Summer Session Sitdown interview with Paul Hewitt

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Atlantic 10 men’s basketball reporter and founder of College Chalktalk, Chris DiSano recently had an interview with Paul Hewitt on the upcoming season. It’s a good interview addressing some of the concerns fans might be having about competing in the conference next year.

“We’ve upgraded passing, defensive ability and overall size and length… we just can’t turn that ball over the way we did.”

Yes, the endless late game turnovers need to stop if this team wants to have any success in the Atlantic 10 next season. I do believe on a pure talent basis they have upgrade their defensive abilities but a lot of those guys haven’t played a minute of Division I basketball yet.

Hewitt also describes each newcomer that we will see on the court next season:

“Julian Royal has the ability to be a big-time scorer. He can shoot the ball out to the 3-point line, is a very good free throw shooter and has a knack for scoring with his back to the basket. He’s just knows how to get the ball in the hole.

Isaiah Jackson is a 6-5 point guard and excellent passer. He will definitely be a guy that will help create some easy baskets for our team.

Eric Lockett is a super defender, excellent passer, and really good at attacking the rim.

Therence Mayimba is another hard-nosed, tough defender. Much improved shooter over his senior year in high school. Very intense defender and excellent rebounder.

Trey Porter is long, lean, and athletic. He’s an excellent shot-blocker and has good shot himself to about 15-feet.

Finally, Shevon Thompson is a 6-11 junior college center who averaged 11.2 rebounds per game in helping to lead his team to the NJCAA Final Four. Terrific rebounder. Raw and new to the game but excellent on the glass.”

  • Liem Le

    I watched Jackson this past weekend at Kenner and I can’t see him being an effective PG in the A10 until about his junior year.

    • gmuhoops

      Yeah I don’t have much faith in this “let’s turn a SF into a PG” because he brought up the ball a few times on his high school team. We have to hope at this point he is at least a decent ball handler and passer.

      • Andy Minor

        I don’t have much faith in this coaching staff to turn anything into a competent PG, as we’ve watched them for four consecutive seasons try and do exactly that.

  • gmu95

    It bothers me that he seems to maintain that the TO issue we’ve seen the last 3 years has been the result of a lack of athleticism. Just seems to be deemphasizing the role that actually coaching has on a team. Seems to be more of “It’s not me, it’s the players.”

    • Rick Jank

      Mention the name John Stockton, and nobody thinks “athleticism.” Yet he was arguably the best PG of his generation. Not a turnover guy. Plus, of all aspects of the game, passing is probably the most mental (or visual), least “athletic” one. So, yeah, athleticism wasn’t our biggest problem as far as last year’s woes. But to be fair, I don’t think Hewitt meant he would overcome turnovers with athleticism. It is possible to be athletic and have a feel for the mental game as well.

      • Daniel Wu

        So more athletic players have better feel for the game mentally and thus make better passes with less turnovers than less athletic players.

        Is that what you are trying to point out Rick? If that’s the case…yeah that does seem reasonable to emphasize on bringing in more athletic players.

        But then again it’s possible that Hewitt is running a scheme similar to Mike D’Antoni. The scheme being you get as many athletic and talented players on your team as possible who can run up and down the floor all day. While your best defense is all about just being faster than your opponents and scoring more points than them.

        Hopefully that’s not the case…..as in more athleticism would overcome turnovers all together and running a pure offense oriented game like D’Antoni.

        • Rick Jank

          No, I mean that athleticism and the mental game are two different things. But it doesn’t mean they are exclusive things. You can be athletic and have a good feel for the mental game as well.
          I think many of us worry that Hewitt looks only for physically gifted players, and then “coaches” them by allowing them to run around and do their thing… outrun, outjump, outshoot and outmuscle the other guys. So if that’s like D’Antoni, yes (I don’t watch alot of NBA).
          My hope is that Hewitt has a good eye for players who would excel with the basketball smarts, and would therefore be good at passing and other more disciplined parts of the game. As a fan, my view is that it is imperative to get players who already have a headstart as far as the mental skillset, because the coaching staff does not seem equipped to foster those talents.

        • G-n-G

          I don’t know if this is what Hewitt meant, but I can see at least two ways that insufficient athleticism can lead to turnovers, especially late. First, there’s a basic of size, especially hand size, that can contribute. Numerous articles and studies have looked at really good basketball players and one thing that sets them apart are the size of their hands and wingspan, especially if they exceed what you would typically expect from a person with a certain height. Second, there’s fitness level because as you get more tired late in games you lose concentration and muscle control. How many times did Sherrod or Bryon (both fine players whom I really liked) simply lose the ball late in a game because they couldn’t keep control of the ball and it would go off their leg or something. Either (relatively) smallish hands or fatigue could have played a factor.