Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gopher/NCAA Talkers

As much as I hate to interrupt a big string of posts by someone who isn't me, thus giving me needed time off, so much is happening and I haven't had a chance to comment on any of it, so it's time to do a quick run down of everything that is going on.
-  Flip Saunders turns down the Gophers.  Or he didn't and they said no thanks.  I'm not exactly sure of what happened but there are a ton of rumors and all seem to point to some friction between the school and Flip in regards to assistant coaches, specifically Flip wanting his son Ryan on staff.  If that's the big sticking point it makes sense - Flip wants to get his son's career going, while the Gopher brass wants more control over how is on Flip's staff considering he's an NBA guy and running an NCAA program is a completely different animal than an NBA team.  Sure, I get it.  It all comes down to who blinks first, or if anyone blinks at all.  I'm on record as saying I'd love for the Gophers to hire Flip, but I'm also on record as to fully trusting Teague to make a smart hire.  Nothing has changed.  If Teague wants more control over the assistant coaches (or whatever the issue is) I'm on his side here.  We move on.

-  Speaking of moving on, the latest rumor I've heard is that Scott Drew of Baylor may be a candidate for the Gophers.  While Drew is elite in one aspect of being a basketball coach (recruiting) he's also extremely weak in another (game coaching).  Everything else being equal I'd take a great recruiter/poor coach over a poor recruiter/game coach, but Drew does very little for me.  I know I've said that I don't mind if coach's cheat as long as they win games as well, but I like my cheating to be a little more refined and a little more subtle.  I'd rather have a guy cheat and I'm shocked to find out (Clem) than somebody like Drew who is the second guy named by anybody who follows the sport when asked to name the biggest cheaters (after Calipari, who probably doesn't cheat anymore).  He's an NCAA investigation waiting to happen, and probably sooner rather than later.

 -  Gregg Marshall is still my top choice, but the damn Shockers keep winning so we'll have to keep waiting.  Which is ok, really.  Remember Tubby was fired just over a week ago and most coaching vacancies take at least two weeks to fill, so let's all calm down for a few minutes and let Norwood Teague do what he do.

-  As far as the other rumored candidates - Anthony Grant, Buzz Williams, Dwayne Stephens, etc - Teague and the rest of the administration have done a great job keeping a lid on anything factual so far so we can't really even know if these guys are being considered so it's basically pointless to really even discuss them until we know something more concrete.  And honestly I really prefer it this way where everything is just a rumor, so then we don't actually know if they're getting turned down left and right and we're going to end up with Andy Enright's head assistant or something.  I remember when Tubby was hired and I had no idea he was even being considered.  Granted that was an age before Twitter but still, I expect an announcement to come almost out of nowhere and I'm looking forward to it. 

-  Tubby Smith is the new coach at Texas Tech.  It's a good hire for the Red Raiders, and a good fit for Smith at this point in his coaching life cycle.  I have very little doubt that Texas Tech will make their way back to the NCAA Tournament at some point in the next five years.  I also have very little doubt they won't become a perennial Big 12 title contender, but Smith should be perfect in terms of getting them back to respectability - then it becomes a matter of the program's final goals.  This could very easily be the Tubby to Saul hand-off job that I'm pretty sure they were hoping Minnesota would be.  Good luck to everyone involved.

-  Steve Alford to UCLA and Andy Enfield to USC.  I actually think Enfield is a better hire than Alford - well, maybe better fit, not necessarily better hire.  Enfield was going to get a promotion, that was pretty obvious, and going to any Pac-12 school is a better fit for his wide open, high-flying, NBA style than a team in the B12 or B10 would have been.  I have a feeling he would have flamed out in under 3 years in those conferences, but things should work in the Pac-10 and specifically at USC.  I expect the Trojans to be very successful in the next few years.

Alford at UCLA is a big gamble to me, given that it's one of the top jobs in the entire country and he flamed out the last time he was in a major conference.  He's done a great job with New Mexico, but some coaches aren't cut out for the biggest stages.  This is Alford's second chance and if he blows this one he's going to be a mid-major guy for life.  Interested to see if he can restore some luster to the brand.  The good news is he shouldn't have to worry about recruiting too much since UCLA pretty much recruits for itself, success'll be dependent on his game coaching and he's always been just so-so there.

-  I'll be back later this week with some baseball stuff.  I was going to do it tonight but I'm pretty lazy.

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