George Mason continues to sink under Paul Hewitt

hewitt brk 3

George Mason posted their six loss in seven games yesterday after falling to Rhode Island 71-56. The Washington Post recap brings to attention again that these could Paul Hewitt’s last couple of gamesĀ at the Patriot Center. The program is dangerously close to posting back to back 20-loss seasons for the first time since the early 90s. An embarrassing statistic considering they just moved up to the Atlantic 10. The article even brings up the $85K bonus that Hewitt is days away from receiving:

“Those close to the program, who requested anonymity because they are not permitted to speak on the matter, do not believe Edwards would dismiss Hewitt for the sake of saving $85,000. A decision, they said, would probably come after the season.”

Neither Brad Edwards nor Dr. Angel Cabrera will comment beyond anything saying that they will evaluate the position at the end of the season. However it seems pretty clear to everyone change is needed. Yesterday we saw a team that again looked unprepared and sloppy.

  • gmurva

    The Porter ally oop must work in practice which make me question how hard they work on defense in practice. Everytime momentum shifts they kill it with an unforced turnover on a fast break or an unnecessary timeout.

  • GMU-74-EVR

    Let us hope that a great coach is waiting out there to be hired. We’ve sunk so low that anything other than Hewitt’s leadership will bring success.

  • Bill Aldacushion

    Decided to forgo the dangerous drive, stayed home and watched game on the A-10 Network which carried the video with the home-team radio broadcasters – my first time to hear these guys in action. It was refreshing and in someways cathartic to listen to informed commentators dissect and analyze their team’s performance on a play-by-play basis. The player weaknesses/mistakes, depleted roster depth challenge, on-the-court communication issues, apparent preparation shortcomings, shot selection, etc. along with objective, head-to-head comparison examples vs. the competition’s execution in similar offensive, defensive and transition situations was enlightening. THREE TAKE-AWAYS: (1) I hope the administration has access to the recorded video/audio of yesterday’s game and other home games as I sincerely believe it would be a useful tool in preparing for their end-of-season program evaluation. (2) Lamar Butler sure has strong basketball savvy and a sense of Mason Nation pride. Is there anyway he could be used in a direct advisory role with current coaching staff or during any transition that my come about. (3) Watching more home games on the A10 Network may not be all that bad next season (I can still see/hear the Green Machine) if a commitment to change and to restoring the relevance of a once-proud program does not become evident.

    • G-n-G

      For away games and the occasional home game we don’t get to (like yesterday’s) we always listen to Bil Rowland and Lamar Butler’s radio broadcast. I’m likewise impressed with Lamar’s insightful dissection of Mason’s problems.

      Anyone think that Lamar could be tempted to be the next coach? I realize he doesn’t have experience, but several of the other young coaching stars (Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart, Archie Miller, etc.) had minimal coaching time before being promoted to the head job. But they understood basketball fundamentals and could communicate with players. Just a thought on a dark horse candidate to replace Hewitt.

      • Bill Bride

        If you aren’t following Lamar on Twitter, you should do so. Great insights not only about Mason but basketball in general. He knows what he is talking about.

      • vurbel

        I could see him being assistant. If the new coach does a good job and moves on to an ACC/Pac 12/etc. school, Lamar could then step in. I don’t think many would object to that, especially with good assistants around him.

        • G-n-G

          That makes a lot of sense. Lamar easily got the biggest reception at Homecoming when they announced all the former players as they walked onto the court. He’s still beloved because he never left.

          • vurbel

            And having him as an assistant for now would be such great PR for the new coach. People are already going to be on his side already, and adding Lamar would just be taking it one step further.

          • upside2013

            Lamar is a extremely likeable individual and would likely be an excellent assistant coach. I wish he could speak a little louder during his analysis so I dont miss what he has to say.

        • GMU-74-EVR

          That new coach should be Ben Howland. With Lamar as Asst. and with other good asst. we could be back in the thick of things. Check out this recent USA TODAY article below.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2015/02/21/college-basketball-former-ucla-coach-ben-howland/23569565/

          • upside2013

            This Howland guy is an elite coach and would restore the Mason program 100% certain. I like the edge this guy seems to have it reminds me of Bobby Knight, He clearly is a effectibe coach and restored in Pitt to elite program 2003. He is commentator for nbcsports covering A10 and has likely seen the sad state of our program would likely take the job at this point.

          • Tom

            Howland is a grant coach. How can we fan help to make sure the university hire him?

          • gmu95

            I wonder if he’d be willing to come to the east coast – I see he lives out west. Article seems to indicate he is really motivated to coach again, so maybe.

          • ricandersen

            I doubt he would take the job. He turned down three jobs at the beginning of this season. He now wishes he had taken the one; the other two were rebuilding projects. Mason is a rebuilding project.

            Also, like gmu95 says, he is very much tied to the West Coast. In his 57 years, he has only spent four years (at Pittsburgh) away from the West Coast.

          • ricandersen

            This SI article on UCLA gives an interesting perspective on Howland. Even Howland admits he has shortcomings.

            http://www.si.com/more-sports/2012/02/29/ucla

          • GMU-74-EVR

            He also says that he’ll accept any job in the USA today article. And if you look at his record he’s a master of rebuilding programs. Did so at NAU and PITT. But there is no guarantee he’d come here, I agree with you on that ric.

  • G-n-G

    Didn’t see the game, but didn’t need to in order to know what the outcome would be. Two disturbing aspects of Hewitt’s postgame interview. First, he said he likes the way the team is playing on defense. A defense that is chronically out of position, generates few steals/turnovers, and lets poor shooting teams (see: Fordham) look like the Golden State Warriors is somehow playing well?

    Second, a couple times he falls back on “if we just had more athletic players we’d be fine” as if having people who can jump out of the arena will somehow solve their poor shooting (which he admits) or multiple mistakes on offense and defense? More athletes might cover up for some problems (e.g. a player could recover after a missed assignment better) but the team needs better decision-making and teamwork. Those can be gained with any level of athleticism. And I’d guess on pure hops Vaughn Gray is the most athletic player on the active roster, yet he can barely get on the court.

    • vurbel

      Like many of us, the fact that G-n-G didn’t feel the need to watch the game because he already knew what the outcome speaks volumes. Sure, we might be wrong a few times/year (Jalen’s 75 footer), but by and large we know how things are going to play out.

    • Matt_LC

      More athletic??? For years it has been “when Hewitt has his own guys” “Hewitt is a great recruiter”. So he didn’t recruit quality players and now thT he has a roster of “his” guys they are not good enough. What a stupid thing for him to say! When will this end? Coach L went to the final four with 5 starters recruited from MD. They were not prime recruits but they played solid D, knew how to pass out of a double team ( not shevon’s fault, I thought Roland Houston was supposed to be a big man specialist) and shared the ball.

  • Steve

    as on of the few that braved the snow and went to the game Saturday. I have to say that this game had ZERO atmosphere to it. Hewitt has sucked all the life out of the Patriot Center. Im so over him just like everyone else. While i will be there for the GW game to say goodbye to the seinors i dont expect anything. I just hope that next season they can be better.

  • StopWearingPurple

    I went to the game and it was SSDD. The one interesting point was during the long drag from a minor lead to a 14 point deficit the only time out Hewitt called was for an injury. Perhaps he as given up too.

  • GaMoo79

    Monday morning in RVA. Local radio talking about how upcoming game with Mason was a sure win for VCU. Sad, but true.
    I read all the posts about the financial reasons we couldn’t let Hewitt go. They are legit. Still, as the old saying goes, “sometimes you have to spend money to make money”. To keep Hewitt for another year makes him a sure lame duck coach which can only hurt recruiting, game attendance, school spirit, alumni donations, etc. Cabrera and Edwards aren’t stupid. Hewitt’s gone. A successful program, in the long term, will more than make up any money lost in the short term. Also, as I see pictures of the wine and cheese crowd gatherings of Mason’s rich supporters, don’t tell me that they don’t know what’s going on either. They didn’t get rich by being stupid. I’ll bet there is plenty of behind the scenes politicking going on to ease the financial hit to the university if Hewitt is let go. A number of them could probably make up the difference on their own by writing one check, and never miss it.
    I was also one of the ones who believed the “Hewitt may not be the best coach but he’ll just out recruit everybody else and we’ll win by out-talenting everybody” mantra. I, along with many others, was wrong.
    Edwards and Cabrera also know that’s wrong. Hewitt’s gone.

    • GMU-74-EVR

      Two words Gamoo: Ben Howland. Read the USA today article above. Seems like a great fit and unlike Hewitt he has had bigger success. Would be a great way to get the program back on track in no time.

      • GaMoo79

        Lot’s of talk on here about Howland, 74. And who knows, maybe he will come, and maybe he is the answer. But, there are still a lot of unknowns. E&C may not reach out to him. If they do, he may not want to come to Mason. And, let’s not get tunnel vision here. There may be an even better coaching fit out there that us fans don’t know about yet.
        BTW, read the article yesterday.

        • GMU-74-EVR

          I hear you Gamoo. But during these dog days of GMU Hoops we need all the hope we can get.

      • ricandersen

        And while you are at it, read the SI article above. Much less-flattering than the USA Today article.

        I think Howland would be good for Mason, fwiw. But I don’t want us to get into the same “Howland is the savior of GMU basketball” accolades that accompanied Hewitt when he signed with GMU. Then, everyone talked about what a great recruiter he was and his early success with a major program, and we all ignored the red flags that were also obvious. Howland has his faults. Again, I’d support recruiting him. But I’m not going to take the good and ignore the baggage. He was let go for a reason, and he was passed on by Missouri and Tennessee for the same reason.

        • GMU-74-EVR

          I read the article. It painted a different picture but nothing that surprised me much, Howland seems like an abrasive guy, a stark contrast from the laid-back Hewitt. We’ll see what happens. I’m not saying he’s our savior, just a guy who could perhaps get us back on track quickly. Honestly, I’ll accept whoever is hired after Hewitt. But I hope that coach is ready to roll up his sleeves.

          • ricandersen

            +1 “Honestly, I’ll accept whoever is hired after Hewitt.”

          • GMU-74-EVR

            Ric that article you pointed out is disturbingly similar to what’s happening to some GMU players. The drug-taking at UCLA is reminiscent of Cope’s own violations. The team’s sloppy plays are also alarmingly similar to what happened during UCLA’s decline from three-peat Final Four team to Howland’s dismissal.
            Could it be some of GMU’s current players could also be as guilty as Hewitt’s inadequacies? I believe time will tell after the dust has cleared.

          • ricandersen

            But, Paul Hewitt is a great recruiter!

          • GMU-74-EVR

            LOL.

  • Rick Jank

    Sure, there are financial considerations to letting Hewitt go at the end of the season (or now, yes, now is an option also, yes I’d go along with that). But I think they can be overcome with deal-structuring with the new coach and some sort of buy out arrangements with Hewitt (the least he could do). I hope Edwards and Cabrera are working on that daily, because their motivation should be the foreboding realization that keeping Hewitt next year will result in less money coming in from a disenfranchised fan base, less media coverage, and lame duck recruiting.
    Hey, give those folks at Georgia Tech a call and see how they managed their buyout of Hewitt. I think we are at the same level of exasperation, let’s get ‘er done!

    • GaMoo79

      Yep. I’d go with the “today” option too, Rick.

    • ricandersen

      Fairly certain GMU’s booster club isn’t comparable to GTech’s. (Not meant as a slight.)

      • Rick Jank

        Oh, I agree. But 1) wasn’t the buyout of Hewitt much larger with GT? 2) as people keep saying, we are the largest state university in Virginia, just gotta figure a way to get word out and 3) I was “just sayin'” you know, that somehow if you crunch the numbers like GT evidently did, it may not be as bad as it looks, and may be doable. And don’t forget to factor in the less revenue that is likely to result next year under Hewitt.

        • GMU-74-EVR

          Yes. Doable would be like $150K over 5 years. That’s definitely not $7.2 Million, which is what GT had to pay (and is still paying) Hewitt.

  • http://www.benjaminbradley.com/ Benjamin Bradley

    So when is http://www.firepaulhewitt.com going to be released?