Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Daily Swarm

An excellent article on Coach Hewitt and his roots from Jack Wilkinson from the AJC. Check out the 'fro in that one picture from Coach's junior high graduation - wow! It was interesting to hear his brother Michael talk about how special the pre-season NIT victory was in front of his family - "Beating the No. 1 team in the country [UConn was top-ranked in the NIT] is special," Michael said. "But to do it in front of your folks, the people you love most, the people you went to high school with and players who played for you on JV, that had to be Paul's most special win. I don't know how much better it gets than that, other than to get to San Antonio."

Hollis from AJC writes this article on how Hewitt thinks we don't get the respect we deserve from the media. I don't get it. First, let's deal with facts - the fact is that the media HAS spread some generally positive vibes about the Jackets:

1. Tim Brando picks us to win the NC
2. John Salley picks us to win the NC (ok a little biased)
3. Frank Burlison picks us in the finals to lose to Standford
4. Mark Bradley (AJC) picks us in the final four
5. P.Wilbon on his ESPN show talks about how J.Jack could be this year's "Carmello" (along with a handful of other players).
6. says GT is UNDERRATED at a 3-seed.
7. Digger Phelps has us in the final four
8. Dickey V. has us in the final 8 losing to KY
9. Local radio shows are piling on the bandwagon (Brock, Stews, etc)
10. There are articles out on Jack developing his PG legacy at GT, Luke's game
11. Rick Majerus on Best Damn Sports Show says that N.Iowa has NO chance against GT and breaks down the team in an ultra-positive way.
12. Articles on GT rekindling its proud history. (see below)

The facts are that the media HAS said some very nice things about GT. Sure, some guy over at YahooSports says we could lose our first round game. Big whoop. Why on earth would you use this no-name at YahooSports to reference a "lack of respect" in the media. Why would Hollis chose to focus on this as a story?? There are so many positive things that could be written about - just look at the article above by Jack Wilkenson referencing Coach Hewitt's family tradition. That brings the human interest side of things to fans, gives some insight into the program. It was a great story. A story the Coach feeling a lack of respect from the media just makes the coach look bad.

Now, am I skipping over an obvious question - does Coach Hewitt actually feel this way? Is this a genuine feeling, or is it more of a motivational tactic with the team - the old "we have something to prove" storyline. I guess that's fine. But it's not fine when the media DOES start saying nice things about the program. I would argue that we got TOO much hype early in the season. Yes, we played incredible ball, but received more positive media attention than we probably deserved.

You want to talk REAL lack of respect. Let's look at NCST. I don't like J.Hodge any more than the next guy, but this team was clearly the 2nd best team in the ACC this year - and GT, WF and UNC were consistently ranked higher during most of the season. Most of the "experts" are picking them to lose in round 1 or 2. There is a team getting little respect. St.Josephs is another - no wait, they don't deserve the hype.

Great article on the hoops team trying to re-spark what made our hoops program so special in the 80's and 90's. Nice article with some nice quotes from B.Cremins, J.Jack and others.

He has played in more NCAA tourney games than everyone else on the team combined. This article talks about playing with a "sense of urgency".

Tim Brando talks about the field. Remember, he has picked GT to win it all in his bracket. Here's what he says about the ACC - "ACC's dominance ready to show. No conference has put three teams in the Final Four since 1985, but the ACC could accomplish the feat this year. In no other league do you see the combination of talent and will -- willingness to play defense -- and I think that pays dividends by the end of the season. Duke is a strong No. 1 seed, and Georgia Tech and Wake Forest both have the guard play, as well as the size, to knock off anyone in their regions".................... Here's a look at some of the teams. Here's what it says about GT - "Georgia Tech: If you haven’t seen Jarrett Jack play, make sure that you don't make that mistake again. He can score and run like the wind. His athletic ability could be the x-factor for a Yellow Jackets run deep to the Final Four. They beat Duke, UConn and North Carolina, and that will keep them in the game against Kentucky."................ Here is some good advice for filling out your brackets............... Here are "64 Reasons to love March Madness". Here is #10 about GT - "Georgia Tech -- "Ramblin' Wreck"? Where is that name from? Are they phasing out "Yellow Jackets"? I hate change. I'm scared. Hold me? One thing's for sure, these cats can play. Watch for some running, gunning and alley-ooping. Imagine if Chris Bosh had stayed another year. Imagine the Raptors if Chris Bosh had stayed in another year. I'm scared again..."

We killed UConn but Okafor had a hurt back and CV wasn't eligible yet. This article talks about VCU and that they were not the same team either............. The Ragin Cajuns weren't the same either with suspensions, etc. St.John's wasn't the same either....... oh wait, they sucked then and they still suck. My bad.

This is a very interesting look at player stats from "kirbee" from the Hive. It tries to quantify a player's impact based on production per 40 minute game, even though players are not all getting the minutes. It tries to show which players might have a case for more PT. It is very encouraging that the top5 "most valuable" players based on this formula should return next year (Jack, Elder, Ish, Luke, Bynum). I have seen other formulas for evaluating players - they are probably a thousand different ways to rank players. Our biggest losses are the leadership of C-Moore and M.Lewis. But we still return the nucleus of the team and add the outstanding recruiting class on top of it.

Check out this story about Coach K and the nation's anti-Dook sentiment. There are many reasons why people hate Dook and winning is not the only one.

So, let's talk about why the country hates Dook:

1. They win - this starts the hate for many people. People like to root for underdogs and Dook is never the underdog. They are always favored, they win many many more games than they lose. I always hear people compare them to the Yankees dynasty in baseball - and that people either love or hate the Yankees. It's true. Teams that win all the time generate a lot of positive or negative feelings, but everyone has an opinion. Most people have an opinion about Dook - good or bad.

2. They are poor winners - You could clearly see this leading up to the tourney. The players are not humble. They are cocky. Some of the quotes just struck me as - "we are the kings and that's just the way it is". The whole hand-slapping the floor, players yelling and screaming, etc. Now some might say that they ARE champions and deserve to be cocky. You know what - I agree. Just don't expect the general public to feel good about your winning when you are not humble about it. People don't like sore winners - and Dook tends to be a sore winner.

3. Coach K - This guy is generally respected as one of the best X's and O's coaches out there. He is a great coach and a legend. But this year more than ANY in recent memory really showed people his true colors. Coach K's public explitive displays and constant rantings at the officiating became a spark of hate for many - certainly in the ACC, and surely on a nationwide basis as well. During the GT game we won at Cameron, Coach K was shown using the F-bomb about 100+ times on camera. It was a shameful display and not be-fitting a hall-of-fame coach. Now here's the rub - Dook fans point to Coach K's respect for fellow coaches, nice comments for guys like Cremins, Prosser, etc. They point to his post-game quotes, where he talks about how opposing teams played hard. Dook fans look at that and say what a nice guy he is. True be told, Coach K IS very nice when discussing other teams, coaches, players in the media. He plays the media like a fiddle. But look at him during gametime. It is embarrasing for the ACC to see a guy drop the F-Bomb 100+ times on the refs, his own coaching staff, his own players. Bottom-line is that Coach K is 2-faced. He treats people well in the media because he doesn't want to look bad in print, but during that game, don't get in his way. He is not a nice person. That was clear to see this season.

4. Recruiting - It steams people that Coach K gets his first choice of top talent that he wants. Like it or not, that is a result of winning and the tradition they have built. Players know what it means to play at Dook (although most don't understand how little they might actually play). The guy even has gotten top100 players to walk-on just so they can play for Dook. GT and most other schools have to compete hard for the top players - Dook has their first pick. In my opinion, they have earned this through winning, but it does generate hate. Everyone knows that you can't win without the horses and they get them.

5. Media Attention - we're all sick of Dickey V and Dook. At times I think even Dook fans wish he would back off. But he is not the only one in the media with the disease. Dook is treated like corporate royalty in the media. You know why Dook is noticing the hatred more this year - because for the first time some of the media have had the cahones to actually write about it. Coach K does NOT like that. He likes to shape and mold what is written about the team. He is losing some of that control and he doesn't like it.

6. Officiating bias - people will cite this but I do not see this as badly as others. Dook wins a lot and people want to blame something for a loss. A ref misses a couple of calls and all-of-the-sudden that is why Dook won. They have probably gotten the benefit of the doubt more often than not, but we all know it has worked in our favor as well. This officiating bias is of course compounded by Coach K's continuous ranting at the officials. We are all sick of seeing him dictate to the refs. The fact that he had two technicals this season during GT games could be a new record. Maybe Coach K is losing his grip on the officials, on the media - and he doesn't like it.

Enough about Dook.

Check out this article from the NY Times. Can you believe that we were turned down by a major recruit because he was told by another team - you go to GT and you will NEVER beat Dook ----- NEVER!!! I wonder what that recruit is thinking now. I hope he watched us beat them in their house on ESPN on national TV. You cannot take for granted what that victory probably means for recruiting.

Honestly, he deserved it (story here). Coach Hewitt deserved major consideration, but what Coach Sendek did with NCST this year was impressive. They could have chose either coach and it would have been a good choice.

They win 14-4. Here is the Purdue site's take on it.

I guess if it shows up in the AJC it is ok to talk about now. Confirmation on what was mentioned last week about Mark Logan's move back to QB. Interesting that it does say that there is no consideration for moving D-Bilbo back to QB............... Here's another version about the challenge getting someone to push Ball in spring practice.