Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
Door #2! Though he's old and hasn't ever recruited a kid with so much as four stars next to his name, West Virginia's John Beilein is hard to overlook when articles like this fawning Adrian Wojnarowski piece seem more the norm than the exception:
"A lot of guys can sit down at a table and X and O, talk all about it, but most can't touch John in his ability to teach it on the floor and get guys to do it," Thorn said. "What he's done with this year's team is especially remarkable. They lost all their players, and he's got guys who didn't play last year, or weren't big recruits â€“ and it's just amazing how they still carve people up.
"He's an amazing teacher of the game."
Though West Virginia's status as an NIT team the year before he (hypothetically) becomes Michigan's coach is a disturbing parallel with Amaker, there's a difference between this WVU team which lost Pitsnogle, Gansey, and the rest of the crew that took the 'Eers on their remarkable two-year tourney run and the Seton Hall team that brought in the nation's top recruiting class, returned most of its contributors, and totally imploded. (How on God's green earth did Amaker recruit notorious malcontent and car-masturbator Eddie Griffin, by the way? Griffin's one of the few NBA players who actually warrants the excessively-applied term "thug," and Friendly Mr. Coachy reeled him in? Strange times.)
Beilein is a virtually no-fail candidate. He's worked his way up from coaching community colleges to his first D-I job at Cansisus, where he was a success, leading the Whatevers to an NCAA tourney and two NITs. He was then hired by Richmond, where he replicated his performance at Cansisus. Then West Virginia and their resurrection. We should expect a similar performance at Michigan even if Beilein's recruiting doesn't improve, though it should via simple proximity to talent.
Uh... what? Eric Lacey throws out a ridiculous name in his latest Free Press article:
. What about Michigan State assistant Jim Boylen?
A . That would be something if he were hired, wouldn't it? He is a Michigan guy with tons of NBA experience and is well aware of the rivalry. And Boylen appears to be interested in the job.
My only question is whether Michigan truly is interested in him. If officials wanted to make a splash and rock the entire state, then this could be an option. Boylen could potentially steal a lot of recruits from the Spartans. It's still unclear, though, -- at least to me -- where he stands compared to the rest of the field. If U-M wants Boylen, it might have to act fast, since he's scheduled to interview with Utah this week.
My only question is whether Michigan truly is interested in him. If officials wanted to make a splash and rock the entire state, then this could be an option. Boylen could potentially steal a lot of recruits from the Spartans.
It's still unclear, though, -- at least to me -- where he stands compared to the rest of the field. If U-M wants Boylen, it might have to act fast, since he's scheduled to interview with Utah this week.
Q: Is Jim Boylen more or less ridiculous as a candidate than Tom Crean?
A: It's hard to say. They have equal Izzo-related loathsomeness. Boylen is obviously making a lot less than Crean and would presumably be less of a ripoff if this goofy suggestion ever came to pass, but he has vastly less experience. In fact, he has less experience than... uh... everyone, having never been a head coach on any level. Plucking current assistants is a strictly small-time move and unless Michigan is suddenly demoted to the Mid-Continent Conference it won't happen, especially after ten years of getting burned.
If you made me choose I'd probably go with "less," but only because Crean is literally the most implausible name in the country.
Ouch. Yeah, Joey didn't like Tommy Amaker:
If success in college basketball were determined by things like trying hard intermittently, occasionally playing well enough to blow a game late, getting embarrassed on a regular basis, being well-intentioned, and dressing like you had always come from Sunday brunch in 1992, Tommy Amaker would be running the best college basketball program in the country. He or his team excelled at all of those things.
Positives are discussed, too. Promise. (They are just of the "clean up the program, thanks, please shut the door on your way out," though.)
Numbers: Stolen in whole from Varsity Blue:
Stevie Brown #3
Kevin Grady #24
Doug Dutch #35
James McKinney #44
Ryan Mallett #15
Vince Helmuth #32
Artis Chambers #38
Austin Panter #54
(I'm pretty sure McKinney was already #44.) I hate it when guys change midstream. Now whenever I see a running back wearing #24 I'm going to be all "Jerome Jackson has been hitting the Krispy Kremes too hard."
Come on, now. Simmons has been banging on the Big Ten ever since he started paying more attention to college basketball because the Celtics were busy punching him in the face over and over, and while he's right that the league plays slow, unattractive basketball it doesn't necessarily mean they're bad at it:
6. The Big Ten: Did I tell you or did I tell you? If that foul was called on Oden, there would have been ZERO Big Ten teams in the Sweet 16. I love being right. It happens so rarely. Anyway, don't fret, Big Ten fans -- you can still get your fix of defense and fundamentals by watching the women's tournament.
Wisconsin was a disappointment, but they were missing Brian Butch. All other Big Ten teams have acquitted themselves well: Indiana, Purdue, and Michigan State all won first round games as 8-9s before running into 1-2 seed buzzsaws -- and Purdue gave Florida everything they wanted. Illinois was one late, athletic-director-imploding collapse away from upsetting Virginia Tech. As of right now the conference is 6-5. Does Big Ten bashing have to continue nonstop no matter the situation? Did someone attach some sort of rider to the port security bill when I wasn't looking? If so someone should let me know and I'll stop bothering with it.
Etc.: OJ Mayo is kind of weird; this guy analyzes NFL draft history and concludes "don't draft Michigan skill guys."
Yes, things are different around here. I've finally moved to the new Blogger. This brings with it some neat features:
- Functional archives that don't take up epic amounts of space.
- Convenient feed integration.
- The ability to list all the labels I've started using (and badly need to organize).
The new template I'm using has some other features I may or may not get around to deploying.
You'll note a second sidebar. It was necessary to cram in the other stuff I want to get up and going. At the moment you'll find my last five Fanhouse posts plus something I'm calling "mgo.licio.us," which is basically a constantly updated list of things I come across that may be of relevance to Michigan fans with some brief commentary. Some of these things will end up in UV, but some may not -- there's always a bunch of stuff that gets buried and then is no longer timely. Hopefully this will put a stop to that. I also plan to create a similar widget that highlights recent comments of interest.
In the totally cosmetic department, there are now nice rounded headers and footers on all posts. These employ the transparency features available in Firefox, IE7, Opera, and Safari and are broken on IE6... but how broken I don't know because I haven't figured out how to test IE6 on this machine that already has IE7. So, if you're one of the approximately 35% of people still rocking IE6, please inform me if the resulting breakage is unreadable or unattractive and I'll get on it.
There's a bunch of broken crap. Working on it. It's really late. So I'm working on it later.
And they're off. Internet speculation has settled on three candidates: WVU's John Beilein, SIU's Chris Lowery, and Xavier's Sean Miller, with Beilein's buyout and age posing issues for his candidacy. (BTW: the buyout is $2.5 million, not three as reported last year. It declines by 500k each year of his contract. Also, the Martin interview referenced earlier has this quote about Amaker's buyout:
Q: Are you going to pay him the buyout?
Martin: Of course we will. Understand that has been funded every year and that accumulated.
Odd question. It's basically "Are you going to get sued for doing something stupid?" Interesting answer though: the 900k Amaker is owed has been rolled up already and isn't an unexpected expense coming out of the U's coffers. Further evidence that Michigan is ready and willing to pay a competitive salary, as the 900k sitting around was earmarked for the basketball coach either way, be it in the form of a buyout or a raise.)
Of the three mentioned, Lowery is my preference for reasons outlined in this USA Today article:
"They invade your personal space," Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg was saying the other day. "I love their attitude. I think it's their mindset."
So this time, the underdogs are bringing their defensive nightsticks, You will find no more intriguing clash of style in the Sweet 16. The unstoppable force will be wearing white, the immovable object maroon. [this passage incorrect, since Kansas has the best D in the country and an average offense, as pointed out by Wonk -ed]
"I don't think we sell them on defense. We sell them on winning," Lowery said. "Defense is a part of that."
"Anything time you drive," Virginia Tech's Zabian Dowdell said, "you can expect to be cut off by another defender."
That's the whole idea. Ruin passing angles, interfere with flow, be ready to help, never quit. Not until the shot clock runs out, or a brick clangs off the rim.
"The biggest thing is," Lowery said, "they trust each other."
On its weekly notes, Southern Illinois includes testimonials from past victims. This from Missouri State coach Barry Hinson, on preparing to play the Salukis:
"We run down to the police station and we get all the German Shepherd attack dogs and we just bring them onto the floor, and we rub meat juice all over our arms, and we just get ready to practice."
"People say we slow down," Lowery said. "We don't slow down. We just make you catch up, and stay at a pace of intensity on defense throughout the game. At the other end, we're not gong to let you breathe."
(We should bring Barry Hinson along as Designated Guy To Give Awesome Testimonial Quotes if we hire Lowery, no matter the cost.) There are some concerns. SIU does play slow-down: Kenpom has the Salukis 312th in adjusted pace. The accusations that Big Ten basketball is basically the Carlisle Pistons versus the Riley Knicks are not likely to decrease if he's hired.
But good God, y'all:
Raw Efficiency : 104.4 (135) 93.5 ( 18)
Adj Efficiency : 109.2 ( 81) 86.7 ( 12)
Effective FG% : 52.1 ( 85) 47.7 ( 80)
Turnover Pct. : 22.3 (229) 24.3 ( 25)
Off. Rebound% : 31.4 (241) 28.9 ( 12)
Free Throw Rate: 31.9 ( 22) 49.8 (326)
3-Point FG% : 37.4 ( 61) 34.9 (180)
2-Point FG% : 49.8 (130) 45.4 ( 61)
Free Throw Pct.: 69.1 (172) 70.6 (248)
Block Pct. : 8.5 (130) 11.1 ( 64)
Steal Pct. : 10.7 (235) 10.5 (115)
3PA/FGA : 36.0 (118) 32.7 (122)
A/FGM : 54.9 (179) 51.3 ( 62)
Lowery's offense is plagued by turnovers -- ugh -- and awful offensive rebounding. Everything else is at least okay. Now consider this: SIU has one senior and no one playing significant minutes taller than 6'7". More impressive than their tourney run has been their ability to lock down a Sweet 16 seed from the MVC. SIU is a legit team that has an identity without anyone who will even sniff the NBA. He's the guy.
More. Sun-Times article on SIU's efforts to keep Lowery:
He put me and Tony [Young] and me against each other, and I thought he was trying to run us off, make us transfer schools," said Jamaal Tatum, the Salukis' leading scorer. "... He made things difficult for us. But he expects so much out of the players that he will push you. I'm thankful he did because I've become a lot better player."
Southern won consistently before Lowery got there, so it is realistic to think it could win without him. But why take chances?
"He's the total package," Moccia said. "He's 34 years old. He has such a great floor demeanor. He can recruit. He's a great family guy. And he's unbelievably, wildly successful. That's kind of a rare thing. That's why we really want to keep him."
And why a lot of others might want him.
Lowery made approximately 300k this year. If we go after him SIU will probably increase that significantly, but I doubt they can go as high as we can.
Even more Lowery. From a pre-NCAAs PC this year:
REPORTER: Both of you, I know I'm putting you on the spot because your coach is sitting next to you, but what's special about playing for Coach Lowery?
YOUNG: The biggest thing about playing for Coach is he's one of the coaches that understands his players. You've got a lot of peopl
e that push you to do things you don't want to do, he gives us the freedom to go out and play the way we want to play but within his offense and the things he wants us to do. And he really rides us and makes us strive to be the best we can be as far as people, as far as players, really just all around. He doesn't settle for us being second best. He doesn't let us settle for it either.
TATUM: I'll agree with Tony on that. He definitely pushes us. When he came back from Illinois and we got our first workout with him, he put me and Tony against each other and I thought he was trying to make us transfer schools or something the way he came at us, but he was just expecting a lot out of us, he knew it was going to be a big year and he knew that he had some shoes to fill and we had some shoes to fill and that we had to be a good team and we were a great team that year and he came back and he really put it on us and made things difficult for us. That's the thing about him, he expects so much out of all his players that he will push you and I'm thankful for what he's done because I've become a lot better player under him.
"Young" and "Tatum" are two starting guards.
Two notes. Amaker has been all class as the outgoing coach. Reports are he called Legion and encouraged him to stick with his LOI, and he's also sending out notes to various people associated with Michigan. This went out to some alumni association presidents:
I just want to sincerely thank you for the opportunity that I was given to be the basketball coach at this tremendous university. I will always be grateful for it.
I truly loved teaching and coaching at the University of Michigan. I loved representing you, and I wish you all well.
Please continue to support the team and the new coach--they need you and deserve you!
Thank you so much for everything, and GO BLUE!
A similar email went out to the Maize Rage:
I just want to thank all of you for all of the support that you've given our basketball program and me during my time at Michigan. You've been phenomenal, and I will always be grateful for your support and enthusiasm for our team.
I truly loved coaching and teaching at Michigan, and I will always be grateful to have had this opportunity. I loved representing you, and I wish you all well.
Please continue to support the team and the new coach--they need you and deserve your support!!
Thank you again for everything you've done for me and Michigan Basketball, and GO BLUE!
Yes, this makes me feel a bit heelish for the constant snark, if you're asking.
All fixed now. Deadspin found hilarious video of a Kansas State player eating popcorn on the bench during an NIT game:
Far be it from us to understate the importance of the NIT -- no place is more dangerous than Crisler Arena in mid-March! -- but during the Kansas State-DePaul game the other night, an injured Wildcat sat on the bench eating popcorn.
Yeah, that momentary pang of sympathy is all better now.
Facilitate this. Article in the Freep yesterday from Mark Snyder:
"Usually the perception within the fan base is higher than the reality, like with football fans at Alabama who think they should go 12-0 every year," said Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel. "With Michigan basketball, it's the opposite. The perception in the fan base is, after so many years of the program having excuses made for it, the fans' view is lower than the reality college coaches put on the program. College coaches say that's a top 10 job."
Wetzel noted that the state of Michigan has incredible talent and there are more than enough players for Michigan and Michigan State to both thrive. He said Michigan kids are still split 50/50 on Michigan and Michigan State, with that number leaning heavily toward U-M in Detroit.
The bluster about Michigan's limited facilities and disinterested fan base is not a driving factor, Wetzel said.
"Michigan can recruit nationally," he said. "It's an unbelievable school and campus; the only thing missing is structural advancements. Those are down the line. You can get guys out of major conferences to take this job. You can get a coach out of (the) ACC, Big 12. You can't get them to leave North Carolina, but from most places, you can."
There are further quotes from Jay Bilas, who's telling anyone who will listen that Amaker walked into Beruit six years ago and made it a happy bunny meadow:
"It's a high-level job, it's a Big Ten job," said ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, who coached with Amaker as assistants at Duke. "Now it's on a solid foundation, starting at the starting line instead of 20 yards behind like before (Amaker) arrived."
Bilas said the facilities are a significant problem and one could "make an argument" that the Minnesota job -- another high-profile opening -- would be competitive with Michigan because of its recent small-scale renovations.
"What they need to do is to find the best possible coach without regard to some type of template that the media likes to throw out," Bilas said of Michigan. "The bottom line is there are a number of coaches available. But in order to have an outstanding basketball program, you have to show a commitment to basketball, not just a coach but the entire community. Michigan hasn't made that commitment, and until they do ... they'll have issues to face."
Crap, I say. Amaker did walk into a bad situation, but no one held it against him when his first two years were miserable. The NCAA sanction cloud was always overblown -- after his first year, which everyone gave him a mulligan on, Michigan faced no significant recruiting restrictions -- and the facilities argument is being blown way out of proportion. Did Crisler Arena turn it over twenty times a game more often than not? Did the lack of a practice facility offer Smith and Coleman as sophomores? Was the brick in the locker room unable to improve Michigan's players? The overwhelming reason Michigan was not good at basketball the past two years was Amaker's lack of coaching ability, and anyone offering up weak facilities arguments is covering for a very, very nice man who can't coach.
The most irritating thing is that the facilities meme espoused by people trying to find any reason to argue for Amaker has spilled over into the mainstream media as a major reason the Michigan basketball program sucks. It's not. Since Steve Fisher left in the wake of Martingate, Michigan has been run by Brian Ellerbe and Tommy Amaker. Ellerbe does not and never will have another D-I job, and I'd bet you a dollar Tommy finds himself in the same boat. Ten years of mismanagement by coaches is the reason the Michigan basketball program finds itself brought low. And since the all-encompassing ennui around the team has discouraged financial contributions for a freakin' decade -- one in which the facilities race really got started -- there has been no money with which to build the hypothetically opulent palace in which Amaker still would have been a very nice man who can't coach.
The AD at Michigan doesn't operate like the AD at other schools. They won't take on debt and they are self-funding (including 70% out-of-state scholarships at 30k per year -- you can make the argument that the AD helps support the university, not vice versa). When local columnists opine that Michigan must shell out for the program they neglect to mention where this money is going to come from.
Take the baseball program, which brings in almost no revenue. Rich Maloney showed up, looked at a decrepit and uncompetitive situation, and im
mediately started raising capital for a new stadium. At this very moment a multi-million dollar replacement of Fisher stadium is underway because Rich Maloney went out and found the money for it. If you really want to blame someone for the supposedly sorry state of the basketball facilities, you can find him wearing a mock turtleneck on the next bus to Durham. In this case: win, we'll come, and you'll build it.
Mr. Basketball. Is recruit Manny Harris, who says he's still a recruit... probably:
"I'm going to wait and see who they hire," said Harris, the 27th winner of the prestigious award, selected by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan in conjunction with the Free Press. "But my heart is still with Michigan."
Further bit about Amaker being all class:
Amaker had some advice for Harris.
"He told me 'Michigan is still Michigan,' " Harris said. "It's still a good school."
More on Harris from a Rise article earlier this year.
Guys ommitted for one reason or another... mostly unfeasible. Sean Miller is getting enough buzz to warrant a full profile.
Sean Miller, Xavier
|2007||25-9, 13-3 A-10 (champs), NCAA second round|
|2006||21-11, A-10 playoff champs, NCAA first round|
|2005||17-12, no tourney|
|Inherited||Thad Matta's program, usually amongst the cream of the A-10.|
|Has done a good job at Xavier. Was an Oden flagrant from upsetting OSU and reaching the sweet sixteen. Already outrecruited us for Dante Jackson and is outrecruiting us as we speak for top 50 big man Kenny Frease. Might bring Frease along for '08 if he comes.|
|Kind of like Crean in that he would be signing up to play Luke Skywalker to a Big Ten Darth Vader. Hearing him scream "you're not my father!" would get tiring after a while. Track record at Xavier is nice but not quite on a level with other up and comers being considered. Like Lowery, inherited a mid-major power instead of building one with blood, sweat, and tears. Has ridiculous Lavin/Donovan hair.|
|If we're going to grab a young mid-major coach with only three years of experience it should be Lowery, who has led his team to greater success and has that defensive viciousness down.|
- Rick Majerus, Anywhere With A Buffet. Age and weight make a precarious combination. Landed Utah on probation for persistent minor rules infringements. Has a reputation as a flake.
- Rudy Tomjanovich. If he wanted to get back into coaching would be a strong candidate. Alum, NBA championship winning coach, etc. But he's given no indication that he's looking for a job after battling bladder cancer. Doubtful he has the energy of a younger candidate. Would be totally sweet if he was interested and brought in a couple Xs and Os guys along with Jalen Rose as assistants, but filed under "pipe dream." No one's even floated his name, so I assume he's out of the picture.
- John Calipari, Memphis. Are you on drugs or something? Seriously. About the only candidate out there less realistic on multiple levels than Tom Crean.
- Ernie Kent, Oregon. See Stan Heath: let's not grab a guy who's currently on the outs with his athletic department, especially one who's 1) still on the outs despite being in the Sweet 16, 2) buoyed in recruiting by vast pools of Nike money, and 3) enough of a nut to come out and complain that he should be allowed to talk to Michigan if he wants during the NCAA tournament his team is still active in. Yeah, he got Malik Hairston. But two words: hell no.
Mike Montgomery, Unemployment Eagles
|2004||30-2 (17-1), PAC-10 Champs, NCAA 2nd round|
|2003||24-9 (14-4), NCAA 2nd round|
|2002||20-12 (12-6), NCAA 2nd round|
|2001||31-3 (16-2), Pac-10 Champs, NCAA Elite Eight|
|2000||27-4 (15-3), Pac-10 Champs, NCAA 2nd round|
|1999||26-7 (15-3), Pac-10 Champs, NCAA 2nd round|
|1998||30-5 (15-3), Final Four|
|1997||22-8 (12-6), Sweet 16|
|1996||21-8 (13-5), NCAA second round|
|1995||20-9 (10-8), NCAA second round|
|1994||17-11 (10-8), NIT
|1993||7-23 (2-16), no tourney|
|1992||18-11 (10-8), NCAA 1st round|
|1991||20-13 (8-10), NIT Champs(!!!)|
|1990||18-12 (9-9), NIT|
|1989||26-7 (15-3), NCAA 1st round|
|1988||21-12 (11-7), NIT|
|Inherited||Freaking Stanford, which hadn't been to the NCAA tourney since 1942 before his arrival.|
|The record above speaks for itself. Turned the most difficult place in the country to admit and keep recruits into a national power. Clean enough that he felt it was his place to call out Billy Donovan for being a dirty cheater. Good God. Look at the record.|
|Old now: 60, and had an undistinguished run at Golden State. Presumably accepted the Golden State job only because it was Bay-Area local. He's been there for the past twenty or so years and may be hesitant to uproot whatever family hasn't moved out by now (he is 60, after all). Tournament performance never lived up to regular season levels.|
|Option A, B, and C, in my opinion. If you can get him, get him. Unlikely, though.|
Tubby Smith, Kentucky(?)
|2007||22-11, NCAA second round|
|2006||22-13, NCAA second round|
|2005||28-6, Elite Eight
|2004||27-5, NCAA second round|
|2003||32-4, Elite Eight|
|2002||22-10, Sweet 16|
|2001||24-10, Sweet 16|
|2000||23-10, NCAA second round|
|1999||28-9, Elite Eight|
|1998||35-4, National Champions|
|1997||24-9, NCAA first round (@ Georgia)|
|1996||21-10, Sweet 16 (@ Georgia)|
|Inherited||Kentucky, but before that built a program at Tulsa and had those two good years a Georgia.|
|Only guy potentially available with one of them national championship thingies. Might be willing to give Joe Crawford a wedgie on his way out of town. A Lloyd Carr-like presence with unquestioned dignity, integrity, and success.|
|Lloyd Carr-like failure to satiate the ravenous demands of an occasionally petulant fanbase that expects the moon. National championship has a distinctly Coker whiff to it, as it was in his first year taking over for Rick Pitino and he hasn't approached that level since. (He does have three Elite 8s to his credit.) His ceiling at Michigan has to be lower than his apparent ceiling at UK, doesn't it? Last two years have been Alamo outrages to UK fans.|
|Last two years raise questions, but had been to the Sweet 16 seven of the ten years before that. No doubt has recruiting connections all over the country, including some inroads in Michigan with Crawford and '08 recruit Draymond Green. Even in these two down years UK has reached the second round of the tournament. Would be a big splash as a name and can evidently coach even without Pitino afterglow: witness that three-year stretch with loss totals of 4, 5, and 6. Those are his kids and his program. A tendency to flame out earlier in the NCAAs than UK fans would like is a small concern, but maybe we can deal with that if we reach 30 wins, yesno?|
Only feasible if UK wants to eject the guy. As of now he's the highest paid coach in the country and no doubt has a mountainous buyout. He won't be making the money he is at UK, but he'll also be a god walking amongst mortals instead of one of the most hated men in Kentucky. Smith would be an outstanding option if he comes free.
Lon Kruger, UNLV
|2007||30-6 (12-4 MW), awaiting Sweet 16 game versus Oregon|
|2006||17-13, no tourney|
|2005||17-14, NIT second round|
|2000||22-10, NCAA second round (@ Illinois)|
|1998||23-10, Big Ten Champs, NCAA second round (@ Illinois)|
|1997||22-10, NCAA second round (@ Illinois)|
|1996||12-16, no tourney (@ Florida)|
|1995||17-13, NCAA first round (@ Florida)|
|1994||29-8, Final Four (@ Florida)
|1993||16-12, NIT (@ Florida)|
|1992||19-14, NIT (@ Florida)|
|Earlier||Four straight tourney bids as HC @ alma mater Kansas State|
|Inherited||Mostly poo everywhere he's been. Florida had virtually no program. UNLV had gone through 9 coaches in 13 years. Illinois was a decent program under longtime coach Lou Henson but was coming off an NIT bid when Kruger arrived.|
|Consistent winner everywhere he's been. Has UNLV in Sweet 16. Took Illinois to the second round three times in four years and established the program Bill Self walked into just in time for it to turn monster. Took Florida to a Final Four. Has a reputation for scrupulous honesty.|
|Oldish like all these guys. Rep for honest comes couple with rep for distaste for AAU sleaze factory that is where all blue chippahs come from these days; may have trouble recruiting. Would have to pry him away from UNLV boosters intent on keeping him.|
|I'd be happy with him but not thrilled.|
John Beilein, WVU
|2007||24-9 (9-7 BE), NIT|
|2006||22-11 (11-5 BE), Sweet 16|
|2005||24-11 (8-8 BE), Elite Eight|
|2004||17-14 (7-9 BE), NIT|
|2003||14-15 (5-11 BE), no tourney|
|2002||22-14, NIT (@ Richmond)|
|2001||22-7, NIT (@ Richmond)|
|2000||18-12, no tourney (@ Richmond)|
|1999||15-12, no tourney (@ Richmond)|
|1998||23-8, NCAA second round (@ Richmond)|
|Earlier||Cansisus (2 NIT bids, one NCAA)|
WVU program with little history. The season before his arrival they were 8-20.
|A ton of experience, as he's been a head coach for almost thirty years. Has revived, or possibly just -vived, the West Virginia program. Coached a guy named "Pitsnogle" who was basically a tatoo-covered Bill Laimbeer. Clean as a whistle.|
|Is his crazyass style of play applicable to the highest levels? Beilein, who has toiled for so long at places where a 6'5" guy starts at center, has developed a style suited to those constraints: a 1-3-1 zone on defense and his famous three-mad modified Princeton offense. It's working well enough in the Big East but it seems analagous to Mike Leach's mad scientist bit at Texas Tech. It might be good for pulling up doormats but seems inherently limited at the highest levels.|
As noted, Beilein has an enormous 2.5 to 3 million dollar buyout. Could Michigan pay the buyout, pay Amaker's buyout, pay for Beilein, and turn Crisler into something other than a derelict lean-to in the eye of a hurricane of public opinion? Probably not.
BRIEF YEAH, RIGHTS:
- Tom Crean, Marquette. As mentioned earlier, Crean is the fourth-highest-paid coach in all the land. He'd have to take a paycut to come here. Since Wade left, Marquette has gone to two NITs and gotten booted in the first round two other times. Plus he would commit hari-kiri if he ever beat Izzo. Pure fantasy on the part of Detroit sportswriters.
- Stan Heath, Arkansas. Leaving aside the MSU stuff, Heath was one SEC tourney run away from getting canned. No thanks. Let's try to find someone who's actually liked by their fanbase... Tubby Smith potentially excluded.
- Bruce Pearl, Tennessee. 1) probably wouldn't leave, as Tennessee would pony up to keep him, 2) has a mildly skeezy rep, 3) exposure of Illinois cheating somehow makes him a controversial figure instead of, you know, the guys doing the actual cheating.
- Jamie Dixon, Pitt. Why on earth would he leave Pitt? Michigan would be a lateral move for him.
- Mark Hughes, Sacramento Kings assistant. A Michigan alum, but no head coaching experience outside of the CBA.
Reggie Theus, New Mexico State
|2007||25-9, WAC Playoff Champ, lost as 13 seed to Texas in NCAA|
|2006||16-14, no tourney|
|Inherited||A 6-24 team that hadn't been to the tourney since 1999.|
|Quick turnaround has people buzzing. College and NBA stardom a benefit to recruiting, and appearing as Coach Bill Fuller on "Hang Time" would provide a steady stream of material for this here blogger -- no dobut high on Bill Martin's priority list. Sure to be popular with mom on in-home recruiting visits. Apparently he's dreamy.|
|Only two years as a head coach gives him a flimsier resume than Amaker. Sure, he made a tournament but he didn't win the WAC and didn't stay close with a Texas team that was unceremoniously booted in the next round. Association with Jerry Tarkanian, the dean of dirty basketball coaches, can't sit well with Michigan administration. Apparently took a major shortcut to success:
The former NBA star has used his star power to attract a great deal of mercenary talent to the Las Cruces campus. By my count, 10 current players transferred from other universities, including players from Utah, St. John's, UNC-Charlotte, and Kansas State. Add in a Juco player, coach's second cousin Londale, and a couple of other Freshman, and you've got yourself a decent team.
Hasn't proven he can recruit high school kids -- though I bet he'd be pretty good -- or sustain success.
|No. Two years as a head coach and a sketchy turnaround is not enough of a resume.|
Todd Lickliter, Butler
|2007||currently 29-6, Horizon League champs, awaiting Sweet 16 matchup with Florida|
|2006||20-13, second round NIT|
|2005||13-15, no tourney|
|2004||16-14, no tourney|
|2003||27-6, Horizon League champs, Sweet 16 loss to Oklahoma|
|2002||26-6, Horizon League champs, secound round NIT|
|Inherited||Three-time Horizon League champs coming off back-to-back NCAA bids.|
|Two Sweet 16s at a mid-major like Butler is no mean feat. But more impressive is the way Butler earned this year's berth by rolling up a series of quality nonconference wins and earning a #5 seed, unheard of for a Horizon team. Some mid-major coaches get a bunch of hype because their teams get hot from three for a couple games; Lickliter's club would have probably finished third in the Big Ten this year. And... uh... the last Butler head coach to move on up in the world, Thad Matta, is working out all right.|
|Kind of old (51). A Butler alum who makes a decent chunk of change already and may be a little tough to pry away. What's with those middle two years there? Some of his success seems to piggyback off Matta.|
|Maybe not the first choice but certainly a very strong candidate.|
Chris Lowery, Southern Illinois
|2007||29-6, 15-3 MVC, awaiting Sweet 16 matchup vs. Kansas|
|2006||22-11, 12-6 MVC, NCAA 1st round|
|2005||27-8, 15-3 MVC, NCAA 2nd round|
|Inherited||A mid-major juggernaut.|
|Southern Illinois is rapidly turning into a basketball Miami of Ohio. Illinois' Bruce Weber and Purdue's terrifying Matt Painter are the last two coaches of a program with six straight MVC titles -- and the MVC is no joke -- and six straight NCAA bids. The Salukis are a four seed in this year's tourney: like Butler, they are a straight-up team and not a product of hot shooting at the right time.
Kyle Whelliston describes the Salukis like so:
The regular-season champions of the Missouri Valley play at one of the nation's slowest, nastiest paces and own the nation's third-stingiest team points-allowed average at 56.3. After dispatching OF Virginia Tech 63-48 in a second-round sludgefest, SIU is the sour part of this Sweet 16, the chocolate filled with rusty thumbtacks in the heart-shaped box.
There's nothing fundamentally incompatible with kickass defense and kickass offense and if anything the D is more a function of coaching than the O, which requires a far greater proportion of raw skill. Even in a down year it's likely a Lowery team would be a pain to play against and capable of scraping itself to something half decent.
|The aforementioned brutality would be fine if we win but agony if it doesn't work out. Recruits might be turned off by the prospect of joining the Riley Knicks. Also, Lowery doesn't have the track record of a few other prospects. He's got just one more year of experience than Theus and is only 34.|
|IMO, the top mid-major candidate available. Has enough on-the-job experience that his success is not a fluke, and the Salukis have earned a Sweet 16 seed this year because Lowery has them playing evil defense.|
Greg Marshall, Winthrop
|2007||29-5 (undefeated in conference), lost in second round to Oregon.|
|2006||23-8, first round loss to Tenn but scared the hell out of them as a #15.|
|2005||27-6, first round loss to Gonzaga|
|2004||16-12, no tourney|
|2003||20-10, no tourney|
|2002||19-12, first round waxing at hands of Duke|
|2001||18-13, lost in play-in game|
|2000||21-9, waxed by Oklahoma|
|1999||21-8, waxed by Auburn|
|Inherited||A 7-20 team that hadn't had a winning record since hammerpants were cool: 1990.|
|Has been to seven(!) tournaments since Michigan made its last appearance and did it at a program that had gone a decade without the barest hint of success. Hmmmm. Sounds familiar.|
|When I say "waxed" above I mean it. Seriously, we're talking 80-37 type scores more suited for the women's tournament. Winthrop is evidently not a mid-major; the Big South conference is the home of stellar clubs like Maryland-Baltimore county, who you may remember lost to Michigan in their tour of awful nonconference opponents this year. Winthrop's first four bids were as one of the lowliest members of the field and the results reflected that. This is a ton of success at a low major.|
|Maybe? I think Marshall's more of a risk than either Lowery or L
ickliter because up until the past few years Winthrop has been the big fish in an ugly little pond. After their two misses, however, Winthrop finally found some traction. They gave Gonzaga a decent game, were ousted on an improbable Chris Lofton buzzer-beater last year, and finally broke through against Notre Dame (ha-HA! [/nelson]) this year.
Karl Hobbs, George Washington
|2007||23-9 NCAA first round (hammered by Vandy)|
|2006||27-3, A-10 champs, NCAA second round|
|2005||22-8, NCAA first round|
|2003||12-17, no tourney|
|2002||12-16, no tourney|
|Inherited||A mediocre 14-18 team.|
|Built George Washington back up to its Yinka Dare glory days, though that appears to be limited to first-round appearances most years. Still: three straight bids and a second round appearance a year ago with a 27-3 team. Unlike Lowery, didn't inherit a program. His previous job was as a UConn assistant, where he was credited with recruiting Khalid El-Amin and Richard Hamilton.|
|His previous job was as a UConn assistant, where he was credited with recruiting Khalid El-Amin and Richard Hamilton. This, if you listen to certain axe-grinding segments of the media, is the equivalent of eating babies. And not in a good Jason Maxiell kind of way. Might run a gimmicky offense based on tons of backcuts.|
|Maybe? Certainly has built GW into an A-10 power. That 27-3 year netted them an amazingly low seed, though -- like an 8 or 9 or 10 or something -- which raises questions about the level of competition. What's your personal preference: a guy with better teams (Lowery) or a guy who built a program up (Hobbs, Winthrop, etc?).|
- Anthony Grant, VCU. Everybody's hero after VCU booted Duke out of the tourney, but has been a head coach for one year. Longtime association with Billy Donovan does not help... unless he's the guy who got them Roberson and Horford. But did he do it on the up and up?
- Sean Miller, Xavier. Doesn't have the resume the above do, IMO, and has the dreaded Product Hair.
Grand Rapids is ND-UAH-BU-MSU.
We are in Denver against Minnesota and North Dakota. I don't swear much on this blog.
Fucking fuck fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck motherfucking fuckers fuck.
UPDATE: FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK!
Ah, the Post. They title Larry Lage's dry AP article thusly:
MICHIGAN HAYMAKER KOS AMAKER
Martin interview. Interesting that the guys with the clutch Martin interview are the AANews guys instead of the Freep/News guys. Maybe it's because they weren't advancing ridiculous theories about the program in the last couple weeks. Sections of note:
Q: What are you going to look for in the next coach?
Martin: We need to win. Part of Michigan's culture is we have had sports programs that have performed at the highest level. We have sustained competitive excellence. We win routinely Big Ten championships and we knock on the national door occasionally.
Q: What if a candidate questions your outdated arena and lack of practice facility?
Martin: I will say we have hired a consultant who is at this moment working on the infrastructure components of Crisler Arena. We will be able to involve that new coach in this process going forward. I will not give a timetable. We do not have a project. But it's a wonderful opportunity to be a part of it. Furthermore, I will say that it's my believe Crisler Arena is not the end all and be all to having a successful program.
Q: What do you want to pay a new coach?
Martin: I haven't even thought about that. I think coaching salaries are driven by the market, and you've got to take a look at the market.
Q: Can you afford top dollar if you decide that's appropriate for a candidate?
Martin: Sure, we're capable. That doesn't mean we will. What do you mean by top dollar? Some current salaries are above what I'd consider responsible in terms of total salary and deferred compensation.
That's some gooooood diggin'. The Free Press managed to unearth the two Michigan fans who didn't want to see a new coach:
Nate Garafi disagreed, saying Amaker was unfairly singled out even though the team finished the season with about the same record as Michigan State.
"We say keep him," the 23-year-old Howell resident said, as another friend nodded agreement. "... They did play good this year."
About as good as your grammar (ZING!). Title of article? "Michigan fans conflicted about Amaker firing."
There is only one possible response to this assertion.
"They (Michigan) better take a look at what they're going to do from the top down because when you fire somebody who's won 20 games, I still say you've got to look at the whole deal," Izzo said. "It's easy to blame one guy."
Lloyd Carr, November 2002:
"I think it's very important that Bobby Williams be given the opportunity to fulfill his requirement at Michigan State University," Carr said. "This game is about the players, trying to get an education and compete in an arena that is very competitive."
Wonk has an issue. This is it:
During the Ohio State-Xavier game I learned that Tommy Amaker had been fired as head coach at Michigan. I reserve the right to say more on this in the coming days but for now let me just remark on one distressing aspect of the first cycle of coverage on this: I'm already hearing references to the "recruiting hotbed" of Detroit and how important it will be for a new coach at Michigan to corner that market.
As we embark on a couple weeks of what promises to be rollicking good coach-hire chat, let us note at the outset that proximity to a recruiting hotbed doesn't correlate real well with success. If it did, the best programs in the country would be St. John's, DePaul, and USC. They're not.
I must dissent mildly. While he's got a good point that proximity to "recruiting hotbeds" does not necessarily correlate with success, the assertion that Michigan needs Detroit to be a power, to borrow a style of emphasis, is absolutely true. The vast majority of Michigan's recent success has been built on the backs of Detroit recruits, and a major reason for their Edvard Munch-level horrific performance (tm) in recent years has been an inability to keep Joe Crawford and Malik Hairston and etc etc around. Detroit has always been Michigan basketball's primary stomping grounds when it has not sucked, and without a strong presence in Detroit -- which still sends kids like Dion Harris, Deshawn Sims, and Manny Harris to Michigan simply because they love the place -- any new coach will be behind the eight ball from day one. Unless the new guy is Mike Montgomery or someone else who could hypothetically recruit nationally, success in Detroit is a prerequisite to success on the court, though it does not guarantee it.
I am tired of Terry Foster's crap. Both he and Drew Sharp stated in no uncertain terms that Amaker was going nowhere before he was fired, citing Mary Sue Coleman's reluctance to fire Amaker because he was very nice and his wife was very good at his job. Despite being proven completely and utterly wrong, Foster refuses to back off this line of reasoning:
President Mary Sue Coleman did not want to fire Tommy Amaker as basketball coach. Athletic Director Bill Martin did. But Martin gave Coleman an ultimatum. Martin told Coleman that if she would not allow him to fire Amaker that he wanted to walk. Coleman felt pressure from Martin, but in the past week she began feeling pressure from the public too and it caused her to buckle and go against her initial instinct.
(Also, for God's sake, Detroit News: "click here to read the rest of this blog" is the equivalent of "Turn to A11 to read the rest of this newspaper.") Bill Martin directly contradicted this in an interview with the Ann Arbor News:
Q: What this your call?
Martin: It was entirely my call.
Q: Did other people at the university offer input?
Martin: Only if I sought input and I sought very little.
Foster has absolutely nothing to back up his assertions that there was a power struggle between Martin and Coleman, not even the questionable-at-best retention of Amaker, something he incorr
ectly forecast last week with authority. But yet he throws it out there without any repercussions. Remember this the next time someone decries blogs as unreliable spreaders of rumor. At least when I'm talking out of my ass I let you know, unlike Drew Sharp:
But it's unlikely Amaker is going anywhere.
This was his biggest week at Michigan, and although there's genuine disappointment at what likely will be another NCAA tournament shutout, the program wasn't humiliated against Michigan State or the Buckeyes.
Choking is one thing. But quitting is another, and the Wolverines fought hard.
But fueling the coach's job security most is that he's the second-most-popular Amaker on campus. His wife, Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, is an associate dean of students who co-chaired a large university fund-raising initiative. She's a rising star in the academic community, something that's not lost on university president Mary Sue Coleman, who remains an advocate of diversity despite recent legal challenges.
Do you think she'll risk losing a highly qualified African-American female educator because her basketball-coaching husband hasn't fulfilled expectations?
Yes. Yes, I do.
So it's with a mine of salt that you should take Foster's ludicrous assertion today that "the buzz around the University of Michigan is that Marquette's Tom Crean is a guy they would love to have coaching the Wolverines." Crean won't even schedule Michigan State -- a team he just got blown out by, by the way -- because it would be too painful to go up against Tom Izzo. (Evidently all MSU-affiliated coaches have a special relationship with the God Emperor of East Lansing.) And he's supposed to come coach MSU's biggest rival? And would Michigan even be interested in a vastly overcompensated coach -- he makes more than all but four coaches according to a recent USA Today article -- who has found distinctly mediocre success when not blessed with Dwyane Wade? Crean makes no sense for Michigan in any way, but Foster spins his disproportionate compensation as a reason Michigan will have to shell out way more money than they're willing to if they want to find a capable coach.
This is an egregious misrepresentation of the situtaion: Foster throws Crean's 1.5 million out as the only benchmark for a successful coach and underestimates Amaker's salary by 200k in pursuit of his erroneous thesis.* This '01 Daily article says Amaker was making at least 600k even if he didn't get a bump on later contracts, and Rosenberg's column cites his salary as 700k. The bulk of the coaches on the USA today list are within 200-300k of that. If Amaker had been successful, he would now be making the same amount of money as Bruce Weber at Illinois: 900k. Michigan will pay its next head coach a competitive salary, it won't be Tom Crean, and Terry Foster knows nothing.
*(For an even more dishonest take, check out this "blog" from earlier:
Here is the issue. If you fire Amaker who can Michigan get who is better? Now there are a number of high profile coaches who are better. But here is the problem. Michigan does not want to pay much more than the $165,000 base salary Amaker is making. So tell me who the Wolverines can lure for that kind of money?
Sure, that less than a quarter of what he's actually making but let's just throw it out there. Foster lies for his own aggrandizement and no one calls him on it.)
Better stuff: Wojo and Rosenberg's takes are similar: Amaker had to go, new coach not a panacea, facilities, etc. I find slight irritation at Wojo referencing Amaker's salary being one of the lowest in the Big Ten, since... um... Amaker's salary should have been one of the lowest in the Big Ten: he was one of the worst coaches in it. His contract was competitive when he signed his but he never got to renegotiate terms because he never got to the tournament. By the end six years of rapid salary growth -- as noted earlier in this space, over a six-year span from 1997 to 2003 average coaching compensation shot up 89 percent -- of course Amaker's contract is going to look paltry in comparison to those with actual accomplishments. This isn't parsimony, it's common sense.
Other than that, both columns are worth a look.
Grady "devastated" according to the AANews, who seems to be ahead of the game in this whole business. (They got the Martin interview, too, though it was Eric Lacy at the News who got in touch with Legion first .) The Gradys say they'll wait to see who the new coach is before deciding anything. Interesting possibility:
Kevin Grady Sr. said that it's possible his son could play football in college, perhaps even at Michigan. Kelvin Grady's brother, Kevin, is a backup tailback for the Wolverines.
Kelvin had a hell of a playoff run, IIRC.
National reaction. The Amaker firing is big news, getting prominent placement on ESPN.com on an enormously busy sports day yesterday for a large part of the day and spurring notes from various analysts during a full day of March Madness action. Andy Katz called Michigan the premiere job of the offseason on ESPN Radio. The New York Times:
Publicly, Big Ten coaches will say that the firing of Amaker is unfortunate, but privately they are concerned about the reawakening of a power that won a national championship in 1989 and made the title game in 1992 and 1993 behind the famed Fab Five.
Robert Parrish at CBS Sportsline:
Now you know why people weren't jumping all over the Minnesota job. It's because few wanted to get too involved with that gig until they were certain Michigan wouldn't open considering everybody assumed Michigan would open eventually.
On Saturday, eventually arrived. And if Michigan is willing to throw around big money and invest in facilities then it will lure a high-profile coach from somewhere and again become a basketball power now that the uninspired Tommy Amaker era is complete.
Don't let the Amaker party line about facilities and Izzo and the like dissuade you. Michigan is a top 20 program historically and has the one thing you can't buy with money: sex appeal. Like Oklahoma or USC in football, once a historical power comes back to life it usually does so with a roar.
9 Michigan State
2 Notre Dame
15 Air Force
10 North Dakota
5 Boston College
12 St. Lawrence
First Round Adjustments
Michigan can't play MSU and Maine can't play UNH in the first round. Usually the way this goes is the committee will swap lower seeds in an attempt to give the 1 seed the easier draw -- and they display such charming faith in the exactitude of the PWR when they do so. So MSU will probably get swapped with North Dakota and Maine with Miami. We'll do this and use the actual seeds:
3 North Dakota
1 Notre Dame
4 Air Force
3 Michigan State
3 St. Lawrence
UNH is hosting so that bracket is in Manchester. The Clarkson bracket is a natural fit in Rochester. Now we're weighing Minnesota, UND, and Michigan versus ND and MSU for Grand Rapids. With Air Force providing a bit of a natural draw for the Colorado region and ND and MSU's proven ability to draw beans the last time they shared a GR regional, chances are we at least get to stay local for our zero percent chance of making the Frozen Four.
UPDATE: There's some odd sentiment in the Bracketology thread at USCHO. Some scenarios have us switching with BU instead of State with UND -- the upshot is that the GR regional is then 1 ND - 2 Mi - 3 NoDak - 4 Air Force, though I bet Air Force is the #4 in Denver no matter what -- for attendance purposes at both regionals. While we were just outplayed by Notre Dame, it wasn't a horror show like the Minnesota game and that would be much preferable.