"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Friday, March 21, 2014

No exaggeration, most important hire for MU hoops in decades

Yes, it sounds cliche, the most important basketball hire in like....forever man.  Reminds me of the most important election in your lifetime I hear every 4 years.  Only, this time I believe it.

Here's why.  This isn't 2008, MU in the old Big East, an established powerhouse conference the likes of which had never been seen before on the planet.  The world has changed.  MU is now in the new Big East, a nice conference and the best Marquette could achieve as a basketball only school (thank you 1960 administration for cancelling football).  No one knows how the new Big East is going to do.  Certainly should be respectable in the long run, but its not the old Big East.  In an evil twist, a big reason this year the new Big East didn't fulfill expectations are in large part due to Buzz Williams team.  MU, Georgetown and St. John's were all considered to be NCAA teams prior to the season, with the Warriors picked to win the Big East.  Eighteen Big East conference games later, MU finished in the bottom half of the conference and didn't make the NIT.  Quite a fall for the preseason favorites.  St. Johns and Georgetown at least managed to get to the NIT, but all three were a huge disappointment in a conference that needed to do well in year one and prove itself to be respectable. 

Now we read comments from Buzz's mouth piece, Jeff Goodman of ESPN, who claims part of the reason for Buzz leaving was the new conference and television deal has taken a hit, resulting in Buzz's inability to land some recruits as a result.  Well, if Buzz had actually done something with his prize recruits this year rather than finishing in 6th place, maybe he wouldn't think this way.  Fox Sports 1 and the new Big East didn't cause Buzz's coaching failures this year.  Considering what Buzz's mouthpiece said, it makes it appear as though Buzz is incapable of taking any accountability in his role in this. 

So that gets us back to main point.  This is an incredibly important hire for MU hoops, arguably the most important in decades.  MU has an interim president, and interim AD, and no basketball coach.  The guy who just left is badmouthing the program by claiming the new conference doesn't cut it and the television deal is not good enough (even though every conference game is on national television).  Nice pickle MU finds itself in.

The good news, MU has some outstanding resources and commitment to basketball.  Last year MU spent more on basketball than every school in the country not named Duke University.  Bill Cords was heavily involved in the hiring of Tom Crean.  He also hired Kevin O'Neill.  He's made strong hires for MU hoops in the past.  He will not be alone on this as plenty of others at MU will be part of the process in my opinion.  In other words, it will not be a singular hire by one man. 

The bad news, coaches don't necessarily like to be hired by interim AD's and no school president.  Expect any experienced coach to demand a 7 year deal and massive buyout as a result because he will argue he is taking a job without the comfort of knowing who he will work for in the two most positions most important to a basketball coach.  Can't blame him.  That might also dictate who Marquette goes after.

1 comment:

Vino said...

Buzz…don’t let the door hit you in the backside while you're leaving, because if you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all; that’s what a person with class does regardless of feelings. And oh by the way, Buzz checked out before the season started because if we look back over the course of the season at his coaching, or lack thereof, he was the main reason for poor play and no signature wins. When you consistently put mysterious lineups of the floor and make the same coaching mistakes over and over, which leave many, many people scratching their collective heads, it sort of points to when he mentally checked out of the job…my guess is before the season started. He knew that after last years run to the Elite 8 that his value was sky high regardless of what happened this year, and I think sorry to say Buzz used MU as a stepping stone for more “moola”. Sure MU, Georgetown and St. John’s had disappointing seasons, but look at the Thompson family history and what Steve Lavin is doing with the “Johnnies," and you know this past season was not a trend. It was the first year for the “new Big East," and the conference and the teams did well enough and will surely prosper as a b-ball centric only conference…what other major conferences can point to that. My guess is that the conference will end up being 14-16 b-ball dominated teams, and oh by the way is the only major basketball conference playing their conference championship at the “Garden”. Va-Tech…give me a break…hope you like playing second fiddle at a football dominated campus, because in “Hokie” land it will always be about football!