"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

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The morning buzz

A few nuggets to get you going this morning:

  • I'd like to pass along a warm welcome to all of the Iowa Hawkeye basketball fans who are linking over to us from their Rivals premium board. Based on our tracking several hundred of you are spending time here on the blog checking out the latest Tom Crean 'rumors'. Hawkeyes, is Tom Crean going to Iowa? What is the buzz in Iowa City? Seems like wasted energy to me . . . . Crean might leave MU someday but not for Hawkeye (or Wolverine) nation. The Iowa job is suicidal right now considering the dramatic upgrade in the Big Televen coaching ranks these last couple of years. Sampson, Matta, and Tubby will finally help the Big Ten deliver a better product in the coming years, and at a school like Iowa where you can't outfit a top 20 team consistently with home-grown talent --- that makes a difficult job even more untenable. Kentucky? Well that is another matter.
  • Second item of interest: Rick Majerus was on Mike & Mike in the Morning moments ago talking about the possibility of a college coach taking over the Miami Heat job next season. There are strong rumors that Billy Donovan could get a shot at the manning the sidelines on South Beach. While professing no inside information, Majerus openly speculated that the only other college coach he could see jumping to the Heat (if Donovan didn't take the job) was Tom Crean based on his relationship with Wade. Well, we'll see. College coaches making the jump to the NBA is not exactly a successful fraternity.
Cassie at SomeCheeseWithThat offers perspectives on the 2006-2007 season and a look ahead to next year. Some of it is terrific, but there are problems in spots -- specifically with assertions that are used to support larger points she is trying to make.

For example:
  • Cassie takes McNeal to task far too much, calling him a "disappointment" and teeing off on his shot selection by claiming he had "a willingness to settle for the outside shot that spread to the rest of the team." Where to begin, eh ('disappointment' is so ridiculous I won't address it futher. That's a mindless claim.). While shot selection may have been the case in the non-conference schedule, that assertion does not hold up in conference play. Overall, McNeal shot 31% from three-point range last season, but a closer look shows that he shot a respectable 38% in conference play -- a substantial increase in his final 14 outings. Contrary to Cassie's contention, McNeal actually took fewer three-point shots per game in conference play (3.2 attempts per game) than in non-conference action (3.4 attempts per game) and hit them at a much higher rate.
  • Cassie, you might be disappointed to know that James, Matthews, Fitzgerald, and Cubillan all showed depressed three-point shooting percentages in conference play. Good thing McNeal bucked the trend.
  • MU attempted more than 23 three-pointers per game on the non-conference slate. During Big East play that number decreased nearly 22% to a more palatable 18 attempts from deep each game. The notion that "the team was too content to stand out on the perimeter and jack threes" was true in spurts in certain games (and due to injury late in the season), but hardly a problem that plagued their overall offensive effectiveness as the season played out.
  • One more nit with her blog, "Other than David Cubillan there was not a guy on the team who didn’t make you cringe when he jacked one up." Cassie, Dan Fitzgerald hit more three-pointers than Cubillan last year, and was nearly equal in shooting percentage (.423 to .425). Fitzgerald also made more threes and had a higher shooting percentage from deep in conference play than Cubillan.


Gene Frenkle said...

Regarding our Iowa friends frequenting the site now, I don't see Crean going there for two reasons in addition to the ones mentioned: Izzo and Sampson.

They are both two of Tom's best friends and him and Izzo have already discussed their disdain for playing each other. How about doing it four-six times a year?

Anonymous said...

Tom is not going to Iowa or Michigan. Please.

At this point, Marquette can be considered a top 30 job. Since his name comes up for every job, including the super elite ones (read: UK) why would he jump to another program, unless it was top 10 or top 5? Iowa is no top 10 job.

He's young. He's got a couple decades of coaching ahead of him, and he'll be linked to super elite jobs another dozen times. Iowa is not on that list.

PJS said...

College coaches umping to the pros hasn't worked so well as of late, but how much is due to the fact that they always go to shoddy teams with little talent?

The NBA is a player's league and if you don't have the guys, all the schemes in the world will fail. Dealing with egos is a major change, but if Crean went to the the Heat with a healthy Wade and Shaq...it ain't the Hawks is all I'm saying.

TB said...

a fair point, PJS.....however, as Majerus pointed out this morning the last college coach to succeed in the NBA was Chuck Daly. And Chuck did it after three years on the bench as an NBA assistant.

Now, I think Pitino did a pretty good job with the Knicks - but that's about it.

PJS said...

Larry Brown seems to have had no problems in college or the pros, for three-years-at-a-time-before-torching-bridges-intervals anyhow.

It does seem to be dicey, but I also notice that a number of highly-regarded longtime assitants fail when they take over crappy teams. Give Avery Johnson the Mavs, he may be coach of the year, give Lon Kruger the Hawks and he's out of a job.

It seems to me that on some level. a good coach is a good coach, especially one who can adapt to players and situations (a must in the NBA). More to the point, I would be curious and intrigued to see Crean on South Beach... much more than Lexington or Lansing anyway.

Gene Frenkle said...

To your point PJS, I see NBA "coaches" of today more like "managers". At least, the situation you presented - adapting to players and situations - isn't necessarily "coaching", it's managing personalities.

On the college level, you need a "coach", but a "coach" may not make a good manager and that's why I think you see such problems w/college guys going to the pros to coach.

Anonymous said...

The NBA involves much more coaching than college. It's not even close. Except for about a dozen players, the talent level is almost identical. These are the best of the best. There are no crappy players. In addition, the playoffs are 7 game series. You can't just throw guys out there and hope that yours are more talented than theirs. You've got to strategerize!