Rumors are floating around discussing Paul Hewitt's future. Many of them revolve around grumblings about his firing, a few of them discuss the open job at Saint John's and their seemingly expressed interest in Hewitt to fill that void himself. Let's ignore the ideas of a dismissal or a resignation and discuss St. John's University.
As of right now, there has been no confirmed contact between St. John's and Paul Hewitt. 1:59PM EST: As of 1pm today, Dan Radakovich has given St. John's permission to contact Paul Hewitt.
Paul Hewitt was born in Jamaica but moved to the Queens/Long Island area when he was 8 years old. There, he became engulfed in the New York basketball scene, playing both high school ball in Long Island and college ball in Rochester, NY. He also began to lay the foundation for Siena's basketball success, also in the state of New York. In summary, Paul Hewitt is a New York man.
From the New York Post:
Sources told The Post that Monasch has gotten word to Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich that he'll be seeking official permission to talk to coach Paul Hewitt as soon as possible...Hewitt has emerged as a leading candidate. St. John's wanted him when it hired Roberts in 2004, but Hewitt was coming off a Final Four appearance and had just gotten it rolling in Atlanta
It's interesting to see that SJU was out to get Hewitt back in 2004. We should also note that in no way would we have handed Hewitt over in 2004. The Daily Post actually called us "threatened" by St. John's interest. Times and opinions sure do change for a fan base don't they?
The Atlanta and New York areas have quality AAU programs. Just like in college football where a coach has established relationships with high school coaches, a college basketball coach depends on established high school and AAU coach relationships. Especially in today's basketball world, a basketball program must have a good recruiter who has these connections. Paul Hewitt has those relationships and as we know, has brought in the talent to Atlanta. However:
Roger Rubin of The Daily News:
The Daily News contacted a number of coaches in the high school and AAU community on Friday and the majority responded overwhelmingly to two of the candidates frequently mentioned: Hewitt and Hofstra's Tom Pecora.
"Paul already has earned the trust," one AAU coach said. "He's recruited New York and New Jersey. He's taken good care of the kids from here." "With some people time away from New York changes them," said Gary Charles, the influential director of the Long Island Panthers. "I can tell you that's not Paul Hewitt. He is still a New Yorker, still one of us."
New York loves its basketball. From the courts of the schoolyard, to the college teams, and all the way to the Knicks, the city needs the sport, and they have the utmost desire for it to be relevant again and it seems they want a New York man to do it.
Of course Georgia Tech offers Paul Hewitt favorable options as well, most notably his now infamous contract that always rolls over and his large buyout amount. This is the biggest obstacle that St. John's must overcome should they be serious. They must make an offer that is competitive to his current deal. Although having a fan base that embraces him again could also be a decision maker.
Paul Hewitt has not been a failure at Georgia Tech as he has brought us success and NCAA Tournament appearances. He's put us back on the national map of college basketball. However, the Tech team itself could be in a state of repair next year. And with the expected announcement of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal foregoing their remaining years at Georgia Tech for the NBA surely only days away, questions revolve around the team and how good we will actually be. If there was a time for a coach to leave, to go find a more welcoming atmosphere with all this surrounding turmoil, is this the year to do it?