Thursday, March 17, 2011

Potential Coaching Candidates For GT

This week on From The Rumble Seat, BirdGT put out a poll on some already mentioned coaching candidates and asked for additional nominees in the comments.  Early this morning, Bird dropped a post with W-L and experience of a compiled list of coaches resulting from the first poll.  There was a wide range of experiences and results from the list, ranging from a national title winner in Tubby Smith to a relative rookie in the business in Anthony Grant (only five years on the job).  Looking at the each coaches W-L record and their years of experience, I began to wonder if I could find a way to compare them using Tubby Smith as my baseline.  Following are the results of that thought process.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Farewell Paul Hewitt, Hello Fresh Start

One of the bigger headlines in the last week was the firing, or rather, the non-renewal of Paul Hewitt's contract at Georgia Tech.  To begin, I'd just like to say thank you to Coach Hewitt for the epic 2004 run.  That was an amazing experience.  I'd also like to thank him for running an extremely clean program while at the Institute.  The worst anyone could say on that front is that the graduation rate was low, to which I would reply so is Kentucky's and Memphis, and UNC, and any other school who regularly recruits top level talent, namely one-n-done's.

That being said, this move was overdue by about three years.  Since 2004 (28-10, 9-7 ACC), GT has progressively gotten worse each year.  Just looking at the ACC records since 2004, GT has gone 8-8, 4-12, 8-8, 7-9, 2-14, 7-9, 5-11, or 41-71.  That's horrible.  GT under Hewitt has only been better than a few teams in the ACC in total record, which really isn't saying much considering those teams have been the likes of Miami and Virginia.  Amazingly enough, he had a winning record against UNC and he's only one of a handful who have actually made the Final Four during his tenure.

From watching his teams over the years, it's clear to me that he has no clue about offense.  Prior to 2005, GT always seemed to have an agenda on offense. Since then, it's been like a glorified street game; five players all with overlapping offensive skill sets, all trying to be the man.  Last year was the perfect opportunity for Paul Hewitt to build on the 2004 season, but because, and this is simply my opinion, he lacked the aptitude to acknowledge his weakness (offense) and hire an offensive coordinator, he couldn't capitalize on what was arguably one of the most talented teams he had assembled at Tech.  His teams have shown little to no understanding of inbounding the ball, moving without the ball, creating space for each other, or just about any concept you can think of.  Heck, a freaking middle school level wheel play would have been refreshing to see once in a while with these teams.

Defense though, never seemed to be a problem until recently.  Typically, there has always been a few certainties with a Paul Hewitt coached team.  One, you were guaranteed to be out of timeouts well before the other team.  Two, you were guaranteed that Hewitt would call a timeout as soon as GT gained momentum and were about to go on a serious roll.  But most importantly, full court press defense and lots of man defense in the halfcourt.  For some odd reason, that changed this year.  I'm sure it was because of the lack of interior size after losing both Lawal and Favors to the NBA and Peacock to graduation.  However, I'm also sure that it must have been something of a culture shock to everyone else who had been used to that aggressive style of defense that so represented GT over the last decade.

The worst part is that it never worked against teams who had the size advantage that I think Hewitt was trying to compensate for.  The Maryland game is an extreme example of this.  Maryland scored all but three points in the paint.  Maybe he never realized that scoring more, and more importantly, scoring more efficiently, would have done wonders for the defense as much as the offense.  Being able to score takes a lot of pressure off the players while playing defense.  They don't have to worry about over-playing the passing lanes as much or working so hard to contain everyone for fear of letting the other team start creeping away from them.

That's all over with now though, so it's time we start to look toward the future and what possibilities may present themselves.  GT has a great opportunity to rebuild this program.  The apathy within the fanbase is the lowest I've ever been a part of in my 20+ years of being a fan.  My hope is that D-Rad (the AD) sticks to his words about spending money on the right hire.  I don't think there is any pressure from the fans or the alumni to make the perfect hire or to go all out for a Calipari type hire, but there is plenty of potential to make the wrong hire and pinching pennies and selling the position short isn't the way to go.  Sure, there are always limits to what he can do moentarily, but I don't see something in the $1-$2mil range being out of the question.

In a recent Mark Bradley blog, he mentioned Anthony Grant from Alabama as a potential hire.  Personally, I would love this move because Grant has proven to be successful at two separate stops, he's young, and he a good X's-n-O's coach.  I love his passion on the sideline as well.  I'm not sure GT could land Grant, but guys like Grant and Brad Stevens from Butler are the type of coach I'd like to see Tech shoot for.  I outlined some of my thoughts on the subject over at Peachtree Hoops earlier as well, so check that out if you like.

In conclusion, I think GT basketball is about to hit an upswing, which isn't hard to do considering the circumstances, but that should be a welcome thing to all fans of the sport.  So keep up the hope Techies, good things are coming.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hawks 110 - Bucks 85, Or Where Joe-Freakin-Johnson Happens

I know, it was the Bucks, but still.  As Brett @ Hoopinion shows (as he does after each game) the Hawks managed a 1.209 in Off Eff and a 70.5 eFG% against a 9.6 FT Rate (!) and a 23.1 TO% (!!).  Plus, when's the last time we scored 115 on a team but only allowed 85 or so?  Those are the numbers we might have seen more frequently when we were one of the most offensively efficient teams in the league the past two years.  That's the stuff that gets you excited about this team, that get's your little fire burning inside, so more of that please.

I'll keep it short for now as I'm just getting this thing off the ground, but expect more in-depth recaps, reviews, etc. in the future.  But yeah, piano music, all I hear is piano music.

Welcome to ATL Sports Dial!

Most of you already know me in the Atlanta sports blogging community as Jesse28, so much of what you will find here will be familiar to you.  After many years of pseudo writing for my own pleasure and for friends, I've finally decided to jump into the blogging world.  Forgive the simplistic layout and the sparsity of information for now.  I should have more up in the coming days, but for now, let's get started with a few of my goals and intentions.

I was born in Fulton County and primarily raised a little south in Griffin.  Both sides of my family have both been in Georgia for as far back as we can track, so it's easy to see that family would have been the greatest influence on my early childhood fandom.  That being the case, I have a large passionate love for all things Atlanta, from sports, to music, to food, to culture.  We ATLiens are a unique bunch and I wouldn't change it for anything.  I hope to express some of those passions here.  Topics will almost always cover sports, but don't be surprised if I make a quick post on a new artist or eating establishment that I like.

I follow the Falcons, Braves, Hawks, and Georgia Tech sports for the most part.  Outside of the Atlanta Knights, I've never been able to get into hockey, but considering that the Atlanta Spirit Group (ASG) currently owns the Thrashers, they'll undoubtedly come up when discussing such matters.  If I had to assign a weight to the sports, I'd say football > basketball > baseball > all else.  I don't think I prefer pro over college or college over pro (well, with the one exception possibly being baseball), but moreso that I will tend to follow more closely the team/sport having the more defined successful season.  I'm a fan and sometimes the down side to that is a little apathy when things aren't going great.

My short term goal is to simply get acclimated with writing on a regular basis and in this format.  I hope that in doing so the content will be engaging and refreshing enough to encourage discussion amongst the community.  My long term goal would be to have fun with my short term goal and just let it ride.  We'll see where this thing takes us.  Until then, sit back and enjoy one of my favorite songs reppin' the A.