Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:28 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Paul Hewitt will get his first look at Andre Cornelius in practice today.
Cornelius, who was projected to start for the new George Mason coach, will miss the first 10 games of the season as a result of pleading guilty to credit card fraud of less than $200.
"To get someone like Andre back is invaluable to this team," Hewitt said. "It'll be a huge addition."
Cornelius hasn't been allowed to participate in any team activities since Sept. 19.
"I haven't seen him, but I know exactly what we're getting," Hewitt said.
Cornelius was an "instant offense" guy a year ago, making 61 3-pointers and starting every game as part of a talented group of perimeter players that also included Cam Long and Luke Hancock.
"He's also a very good on-ball defender," Hewitt said of Cornelius. "He's tailor-made for our style of pressure defense."
But for the first 10 games, Hewitt will likely go with a starting unit of sophomores Bryon Allen, Vertrail Vaughns and Sherrod Wright on the perimeter and seniors Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson up front.
The strength of the team - once Cornelius returns - could be its depth as Hewitt said that freshman big man Erik Copes should make an impact this season.
"He's got a chance to be a big-time player," Hewitt said.
Posted on: October 28, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 7:42 pm
Recruiting needed to change. Everyone knew it – including the NCAA.
On Thursday, the NCAA Board of Directors adopted a new recruiting model for men’s basketball, changing or adjusting six major rules. More importantly, the rules will go into effect within the next several months, meaning we won’t have to wait two or three years for the changes – like most of the NCAA’s changes.
The two biggest changes, according to most people, are the deregulation of contact between coaches and recruits, and the fact official visits can now begin January 1 of a prospect’s junior year. Other major adjustments included opening up April for two weekends to coaches, while trimming July into three four-day periods. On-campus evaluations during official visits and contact at a recruit’s high school during their junior year are also permitted under the new model.
The changes will affect everyone, from college coaches to AAU coaches to high school coaches, as well as high school players and their parents. All of the changes seem geared towards speeding up the recruiting process and making it more involved at an earlier age. With the number of recruits making early decisions nowadays, it makes sense – too many kids were committing without going on official visits or getting enough evaluation time from coaches.
While the feedback has been generally favorable from all the parties involved – although many said nothing touched on agents and runners – not everyone is happy with each of the rule changes. To get a true feel of what each party thought, we reached out to 10 people – college coaches, AAU coaches, high school recruits and parents – to see what they think. Here are the interviewees:
We went rule-by-rule with each person to get a brief response or thought on the rule.
Contact is mostly deregulated starting June 15 after a recruit’s sophomore year. Coaches will be allowed to send unlimited text messages, make unlimited phone calls and send unlimited private messages via social media websites.
Dixon: “We already had unlimited email, so it won’t be that much different. The monitoring of it was the basis for it. The lost time allotted for it was becoming endless. We were having violations where a kid texted you, but you thought it was an email, and you responded with a text.”
Pastner: “95 percent of kids would rather text than talk on the phone. You find out earlier who’s interested in you. I’d rather the kid tell us he’s not interested. It puts some responsibility on the kid. There needs to be honest communication.”
Hewitt: “I think anything you can do to put college personnel in the lives of these kids helps. Not that everyone needs that type of guidance, to explain to them what eligibility means, classes, official visits, rules. Those types of things, if we can have college personnel in the recruiting process, it definitely take some of the mystery out of it.”
Walker: “I think it’s going to be good, plus crazy. I’m going to get blown up everyday – all day now. I don’t care though, I ignore people half the time but it will be alright.”
Greene: “I’m really going to see who wants me, but it might get a little overwhelming.”
Trigonis: “I think it’s a dumb thing. Instead of unlimited contact, should give parents power to decide contact. Form where parent sets up parameters for contact. It’s a recipe for disaster. I don’t mind the more contact, I think they needed to give more. But how can you go from no contact to unlimited contact?”
Lowe: “I think that all the kids and parents better make sure they have an unlimited texting plan. It’s good for the coaches to be able to communicate with the kids, establish an initial relationship. You have to be careful, though, kids have to put their phone down sometimes.”
Johnson: “It’s a bit excessive because it can be overwhelming when you have multiple coaches calling. It’s going to get out of control; it’s going to be too much for the kids to keep up with. It’s going to get to a point where a lot of these coaches are going to be ignored. They’re starting to feel a little annoyed. The attention at the beginning, they welcome it. But after awhile, it gets irritating. The relationship will start to break down.”
Rivera: “I think there has to be some sort of cut-off times or maximum number of calls with the player. Maybe unlimited contact with parents. They would likely tire of the recruiting process quickly, if they are constantly fielding calls. They may become more distracted and consumed with that as opposed to school, practices, family, church, etc.”
Two weekends in April will be opened up to college coaches.
Dixon: “I was a huge proponent of that. Certain coaches prefer to not have April, because they get to see kids during the year that no one else sees.”
Pastner: “I think it’s good, it’s all positives. You can see more prospects at once. Evaluate.”
Hewitt: “I think it’s a very smart move. You look at a guy taking over a job. I think it helps a coach to go out there. It will help on cutting down on transfers. You watch a kid throughout his high school, highest level of competition with their travel team. Now you may have him go against another 3-4-5 division-I players. It’s a more accurate evaluation, and that hopefully leads to fewer transfers, which will help APR.”
Walker: “It’s good because the people without offers and much exposure could get more exposure and offers and opportunities, so that’s a good look.”
Greene: “I really like that addition. I think it’s positive because kids get two extra chances to impress the college coaches.”
Ramker: “I personally like having just July. It was more of the true essence of summer basketball. April will be better for coaches, evaluations heading into July. I don’t think it’s a bad change.”
Lowe: “There won’t be as many transfers as there have been in the past. I think it’s a great opportunity for the schools overall. It’s too easy to make errors when you can watch them in July only.”
Johnson: “When they all have to wait until July, and they all come out at one time, it can be overwhelming. At those tournaments, to see all those coaches lined up against the wall like that, it can be intimidating and uncomfortable. It takes away their concentration and focus. They’re trying to figure out which coaches are there, and who’s there to see me. The kids will be a little more focused and less distracted.”
Rivera: “That way, the players aren’t feeling the need to be in every single event in July. Trying to fit everything into a couple of weeks in July adds stress to families and on the players’ bodies. Not to mention, it would likely be better for coaches and their families as well.”
July will be trimmed to three four-day periods, as opposed to two 10-day periods
Dixon: “I think it’s far better. If people saw how few evaluations we had other than July, people are often times surprised. They’re few and far between, and not to the level of July. A high school game, you’re not always going to see someone playing against someone at his level, and that’s your evaluation. Offers are being made in April, and as head coaches you’re seeing them even more rarely.”
Hewitt: “I think it’s a very positive step for the kids that are playing. When they start playing 10 days in a row, it leads to injuries. Overuse, stress-related injuries.”
Walker: “It causes us to get more rest because last summer I was tired as hell from all the back-to-back tourneys.”
Greene: “I think it’s beneficial to the college coaches and their health and well-being. For us players, I think it’s an OK rule. But I personally like the two-period July better. I just liked continuously playing in front of college coaches.”
Trigonis: “You’re going from 20 to 12 days. How does that help the smaller schools? That’s a big advantage for the bigger schools. Why not just make it four straight days? Ultimately what they’ve done, they’ve killed the smaller, regional events. Why does it have to be, I give so I have to take? It’s childish. It really is.”
Ramker: “A lot of the tournaments we do to keep kids busy. This will give us three tournaments, won’t have to play just for the sake of playing. Teams will be sharper, kids won’t be as tired.”
Johnson: “When you just have those couple of opportunities, it adds more pressure. It creates more pressure. You think, ‘this is my chance, this is my shot.’ You really lose the concept of team ball. It’s not about team anymore; it’s about the individual player, because you’re looking at limited opportunities.”
Official visits can begin January 1 of a recruit’s junior year, with travel expenses for the recruit and his family being paid for by the school
Dixon: “The influence of third-party people was magnified by unofficial visits. From the end of the high school season to visits were a six-month period where it was all the paying for scouting services, paying for exhibition games, paying for campers – all based around trying to get kids to their campus. Now you can bring both parents. We were empowering the middleman. I had hoped the official visits would start in April. We wouldn’t want one of our players to visit NBA teams during our season.”
Pastner: “A lot of that has something to do with strategy. When do you bring him in? Is it too early? You don’t want to bring him in too early, if he’s not ready to commit. And if he does, that’s a long time to keep him committed. Kids change their minds a lot these days.”
Hewitt: “That will benefit the highest-profile programs. I think what will happen is that the highest-level programs will be more able to get a kid to commit early. As for the parents, that’s the best thing they ever could have done. Bringing them into the process, that’s a huge step in the right direction.”
Greene: “I absolutely love that part of the new rule. I was planning on deciding in mid-December, but now I’m going to push it back a month so I can take a few official visits.”
Ramker: “It’s very necessary for parents to go on the visits with their kids. Low socioeconomic backgrounds, parents need to be involved in the decision. Need to sit with the coaches, help their kids make their decisions. That’s the best of all of them. It will cut down on a lot of shadiness. Kids can make decisions earlier; if they know where they want to go, they can get that out of the way.”
Johnson: “I have mixed feelings about that. Kids are being recruited earlier and earlier, and the kids are feeling the pressure that they need to commit early. We’ve had coaches ask us, ‘are you ready to commit today?’ – on an unofficial visit. And we feel it’s still a little early. Kids are committing sooner because they’re afraid another kid is going to commit sooner. It’s part of the whole recruiting process – and we’re kind of getting away from that. Years ago, it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t all this big rush and pressure to commit so early in your high school years and career. You lose out on something, the process where I feel you should be able to be recruited, you should be able to get a chance and visit schools and develop relationships, and get a good sense of what the schools have to offer. You could compare different schools and campuses. You could compare and get a feel, hopefully find a school that’s a good fit. You’re not going off the name or reputation of the coach, that’s all a part of the process. If you have this pressure, you’ll miss out. That will help if you can move it up and do it sooner.”
Rivera: “We had a very short time to get officials in this year before practice and everything started. Had we been given the option, we would have definitely gotten a couple in last winter or spring.”
On-campus evaluations during official visits will be permitted
Dixon: “It takes out another rule that was very hard to monitor. It’s almost ridiculous. My office overlooks the floor, so we had three different types of shades put in. There was a push to have actual tryouts, and I was really against it. I thought that would be bad press.”
Hewitt: “I think it’s good to watch them, and it’s not exactly a tryout. Watching a kid workout against your team, it will help reduce misses and fewer transfers.”
Greene: “Sure, why not? I would love for a college coach to be able to see the hard work I put in.”
Ramker: “I didn’t really see a reason why they couldn’t do that in the first place. They all play pick-up anyway, the coaches just couldn’t watch. The coaches could do everything else with them; I don’t know why they couldn’t watch them play pick-up. The changes cut out a lot of the shadiness.”
Lowe: I think it’s fine if the kid wants to do it. You’ll have kids that want to see how they fit in; other kids don’t want to expose themselves. I think it’s good if they want to do it, but not mandatory.”
Johnson: “I think that helps with being able to assess and evaluate. When coaches come out and see you practice or with the AAU teams, that can pique or develop your interest even more. But to be able to watch them and have them come on campus and play with the team – that adds another perspective on how to evaluate the player. And it gives the player a better feel for it as well. I see benefits and advantages on both ends. You can see where you need to be, ultimately, when you leave high school. This is what you’re preparing for.”
Rivera: “That may help the player with making his decision, by having a good feel for the players they could possible be playing with.”
Some contact at a recruit’s high school will be permitted beginning during a prospect’s junior year
Dixon: “It’s a sign of things, of where they are now. Kids are committing during their junior years often times, and so now you’re going to be starting with contact their junior year. The monitoring of it was a gray area. What one school considered a casual greeting, another considered a 20-minute sit-down.”
Pastner: “It will eliminate some of the gray area.”
Hewitt: “I think that’s very intelligent. That’s a very smart rule. If that rule is in effect, Bruce Pearl is still at Tennessee. What it does is help demystify the recruiting process and what you have to do to get to college. It opens it up for the family to ask questions. The more you can have that conversation, the more you put at the front of a kid’s mind. In the past, you’ve seen a kid gets bad advisement from someone, he comes back and he got the wrong information or took the wrong class.”
Ramker: “I thought that was an awful rule, that college coaches could go to a kid’s high school and pretend like they don’t even know them. It will help build a rapport, coaches get a feel for the players, players get a feel for the coaches and parents get a feel. It will cut down on transfers, lead to better evaluations by the players and the coaches. That’s been needed. I think that’s a great change. Coaches need to talk to the kids; kids need to figure out what they want to do.”
Lowe: “It forms a relationship early on. It helps starting to develop a relationship early, as long as it’s not too much contact.”
Johnson: “I think when you want to start trying to get a good vibe from who this person is, who they are as a coach, as a man. You need to do that through interaction, you need to do that through communication. The sooner you can start that, the better. That way, you are able to start building that relationship. It can only enhance how both parties feel about one another, and it’s not limited to I can call you or I can text you, or tweet you. I can see you and talk to you, face-to-face. I like that. I think that works. I don’t see anything negative unless there are several coaches there and they’re all waiting to talk to specific players. I can see that getting out of control, a little uncomfortable, maybe a little intimidating. If there are seven coaches there and they’re all waiting to talk to this one player, I can see that being a turnoff. They really don’t want to talk to all these people right after playing.”
Rivera: “I don’t see anything wrong with that either. As long as there are limitations, which I’m sure there would be. Maybe how many times they can visit, which is already in place I believe. And how long or private the contact is. For instance, if a coach talked with a recruit 10-15 minutes after a big game in the gym, seems OK to me.”
Photo: Blue Devil Nation, US Presswire, Recruiting Spotlight
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:58 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Paul Hewitt's final words to me prior to last night's Yankees game were similar ones he uttered about seven years ago.
"It's a wrap," said George Mason's head coach, a New Yorker who is a diehard Yankees fan.
Just as was the case seven years prior, Hewitt was licking his wounds again.
That one was worse since it came against the Red Sox, but this one was ironic since Austin Jackson was celebrating on the field at Yankees Stadium as Hewitt was likely cursing out Alex Rodriguez for his inability to deliver in the clutch. Jackson is the same kid who was set to play point guard for Hewitt at Georgia Tech until the Yankees threw a hefty signing bonus at him and he opted for a career in major league baseball. Jackson was later traded by the Yankees to the Tigers.
"It was ironic," Hewitt said. "I'm very happy for the kid -- even though it ticked me off to see the Yankees lose."
Jackson doubled in the fifth inning and scored the eventual game-winning run on Victor Martinez' base hit.
Hewitt said the plan for Jackson was to play both sports at Georgia Tech, but that changed when the Yankees threw in excess of $1 million his way.
Jackson's biggest asset on the court, according to Hewitt, was his speed.
"He could really push the ball," he said. "He was a Ty Lawson-type guy. I'm not saying he was at the same level, but that's the type of player he was. Really fast from foul line to foul line."
"I don't know if he was an NBA player," Hewitt added. "But one thing you know about him is he could perform on the big stage. He has the mental make-up."
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: September 27, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 5:14 pm
By Jeff Goodman
George Mason coach Paul Hewitt spent today flying back to Atlanta to testify as a character witness on behalf of former player Javaris Crittenton.
Hewitt told CBSSports.com that he answered questions for about five minutes, but did not - as was reported - co-sign the $230,000 bond that allowed the ex-NBA player to go free following testimony.
Crittenton has been charged with murder in a drive-by shooting in Atlanta last month.
Hewitt said that Crittenton's high school coach, Courtney Brooks, was the one who signed the bond - along with his pastor, seventh-grade teacher, ex-teammate Darryl Slack and ex-girlfriend Mia Fields.
"There was no money involved with signing of bond," Hewitt told CBSSports.com. "It was symbolic gesture by the judge that Crittenton would be letting them down."
Crittenton played for Hewitt at Georgia Tech and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft. He also played with the Washington Wizards - where he was involved in a locker room incident with then-teammate Gilbert Arenas that resulted in a gun charge.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 5:25 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 5:40 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt was not thrilled after learning of the NCAA’s decision to hit the Yellow Jackets basketball program with a major violation on Thursday.
Hewitt, who was fired shortly after the season and recently hired by George Mason, told CBSSports.com that he was disappointed.
``My staff and I have always had a record of compliance with the rules,” Hewitt said. ``And we’re proud of that record.”
While the football program was the one that received the brunt of the damage, having its 2009 ACC title stripped, having to pay a $100,000 fine and also going on probation for four years, the basketball program took a minor hit.
New coach Brian Gregory and his staff will lose two days of recruiting on the road this July and will also be without two official visits in each of the next two years.
It stems from a graduate assistant and an academic advisor being present at an AAU event run by the Atlanta Celtics program in 2009 and 2010 that was held on the Georgia Tech campus for a decade.
Hewitt, who was not named in the report, told CBSSports.com that graduate assistant Donovan Williams was present to help with the event after there had been a water mane break and an altercation with a high school player in the previous couple of years. Hewitt also said the event ran until 1:30 a.m. one year and he felt that Williams would help in case anything went wrong.
The NCAA also deemed it a recruiting advantage for Hewitt, who didn’t land a single player who played in the 2009 or 2010 event – and has had just four players in his 10-year career at Georgia Tech from the Atlanta Celtics program.
Posted on: May 2, 2011 9:40 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 3:08 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
I'll tell you what I think of George Mason's hire of deposed former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt in a minute. First, I want to take a look at how this news has hit the internet (hint: not as hard as the news of Osama bin Ladin's death).
John Feinstein at the Washington Post offered this assessment:
Hewitt is never going to become the kind of cult figure Larranaga became at GMU because his personality is entirely different from Larranaga’s. He’s not going to high-five cheerleaders during player introductions or come up with sayings about being Kryptonite or being from the CAA — Connecticut Assassins Association.That NBA connection is going to be huge for some players. I'd be very surprised if Hewitt doesn't have some of those former Tech stars drop by Fairfax to give pep talks and fire up the fan base. Hewitt may not have the personal magnetism Larranaga exudes, but knowing guys who appear on the front of cereal boxes will go a long ways toward ameliorating that deficiency.
Kevin Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner thinks Hewitt's experience may be cut to fit the situation:
Fan reaction has been rather more divided. A thread titled "Welcome Coach Hewitt!" at CAAZone.com offers a wide range of opinions:
Just the guy I had hoped we would land....dude can flat out recruit! - dawgs99
My opinion of the hire falls in that 'wait and see' middle ground. Hewitt's record gives us plenty of positives and negatives to extrapolate from, but George Mason is not Siena (where Hewitt went 66-27 and led the Saints to the NCAA tournament), nor is it Georgia Tech (where Hewitt's best season was 9-7 in the ACC, the year he went to the NCAA title game). If anything, fans of the program must hope that Hewitt's mixture of experience garnered at the mid-major and BCS-team levels form a perfect storm at Mason.
We know Hewitt can recruit. He brought a parade of superstar athletes to Georgia Tech, but was never able to really match up with Duke or North Carolina. That's no crime, but a major red flag was appended to Hewitt's resume in 2008-9, when his 'Jackets fell to 2-14 in league play despite the presence of Gani Lawal, Alade Aminu and Iman Shumpert on that team. Last year's squad, though not nearly as loaded, lost to Kennesaw State (8-23 on the season) as well as severely depleted Siena (13-18) and Charlotte (10-20). Kennesaw fired coach Tony Ingle at the end of the season, and the Saints and 49ers outfoxed Hewitt under first-year head coaches.
Hewitt won't have the luxury of a rebuilding job next season. He is expected to win the CAA and compete for a top-25 national ranking with the loaded team Larranaga left behind. As such, my tempered 'wait and see' is not particularly far-sighted. Mason fans will know what they got by this time next season. Only then will they know if this was a good move.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: March 14, 2011 7:00 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
Amidst all the general fun of preparing for the NCAA tournament, quite a few coaches got bad news this weekend. So let's take a look at some of the big ones and try to get a handle on where each program may turn.
List of D-I coaching changes
First, a ground rule. I'm going to assume that interim coaches will not be retained. Loyal assistants tend to get jobs when a successful boss moves up the ladder, not when he's fired. In addition, coaches who are currently playing in the NCAA tournament will be targeted, but can't be taken seriously as flight risks until we see how they fare in the Big Dance.
John Pelphrey (69-59 at Arkansas): This move feels one season premature. Pelphrey spent this summer tracking down elite talent for the Razorbacks, netting a top ten class. Off-court issues may have contributed heavily here. Several Arkansas players were suspended last season while being investigated for rape, and Pelphrey was recently implicated in a minor recruiting scandal. If Arkansas administrators can get their top choice, Mike Anderson, the recruits will probably stay, but they won't be able to get serious about that until Missouri is knocked out of the NCAA tournament. Also, the first person Anderson will talk to about the job is his mentor Nolan Richardson, who parted company with the university under a cloud. Marquette's Buzz Williams has also been mentioned as a prominent candidate.
Paul Hewitt (190-162 at Georgia Tech): If Pelphrey got a short leash, Hewitt got the longest. Five NCAA appearances in 11 years isn't a bad accomplishment, especially when one of those went all the way to the championship game. The problem was that the seasons in-between were so bad. The Yellowjackets were 11-17 in '05-'06, 15-17 in '07-'08, 11-17 the year after that and 12th place in the ACC. Finishing tied for 10th this season was the last straw. AD Dan Radakovich has indicated that he's willing to spend top dollar to get an elite coach, but speculation so far has centered around Richmond's Chris Mooney, Alabama's Anthony Grant and Xavier's Chris Mack. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Tech legend Kenny Anderson has expressed interest in coming on as an assistant, which could only help recruiting.
Keno Davis (46-50 at Providence): I've always felt that the odds were against Keno from the beginning. He had only been a head coach for one (admittedly strong) season at Drake before moving up to the big time, which didn't give him much experience to draw upon. He wasn't from the area and had no ties to the program, really. Losing games might not have gotten him fired this quickly, but the offseason criminal activity of his players and a litany of de-commitments from recruits pointed him out the door. Some fans are calling for the return of Pat Skerry, who left Davis to become an assistant at Pitt last year. Other names are Fairfield's Ed Cooley, Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart, and Harvard's Tommy Amaker. Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins has wide support as well.
Pat Knight (50-60 at Texas Tech): Pat never really had much of a chance at Tech. Even his father had a hard time making the program truly relevant, but he brought enough of the national spotlight that Red Raider fans now crave more. The search has really zeroed in on two candidates at this point, and both are available. Billy Gillispie had his greatest career successes in his home state of Texas, and would add some steak to the sizzle the program wants if he is hired. Tech fans are also looking at current Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, who was an assistant at the school from 1991-1994, coaches tough defense, and has the drawl and personality that could make him a good face man for the program.
Jim Boylen (69-60 at Utah): Rick Majerus made it a sin to lose at Utah, and Jim Boylen lost quite a few over the past two years. Not only games, but players. There was a mass exodus after the '09-'10 season, which led to more losing this year. As the Utes head to the Pac-12, it's time to show that they belong on the big stage, and they'll do that by chasing a top-flight coach. No doubt, they'll wish-list Mark Few, as most Western programs do, but he's proven difficult to lure. One sensible choice that's been bandied about is Dave Rice, an assistant to Dave Rose at Brigham Young. Some have suggested that Virginia's Tony Bennett may be lured back to the expanded Pac-10, and St. Mary's Randy Bennett and Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor have generated some interest as well. Would New Mexico's Steve Alford like to get a piece of this action?
Just as the firings began to come in earnest following postseason losses, so will the hirings. The difference being that losing in your conference tournament means you get fired, and losing in the NCAA tournament means you get hired.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: February 28, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: February 28, 2011 10:21 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
So far, Wyoming's Heath Schroyer is the only coach to be fired in season, but just barely. Georgia State waited about five minutes after a season-ending home loss to George Mason before firing Rod Barnes over the weekend. Georgia State is probably best known as the final coaching stop for the legendary Lefty Driesell, who led the Panthers to a glorious 29-5 season and the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament before retiring permanently.
The Panthers tried to recapture the retread magic with Barnes (right), who had a long career at Ole Miss, but there were just too many losses and irrelevant seasons in the CAA, so Barnes is out. Assistant coach Paul Graham will coach GSU in the CAA tournament this weekend. Graham is a former Washington State head coach, but it wouldn't be surprising if Georgia State's AD tried to lure an up-and-coming firebrand to Hotlanta rather than retaining the interim option.
So, Barnes is the first Atlanta-based coach to go, but he's unlikely to be the last. Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt has coasted for a long time on the glory of a 2004 appearance in college hoops' final game, but patience has all but evaporated in the current 3-11 season. You may remember a miserable 2-14 in '08-'09 despite the presence of Iman Shumpert and Gani Lawal, as well. Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution lays it all on the table:
Nobody can say Hewitt wasn't given a chance to build on his past successes. But the extra string he was given has likely run out.
I feel bad for Paul. I’m glad I’m so busy now that I’m not around it. I feel bad for him. I’m glad I’m so busy that I’m not around it. When I left, we lost the swagger and Paul Hewitt brought it back. He brought it back. And for some reason, it’s gone away again.
“That was just a definition of a team win. It’s plain and simple. (E)very guy that played in the game picked a moment, and they had their moment.”
“The male cheerleader is coming to an end. It was good while it lasted.”
"I pray a lot, and to have Trapani make that last shot means so much to me."Photo: US Presswire