I decided to take a little bit of time at lunch to bring up something that's on everyone's mind - where is Paul Hewitt taking the Georgia Tech basketball program.
I don't want this to come off as a negative rant, so it's important for you to know up front that I want to see Coach Hewitt succeed bigtime. He's a great representative of the school. He's an outspoken leader for the student-athlete and the Black Coaches Association. He recruits ultra-talented kids of high character, great work ethic and huge potential. So I want to see him take the program to new heights.
Now the problem - he ain't gettin 'er done. What prompted me to put write this are some recent comments from independent groups about our former players.
Alade Aminu goes to the Portsmouth Classic (for top seniors) and leads his team to the championship. He shines from day 1 and completely helps his case in getting a shot in the NBA. Here are comments from DraftExpress, who went back and watched Alade in a bunch of film from his GT days:
Aminu didn’t play a very big role this season at Georgia Tech—in fact, he came off the bench for the team’s final 12 games. The fact that he struggled to make an impact on a team that finished last in the ACC and posted a 12-19 record is a bit of a red flag, but as we learned the hard last year with the way Anthony Morrow panned out, players from this team need to be looked at a more in-depth, especially ones who are only 21 years old.
Comparing the way Aminu played at Portsmouth with what we can now see from his film at Georgia Tech reveals a pretty stark contrast—it doesn’t seem like he was utilized very well at all in college from what we can tell. Aminu was an absolute devastating force as a pick and roll finisher for his Norfolk Naval Shipyard team—thanks to his tremendous combination of size, length, terrific hands and excellent mobility. At Georgia Tech he was barely used in this fashion at all—just 4.3% of his offensive possessions came on the pick and roll. They looked incredibly disorganized in the film we took in, with no point guard, no system, and very little ball-movement. It appeared that Aminu often was asked to play very far from the basket, and pretty much all of his shots were opportunities that he was forced to create on his own.
Anthony Morrow was one of the purest 3pt shooters in ACC history, yet he never reached that "next" level in college. As a result he wasn't drafted, but signed a free agent deal with Golden State after lighting up the summer leagues. After a 37pt debut, setting a record for undrafted free-agent debuts, he went on to prove hee belonged, by leading the ENTIRE NBA in 3pt shooting percentage. The entire frickin NBA..... as a rookie...... undrafted.
Then I ran across these comments from a nice feel-good story on A-Mo:
How does this happen? How does a guy not get drafted, not get off the bench in two summer league games, and then lead the NBA in 3-point shooting?
We asked some scouts:
^ "If we knew that ... That's a tough one. His coach at Georgia Tech subbed players in and out so he had trouble getting in a rhtyhm. And he didn't put the ball on the floor well. He had limitations."
^ "He was a little hurt his junior year, but it was kind of mind-blowing that he didn't have a bigger role in college. The chemistry wasn't quite right on that team. He was just too good a player and shooter not to be doing more. His freshman year, I thought he had a chance to make (the NBA), but then by his senior year he wasn't playing as much."
"He's one of the best shooters I have ever coached," Head Coach Don Nelson said. "My goodness, what a surprise."
Gani Lawal declares for the NBA draft (without hiring an agent). Fine. He improved his numbers significantly his sophomore season while his team went into the tank. Into the tank. Then, this quote:
“He’s a lot like a Thaddeus Young, or Chris Bosh, who went into the league somewhat undefined,” Hewitt said, “but because of their tremendous upside, they turned into better players.”
There are plenty more exhibits. Missing the NCAA's with Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack. I know, they were freshman. Barely making the NBA with Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young, then bowing out quickly. Squandered potential with guys like RaSean Dickey, Lewis Clinch, and many more. Never a returning PG. Always the one-and-dones. But when we do keep guys like Jeremis Smith, Anthony Morrow, Aminu, Clinch, it just doesn't make the difference either. Injuries - yes I know. Academic casualties - yes I know. There's always a legit reason why.
Why are guys turning into better players later and leaving GT "undefined"?
Why are 4-year guys blossoming in other people's systems after they leave?
Why are scouts starting to realize that you can't judge GT guys based on their college film?
Why are there always reasons to hide the fact that kids just don't get our on-the-court system?
Why is there always a reason things aren't working out?
At the end of the day, I don't have a clue what it takes to run a collegiate basketball program. I don't have a clue how to coach the game on the floor. But results are results, and we don't have to be experts to know things aren't working out. I just wish I had a better feeling about what was going to be done to change it. We already know that all the freshman talent in the world ain't going to get it done. Now what?