Tag Archives: Kentucky Wildcats

A Second Chance: Coaches Getting Another Shot on the Bench

Most college coaches are given one real shot at making an impact and leaving a legacy. It’s a win or go home type career path, with tons of fame and fortune if you’re the former but endless disgust and resentment if you find yourself in the latter category.

Hopping Herb, could find himself on this list soon enough...

Sure, there’s plenty of bench bouncers and job jumpers, who seem to find their way from school to school, mid-major to mid-major or from Raleigh, NC to Arizona State (Hello, Herb Sendek and Lon Kruger). But, many college basketball coaches open and close their head coaching careers with one bad screw up.

The lucky are afforded another opportunity, or two, or five. But, how do they fare?
This year the likes of: Billy Gillispie, Mark Gottfried, and others were all given a second chance at life in the NCAA ranks. They’ve each enjoyed some success in their career but the questions still linger.

Will Gillispie prosper as he did in College Station or will he flounder like he did at Kentucky? Is Mark Gottfried the right man for N.C State, in the post Sidney Lowe era, or will his days of mediocrity in Tuscaloosa stick with him?

The queries will keep piling up amongst fans and foes alike. The unnerving “what if” scenarios will continue to fuel the fire if immediate gratification isn’t found in the form of wins and losses. And legacies will endure further criticism and scrutiny, as analysts and experts view the actions of each journeyman with a microscopic lens.

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Filed under Coaching Carousel, General, Opinion

Recruiting Pitches: Guessing What Coaches Say

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.”

Please come to Kentucky now...I may have to leave by 2012.

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.”

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Freshmen Focus: Who to watch in 2012

While most college coaches have been hitting the road and attending the summer all-star recruiting camps, Mayo and I decided to give a quick run-down on a bunch of formerly sought-after recruits who will be freshmen in the fall.The 2011 Class was loaded with talent and many will become instant household-names (if they aren’t already). But we’ll also look at a couple of the more intriguing recruits and a few sleepers too.

Best Incoming

Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky:

Davis will give the Wildcats another weapon in the post.

I’m taking Kentucky’s Anthony Davis here. Davis is many people’s consensus #1 recruit of this year’s class, so I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Davis’ combination of size and athleticism is tantalizing, and what’s more: he’s an impact guy on both ends of the floor. What will be interesting to me is how Davis will fit in with incumbent power forward Terrence Jones, who decided to stay at Kentucky for his sophomore year. Jones’ presence might curtail some of Davis’ impact as a freshman, but there is no doubt about the talent that he brings to the table. John Calipari will have one of those good problems of figuring out how to use both effectively at the same time. (Mayo)

James McAdoo, PF, North Carolina: The McDonald’s All-American Game MVP is an athletic specimen who like Davis can dominate on offense and defense. I’ve said before that McAdoo’s joining a loaded Tar Heel team that is very deep in the front court (Zeller, Henson, Barmes); but that’s not going to prevent the explosive McAdoo from seeing the court. He’s just too talented not to. Roy Williams has had deep teams before and he usually experiments a lot during November and December before finding a rotation he likes for conference play. Expect to see McAdoo getting 25-plus minutes and a spot on the NCAA All-Freshmen Team. (Giblin)

Biggest Impact

Tony Wroten, PG, Washington: Isaiah Thomas was the key spark for the Huskies when Abdul Gady went down with an injury last year but declared early for the draft leaving a void to be filled by the powerful lefty. Washington has some depth in the backcourt but Wroten, former Husky Nate Robinson’s cousin, has the size and skills to start at the point from day 1. He’s a legit 6’4” who uses his size well and distributes the ball very well. He’ll make an immediate impact and his play will go a long way toward’s deciding the champs of the Pac-10 (12?). Any guy who crosses up John Wall this bad is going to have a BIG impact (Green #1, 0:30 mark…might want to mute that horrendous music). (Giblin)

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Draft Debates: Point Guards, Walker vs. Knight

It is no secret that Kyrie Irving is going to be the first point guard taken in this draft. Whether that means he will be the first overall pick remains to be seen, but there is no chance that another point guard usurps him. From there, it has been widely speculated that Kentucky’s Brandon Knight would be the next ball handler off the board, but as the draft looms closer, things could be shuffling a bit. A lot of it will depend on what the Jazz, who many mock drafters have had taking Knight, decide to do with their third pick. If they pass on him, then that opens things up quite a bit. Some teams are rumored to consider Walker a better fit for their offense than Knight. Still, many teams are simply mesmerized by Knight’s upside. Time will tell–but let’s sound off on it.

Brandon Knight, Kentucky

He's represented the Cats, who's next?

What He Brings: The word “upside” is one of the most overused terms when it comes to any draft, but when it comes to picking 18- and 19-year-old kids who have only played a year in college, most of what teams base their decision on is potential, or in other words “upside.” Knight certainly falls into this category–not that he didn’t produce at Kentucky during his one year there where he averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 4.2 APG. NBA scouts are in love with his size for the point guard position. He stands at 6’4″ but his length doesn’t detract from his quickness or defensive ability, which is a big plus.

The questions arise as to whether or not he fits as a pure point guard in the NBA. Where Kemba Walker dazzles GMs is with his charismatic personality which instills a confidence that Walker can run a team. Knight, on the other hand, is much more reserved, but so is Derrick Rose. How is that working out for the Bulls? Knight can score in a variety of ways and proved during this past NCAA Tournament that he plays big in big games. His turnover numbers (3.2 per game) are definitely where he needs to work on his game and are part of the reason that some GMs aren’t 100% sold on him as a pure point guard in the NBA, but those are the kind of problems that can be ironed out in his development.

It would not surprise me in the slightest if five years from now Brandon Knight is rated as the best point guard to come out of this class.

Possible Landing Spots: Utah Jazz (3rd pick), Toronto Raptors (5th pick), Sacramento Kings (7th pick), Detroit Pistons (8th pick)

Ideal Fit: There is no way that Knight slips past the Kings at number seven. The question will be whether the Jazz snag him third overall. If so, I think it would be a great fit for both sides. With Devin Harris in the fold, Knight does not have to start and run the offense from day one. He can learn the system and develop behind a veteran player. The Jazz are amassing young talent that will be able to grow and develop with Knight. They have another pick in the lottery (#12) this year and added rookies Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward to the squad last season.

Hypothetically, if the Jazz were to choose a guy like Alec Burks or Chris Singleton with their later pick, they would have quite a group of youngsters to develop. A lineup of Knight, Burks/Singleton, Hayward, Favors, and Al Jefferson in three years could have other Western Conference teams a little nervous about their futures.

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Filed under Draft Debates, NBA Draft, Opinion