Gary Parrish of CBS Sports recently sat down with UCLA coach Ben Howland and discussed the misleading negative pitches that opposing coaches use on recruits. Howland makes them play defense. His offense isn’t fun. He’s not easy to play for. Coaches trying to steer potential players away from Pauley Pavillion probably use any or all of these anti-UCLA pitches. Howland just points to the 9 former Bruins in the league and how they haven’t all been Top-10 recruits like Kevin Love who would make the league (see: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ryan Hollins, Darren Collison).
This got me to thinking – If those are the attacks that Howland has to defend, what negative pitches do other coaches have to deal with and what are their counter-pitches?
John Calipari, Kentucky
What they say: “Coach Cal will be looking for your replacement before you arrive on campus and will be booting you off campus before the tournament ends. He’ll act like he’s your best friend and really cares about you, but he only cares about one person: John Calipari. He’s put two schools on probation and had their Final Fours vacated before he sneaked out-of-town. You’ll be lucky if he’s there when you arrive on campus. P.S. – he’s never won the big game.”
What he fires back : “I win. Period. Everywhere I have gone, I have resurrected floundering programs. But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What’s been your dream since you were in middle school? Play in the NBA? That’s what I thought. I can make your dream a reality. Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Camby…I can go on. I’ve had five players drafted in the first round in one individual draft. FIVE. You want to get paid to play? Play for me…I mean the NBA obviously.”
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
What they say: “How many of Coach K’s players get drafted in the lottery? How many become stars in the NBA? Sure there’s a few, but not all that many. Coach K is worried about his legacy and his program–not your future. He’ll make you do it his way or you won’t play. Plus, it’s Duke–a small private school known for smart kids. How much fun are you going to have there?”
He fires back: “Ask any player I’ve ever coached whether they regret playing at Duke. Whether they were one of the few to leave after their first season or two (William Avery, Elton Brand, Kyrie Irving, etc.), whether they were a star on a championship team, or whether they rode the bench. I guarantee you they will look back on their experience here as some of the best years of their lives. Duke is a family, and once you’re part of the family, you’ll always be part of it. And if you’re good enough to go pro, I will support you every step of the way. Just ask Kyrie Irving. And, by the way, basketball players are gods here. Trust me, there is no better place to play.”
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
What they say: “Quick: name me your favorite Wisconsin player in the league? Devin Harris? Ok, who’s next? Exactly. Bo Ryan is like the poor man’s Ben Howland. He’s all about playing defense and milking clock on offense, but none of his players make it in the pros. And do you really want to play for a guy who looks like The Grinch?”
He fires back: “Yea I look like The Grinch. So what? I also have made the Big Dance every year I’ve been here. We play in front of the best crowds in the country night in and night out and we lost one game in the last two years at the Kohl Center. NBA players? Devin’s the first guy I’ve sent to the pros. Jon Leuer is the second. You can be the third.”
Rick Barnes, Texas
What they say: “No one in Texas cares about basketball and judging by Coach Barnes recent NCAA tournament success, neither does he.”
He fires back: “I think Kevin Durant cares about basketball. LaMarcus Aldridge does. I believe T.J. Ford cares. D.J. Augustin does. Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, and Cory Joseph…yea, pretty sure they care. And I know we haven’t had a deep run in March in quite some time, but when you’re coming home to this– the sting of losing wears off real quick.”
Tom Izzo, Michigan State
What they say: “He hasn’t sent any players to the …well, his players hate playing for…the fans don’t care about…but he never goes far in the NCAA…damnit.”
He fires back: “Yea, I’m pretty awesome to play for.”
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
What they say: “He’s sent some guys to the league, but who’s really been a success besides Carmelo? And he would have been a success if he went to Cal Tech. Jimmy’s voice is so whiny and it is obnoxious. Try listening to that for a couple of years. You’ll want to have your eardrums removed.”
He fires back: “Carmelo’s my only successful NBA player? That’s all they got. Listen, I can get you into the NBA- that’s an accomplishment all in its own. And let me tell you something, those coaches hate my voice because I am ragging on the refs to give you a break and give us the best chance to win. I stick up for my players and if that means using my irritating voice to sway the refs than I’m going to do it. And guess what, we play zone!! ”
– I purposely left out Jim Calhoun because it’s too easy. Not to mention, we’ve talked about our distaste with him before. But there are definitely some other easy coaches to try to imitate out there. Any readers want to take a crack at it?