After the Buzzer: Paul Hewitt Provides Season’s First (mini) RTCPosted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2010
Your Watercooler Moment. Yes, Paul Hewitt is still at Georgia Tech, and yes, the Ramblin’ Wreck is still one. If your memory was hazy as to why major conference schools don’t like visiting mid-majors on their home floors, Kennesaw State’s blitzing of Georgia Tech tonight, 80-63, is your reminder. But be honest — have you even heard of Kennesaw State before? The Owls joined Division I a mere five years ago and its best win in five-plus years of basketball at the highest collegiate level was a two-point victory over conference rival Belmont in 2007-08. It’s quite a leap to go from sneaking by a mid-100s RPI conference opponent to obliterating an ACC foe from start to finish, even one as generally unpredictable and disappointing as Georgia Tech, but the sellout crowd at the school a half-hour north of Atlanta loved it. Kennesaw State took a fourteen-point lead into the half, and except for a couple of minor pushes by the Jackets, they were never truly threatened tonight. Paul Hewitt reportedly has a huge buyout in his contract, but we figure eventually Georgia Tech is going to tire of year after year of mediocrity despite the lure and promise of star recruits coming onto campus, right? We think there’s no greater tell of the abilities of Hewitt to get it done at Georgia Tech than the fact that he’s never in ten years in Atlanta finished better than 9-7 in the ACC — and he’s only done that once (in 2004). And consider the players who have come through GT: Chris Bosh, Jarrett Jack, Will Bynum, Javaris Crittenton, Anthony Morrow, Thaddeus Young, Derrick Favors, Gani Lawal. Only a handful of schools nationally have put more players into the NBA than Paul Hewitt, yet this surfeit of talent simply hasn’t translated to success at the collegiate level. He needs to go, and this loss may have been the ugly slap to the face that Tech administrators need to finally cut him loose.
- Mini-RTC at Kennesaw State. Honestly, we’re not sure when a school like Kennesaw would get another shot at something like this, so we’re somewhat shocked that the entire student body wasn’t immediately on the floor after the final buzzer. Maybe they’re still new to this whole basketball thing. Nevertheless, there was a mini-RTC of which we found photographic evidence. If anyone has a better photo or can show more students filling the floor, we’ll count it as a full one, and the first of the 2010-11 season.
- Clarence Jackson. During several portions of tonight’s Siena game at Minnesota, it appeared that the confident Jackson was going to win the game all by himself. He had 29/5/4 assts including five threes and if he’d gotten any help from his teammates — he had more FGs and points than the other four starters combined — Siena may have been able to walk out of the Barn with a big win.
- Fordham’s Streak. It took 322 days and 23 games but the nation’s current longest losing streak ended tonight when Fordham defeated Sacred Heart, 69-51. Good for those guys, and even better that they really did it in a convincing fashion. Chris Gaston had 12/17/4 blks.
- Nikola Vucevic. Could be one of the more underrated and unknown big men in the nation — through two games the USC forward is averaging 21/13 against not-terrible competition (UC Irvine and Santa Clara).
- Double Your Morris Trouble. The Kansas twins Marcus and Markieff Morris both had dub-dubs tonight — Marcus went for 22/11 while his brother dropped 12/13 in an easy win over Valparaiso. The win was also KU’s 61st consecutive home victory, one short of its all-time record. Watch out, North Texas (Friday night’s opponent).
- Atlantic Sun! Just a few days after Stetson took out Wake Forest, Kennesaw State did the same to Georgia Tech. What’s the lesson here? Maybe yellow and gold teams shouldn’t play A-Sun squads? Or maybe those ACC teams are really struggling right now.
- Oakland. The Golden Grizzlies going into the MAC favorite’s gym and easily dispatching them after getting rolled up over the weekend by WVU was an impressive win, and the kind of thing that will be very helpful come March. Keith Benson didn’t even play all that well (10/6/3 blks while in foul trouble), but OU was still able to win easily.
- Steve Lavin. Lavin gets a nod here for having the cojones to schedule his team to play 3,000 miles away in a bandbox gym at 2 am ET. This was going to almost assuredly be a loss for his team, but we have a sneaky suspicion that putting his players through this will be a good learning and bonding experience for them that will help come the rigors of Big East play later this year.
- Clint Steindl. Speaking of Lavs, if we’re him we’re having trouble sleeping because of a recurring nightmare of Steindl catching and shooting from the corner, as he did seven times tonight for threes against St. John’s in a five-point win. Steindl has 13 treys in two games this season, already 25% of the way to the 52 he drilled last year.
- Jeff Bzdelik. The new Wake Forest coach avoided near-disaster by eking out a win over Hampton at home tonight. An 0-2 start with the point guard Tony Chennault out the next 8-10 weeks with a broken foot is no way to start the season. Even if Wake loses to VCU tomorrow night (and they probably will), it won’t seem as fraught with desperation. It’s something, right?
- Marcus Jordan. MJ’s younger kid had a nice evening in a blowout win against Jackson State with a team-high 13/3 on 4-5 shooting in only nineteen minutes of action.
- Oklahoma. Of course we’re aware that Oklahoma actually rallied and held on in overtime to beat North Carolina Central 71-63 tonight, but this kind of a loss would have been of Kennesaw State proportions had it occurred. NCCU is not yet playing yet with Dominique Sutton, so there’s really no excuse for a team of that caliber to even be in the game with an Oklahoma. At least Georgia Tech was on the road. Sheesh.
- Will Barton. The highly anticipated debut of Barton was a bust, as he went 0-3 with a single point and two rebounds in eleven minutes of action. Fellow backcourt mate Joe Jackson (17/3/4 assts) was strong, however.
- Malcolm Lee & Jerime Anderson. We’re really tired of expecting these two remaining members of the vaunted UCLA class of 2008 to actually do anything. Tonight’s combined line: 6/4/4 assts in 31 minutes (Lee gets a pass for hurting his wrist during the game, but we’re still tired of him). Luckily for UCLA fans, the members of some of the other classes (such as 2009 and 2010) are playing better.
- No Viral Keion Bell Dunk. We mentioned this a few weeks ago, but there are only two nationally-televised Pepperdine games scheduled this year, so that means only a couple of chances to see Keion Bell do something ridiculous like dunk over half of a team. One of those chances is now gone. This makes us sad.
RTC Live. We were at Murray State and St. Mary’s this evening — here are our correspondent reports from both of those places.
Murray State 50, ETSU 39. Starting off in a 3-2 zone, the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State harassed the Murray State offense all night, holding them to just one point through the first eight minutes of the game, but the Racer’s depth ultimately won out and Billy Kennedy and co. rolled 50-38. B.J. Jenkins led the way for MSU, tossing in 14 points on 4-6 shooting while reserve guards Donte Poole and Jewuan Long chipped in 10 and 6 respectively. For ETSU, Isiah Brown, who notched 25 points and 14 boards against Coach Cal and UK, failed to show up against Murray, recording only seven points and five rebounds. Mike Smith was the man of the night for the Bucs, recording a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
St. Mary’s 76, St. John’s 71. In front a raucous crowd at the McKeon Pavilion in Moraga tonight, St. Mary’s took control behind the exceptional shooting of newfound star Clint Steindl, a 6’7 forward who hit seven threes (on ten attempts) for 22 points on the evening. St. John’s challenged the Gaels to make threes in the corners as a result of their active 2-3 zone, and Steindl more than delivered, while the rest of his team was 3-15 from deep. Even though Steve Lavin’s debut as the Johnnies’ coach resulted in a loss, we found that his team competed hard until they simply ran out of gas in the second half — after all, they were tipping it off at 2 am ET. There’s simply no good way to prepare for that kind of an experience. The takeaway for both teams could be that St. Mary’s may have found an unlikely star in Steindl (at least until Matthew Dellavedova gets back to 100%), while SJU has a future star by the name of Dwayne Polee (16/4/2 stls including a dunk on par with Paul George’s on this very court two years ago).