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February 8, 2009

Three Basketball Teams We Need to Start Winning

Wanted: More Players Like This

Georgia's ability to land a high-caliber basketball coach will be heavily impacted by the other job openings this off season. We've got an exceptional recruiting base, a rumored big budget for staff and rapidly improving facilities to sell. But we don't have much of a tradition.

Maryland, Arizona and Kentucky have all those assets and more, and they are clearly more attractive jobs than Georgia. All three have coaches on the hot seat, and we need all three to start winning games.
  • Maryland - Gary Williams' squad is currently 14-8 overall and 3-5 in the ACC. They face Georgia Tech at 7:30 pm today on FSN. Looking at their schedule 17 or 18 wins is about the best they can pull. Getting to 19 wins and a deep ACC run may save Williams who has already been given a vote of confidence from his AD. Losing to GT today would be career threatening. Why We Might Care: Jeff Capel of Oklahoma is rumored to be our top choice to replace Felton. As a former Duke player and assistant, this ACC job might be attractive to Capel.

  • Arizona - The Wildcats are 16-5 overall / 6-5 in PAC-10 play. Arizona is on a five game winning streak behind Interim Coach Russ Pennell. Pennell became coach after Lute Olson's abrupt retirement in October. However it looks unlikely that even a nice long winning streak will remove the interim label from Pennell. After beating the Ducks on Saturday, he stated that he only has 5 of 6 weeks left on the job. They look like a 19 to 21 win team on the Bubble. Why We Might Care: Jamie Dixon (Pitt) is a rumored candidate for the 'Zona job. He is from California, attended TCU, and he has spent about 15 of the last 20 years coaching west of the Mississippi. If Dixon were to go to 'Zona, Pitt would likely turn to Sean Miller (Xavier) to replace him. Miller is a Pitt alum, and he's rumored to be extremely high on Damon's wish list in Athens.

  • Kentucky - The Mildcats are 16-7 overall / 5-3 in the SEC. They are riding a horrifying three game losing streak that includes losses to Ole Miss and Mississippi State. If the Gators beat the Cats in Rupp on Tuesday Night, things are going to come totally unglued up in Big Blue land. Their RPI currently sits at 74. Going 9-7 in the SEC isn't going to be enough to get them into the NCAAs without a big SEC Tourney run. They have to beat the Gators. The question is...what's the disaster scenario that makes UK punt on Billy G and his enormous contract? Why we might care: Isn't it obvious? UK stands above us in the coach shopping pecking order.
A guy that probably isn't on our radar is Oliver Purnell at Clemson. Maybe you saw the epic thrashing that CU put on Duke this week? Why not a candidate? I was told that Purnell and Felton are good friends, and I doubt that boosts our chances of getting him.

More importantly, he's a mirror image of Felton scheme-wise. He's just better at coaching and recruiting to that scheme. He's also 0-4 in the NCAA Tourney over his 20 year career as a head coach. I certainly hope we can do better than that. The Charleston papers think he'll be a candidate at Maryland.

Bottom line....Go Maryland. Beat Tech. (not that I wouldn't have felt that way anyway)

Oh...and a fourth team that needs to win some games...that would be the Georgia Bulldogs. It would be nice not to pull an O-fer and scare off any candidates.



Anonymous said...

Why not scoop Williams up from Maryland if they choose to let him go? Sure, he's a little on the old side, but he's a proven winner and recruiter at this level, and in the toughest league.

Hobnail_Boot said...

1) Dixon turned down Arizona last year.

2) The day I cheer for Maryland will be a cold day in hell. Their fans make Rutgers fans seem tolerable.

rbubp said...

I'll tell you what, if Gary Williams gets fired at Maryland he should be a top candidate here.

He's not old, he's established. He'd be able to out-recruit the rest of the SEC in nanosecond.

RC said...

Oliver Purnell owes us a debt of gratitude for landing that job in the first place. It is because Tim Floyd turned Clemson down under pressure of an ultimatum from their AD to wait out our decision that allowed him (Purnell) to get hired there in the first place.

rbubp said...

Gillespie, wouldn't be the first time UK ran off a coach that did excelled everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

I'll take Gillespie if UK runs him off!

rbubp said...

It is true that, when you think about the what-could've-beens, the pressure is on to get it right.
Ours: Tim Floyd, Glenn Mason in football (ick)

Evans is right to want someone who's proven. I kind of wish we'd go somewhere in between old-fart Knight and Anthony Grant; the thing I don't like about Grant and Sean Miller is that they have not been HCs in BCS conferences. Gillespie, Gary Williams, Capel, on the other hand, have been there and done that.

Anonymous said...

Trivia question for the future: what SEC team lost to UGA in the 2008-2009 basketball season?

I would just like for there to be an answer to that question (besides nobody) before it is all over.

mitch said...

I wouldnt mind having Gary Williams.

opsomath said...

I am pretty sure Purnell is a permanent fixture at Clemson for the short term. He has that fan base fired up and continues to get quality wins.

mitch said...

I take that back about Gary. I thought he was younger than he was. He will be 64 in a month, not exactly what we want.

RC said...

I keep sayin'...Lon Kruger is the surest and most attainable thing out there for us. I'm all for making a hard run at a Sean Miller or a Jeff Capel, but if they say no, I'd quickly make my way to Vegas and pay Kruger what it takes. He is the mid-point someone above was asking for between Knight and Grant. He's got ties to the area from his time with the Hawks (I'm pretty sure his son graduated HS in Cobb County somewhere) and he's been successful everywhere he's been.

critstat said...

Kentucky will not make a change this season.

rbubp said...

Point taken, RC, but Kruger has had a long and only moderately successful career. Has he even gotten to a Final Four? For someone who has been around as long as he I'd prefer a better resume.

Plus, he's not a great recruiter, though he is known as a good game coach.

Mike In Valdosta said...

It was sickening to see Lon "Freddy" Kruger in Atlanta. I could not bear him in Athens.

Yes, the man can coach college basketball.

Steve Spur in my ass, and Urban Crier can coach college football, as well, but it would be a cold day in hell before I'd support either of them in Athens.

God doesn't seek help from hell and we shouldn't be hiring anybody with the taint Maingeville. I do not care how many stops in between, if you have cashed a check from Gainesville I do not want you.

Granted, I have had a cocktail, but my aim is true on this one. No Lon Kruger. Adolf Hitler built great highways, but we can do better.

Anonymous said...

Sean Miller would be one who would prove many a point about using a job as a stepping stone; Jamie Dixon from Pitt leaves and Miller is going home to a better conference. Ditto Jeff Capel.

ChinatownDC said...

I live in Washington DC, and the biggest gripe UMd fans have about Gary Williams is his recruiting (or lack thereof). So, I think that makes him a bad fit for UGA (should he be available, which I don't think he will).


rbubp said...

I think Gary would do better here. He certainly was a good recruiter before; he'd be a big fish in a small pond 'round these parts.

Scott said...

Gary Williams is not leaving Maryland. Maryland AD Debbie Yow, the day after the funeral for her sister Kay Yow, hijacked Williams' press conference and gave her unconditional support to Williams. You can read the article here at the Washington Post.

So let's move on to the next wild rumor.

JT said...

I'm still in favor of Grant. If someone wants to leave this job in 4 years for "greener pastures", fine. At least stock the shelves while your here.

Paul Westerdawg said...



He went to the Final Four at Florida around '94. Prior to his joining the Gators, they had the worst b-ball tradition in the SEC. They were below UGA, Auburn, Ole Miss and MSU. In fact, they were 7-21 the year before he got there. He had them in the Final Four only 4 years later.

He won coach of the Year in the SEC twice (1992 and 1994).

I think he was Coach of the Year in the Big 10 while he was at Illinois. And he won the Big 10 there.

He has also been named Coach of the Year in the MWC at UNLV where he has won their league twice.

At UNLV he went to the Sweet 16 by defeating GT and #2 seed Wisconsin.

His tenure with the Hawks was horrific. But his GM was Pete Babcock who currently holds the title WORST GM IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE NOT NAMED MILLEN.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Anon 9:50

RE: Sean Miller

He has advanced further into the NCAA Tourney each year.

Year 2 - Round 1
Year 3 - Round 2
Year 4 - Elite 8 (Round 4)

Last year, he beat #14 UGA, #3 seed Purdue and #7 seed WVU before losing to UCLA.

This year he has beaten:
Virginia Tech

Last year he beat:
Kansas State

Two years ago he beat:
Arizona State
Kansas State

This dude is NOTHING like the mid-major coaches we've looked at in the past. He plays a lights out schedule every year non-conference.

A typical mid-major plays 2-3 big games a year. This guy plays as many as he can schedule.

His a VERY good coach.

As for the stepping stone concept. I'd be thrilled to have a coach other programs want for a change.

Mike In Valdosta said...

Paul, with all due respect...

You are stating facts. He is still Gainesville leftovers and that is something I personally cannot get over.

I may be putting personal prejudices in front of the good of the program, but I am not going to take that crap from my reptile neighbors. Not that I am in any decision making position here.

We can start a whole 'nother blog on my beloved Hawks problems.

Just one man's opinion, but I don't want know stinking Gainesville reptile sullying my beloved campus in the classic city. I believe once a Dawg always a Dawg and once a cold blooded, swamp living, jort wearing reptile always one.

God bless.

Mike In Valdosta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike In Valdosta said...

Sorry, I have been impersonating a Knoxville recruiting coordinator tonight

Anonymous said...

dear mike,

you are a moron.

love everyone.

jerome said...

-1 Hitler reference.

Anonymous said...

cool it with the inferiority complex mike. you are making us all look bad

Anonymous said...

Here is the disaster scenario for UK.

1. UK limps home down the stretch with no chance of making the tourney unless the win SEC title.

2. UK does not win automatic bid to NCAA's

3. 1st round NIT exit

Next to UT football fans, UK basketball fans are the most apocalyptic fans I have ever encountered. The have no sense of perspective and/or humor about their program.

Also, all three could happen so do not be surprised.

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