) and — wouldn’t you know it? — gushes less about the Jackets than about the Bulldogs. (Let the record reflect that ESPN’s ratings were done not by Sprow but by esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach, who’s a Georgia grad.) And a magnifying glass isn’t required to read between Sprow’s lines: He wonders if Paul Johnson’s option-based spread is really all that.

As was the case with the Georgia preview, extensive quotation will be done. (Because ESPN’s Insiders is a pay site, and I’m Clark Howard.) So here goes:

• “What [Tech coach Paul Johnson] should do is put the ball in the hands of star tailback Jonathan …

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Lawal stays, and Tech faces a year of promise and pressure

Paul Hewitt got an early Father’s Day gift. He learned his best player from last season will play for Georgia Tech next season, and there’s no reason — none — the Jackets shouldn’t be a Top 10 team.

But Hewitt’s present comes with a triple helping of pressure. For the first time in a while, the coach with the golden contract must actually deliver.

Gani Lawal, who removed his name from the NBA draft, will not be Tech’s best player in 2009-2010. The incoming freshman Derrick Favors, who heads a recruiting class ranked No. 4 nationally by Rivals.com, is better than Lawal, and Lawal is pretty darn good. And now the Jackets will have a team of talent and depth and seasoning. Last winter Hewitt described Wake Forest as “having the most NBA-ready talent in the ACC.” These Jackets will have even more.

How will Tech fare next season?

  • It’ll make the Final Four.
  • It’ll reach the Sweet 16.
  • It’ll win the NCAA title.
  • It’ll miss the NCAA tournament.

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College football 2009: Tech wins the ACC, Georgia loses four

OK, so I’m a big fat homer, but I’m an equal-opportunity homer. In last year’s long-range college football predictions, I picked Georgia to win the BCS title. This time I’m picking Georgia Tech …

• To take the ACC championship. I believe Paul Johnson when he says his stylized offense will be ever better, and I note the key game on Tech’s conference schedule — Virginia Tech on Oct. 17 — will be staged at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Because I think there’ll be some days when the Jackets fumble 10 times or it rains or something, I’m guessing they’ll lose twice. (At Florida State and, believe it or not, at Vandy.) But they’ll go 10-2 and beat FSU in a rematch for the ACC title.

• I see Georgia losing four games. If that sounds like a lot, recall that the star-studded 2008 team lost three, and — stop me if you’ve heard this already — Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are gone. Joe Cox won’t be as good as D.J. Shockley was in 2005, but he’ll be OK. Replacing Moreno will be more …

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The Georgia State itinerary: Two miles to “baseball heaven”

The president of Georgia State University gave his baseball coach a new car Tuesday morning. Two hours later, Greg Frady showed a visitor the fruits of his team’s victory in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament – a snazzy red-and-white convertible about six inches long and two inches high.

OK, so the gift of a model car wasn’t quite like winning the showcase on “The Price Is Right,” but it was a nice gesture by Mark Becker, the president who got so pumped he sent his coach text messages between CAA tournament games. And this week has the potential to be better still: The Georgia State Panthers are going to what their coach calls “baseball heaven.”

Friday night will mark GSU’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament, and it will come in a ballpark two miles from Panther headquarters. Georgia State plays Georgia Tech at Russ Chandler Stadium, and Frady knows a grand opportunity is at hand.

“The Atlanta community will be paying attention to this game,” …

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Former Tech QB Donnie Davis is finishing what he started

Donnie Davis hated Georgia Tech. He wouldn’t go to a game, wouldn’t set foot on campus. Whenever he drove past – and living in Atlanta, he did often – he’d feel sick to his stomach.

On this spring day in 2009, Donnie Davis sits in the Edge Center, headquarters for Tech sports. He has come from a class in business law. At his feet is a backpack bearing the embroidered letters “GT.”

He’s talking about the future – he’ll graduate with a degree in business management in December – and also the past. Donnie Davis was once the biggest name on the campus he came to despise, but now he’s back, and he’s older (age 36) and wiser and far more forgiving.

“I don’t want to present the case that I was the victim and Georgia Tech was the villain,” he says. “I wholeheartedly believe that nothing was directed at Donnie Davis. I just happened to be the guy in Locker No. 13.”

He arrived at Tech in 1991, a Parade All-American from Burlington, N.C. Recruited by …

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Bradley’s Buzz: More bad news for Georgia Tech hoops

Hewitt’s program takes yet another hit

Georgia Tech announced Wednesday it had “elected to forego” two basketball scholarships for the 2008-2009 season for what it believed would be its failure to meet the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report standard of 925. Sure enough, the just-released APR showed the Jackets falling to 914 in the reporting year of 2007-2008, down from 931 in 2006-2007.

This comes on the heels of Tech’s third losing season over its past four, the possible early loss of Gani Lawal to the NBA and the loss of assistant coach Charlton Young, who became head coach at Georgia Southern. It also follows Hewitt’s assertion that “our academics are in the best shape since I’ve been here.”

His point was that any academic issues might have had — in 2007-2008, say — have since been ironed out. In the same March interview, Hewitt noted that six Jackets made the dean’s list last semester. He also admitted he “tried to fight the APR hard because I thought it could have an effect …

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Bradley’s Buzz: The Hawks win a series, and people notice!

A change of pace: Glowing Hawk reviews

Back in October, John Hollinger of ESPN.com picked the Hawks to finish 31-51, 13th among the 15 teams in the NBA East. On Sunday he sat in Philips Arena and watched them beat the Miami Heat to advance to Round 2, and it’s safe to say he was duly impressed.

Focusing on Joe Johnson’s breakout game, Hollinger also wrote: “If Atlanta’s All-Star could match Miami’s All-Star [Dwyane Wade} shot for shot, as he finally did Sunday, there was no way Wade’s supporting cast could lift him past Johnson’s.” (Oddly enough, a guy I know had been saying much the same thing. Not that I’m ever right. Though I was, kind of, this time.)

For the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Ira Winderman wrote essentially the same thing and played heavily off Wade’s assertion that the Hawks have five guys who can make a play. And five tends to beat one.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

On SI.com, Bill Trocchi called Zaza Pachulia’s dive-on-the-floor offensive …

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Paul Johnson believes Tech will be even better in Year 2

Remember the offense that trampled Georgia underfoot? You still haven’t seen the monster fully unleashed. So said Paul Johnson, whose first Georgia Tech team won nine games. As his second round of spring practice was drawing to its end, the coach spent a half-hour discussing the past and the future. His prognosis: “I think we’ll be a better football team than we were a year ago.”

On his option-based spread: “It’s not so much putting in the basics. It’s the little nuances, the little changeups we didn’t get to last year … We were still just scratching the surface a year ago. There were so many games where if we’d been a little more adept at running it we could have done so much better … We will be better on offense. Now I don’t know if we’ll win any more games, but I guarantee you we’re better than we were a year ago.”

On just how that will happen: “It’s not just that we’ll get faster – we’ll be able to execute at a faster pace. You can watch our tape …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Hewitt delivers least bang for big bucks

Big contract, smallish results

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 …

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