Archive for March, 2010

are you kidding me?

By
March 31st, 2010



the two recent head coaching announcements are hard to believe. First, Texas El Paso hires Tim Floyd.  That's the same Tim Floyd who left USC after allegations arose that he personally paid OJ Mayo 1000 dollars. The investigation continues, and UTEP's recent history of coaches is certainly suspect, but this hire, led by their boosters, is impossible to understand.

Then St.John's hires Steve Lavin, the former UCLA coach and present ESPN analyst. Lavin can recruit, but even his players at UCLA publicly questioned his coaching ability.  One of his players was quoted one year when UCLA made the post-season that his team had come the furthest of any team that didnt have a coach. He does have the best hair in college basketball however. 

Went to the North Carolina-Rhode Island game last night at the mecca of college basketball, Madison Square Garden. What a great place for college basketball. If it wasnt for NCAA greed, this is where the Final Four should be played, not in football stadiums. UNC won in OT by one point as a Rhode Island player fell ( or if you are a Rhode Island fan was tripped) on his way to the basket with 2 seconds left. Tomorrow the blog continues from INDY.

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celebrity sightings

By
March 29th, 2010



Had dinner last night in Syracuse with long time Syracuse Assistant Head Coach Bernie Fine. The wounds of the Butler defeat are still oozing, but Bernie was very optimistic about the Orangemen's chances next year. They have already signed 4 recruits and the recruiting gurus already have the Syracuse class in the top 5.

Today, i watched the North Carolina practice at the New York Athletic Club.  What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Tarheels were the odds on favorite to win the NCAA Final Four, and they came thru. After a difficult year, UNC has a chance for redemption.

tonight, dinner at a restuarant in NY.  Sat right next to Denzal Washington. He had nothing to say about UH coaching situation. Speaking of that, Roy Williams told me had a discussion with Gerald Haase, one of his assistants, about applying for the job, but ultimately decided that he did not have enough ' west coast' experience, even though he apparently grew up near Tahoe.

Starting friday, i will be writing a daily column for the paper from Indy. Expect to have both  Hawaii and National angles.

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go west virgina

By
March 28th, 2010



my pick to win it all beat Kentucky last night in a game that had Kentucky miss their first 20 threes and West Virgina setting what must be a record by not making a 2 point field goal in the entire first half. West Virgina first half stat line had them scoring 28 points on 8 threes and 4 free throws. The game exposed Kentucky's youth and inexperience as West Virgina zone frustrated John Wall and company most of the night. Now John Wall goes to the Nets where he will learn how to lose and lose often.

For those of you who commented on blog concerning  'non-predictors, that is the same as non-qualifiers. They are high school athletes whose combination of core courses, grade-point average, and test scores do not meet NCAA minimums. To get eligible, that person winds up in Junior College where they try to get an AA Degree so they can play Div 1 basketball.

Yes, the Pump Brothers were very involved in the selection process. Say what you want about them, they are very influential in college basketball ranks, and their ' influence'  at schools like UH cannot be ignored.

Onto to New York for the semi finals of the NIT to watch the Tarheels. Quite a comedown for UNC, but after the season they had, I am sure they would take this championship in a heart beat.

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musings from syracuse

By
March 27th, 2010



it seems my post about a possible transfer has generated much speculation. i wish i could say more, but i cant. stay tuned. There are alot of factors in play, including which players from last year are asked to stay or leave.

i understand that the Arnold hiring has divided the media into two camps. i am told that one of the most public vocal critics is a former player/broadcaster. let me repeat what i said a few blogs ago. Whoever you wanted as the next coach, the decision has been made and if you love the program and want to see it succeed, then get over it. Arnold is the new Coach.  Whether you like his assistants, his " pedigree',  his father, or the downtown influence on the decision,  are no longer relevant. Lets all get behind him .

Many have asked me why we couldnt have gotten a ' bigname coach'. ITS SIMPLE. Money. 

Just look at what Boise did yesterday. They hired longtime Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice for five years at a base salary of 400,000 dollars. Arnold signed for three years at 240,000.  Do the math.

Finally, had dinner last night at a table next to John Caliperi and his staff.  If his Kentucky team is as relaxed tonight as he was last night,  West Virgina is in trouble. But i picked West Virgina to win it all, and I am sticking to it.

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from the carrier dome

By
March 26th, 2010



some thoughts after watching the eastern regionals last night. First, hundreds of fans in Syracuse did not show up until the second game because they stayed home or in bars to watch their Orangemen get upset by Butler.  Thousands of others kept one eye on the court and the other on PDAs. This loss is not going down easy up here.

Second, the first 5 minutes of the Kentucky-Cornell game were unbelievable. Cornell jumped out to a 10-2 run and of the 21,000 plus in the House, about 20,000 were Cornell fans. The euphoria didnt last as Kentucky was too quick, too talented, and too good for Cornell, but give the Big Red credit for a great season.

Finally, a big " you deserve it' to the 300 or so Washington fans who stood the entire game in mid court seats making it impossible for everyone on their left to see the game. Despite repeated requests from other fans and ushers to sit down, they acted like spoiled jerks and refused. I, for one, was very happy to see their team lose.  You can support your team while still being considerate of others, and their conduct was in excusable.

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rumors

By
March 25th, 2010



some " rumors" from reliable sources.

first, is a prominent member of this year's team considering transferring? My sources tell me yes. The decision is only days away and if it happens, you will surprised on who and where?

second, was Arnold aware of certain " recruiting restrictions" placed on Nash"s staff? Things like no non-predictors? I am told he was not and it will seriously impact his recruiting possibilities unless this and other restrictions are lifted.

Third, exactly what is the status of Ganot? I am told he was offered " some" position under Arnold, but at a salary level that has made it likely that he is considering " other options" outside of Hawaii.

As a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association, i got to vote for Player, Newcomer, and Coach of the year. i went three for three as Evan Turner of Ohio State, John Wall of Kentucky, and Jim Boeheim all were honored. I will be at the USBWA breakfast in Indy where the awards will be presented.

Tonight i will at the Eastern Regional Semi-Finals in Syracuse. Lots of talk about the Cornell-Kentucky matchup, but lots more interest in Syracuse's game in Salt Lake

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on the way to syracuse

By
March 22nd, 2010



my ncaa trip begins with a stop at the Eastern regionals in Syracuse. I graduated from there 41 years ago and haven't been back in over ten years. The game between Kentucky and Cornell should be a great. Nobody travels fans like the Wildcats and my court side seats could probably go for 1000 or more ( but i wont sell). And with Cornell's campus only 50 miles away in Ithaca, and the whole country waiting to see if David can slay Goliath, it should be the quite a scene. My pick for that Regional is West Virgina. however. They have played in the Carrier Dome several times, and understand the differences in playing in that Dome and your " normal" arena. I also think thier experience will be the difference.

In the west, i like my undergraduate alma mater to beat Kansas State. I think Syracuse looked awesome in its two wins without their starting Center who should be back. And in the South, I am still going with my law school alma mater, Duke, although i wont be shocked if Baylor comes out of that Regional. And finally, in the non Kansas regional look for Ohio State. By the way. I like Northern Iowa to upset a depleted Michigan State squad

Then its on to Indy where i will be blogging from court side. I will be providing an inside look at the Final Four . I also hope to hook up with Riley Wallace, Jim Donovan, etc to bring you a local spin on the Big Dance.

It will be interesting to see if Gib Arnold retains any of the assistant coaches. Some of the transfers and the one signed recruit say they are waiting to see if any members of Bob's staff remain. And with the time ticking, the signing date may preclude a total staff change. Remember, Arnold kept his job because of the late coaching change at USC, if only for one year. I predict there will be at least one hold-over.

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ITS GIB ARNOLD

By
March 20th, 2010



Reliable sources have informed me that the decision has been made and the new UH Basketball Coach will be Gib Arnold. I am told there will be a press conference to make the announcement later today and Arnold will be there. It appears that the Pump brothers and strong local Punahou support played a major part in the decision.

Not sure how long a deal it will be or the price. My guess is it will be between 3 and 5 years at 300 to 350 thousand dollars. Remember some say UH got burned by giving Coach Mac a five year deal when he had never been a Div 1 Head Coach.

Some local basketball folks are very happy with the choice, others not so happy. But my two cents is now that the decsion has been made, its time to pull together and support the new Coach as he and his staff ( i would be surprised if there are any holdovers)  begin the task of getting committments in the few weeks before signing day.

Speaking of the former staff, we should all be wishing them well. There has been much written about Bob, but both Jackson and Aran have served the University and the basketball program with distinction. Not only on the court, but off it as well. At a time when too many folks simply look at success as wins and loses, character and an honest program sometimes are forgotten.

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The Search Continues

By
March 16th, 2010



Well, three interviews down, how many more to go? And the lobbying continues as the supporters of Arnold and Gibson continue their efforts to convince Donovan and the public that their man is the right one for the job. Meanwhile, as I reported a week ago, the Tad Boyle train is leaving the station ( not much he can do until his team is knocked out of post-season, which could happen as quickly as tonight). The Steve Barnes train is also out of the barn. Are there any other " serious candidates". I doubt it. Why?  I am told that the " offered" salary" range is close to 300,000. To uproot your family and move to Hawaii. Not likely there are many Div 1 coaches ready to do that. And the reported 30 plus " applicants" is misleading. Many have no real chance.  And even if it is a real number, its a relatively small number for a mid major head coaching position. 

Jobs are opening all over the Country. In our neck of the woods, the Boise job is out there in a University looking to upgrade its basketball program to become more attractive to other Conferences. Will the San Jose job open soon?  If it does, another WAC opening. At a salary of 300,000, we need to get real about who is out there. For an assistant coach at mid majors, 300,000 is a salary upgrade. It would not be for an assistant a BCS school. It would also be an upgrade for a Div 1 coach in a low level conference, but not above that. Add in the cost of living here, say compared to Greeley, Colorado, and the limited recruiting budget, and this is not exactly job that folks are killing themselves over.

Doesnt mean we wont get a good hire.  it simply means the choices are limited, Uh needs to move fast to fill the spot before the good applicants find themselves elsewhere. For example, St. Mary's head coach goes to Oregon and Smith is in line for that job. Or Arnold goes to Boise as some have speculated( i am not one of them).  UH hired a football coach overnight at a salary in excess of 1 million dollars. Some have criticized that hire. But delay in hiring a basketball coach is not the response. Under a different athletic administration, we all know what happened when we didnt hire the basketball coach until after the Final Four. I expect an announcement by the end of the week or very early week

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WAC gets 2

By
March 14th, 2010



Utah State is in as a 12 as is New Mexico St as a 12. Utah State gets to play Texas A&M in Spokane, a real advantage for the Aggies, although A&M has won its last 4 opening round games. The winner there has a real chance to advance to the sweet sixteen as it will play the winner of the Purdue/Sienna winner. I look for a Sienna, a thirteen seed, to upset Purdue, who is not the same team without Robbie Hummell.

New Mexico State gets Michigan State. Not the best Michigan State team, but dont expect these Aggies to advance. Hope to announce a Final Four contest tomorrow. I will be going to the Eastern Regionals  in Syracuse and will be at the Final Four in Indianapolis covering the games for the Advertiser

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