Fire Paul Hewitt

01/18/2010

Georgia Tech Performance By Half

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 9:56 PM

I’ve heard some complaints resonate throughout the GT Basketball fan base about Hewitt’s teams’ failure to perform in the 2nd half.  I’ve taken a look at the data to determine if this is, in fact, true.  My metric of choice was point differential.

Through seventeen games, the Jackets have scored 1285 points and allowed 1068 (217 point differential).  In the first half of games, they’ve scored 599 points and allowed 486 (113 point differential).  In the second half of games, they’ve scored 686 points and allowed 582 (104 point differential).

The Jackets have been out scored in the first half in four games: Dayton, Florida State, Georgia, and Duke.  They won only one of them (Duke).  They have been out scored in the second half in three games: Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina (plus a draw with George Mason).  They won only one of them (North Carolina, and the George Mason game).

Though there doesn’t seem to be a difference in overall performance, the scoring and allowing tendencies have been greater in the second half.  Whether or not that’s conducive to more Jacket victories or not I have no idea.

My conclusion, overall, is that there’s little (if any) evidence that the “Hewitt’s teams are worse in the second half” mantra is correct.

A few visualizations:

01/14/2010

Hewitt and Rhythm Problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 1:20 PM

See-saw continues for Tech in road loss to Virginia (Rogers) | AJC.com

In the game story:

The multiple personalities of Georgia Tech aren’t just a week-long phenomenon. The team that lost to Georgia last week only to beat No. 5 Duke on Saturday came back to earth Wednesday in an 82-75 loss at Virginia.

Not that the oddsmakers expected any differently.

The No. 20 Yellow Jackets were two-point underdogs to the unranked Cavaliers, which is a pretty good indication of the treachery on the road in the ACC.

That’s a good and fair point.  I think it’s a bit over blown, but still, a good point.  (About the ACC road treachery, that is)

So instead of claiming their first ACC road win in two years against the team picked to finish last in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets will try to end their drought Saturday at No. 12 North Carolina.

The thing is, theoretically, North Carolina isn’t that much better of a team than Virginia.  A lot of UNC’s stature is based on perception and not actual quality play.  This season, at least.

For illustrative purposes, I’ll present a chart with Georgia Tech, Virginia, and North Carolina’s AP rankings and Kenpom rankings.  The Kenpom rankings represent an honest attempt to quantify production.  The AP rankings represent the bullshit summary opinions from a few clueless writers:

Team AP Kenpom
Georgia Tech 20 26
Virginia 12 55
North Carolina NR 47

Team AP Kenpom

North Carolina has two things going for them that Virginia didn’t.  One, if the Dean Dome isn’t the biggest college basketball venue in the country, it’s close.  I’ve sat in the nose bleeds at both Phillips Arena and the Dean Dome.  The players look like ants at the Dean Dome, they’re fairly visible at Phillips.  Some of this has to do with design choices, etc.  Point is, it’s a really big venue, and don’t think it won’t be at full capacity when Georgia Tech comes to town.  The crowd could be more of a factor.

EDIT: I’m told per Wikipedia that the Dean Dome seats 21,750 and is the 5th largest college basketball venue in the country.

The second thing they have going for them is Roy Williams.  I know little about Tony Bennett, but he’s no Roy Williams.  And neither is Paul Hewitt….

Continuing with the article:

“It’s been tough,” Hewitt said of his team’s recent up-and-down stretch, which applied to Wednesday’s game as well. “I thought we did some good things in the first half then we got out of our rhythm in the second half. The last eight minutes we didn’t do enough to put the game away.”

Paul, buddy, you’re a good orator.  You’re well spoken, you’re good at always saying the right things.

However, you’ve got to quit blaming “rhythm” for all of your team’s problems.  I think it’s time for you to admit that this team is flawed in some capacity beyond “rhythm problems”.  Rhythm doesn’t lose to Georgia and Virginia.  Poor coaching and play does.

Tech was abysmal from the free-throw line (3-for-11 after going 22-for-28 vs. Duke).

What the fuck is that?  Seriously.  3-for-11 from the free-throw line?  What the fuck is that?

Lawal was only 2-for-6 at the line, missing four in a row in the first half, which would have been five if not for a lane violation.

“Just not going through my progressions,” said Lawal, who had improved his free-throw percentage from 55.9 percent last season to 70.6 percent. “I’ll get in the gym tomorrow, get in about 100, 200 [free throws], get this thing back on track. I was rushing.”

I like how Lawal is stepping up and taking responsibility, here, but this problem goes way beyond Lawal.  It’s been a systematic weakness of the team for quite some time now, and there’s really no excuse for it.

I suppose this is necessary

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 12:39 PM

There has been a lot of bad sports journalism in the past week or so.  I intend to get caught up and post some commentary here.  In the mean time, a little bit on the past three games:

Here’s a table, courtesy of Kenpom efficiency charts.  It includes the rate standings and the game final scores vs. the Jackets for their past three opponents (plus the Jackets’ rate standings at the bottom, for reference).  Here goes:

Team AdjO Rk AdjD Rk Overall GT Opponent
Georgia 107 124 101 66 73
Duke 1 6 1 71 67
Virginia 20 119 55 75 82
Georgia Tech 71 18 26

The Jackets hold the best offense in the country to 67 points, sandwiched between allowing the 20th best offense in the country to score 82 and the 107th best offense in the country to score 73.

The Jackets score 71 against the 6th best defense in the country, sandwiched scoring 75 against the 119th best defense in the country and scoring 66 against the 124th best defense in the country.

Something doesn’t add up.

The truth is probably some where in the middle.  Still, this is why people are pissed off at Paul Hewitt, no matter how much of this sort of thing is really his fault.

01/12/2010

This is sort of sad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 3:39 PM

Georgia Tech Basketball Recruiting: Prospects | Scout.com

Not that I’m not happy about Jason Morris.  I am.

The fact that there are zero other respectable players even being courted in a year that the Yellow Jackets could conceivably lose three or four players to the NBA Draft (aka. stars).

Is this the list?  Is this it?  Or is there a chance someone else shows up on here?

Or are there any international/community college prospects I’m un aware of?

01/09/2010

Preview of the Big Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 8:00 AM

I’m not a former college player so I’ll leave the two minute speech about how “attitude” or “playing hard in opening minutes” or the 12th best player on the team that will likely only play 5 total minutes in the game because he’s so important for the team’s chemistry–or, something equally stupid–is the most important thing for some team to do to beat some team on some given day for a TV analyst that doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about*.  I just want to discuss the implications of this game a bit.

*Seriously.  Later today some analyst is probably going to tell you that whatever team comes out and plays more physical in the first five minutes will win the game.  They might even say something as far fetched as a senior that never plays but was a member of the Yellow Jackets the last time they beat Duke (so, hey, he knows how to beat them, right?  Never mind he barely even played in that game and was on teams that lost to Duke 6 times.  I’m speaking hypothetically, here.) is the key to the game.

Obvious things are obvious for a reason.  Some times, it will suffice to say the obvious.  Analysts aren’t paid to state the obvious, though, so when there’s not much else to say (or they’re not talented enough to pick it up), they often spout bullshit like the examples I’ve mentioned.  Don’t buy it.  Anyone who tells you someone outside of the starting 5 is the most important player in a game is insulting your intelligence.  Some times all you need to say is, “this team is more likely to win because they’re the better team, but variance and entropy exist, so the other team could win if a few things break their way”.

Some times it’s simply, Duke owns a 13-1 record playing an arguably tougher schedule than Georgia Tech–a team that has compiled an 11-3 record.  Duke has produced an adjusted offensive efficiency score of 123.6, which ranks 1st in all of college basketball, Georgia Tech has produced a 106.0, which ranks 99th in NCAAMBB, in that same category.  Duke’s adjusted defensive efficiency score is 84.1, which ranks 5th in the land, Georgia Tech slightly trails them there, too, at 86.6, which ranks 12th in the nation.  Overall, Duke ranks 2nd, Georgia Tech ranks 33rd.  There’s loads of empirical evidence that Duke is the better team than Georgia Tech and, therefore, Duke is the more likely winner.  It’s that simple.  Not some bogus about chemistry or attitude.

I don’t intend for this to turn into a basketball-themed Fire Joe Morgan, but I figured I’d need to get this rant out of the way at some point and I might as well while we’re still getting to know each other.  (…By the way, does one of those exist?  If so, I’ll want the link.  Even if it’s now in archives…)

It’s a big game from Hewitt’s perspective.  We’ve already witnessed some of the media hype in this space, specifically from Mark Bradley and Ken Davis.  I think it’s even more important than that.

First of all, Duke-GT games are always well attended.  Not by Duke fans, either.  Yeah, there will be Duke fans there, but there will also be plenty of Georgia Tech fans.  Play well today and two things may happen.  One, they use the crowd to their advantage and it helps them today.  Two, they retain some of the crowd, the attendance at other games starts to rise, and they use that to their advantage later.  Nothing gets the Jacket fan base riled up and excited about the team like beating Duke in front of a packed house at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.  As a GT fan, I can validate.

However, I don’t think a loss here does much to damage Hewitt’s chances of retaining his job, seeing as it’s Duke.  You can’t point to that game.  You can’t say, “you lost to Duke, you’re fired”.  It’s Duke.  Beating Duke all the time isn’t the standard, nor has it ever been, nor should it be.  I don’t think winning here has much impact, either.  Though the ill effects of losing could affect the team’s performance in future games, which could hurt Hewitt’s chances.  And, conversely, the positive effects of winning could also improve the team’s chances of playing well later, for reasons previously covered.

Hopefully the Jackets don’t look like idiots.  If they’re able to play well and a few things break their way, they’ve got a decent shot.  Here’s to hoping some things break their way today.  They’ll need it.

01/08/2010

Tomasson on Hewitt and the One-and-Done Phenomenon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 11:04 PM

One criticism of the Yellow Jackets basketball program in general and, more specifically, Paul Hewitt, has been that the most talented players tend to leave early.  Of course, this is true in general, not just Georgia Tech, and there’s no empirical evidence I’ve seen of players leaving Georgia Tech earlier than the average school.  However, it’s something Paul Hewitt and Derrick Favors–likely to be the next in the long line of ”one and dones” from GT–discuss in an article by Chris Tomasson at NCAA Basketball Fanhouse.

Dazzling Frosh Favors Playing Sweet ‘Toon at Georgia Tech | NCAAB Fanhouse

Some quotes from the aforementioned Hewitt and Favors:

“If I’m ready, I’ll go [to the NBA Draft],” Favors, averaging 12.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 boards, said of coming out after one college season. “If I’m not, I’ll stay another year.”

I’m pretty sure we all know he’ll be ready….  For the sake of conservatism, don’t expect Favors to return to Georgia Tech for the 2010-2011 season.  At least don’t do that and call yourself a realist.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt has experience with one-and-done players. Forward Chris Bosh spent just 2002-03 with the Yellow Jackets before being taken No. 4 in the draft by Toronto and forward Thaddeus Young played only 2006-07 prior to going No. 12 to Philadelphia.

—-snip—-

“It’s never been a distraction for us,” Hewitt said of the possibility Favors only will play one season for Georgia Tech. “Kids know they come here to work and get better. At the end of the year, we’ll sit down with every kid with that option (of entering the NBA draft early) and think about it… (Favors has) played very well for us. We’re very pleased with his effort.”

I realize that being conducive to one-and-done players like Young, Bosh, Favors, et. all is a great way to attract elite talent, though I’m not so sure it’s the best way to build a winning basketball program.  I could be wrong, but it seems like the ability to sustain an elite program is accomplished through a combination of development and recruiting, not just the latter.  Looking at the 2008-2009 North Carolina roster (they were pretty good, you know), most of their contributors were juniors and seniors.  When your best players are all freshmen, it’s probably going to be difficult to make a run at the ACC crown.

Again, I don’t have any empirical evidence that Paul Hewitt is more apt to do this than any other coach, but the talking points point in that direction.

Part of the alleged problem is the academic difficulties of the institution.  Keeping a player around for four years is a lot harder than just keeping him away from the NBA draft, you’ve got to keep him in school, too.  That’s no small task at Georgia Tech, especially for an athlete who is expected to practice for hours each day.  Sneaking a basketball player into a few easy classes or classes in which the athletic department has influence over for one semester is easier to accomplish than sustaining said feat for four years.  That’s the way the game is set up.  It’s un fair from the get go.  Though if there is actually a problem with regards to players leaving early, I can’t help but think there’s a good chance Paul Hewitt is at least partially responsible for it, either directly or indirectly.

Last, a bit of wisdom from our pair of inside stars:

“[Derrick Favors is] mild-mannered and easy going,” Lawal said. “He’ll just look at cartoons. He says cartoons are the realist thing out there, and that you know what you’re getting with cartoons.”

Everything else in life is like a box of chocolates, but with cartoons, you know what you’re gonna get.

01/07/2010

Schultz: Radakovich is confident in Hewitt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 4:04 PM

Radakovich on Hewitt, Jackets: ‘We’re moving forward’ | AJC.com

In his latest column, the Jeff Schultz summarizes the opinion of the average Georgia Tech Hoops fan in a cliche-ridden, simple minded, one-liner:

“[Tech] played a really bad game against a really bad team, and Paul Hewitt is the gum on the bottom of the ACC’s shoe.”

He then goes on to urge everyone to be patient, citing the team’s 11-3 record and (Georgia Tech Athletic Director) Dan Radakovich’s endorsement of Hewitt.  An example of the latter:

As for whether Hewitt’s job is on the line, athletic director Dan Radakovich tried to refrain from giving his coach the dreaded public vote of confidence, saying: “I don’t think Paul needs a public vote of confidence. We’re one game into the ACC season with 15 games left. We’re moving forward as a team, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we continue to progress.”

But he still has confidence in Hewitt?

“Absolutely. We still have a great opportunity to have the kind of season Paul and his team want.”

First of all, I’ve seen the way PR works in sports and to expect anything other than this sort of thing from Dan Radakovich would be naive.  Therefore, his words should be taken exactly as seriously as the Academy Awards (that’s not at all………)

Secondly, Radakovich doesn’t really say anything.  I know, he says something, but it doesn’t mean anything.  Citing Radakovich’s words as evidence of anything is folly.

Schultz concludes the affable column with the following:

There’s a chance by season’s end that, “Celebrating Excellence,” will come off as a horrible contrast. But at 11-3 and 0-1, isn’t it a little bit early?

Schultz is paid to entertain people, not to pass along relevant pieces of information.  The malcontent with Hewitt has much less to do with his 11-3 record this season and much more to do with his entire body of work, which has never been as good as a) advertised or b) expectations.  Failure to recognize this is a rather large sign of incompetence on Schultz’s part.  Though, like I said, he’s paid to entertain, not to have a relevant opinion, so I’ll give him a pass.

Not much different from the previous quote is this peevish one, that really exemplifies why Schultz pisses people off:

Notwithstanding the embarrassment of the loss to Georgia, the level of vitriol following one loss — especially for a team that is 11-3 and has played only one conference game (a loss to Florida State) — is staggering.

As Mark Bradley pointed out in one of his columns the other day, Paul Hewitt has played against three University of Georgia coaches and failed to accumulate a winning record against any of them.  The fans have every right to be bitter, so get off your high horse, Schultz.

The Paul Hewitt Contract

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 11:57 AM

Someone has up loaded Paul Hewitt’s contract onto the document hosting service, Scribd.  Here is a link to the document: Paul Hewitt Contract | Scribd.  If anyone knows the source of this, please let me know, I’d love to personally thank them.

Some highlights:

1) He gets paid at least $1.35 million annually for the life of the contract.

2) He has what some people refer to as an “Evergreen clause” (I call it a perpetual option clause).  Basically, at the end of every season, another year is tacked onto the end of his contract, such that he always has six years remaining on his contract.

3) If Georgia Tech chooses to fire him, they’ll be on the hook for all 6 years of the $1.35 million per season, unless he does something incredibly fucking stupid like get a DUI or break NCAA recruiting regulations, et cetera.

It’s something we all need to keep in mind when we’re talking about firing Paul Hewitt.  $8.1 million (minus the present day dollars discount) is a fuck ton of money to pay someone as termination pay.  Perhaps keeping even the worst of coaches is more profitable than paying him $8.1 million for the privelege of signing another coach to a similarly lucrative contract.

Davis: Hewitt is feeling this big stretch up coming

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 11:23 AM

Ken Davis of NBCSports.com published a Q&A last night.  The first question and, appropriately, the title deals with Georgia Tech: Do Tech a favor, Derrick — be more assertive | NBCSports.com

The pertinent quotes:

Q: What do you think of Georgia Tech? Has Derrick Favors turned the Jackets back into a Final Four contender, or should I just wait for Paul Hewitt to botch it up in ACC play again?
— Reggie Ray, Atlanta

A: Reggie, at first glance I thought you were being a little harsh on coach Hewitt and the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech went into Tuesday night with two losses. But they came out of Tuesday night with a third loss, a very bad loss that will turn up the heat on Hewitt no doubt.

—-snip—-

Tech should be the third best team in the ACC behind Duke and North Carolina, with a chance to vault over the Tar Heels. But the Yellow Jackets already have one ACC loss (to Florida State) and jump into conference play with a home game against Duke, followed by road games at Virginia and UNC. This is a big stretch ahead — and you can be sure Hewitt feels it.

Nothing there I disagree with.  At Georgia Tech, no matter the sport, when you lose to Georgia, you feel the heat turned up a bit.  Whether this is fair or not is debatable, but reality and equality aren’t necessarily mutually inclusive concepts.

01/06/2010

Hewitt: It’s Wide Open (via ESPN’s Andy Katz)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter @ 10:19 PM

ESPN’s Andy Katz has a piece out entitled Georgia Tech now faces tough ACC road

The basic premise is the Jackets’ schedule is so strenuous they’ll pick up some steam in the power rankings and cruise into the NCAA tournament. Not completely wrong, but theory doesn’t always equal practice with the Yellow Jackets.

Some snips:

The Yellow Jackets are the only team in the ACC this season that plays Duke and North Carolina twice. Georgia Tech also plays Florida State, Clemson and Wake Forest twice. Georgia Tech easily has the toughest schedule of any ACC team, so it’s hard to see how the Yellow Jackets won’t have one of the best power-ratings in the league.

Yes. Though that sort of assumes you actually play well in the games you’ve scheduled. A tough schedule–with a piss poor point differential–ain’t enough to get you to the dance in itself.

Of course, the Jackets should win some games, perhaps quote a few, but who the hell knows if they will?

Hewitt has said from the outset of the season that the Yellow Jackets can compete for the ACC title.

I’ve seen a lot of talk from Hewitt in my day, though rarely has it meant much.

No one is living in fear of playing Duke or anyone else in the league.

“I think it’s wide open — everybody has some sort of flaw,” Hewitt said.

Well, I’m not so sure. As it stands, Duke owns the 5th highest AdjD/Rnk and highest AdjO/Rnk in NCAAMBB. They’re probably a good bit better than the Jackets.

Hewitt isn’t in much position to be speaking like this, really, and could certainly benefit from a nice dose of humility, all things considered.

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