G-Tech knows and shows discipline

Philip Consuegra

I enjoyed this past Thanksgiving Break more than others that I have had in my tenure as a student. It wasn’t the turkey or the stuffing that made it special, though. It was the opportunity to bond with my family, especially my dad and uncle.

I was surprised when I arrived home in Atlanta, that my father had secured tickets to the hottest show in town: the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket men’s basketball team.

Sure, it was a game against a small school which had absolutely no chance of knocking off the No. 3 team in the nation, but nevertheless, I got to see one of the best teams in the nation compete. It truly was a beautiful thing to witness such greatness this early in the season.

The arena was still packed, even though it was a small opponent, and the students still went crazy, even when the Jackets had a comfortable 25-point lead. It was, in a word, beautiful. Seeing such a great team was a real treat. I thanked my dad, as he realized what I needed: to root for a team who lived up to the hype.

Watching Paul Hewitt get visibly upset with his players because of a miscue or a selfish play was refreshing. Watching the players on the court keep their level of intensity even though they were up 28-4 was majestic. Seeing this team play defense was, in short, a breath of fresh air.

If you’ve watched “G-Tech,” as I like to call them, you’d know that you can’t get inside the paint against them. They’re that good, they’re that disciplined.

While I was watching my pick for the national championship destroy Arkansas-Little Rock, the wheels in my head were turning. I learned an enormous lesson that night: Villanova has just as much talent as this Georgia Tech team.

We have comparable players: Alan Ray and B.J. Elder, Randy Foye and Jarrett Jack, Mike Nardi and Will Bynum, Jason Fraser and Luke Schenscher, Curtis Sumpter and Isma’il Muhammad. We’re just as deep with Will Sheridan, Chris Charles and Marcus Austin.

It hit me that night. With a bit more defense, Villanova could be a Georgia Tech. Picked to finish in the middle of the Big East, we’re exactly where Tech was last season. We’re the team that could make noise, but don’t hold your breath. They said the same thing about Tech last year.

But one thing has been missing from ‘Nova that Tech has had all along: discipline.

Georgia Tech players understand the rules of Paul Hewitt: selfish play? There’s the door. Boneheaded move? Have a seat. One message from Paul Hewitt: you’re expendable. If you want to be selfish, he’ll put someone in who isn’t.

He asks for one thing, discipline. Know what play to make, and when. Don’t be selfish, it’s a team-sport. Play aggressive, swarming defense. Don’t let them inside. Make them make a play. Find the opportunity; don’t always try to create one yourself.

Paul Hewitt holds his team, and most importantly, himself, accountable for every win and every loss. No excuses. Paul Hewitt isn’t just a charismatic guy, he’s also got a bite to go along with that bark.

It’s not just Hewitt that preaches this; it’s UConn’s Calhoun, ‘Cuse’s Boeheim, Louisville’s Pitino, Duke’s Krzyzewski, State’s Izzo, UNC’s Roy Williams and Kentucky’s Tubby Smith.

One thing brings all these prized programs together, and that’s discipline. Out of that discipline appears mental toughness and accountability. They understand the concept of teamwork; they blend together as a unit.

Rollie Massimino once benched his starters late in the 1985 season, saying that they had little heart, and didn’t want to play unselfish, team basketball. He showed those champions that he wasn’t afraid to put them on the bench. He showed them a major asset that has Villanova has seemed to have forgotten, discipline. It sure does seem like it was twenty years ago when the Wildcats captured that title.

Discipline. Mental Toughness. Accountability. Three concepts it’s time to learn here. Without these three things, a team is worth little.

But it’s all up to our Wildcats. They have the ability to do it. They clearly have the talent. Most of them have been together for three years, and we’re not young anymore.

It’s time for discipline. It’s time for mental toughness. It’s time for accountability. I hope it’s time they realize what they really can be: the same thing Georgia Tech was last year, this season’s most pleasant surprise.