Just How Good Are Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets?

Jeffrey FannAnalyst IDecember 14, 2009

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 3: Head coach Paul Hewitt of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first half against the Clemson Tigers on February 3, 2007 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia Tech defeated Clemson 80-62. (Photo by Paul Abell/Getty Images)
Paul Abell/Getty Images

We first asked this question in the All About Sports blog recent ACC Basketball Power Rankings. The best team they played, Dayton, they lost to 63-59. The schedule hasn't been that tough, but I'm seeing some things they are leading to me believe this year's Yellow Jacket's might be pretty darn good. Monday night they beat UT Chattanooga 95-64.

The one thing you could count on with a Paul Hewitt coached team in recent years was turnovers on offense and lots of them. Against the USC Trojans, recently, the Yellow Jackets only committed seven turnovers. I can't remember the last time a Georgia Tech team had less than a 10 turnovers in a game. In addition the last few years have seen a half court offense that can only be described as clueless. The litany of turnovers, and poor shot selection had become a hallmark of the Yellow Jackets offense. This included early season losses to the likes of Illinois-Chicago, UNC Greensboro and Wintrop.
This year the Jackets are dominating those kinds of opponents. Their half court offense looks as good as I've seen in a long time. Paul Hewitt has always needed a superior PG to run his offense; whether its been Tony Akins, Jarrett Jack, or Javaris Crittenton.
This year he has a young PG named Mfon Udofia. Udofia was a highly regarded player out of high school, but he's coming along quicker than I think many expected. He's is averaging a crisp 12 points per game, while doing an good job of controlling the tempo of the game. The strength of this team is inside with Gani Lawal and HS All American Derrick Favors. Both are averaging more than 13 points a game, and Hewitt wisely is instructing his guards to get the ball to these great low post players. Lawal is averaging 10 boards a game and Favors eight. I thought the weakness of this team would be on the perimeter. It doesn't look that way.
Brian Oliver another HS All Star is shooting 50 percentage from the three point line, and the return of defensive specialist D'Andre Bell is providing a stabilizing force. Is this team a contender in the ACC? Its too early to say. The Jackets should be 8-1 before a visit from Florida State. The Noles are a solid team, but if Georgia Tech can beat them December 20th they may be a threat in the ACC. A tricky OOC game at UNC Charlotte on Jan 2 could also boost the confidence of this young squad. We'll see how good the Jackets are the next few weeks.