Friday, February 18, 2005

Coach Hewitt Spends the day at ESPN

Well, I was travelling in Green Bay Wisc., and missed it all, but evidently Coach Hewitt was at the ESPN studios all day. He was an in-studio guest on Thursday evening, was interviewed at halftime of Louisville / Marquette, appeared on ESPN radio and also was in an ESPN chat session.

In looking for re-caps, here is what I found covering his numerous appearances:

- Rate the top 5 GT PG's as 5 - Marbury, 4 - Best, 3 - Anderson, 2 - Jack and 1 - Price........ Staying only one year played a role in Marbury at #5.
- Team had good scrimmages this week and are feeling good about their game.
- Said that when he was at Villinova, the Big East feared the ACC because of their ability to recruit into Big East territory.
- Feels that more than 4 teams from the ACC will make the dance.
- Coach's quote of the day - "We're either going to be a team nobody wants to see come March or a team that nobody sees."
- Profiled Isma'il & his dunking ability at halftime. Coach said his best dunk ever was in practice over Chris Bosh.
- Elder will be 100% for the FSU game.

Here's the link to the transcript of the ESPN chat. In addition I found the text posted publicly on the web, so I will copy it here:

The ShowGirl: (3:18 PM ET ) I've got Coach Hewitt here! Let's go!

Paul Hewitt: (3:20 PM ET ) Hey everybody. I'm enjoying my day here at ESPN. I had a very nice tour, I'm looking forward to your questions now.

Jesse (Marietta, GA): Coach, how has the week off helped getting BJ and Jeremis back into the swing of things? Are you seeing any improvement this week between the two of them?

Paul Hewitt: (3:22 PM ET ) We were able to have an intersquad scrimmage on Monday and Wed. to give both those guys court time. BJ in particular, has responded very well and feels like he's getting closer and closer to form. The scrimmages also helped Jeremis to get his timing and knowlege of our offense down.

Mike (Siena Saints): Coach, Graduate of Siena here, and HUGE Yellow Jackets fan. Do you think now that Elder has been back a few games the team is starting to get comfortable again and that explsiveness that we saw much of last year can return?

Paul Hewitt: (3:23 PM ET ) I hope you're also a fan of the Saints! Keep supporting them and Coach Lanier, they'll get things going back in the right direction soon. BJ's feeling much better, this week off has given him a chance to test his leg more in the intersquads and he's anxious for Sunday's game against Florida State.

John (Columbia, SC): Coach, does it frustrate you when the difficulty of the ACC appears to be underrated by the rest of the country?

Paul Hewitt: (3:25 PM ET ) I am surprised that the quality of our league is overlooked at times. Game in, game out, the intensity level of our league certainly wears on you. It's one thing to play a highly ranked team one night and have a couple of games where you can catch your breath, but in this league, every game, you're playing against a quality opponent in a highly charged atmosphere.

Mark (Grayson, GA): Coach Hewitt: In his 2 games back, Jeremis Smith has looked to run the court fine, rebound furiously (as he always does) and set solid screens. Do you think in the remaining games GT fans may see more of him in a scorer's role? Such as posting him up a la Luke. Thanks and go jackets!

Paul Hewitt: (3:27 PM ET ) Jeremis is slowly but surely regaining full confidence in his leg. I'm amazed at how quickly he was able to get back on the court considering the devastating nature of the injury, but he and our trainer Tim Hansen worked very hard to rehabilitate from this injury. His rebounding and toughness is something our team missed in his absense, and yes, his offensive contributions will become more consistent and provide another boost for our team.

Chris (Hoboken, NJ): Hey coach - I know you prefer man defensive vs. zone, and you do run the point-zone scheme. However, against the motion offensive of NC State, they seemed to be effective at breaking down the point-zone scheme. Do you think running 2-3 zone against a motion offense scheme might be effective at stopping the dribble penetration - especially with big Luke on the floor?

Paul Hewitt: (3:28 PM ET ) Chris, we didn't run the point zone in the second game against NC State. We did run a few possessions of the point zone up in Raleigh.

Stephen (Conyers, GA): Hello Coach Hewitt. I am a huge Georgia Tech fan. My question is in regard to next year's recruiting class. So far, we have 4 commits - are you looking to add another before it's all over with?

Paul Hewitt: (3:29 PM ET ) Yes, we hope to add at least one, possibly two more, in the early signing period.

Matt (Bethlehem, PA): Coach Hewitt, I'm a huge Kansas fan and have been really impressed with Jarrett Jack. He always seems to play very well against the Jayhawks. Where do you think he ranks among the best PG's in the country?

Paul Hewitt: (3:31 PM ET ) Well Matt, of course I'm going to say that he's the best in the country. Jarrett has improved b/c of his work ethic and having to compete against some of the best point guards in the nation in the ACC. Over the years, he's played against Steve Blake from MD, Chris Duhon from Duke, Ed Scott from Clemson in addition to all the great point guards that currently play in the ACC.

Buck (Clifton Park, NY): Coach, as a former coach of a smaller school with tournament abilities, who are some of the most impressive mid-major schools in your mind. We miss you here in the Capital REgion!!!

Paul Hewitt: (3:33 PM ET ) First of all, how's the old neighborhood doing? We lived on Longwood Drive during my three years as Siena! My wife and kids loved the neighborhood. Wichita State from the Missouri Valley Conference has gotten off to a great start and is a team to watch come tourney time. I must admit, I'm not sure how their conference season is going, but Missouri Valley respresentives to the tournament usually do very well.

Jason Rich (Loudonville, NY): Hey Coach! Greetings from all your friends back at Siena and congratulations on the success we all new you were destined to achieve. Guess I will throw a quick question your way...I heard you say the other night that one of your players actually thought there was a drop off in intensity from the high-pressure games of the ACC to the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament. As a coach, how do you prepare differently for games in March (and April), if at all? Obviously here at Siena (at the mid major level), there is a lot more pressure on winning your Conference Tournament and earning the NCAA bid, so the stakes are much higher than the regular season, and Coach Lanier has had a knack for having the Saints play their best when it matters most. Thanks! And Good Luck the rest of the way!

Paul Hewitt: (3:37 PM ET ) Hey Jay what's up! Great to hear from you! Will Bynum was the young man that mentioned to me that the intensity level of ACC games prepared us for the tournament. Coaches that allow their players to have freedom throughout the year at the ones that I feel can prepare their teams well come tournament time. You build up a great deal of trust andfaith in your players andthey have a lot of confidence in themselves as you get into the late season games, when the pressure is seemingly at its greatest. I know coach Lanier will have his team ready, as usual, come tournament time. Please tell everyone I said hello, and good luck to both Gina and Rob.

Michael (Atlanta, GA): While at ESPN have you been pushing for College Gameday to come to Atlanta?

Paul Hewitt: (3:38 PM ET ) I'll do my best Michael! Hopefully next year they'll bring GameDay to the Collessium -- one of the best and most underrated venues in all of college basketball.

Hunter (Denton, TX): Coach, do you see my hometown boy Austin Jackson getting meaningful minutes as a frshman next year? Are you fearful he might choose to play pro baseball full time and not show up at all?

Paul Hewitt: (3:40 PM ET ) Austin Jackson is very much in our plans for next season. His speed, athleticism and unselfishness will fit in very well with our style of play. Like you, we're all anxious to see how things will shakeout in the June baseball draft. He and his family have said all along that he wants to play, and we believe he WILL play college basketball in addition to baseball.

Adam (Clifton Park, NY): Coach, we miss you in Clifton Park! Longwood is doing well and the Northway is still backed up off of exit 8. In college you are able to mold your players to your system since you are able to recruit new players, and players that fit your system, each year. Did your system change at all when you went from Siena to GT? Has your system evolved at GT as you have gotten in your own players?

Paul Hewitt: (3:43 PM ET ) Good question, Adam. In the ACC, I have found you cannot full-court pressure as much as we did at Siena. The guard play is too good, the players are so skilled, that when you extend your defense, you're more susceptible to layups and open 3-point shots. Furthermore, the energy level that the homecourst advantage brings makes it difficult to press on the road. We will pick our spots, and we will press some in every game and against every opponent, but you have to be more selective.

Michael (Atlanta, GA): What are Tony Akin and Alvin Jones up to?

Paul Hewitt: (3:45 PM ET ) Tony Akins is playing professional ball in Turkey, and Alvin started the season playing pro ball in Spain, he recently left there, and I believe he is now in China. I keep in touch with both young men, they call when they're home, and I actually spoke to Tony two weeks ago after one of his games in Istanbul.

Desmond (Georgia Tech Campus): Coach Hewitt I noticed that we haven't run that baseline alley-hoop pass to Ish in last few games, is it that play still in the game plan?

Paul Hewitt: (3:46 PM ET ) Desmond, when the opportunity is there, we will take it. Give credit to the other teams, they have scouted well and we have to find other ways to get baskets.

Mic (Philly): Coach Hewitt, In Andy Katz's Daily Word today, he quotes selection committee sources as saying injuries will not affect a team's ability to garner a bid, but it will affect a team's seeding if they do receive a bid. For a team like yours (and for that matter, Villanova, with Fraser/Sumpter/Lowry all missing time), do you see the logic behind their decision? How can they not look at your team come March 13th, and realize in January & parts of February you weren't playing with a healthy squad? And how can they allow injuries to affect one part of the decision (seedings), yet not the other (bids)?

Paul Hewitt: (3:49 PM ET ) I think the selection committee will look at injuries as they seed teams. A few years back, Kenyon Martin fractured his ankle in a C-USA tournament game for the then No. 1 Cincinatti. A few days later, instead of being seeded No. 1, Cincy was made a 2 seed in the tournament. They went on to lose in the second round to Tulsa. History has proven that as you add players returning from injuries or lose players b/c of injuries, it does have an impact on your seeding.

Paul Hewitt: (3:52 PM ET ) Thanks for all of your questions! I enjoyed myself and right now, they tell me I've got to run to a meeting. Thanks for all of your questions, comments and support. It's great to see old friends in here! Take care. Go Jackets!

The ShowGirl: (3:52 PM ET ) Thanks for joining us everybody! Thanks Coach!