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.
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.