April 7, 2003 The PooP
Over the past three years, Paul Hewitt has whipped the Georgia Tech players into shape, convinced them to believe in what he's selling, demanded that they play hard, installed different approaches to suit personnel and watched one surprisingly successful season and two decent campaigns unfold. Just as importantly, he has proven that he like beloved predecessor Bobby Cremins (until the end) can recruit at the highest level. Now it's time for Hewitt to live up to his billing as a rising star by producing some better records. It's truly his team now, and a .500-type mark won't be good enough next season.
Done For Me Lately
|1994||7-9 (5)||16-13||NIT 1st Round|
|1996||13-3 (1)||24-12||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1998||6-10 (6)||19-14||NIT Quarterfinals|
|2001||8-8 (5)||17-13||NCAA 1st Round|
|2003||7-9 (5)||16-15||NIT Quarterfinals|
xwon ACC title
ACC: 70-90 (.438); No. 6 in ACC
Overall: 162-146 (.526); No. 7 in ACC
Projected 2003-04 Roster
NOTE: Scholarship/rotation players only.
The Good News
Two years ago at this time, we told you to expect a step or two backward as Cremins' hole-filled recruiting classes filtered their way through the program, and that's exactly what happened. It takes talent and experience to leap into the upper echelon of the ACC, and that combination hasn't arrived in Atlanta until well, now. The Jackets finally have reached the point where they'll have talented and contributing seniors, juniors and sophomores almost every year. With some stars on hand and plenty of signs of individual improvement, the Hewitt Era should kick into a higher gear in 2003-04.
The Bad News
It's always important, especially on the recruiting trail, for a team to leave a strong impression that it's a place where great things can happen. Under Hewitt, the Yellow Jackets haven't yet followed up the impression with any reality, and if the trend continues it inevitably will affect the program's pursuit of the nation's elite prospects. Bosh and Jack were wonderful additions last year, but Tech missed all of its 2002-03 prep targets, and for the last two seasons coaches had to tap the roll-the-dice international ranks for what ended up being so-so signees. Hewitt is an excellent recruiter, but those trends must stop.
Even before the switch from Cremins to Hewitt, this program had a lot to offer: an NBA pipeline, quality facilities, solid fan support, great exposure, a wonderful city, a respected university, great weather, etc. Now, with Hewitt at the controls, the long-term future appears even brighter despite back-to-back seasons of mediocrity. Almost everyone expected some extended growing pains in the aftermath of the coaching transition, and most still see this ship headed in the right direction.