Thursday, April 02, 2009
OK, now what?
I think Mike Anderson, Bruce Pearl, and possibly Tim Floyd owe the University of Memphis a commission for helping them get fat new deals with their respective universities to remain as head basketball coach. They, of course, were the top three coaches the U of M Search team were looking at to replace John Calipari.
I come to bury Cal, not to praise him, as evidenced by the post below. However, we need to remember what made him different than other successful U of M coaches. This may make us more depressed, but it will give an understanding as to the real uphill battle the Tigers face in replacing Cal, no matter how much money we're willing to spend.
First, he won WITHOUT local talent. Look at last year's national runners-up: Derrick Rose (Chicago), Chris Douglas-Roberts (Detroit), Joey Dorsey (Baltimore), Antonio Anderson (Lynn, MA), Robert Dozier (Lithonia, GA). Andre Allen (BTW) was the only Memphian on the roster last year, and he got kicked off the team (AGAIN) for violating team rules.
I am sure William Wesley has much to do with that. It gave Calipari freedom, however, to ignore the local high school coaches, who overrated their own talent trying to get their hooks into the Tiger program. It was the right thing to do, because, other than Thaddeus Young, you have to go back to Penny Hardaway and Elliott Perry to find Memphis high-school talent that made it big in the NBA.
It was those same high-school coaches that turned their back on Larry Finch when he wouldn't give into their demands, and Finch watched as Nolan Richardson wined and dined them, causing an unending stream to flow to the University of Arkansas. Richardson turned that into three Final Fours, back-to-back Championship Games, and the 1994 National Championship (with FOUR Memphians in the starting lineup).
Whomever we hire HAS to be able to recruit nationally, and take ONLY the top level of Memphis talent; otherwise the high-school coaches (and families of the local talent as well, who stick their noses in at every opportunity) will shake down the new coach. THIS is where we will miss Cal the most.
It's not 1973 or 1985 again, and it never will be. Our talent locally just isn't that hot, and if we can't hire someone who can recruit nationally, we're sunk.
Our search team has its work cut out for them, and I hope they can land a Sean Miller (Xavier) or someone like that, someone with experience but still young and hungry. No, not you, Tony Barbee.