Pulling for the Hawks and Mario West!

I suddenly find myself watching an NBA game for the first time in my adult life.

I rationalize it as a combination of the home team playing well, a 7th game sudden death situation, and the fact that Mario West has been coming off the bench for the Hawks to play defense against Dwayne Wade.

The AJC had a great picture earlier this week that showed Mario reacting to a big defensive play against Wade.  Some of the talking heads around the internet made noise about how West should act like he’s been there before or that he was over reacting.

I don’t think so…

Remember, West came to Georgia Tech as a walk-on, earned playing time as a defensive specialist who gave 110% every possession, quickly became a crowd favorite, and then became a veteran leader and senior team captain on a team that needed one badly.

Becoming a starter on an ACC team after arriving on campus as a walkon is one thing…but West took it a step further when he showed superior athleticism on the way to winning the March Madness dunk competition as a senior.

But he still wasn’t done…securing a roster spot with the Atlanta Hawks despite being a non-drafted free agent.

The walk-on from Douglasville was suddenly an NBA player…getting paid for the same things that made him a crowd favorite and a success at Georgia Tech…tenacious defense, fearless athleticism, and more raw desire than any two players I’ve ever seen play basketball at Georgia Tech or elsewhere.

There are several well known Yellow Jackets in the NBA right now…but I have the most fond memories of Rio.

Go Hawks!  Go Mario!

With a 49-36 lead at the half…things are looking good for Rio and the Hawks!

12 comments Add your comment

Freshmaker

May 3rd, 2009
4:29 pm

I’m so glad the Hawks have him. He gives the team an energy boost every time he steps on the court. Playing tough defense is what keys the Hawks, and Mario’s great at it.

Dannyboy

May 3rd, 2009
8:24 pm

One of the many things I’m proud of GaTech for is their sincere approach to walk-ons. You not only see this in what Mario West is doing, but in guys like Nick Foreman of the current basketball team, and Sean Bedford and Zach Krish of the football team. Paul Hewitt and Paul Johnson have shown that if you work hard you’ll be rewarded. Unlike a lot of other athletic programs, walk-ons at GaTech are not treated as only practice fodder. Obviously PH’s basketball program isn’t where GaTech fans want it to be at the moment, but the one thing no one can argue with is his development of players and giving them an opportunity to play professionally (NBA or overseas). Things like that, combined with GaTech’s first rate academics go a long way when the coaches walk in a living room of a prospective student athlete.

Big B CH 99

May 4th, 2009
1:41 am

That’s exactly what makes Mario my favorite NBA player, I love his hustle and defensive intensity in a league where too many guys play no defense, & just want to dunk and jack up 3’s.

Go Mario!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(& Hawks)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Butts Wagner

May 4th, 2009
8:41 am

Obviously PH’s basketball program isn’t where GaTech fans want it to be at the moment, but the one thing no one can argue with is his development of players and giving them an opportunity to play professionally (NBA or overseas).

Actually, this is the one thing almost every Paul Hewitt detractor argues with. The players at GT don’t get any better from freshman year to senior year. Not to mention the fact that the teams as a whole don’t ever improve in-year or year-to-year.

gte268p

May 4th, 2009
10:39 am

People who don’t think that players develop under Hewitt obviously never paid attention to Jarrett Jack. His development and growth from his freshman year to his sophomore year was beyond that of any player I’ve ever seen anywhere. Also, how can you you develop a player when you have so many one and done players? Half the time Hewitt isn’t given the time to develop players! I’m not happy at all with how GT has done recently in basketball, but get off the coach’s back!

GoAwayHewitt

May 4th, 2009
2:03 pm

Jarrett Jack improved in spite of Paul Hewitt. Paul Hewitt is a terrible coach. Period.

Not Disappointed

May 4th, 2009
4:47 pm

Very proud of Mario West! I wish him and the Atlanta Hawks the best! Ramblin Wreck!

HAWK CHICK

May 5th, 2009
8:46 am

I LOVE MARIO WEST, HE IS A BEAST ON DEFENSE AND HE GIVES A GREAT SPARK OFF THE BENCH. JUST WHEN WE NEED HIM HE GOES IN THERE AND SHUTS DOWN THE OTHER TEAMS OFFENSE. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE GUY FELT LIKE TO HOLD DWAYNE FOR 24 SECS. I LOVE IT AND I FELT THE ENERGY AND HE HAD FULL RIGHT TO CELEBRATE. HE EARNED IT. I WISH WOODY WOULD PALY HIM MORE. I ALSO LOVE SOLO- HE MAKES HIS PRESENCE KNOWN AS WELL!!!!!! GO HAWKS!!!!

pensacola dawg

May 5th, 2009
4:01 pm

So thankfull he made out of Getto school without getting shot. Our prayers go out to the young Man shot on Campus last night. I never have understood why anyone would want to go to college next to a getto!

Pi$$onaDAWG

May 6th, 2009
12:57 pm

Pensacola Pi$$onaDawg I guess nobody goes to NYU, Univ. of Chicago, Howard, Georgetown, or any school that is in city not some cow pasture town like Auburn, Athens, or Clemson.

STUCK IN SC

May 7th, 2009
12:47 pm

Congrats on the report card from the NCAA! All you arrogant GT people are running for cover and making excuses as to why this could happen at such an outstanding Technical college. LMAO!

Phildo

May 7th, 2009
1:50 pm

Wonderful! Hewitt has not only taken the team to the bottom of the conference on the court, but is at the helm while they sank to the bottom academically. The ONLY Tech or Ga team to be so dishonored. All of the UGAg leghumpers will be justified in crowing about this shame. Get a clue, D-Rad and do your job, now, rather than in a few years when you will still to do it. With his insane contract, the cost to Tech will always be the same to dump him, except for more bad attendance, lost revenues, and lost respect. This is your perfect opportunity. DO NOT WASTE IT.