Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pat Reusse is an Asshole

Seriously.  Look at this "article" Reusse wrote about the Gophers hiring of Rich Pitino to take over the Gopher hoops program.  It's full of misinformation, gross hyperbole, and just smacks of a cranky old man who is pissed off that either Tubby got fired, Flip didn't get hired, or both.  Let's look, FJM style.

Billy Heywood finally has made it to Minnesota. He’s traded in his manager’s uniform for a basketball coach’s whistle, but there isn’t much difference between the fictional Billy and the real-life version brought to town under the name Richie Pitino.

There isn't?  Tell me more.  Also, going with "Richie" over "Richard" or "Rich" is probably the biggest dickhead move you could make.  Good work, "professional writer."

Billy was the 12-year-old hero of “Little Big League.’’ He inherits the Twins from his grandfather, fires a manager deemed too hard on the players, takes over and leads the team to a Game 163 showdown.

Oh, ok.  So other than the sport, their ages, Pro vs. Amateur, Pitino not firing anybody, and essentially everything else about the two they're the same?  I suppose they both are set in Minnesota so I guess there's that.  Also, using this absolutely tortured analogy sets up Reusse to refer to Pitino as "Richie" through the article, which is a classy move.

Richie is the 30-year-old hero of “Norwood’s Amusing Quest.’’ He inherits a basketball reputation from his father, beats Louisiana-Monroe twice, waits for a half-dozen people to turn down a chance to coach at Minnesota, and gets Gopher Nation dreaming of future showdowns with Northwestern.

He's been an assistant at two of the most successful programs in the country and took a crappy program to within one basket of the NCAA Tournament last season, but yes, they did beat Louisiana-Monroe twice.  Why you'd point that out rather than how, at the end of the year in the Sun Belt Tournament when you're supposed to have your team peaking (Tubby hi!) they beat Middle Tennessee, a juggernaut who had run through the Sun Belt all season, is beyond me.  Also why would anybody dream of a showdown with Northwestern when the Gophers are already guaranteed to play them 1-3 times per year?  There's no way Reusse didn't slap this together in under 12 minutes.

I don’t want to be too negative on this. 

No, clearly not.

Clearly, once the search gets to a point where the replacement for Tubby Smith comes down to Richie Pitino or Pam Borton, it’s easy to embrace athletic director Norwood Teague’s decision.

It's actually now getting physically difficult to comment on this.  What an asshole thing to say.  I can't even decide who this is most insulting to, but I'll go with the literate.

We all have been assured that Teague and associate AD Mike Ellis are as well connected as any people in college basketball through the Villa 7 weekend seminars for assistant coaches that were conducted at Virginia Commonwealth.

And, after this whiz-bang search by Teague and Ellis, it’s obvious that the name Villa 7 carries at least as much magic in college basketball as does a Tom Petters hedge fund in the financial world.

This may very well be the stupidest thing in this article and trust me, it's pretty difficult to narrow it down.  Because Teague and Ellis hired someone who Reusse doesn't like invalidates all the success of Villa 7 over the years?  The guy Reusse would be slobbering over (Smart) was a Villa 7 guy and I'm guessing if the Gophers had hired Buzz Williams (another one) Reusse would have been slobbering over him too.  You know who recommended Pitino to Teague?  Billy Donovan.  You know who recommended Shaka Smart to Teague at VCU?  Billy Donovan.  You think you're going to find that factoid in here?  Nope, too busy shaking his fist at the kids on his lawn and lamenting about how things used to be, when you just hired retread coach after retread coach because "they were good ole boys" and "we dinn't need no 'lectric typewriters."  I'm actually somewhat shocked this wasn't written by Sid.

The Teague-Ellis tandem was so proud to be the first basketball brainiacs to fire Tubby Smith that it appears the information was leaked to buddies in the national media before it was leaked to the guy being fired.

This sentence doesn't really fit the flow (as it is) of this article but it isn't hard to figure out it was put in here as another shot at Teague-Ellis for not coming to Reusse and company first with their "leaks" about the news.  Also Tubby Smith was fired by Kentucky too, so they aren't the first.  Really, this article reads like a letter written by a scorned lover.  We could get Alanis Morissette to set it to music and have a top 40 hit on our hands.

There were two reasons for the local sporting public and media to embrace Smith’s departure: One, Tubby’s mediocre performance over six seasons at Minnesota; and two, the belief that Teague’s background at VCU and Ellis’ with Villa 7 would put them in position to make a blockbuster hire.

I can't argue with this.  I would, however, argue that a blockbuster hire doesn't necessarily mean it's someone who knocks you on your ass when you hear the name.  The Gophers already tried that with Tubby Smith and, well, here we are.  Is there some law against giving someone time to prove themselves?  Oh wait, yeah.  The law of time since Reusse's fat ass will probably choke to death on a cheeseburger in a year or two.

“You always have a short list,’’ Teague said on the day he fired Smith. “You always have people that you have in mind. Some are realistic, some are unrealistic, but I have a list in mind. We’ll work that and we’ll get a terrific coach.’’

It was easy to accept VCU’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens, the two hottest young coaches in the country, as unrealistic for the Gophers. That was especially true when they turned out to be unrealistic for UCLA.

And, any interest expressed by Fred Hoiberg’s agent was easy to detect as a play for a new deal at Iowa State. “The Mayor’’ of Ames wound up getting 10 years out that rumor being floated, so hooray for him.

Wow that's like, two paragraphs in a row I kind of agree with.  But wait, what's all this talk about a big-time hire then if Reusse can agree that Smart, Stevens, and Hoiberg were pretty much unrealistic?

Later, we started hearing Mick Cronin at Cincinnati, which would have allowed him to get out of the mess that remains of the former Big East … soon to be a league with the Bearcats, UConn and Memphis as the only schools of basketball prestige.

Teague-Ellis couldn’t even a land a guy whose conference is leaving him to take this job in what today stands as the best basketball league in the country.

Cronin couldn't possibly be a considered a big-time hire, could he?  Plus, I never heard of him being a serious candidate, just that his name had hit the rumor mill.  Although I should probably trust that Reusse knows what he's talking about, considering he has inside sour.......wait, no.  That's right, he doesn't and that's half of the reason he wrote this column because he's pissed off he couldn't get any inside info from Teague's office.  So basically he's just throwing shit against the wall in order to try to get another slam in at Teague and co.  What a grown up he is. I wonder what his motivation could be to act like a spoiled child who wants another cookie?

All this while, Flip Saunders — maroon-and-gold through and through, a longtime NBA coach, immensely popular with boosters — was available to be hired.

And there it is.

We loved to bad-mouth Joel Maturi, Teague’s predecessor, for his coaching searches. And it’s doubtful that Maturi would have mustered the audacity to fire Smith, the big-name coach who had landed in his lap in April 2007.

But we know this for sure:

Maturi wouldn’t have messed around with Saunders. The man we loved to ridicule would’ve had Flip hired within 48 hours of a Smith departure.

You know, I was in favor of Flip.  I was.  I thought he was the biggest home run they could have hit, but I was also aware of all the possible things that could have gone wrong, particularly considering he's never run a college program before.  If Teague wanted more control over his assistants and Flip didn't want to budge, well, agree to disagree and move on.  I fail to see how this is some colossal mistake on Teague's part.  And do we really want to insult him by saying he's not enough like Joel Maturi?  Really?  Is this fucking bizarro-world?

Tell me a week ago that the choice was Flip Saunders, a passionate ex-Gopher with an outstanding résumé, or a 30-year-old former student manager with little more than a famous surname to validate his candidacy, and I would have been standing in front of Williams Arena, acting as goofy as Larry Spooner at a Vikings stadium hearing, holding a sign and shouting, “Flip, Flip, Flip.’’

I don't know who Larry Spooner is because I'm not some stupid provincial idiot, but I can only assume he's someone well grounded who cares about sports not too much at all.  And seriously, referring to Pitino as a "former student manager"?  Yeah, it's true but guess what?  GOD DAMNED NEAR EVERY SINGLE COACH SPENDS TIME AS A STUDENT MANAGER.  You know who was never a student manager?  Flip Saunders.  Because he's NEVER BEEN A GOD DAMN COLLEGE COACH (at least not at anywhere that counted).  You know who has more experience as a D-I college coach?  Pitino.  You know who has run a program at the collegiate level?  Pitino.  You know who's a "name" who "old people" in this "town" love because he's "connected" to the "program" and is a good ole boy?  Flip.  I like Flip, but writing this entire meandering article (which both bashes and praises Villa 7 at times) to bash a new coach, who you don't know dick about, because the new guys in town didn't hire your friend?  Seriously it baffles me that people actually pay Reusse to write this crap.

Teague and Ellis started this search as the two smartest guys in any basketball room. They return with a coach much more suspect than what poor old Northwestern managed in Chris Collins, an assistant but fully trained,

Can anyone tell me what the hell "fully trained" means?  Collins was an assistant coach for 15 years at Seton Hall and Duke.  Pitino was an assistant for seven years, then an associate head coach, and then, oh yeah, AN ACTUAL FUCKING HEAD COACH.  I can see arguing the merits of the two with someone because I can actually see either side of the debate on who is more qualified to run a Big 10 program, but to call Pitino "much more suspect" than Collins is clearly yet another reach in order to throw another shot at Teague and Ellis simply because your buddy didn't get the job.  Not to mention there isn't a chance in hell Reusse knows what the duties of either were as an assistant because that could make a world of difference.  I don't either, but at least I'll admit it.  By the way, you know how many years Rick Pitino was an assistant before he got a head job?  Four.  He seems to be doing ok.  

rather than the nonfiction version of Billy Heywood.

Jesus, what a twat.


Loretta8 said...

what's odd about the Little Big League comparison is the kid in that movie is a great manager, while he thinks Pitino Jr. sucks

Gopher Bandanna Guy said...

I guess at this point, we shouldn't be surprised by this grouchy and whiny take from Fat Pat.

What a waste of column space in the Strib. Unbelievable that someone got paid to write this.

Anonymous said...

I liked his take that Hoiberg’s agent was the one to leak info so that he could get Hoiberg a payday at Iowa State. Pat has no evidence of that, but probably true. How many realistic candidates were actually approached?

Rick only 26 at first head coaching spot is amazing. But lets go with the too young so obviously will fail angle.

Dawg said...

I've heard a report is coming out that quotes Billy Donovan as saying Teague called for suggestions on a coach not to ask specifically about Jr. This guy was not on Teague's radar. Maybe he turns out to be a good coach maybe he will be a bust. We ran a guy out of town that would have had 4 NCAA tourney appearances in 6 years if Al Nolen didn't break his foot.

The same fans that called for the Tubster's head are now clamoring over the hire of a completely unproven coach. So any change is considered good change? Idiotic!

WWWWWW said...

So for you it was either Tubby, Shaka, or Flip?

Dawg said...

I believe Teague ousted a good coach (I know I'm in the minority so no need to point it out) because he had a guy in mind to take this team in a different direction. Now it turns out he didn't have some great candidate waiting in the wings nor did he pull somebody up from Villa 7. Rather, he hired a complete unknown and whom he has no past affiliation with.

The fan base was tired of the mediocrity of this program and believed that as a University we should be better then 6th place every year.

How does this hire then excite or energize those same people? If the University is so alluring and has so much potential why is the best coaching candidate a guy with 1 year of head coaching experience?

Again, maybe he turns out to be the next coach k but it stinks of a complete bottom of the barrel panic hire. Chance of Jr. bringing this program to the lofty expectations of this fanbase: 10%. Chance of Jr. landing any of the 2014 big 3: 5%.

Chance that I turn into Friend of Tubby II on gopherhole: 98.6%.

WWWWWW said...

I agree Teague had a plan that didn't work out, and I actually agree Tubby, historically, should be considered a great coach. Like I said at the time, I never necessarily thought Tubby needed to be fired but I wasn't against it either.

The reasons this hiring is exciting are:

1) You get a known name while at the same time getting a young coach trying to prove himself

2) You get a coach with an oustanding pedigree, working with Pitino and Donovan, who also has head coaching experience albeit only one year

3) His background is very similar to Shaka Smart before he went to VCU and he did a ton of the gameplanning work at Louisville

4) He is known as a "tireless" recruiter who was able to bring in nearly an entire roster at FIU and nearly get them to the NCAA Tournament

5) Everyone in the National Media is praising this as a great hire, it's only locally people hate it because they're hung up on Flip and/or Tubby

6) He talks the talk and looks the part

There are a ton of risks involved there's no doubt, and I think we'd all have preferred Shaka Smart, but as far as Pitino goes he fits the mold of the kind of coach Teague and Ellis have had success with in the past.

Tubby isn't coming back, so what would have made you happy as a hire?

Dawg said...

Pretty weak reasons for optimism. Name? National Media - as in the same media that was appalled by Tubby's firing.

He coached at Florida f'n International in the Sun Belt. This conference is known for supplying the sacrificial 16 seed lamb to the slaughter.

Tireless recruiter? Sounds like Brewster talk.

Would Google hire a CEO with no proven track record of success and 1 year of experience at a local Radio Shack? Doubtful? Would there be anyway possible to convince their investors what a brilliant move this is?

The hire is lackluster and disappointing. Any optimism is foolish because nobody has anything to base it on.

What hire would have made me happy? Uh, somebody that has successful D1 head coaching experience of > than 5 years. You know like any other normal job in the world where minimum requirements generally apply.

I guess I have higher standards for this program and don't believe that a tiny bit of success in a shit conference with shit teams and coaches will translate well to the Big 10, or should be applauded as a great hire. He may have been able to outsmart Florida Atlantic a couple of times but lets see how Jr. does against Izzo, Beilien, Matta and Ryan.

Aar Man said...

you still haven't answered the question, who with those characteristics is even available? I like this risk we're taking

KJGopher said...

"He may have been able to outsmart Florida Atlantic a couple of times but lets see how Jr. does against Izzo, Beilien, Matta and Ryan."...

Tubby was 12-34 in his tenure against those 4 schools. Tubby wasn't "outsmarting" anyone other than Reusse. I'm a Tubby fan in that he leads a clean program, conducts himself with class, and helps teenagers become better people as they go through college.

However, Tubby's inability to help these young basketball players improve, coach in-game, and recruit basketball players who are athletic (as a whole) instead of just athletes who shoot the ball poorly or never materialize into solid or great players is why he is no longer here. I hope he succeeds at TT, but it was clear the Gophs needed a new direction. We have it.

snacks said...

Al -

Tubby never had a winning record in the Big 10 in his 6 seasons. How are you pleased with what he's done here, especially relative to what we expected when he was hired? I think if you look beyond the name (which the national media didn't do) and at the actual results it's hard to view him as a top tier option.

WWWWWW said...

Two things Dawger:

1) Who would you have rather hired than Pitino? The other guys who have moved this year so far are Alford and Chris Colliins. Alford had UCLA calling so the Gophers wouldn't have had a chance but would you rather have Collins? Let's see who else moves around this offseason before we start getting pissed off.

2) Pitino has basically the same background Shaka Smart had when VCU hired him, but with a year of head coaching experience.

3) Anyone calling this a home run hire is just as big an idiot as anybody calling this a horrible hire. It's a risk, but it has a pretty big upside if Pitino does turn into the next Smart/Stevens type. It could crash and burn as well, we just have to wait and see.