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.
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.
“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.