At the end of the 2004 season, which included a Pre-season NIT title and National Championship game appearance, Paul Hewitt looked like college basketball’s hottest young coach. 4 ½ years later and Hewitt’s days may be numbered at Georgia Tech. Where did it all go wrong for Tech and Hewitt?
We can start with a lack of continuity at the point guard position since Jarret Jack’s departure in 2005. Since that time Hewitt has started four straight freshman point guards, Zam Fredrick (05-06), Javaris Crittenton (06-07), Maurice Miller (07-08), and Iman Shumpert (08-09). Miller was slated to be the first returning PG since Jack, but suffered a nose injury, and has seen limited minutes since.
In addition in 2005, highly rated PG Austin Jackson, opted to play baseball rather than attend Georgia Tech. Unfortunately for Hewitt, as head coach it’s his responsibility to work around injuries, and early departures. His record over the last 3 ½ seasons, has been one of the worst in the ACC.
2005-2006: 11-17, (4-13)
2006-2007: 20-12, (8-9)
2007-2008: 15-17. (8-10)
2008-2009: 9-8, (0-4)
That’s a 55-54 and 50.5 percent overall record and a 20-36 and 36 percent record in the ACC. It hasn’t been due to lack of talent either. Anthony Morrow, Mario West, Thaddeous Young, and Javaris Crittenton are all players during this time that are currently on NBA rosters, in addition to McDonald All Americans on the current roster, Gani Lawal and Iman Shumpert.
Coming into today’s NC State game, where the Jackets blew a 10 point lead with four minutes to go, to lose 76-71 in OT, Georgia Tech was 339 out of 344 Division I schools in free throw shooting, at an atrocious 57.8 percent. You are not going to win many close games with that kind of free throw shooting percentage, though oddly they were 13 out 16 for 81 percent today.
No NCAA tournament wins, one NCAA tournament appearance, and not even any NIT appearances, only add to the poor showing of the last three years. Barring a miracle this will be Hewitt’s third season out of four missing the NCAA’s, and it’s quite likely to be his third losing season out of the last four seasons.
It’s doubtful that Hewitt doesn’t finish this season though, as Georgia Tech’s head coach regardless of final record, but the pressure will be on for a major turnaround next season. Hewitt has put together one of the best classes in America headed by consensus top five player Derrick Favors, the others are top 30 players at their position according to Scout.com; SF Glen Rice (27), PG Mfon Udofia (6), PF Kammeon Holsey (28), and SF Brian Oliver (29).
If Hewitt is unable to mesh this very talented class, with his returning players, to make an appearance in next years NCAA’s, it may be time for Tech and Hewitt to part ways. As AD Dan Radokovich did with reasonably successful former head football coach Chan Gaily, if you aren’t moving a Yellow Jacket sports program forward, you won’t coach at Georgia Tech.