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March 28, 2007

The Sun Rises in the West -- I agree with Terrence Moore

As others have said, it's a shocking experience to read a Terrence Moore article and agree with every word of it. Today, he writes an incredibly interesting article about Tubby Smith's decision to leave Georgia for UK.

He interviews former UGA assistant athetic director Dick Bestwick, and he talks about the process of trying to convince Tubby to stay at Georgia. Bestwick's story in no way matches the incredibly absurd stories that have floated around regarding Dooley allegdly telling Tubby that he'd be stupid not to go to Kentucky. That part is a comforting read.

(Image: Tubby at Georgia)

Bestwick also talks about the upside of the Georgia job in terms of in state recruiting talent. A negative person will read the article and say "what could've been." A positive person would look at it and say "SEE. The opportunity at Georgia is huge." Regardless, It's a solid read for any UGA b-ball fan.

In other hoops news:
Georgia will offer Dennis Felton a 2 year extension. The extension will give him four full years remaining on his deal. I've said numerous times....

...that Felton needed a contract extension for two reasons:
    A. He has improved the program steadily over the past 3 years.
    B. He needs it for recruiting purposes.
Whether you believe Felton is the right answer long term or not has no bearing on the decision of whether or not to extend his contract in the short term. We need to keep the pipeline of talent alive. The UGA coach of the future (Felton or someone else) needs a solid talent base, or he won't be successful. That's why you give the extension. You either fire him (not a realistic option) or extend his deal.

Although, I will say that I got a chuckle out of the idea that other schools are looking at Felton to be their head coach (Note: This was a comment in an early version of an AJC article. That comment was later removed). I'm so sure that programs across the country are just beating down his door. "Hey, we're looking for a guy with no NCAA Tourney wins, a career losing record in major conference basketball and an offense that makes you want to claw your eyes out. You interested?"

Felton needs to finish our rebuilding job to get a sniff on a better gig. That's not being mean. It's just the brutal reality.

See Also:
-- Dick Bestwick's Bio - Wikipedia
-- Felton staying at UGA - AJC
-- Hot Coaching Names Part I - MGoBlog
-- Hot Coaching Names Part II - MGoBlog
-- Hot Coaching Names Part III - MGoBlog



Tommy said...

We have come so tantalizingly close to doing right by men's basketball so many times that it's heart-breaking. Even though he left 10 years ago, Tubby's departure set us back much more than a decade, as, even with the incremental progress Felton has given us, we aren't in the same area code as where Tubby had us. That said, he has beaten Tubby several times face-to-face, so maybe we are better off in the long haul.
I'm skeptical that Felton can get us back to the sweet 16, but, at the very least, I think he can get us to the point where we're an attractive program to someone who could.
You've documented well some of Felton's gameday shortcomings and whether that's "correctable," to borrow a Zook-ism, remains to be seen. I could be wrong; maybe he's the guy that takes us all the way. Regardless, it would have been galactically stupid to deny him an extension. The best thing for this program right now is consistency. If it looks like Felton has plateaued in a few years, then would be the time to change horses.

Anonymous said...

Tommy....that's the way I feel.

"I'm skeptical that Felton can get us back to the sweet 16, but, at the very least, I think he can get us to the point where we're an attractive program to someone who could."

Could Thad Matta have turned us around faster than Felton? Well...yeah...probably. But a guy like Matta wouldn't have sniffed our job in '03.

With no NCAA problems, new facilities and an honest to goodness roster full of players (most of whom will be SEC caliber after nest year), the job will be *dramatically* more attractive than it was in 2003 IF we have to go looking.

We had to extend him.


Anonymous said...

Hard to believe TM resisted going to his signature move on this one, but he did, so kudos to him. Solid piece.

Glad to DE checked that box with Felton. Now let's have a stable offseason and get it done enxt year.

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely pleased with this move. I'm generally not in favor of contract extensions merely for the sake of stability, but given the hole from which Felton has dug himself out, this is positively the right move. I'm looking for a couple of things in the next two years:

First, continued improvement in recruiting. I don't expect us to land the entire Norcross team, but if we can land an entire class of guys comparable to Price and Jacobs, with maybe a Howard Thompkins thrown in, I'd be ecstatic. Florida, Georgetown and UCLA have shown that you don't need a team of five McDAAs (hello Kansas and Duke) to get to the Final Four, but you do need some very good talent nonetheless.

Second, for the team's collective basketball IQ to improve. I'm not sure how much this can be improved with coaching or if we simply need better players. This year, it seemed that Georgia's players made a lot of dumb passes, took a lot of dumb shots and otherwise made no effort to move without the ball to set up a good shot. Illinois' team this year had similar problems to us, with lots of dumb passes and shots. However, when they had some great upperclass players two years ago, Illinois' offense looked like a thing of beauty. I'm hopeful that as either our players improve or we get better players, our team develops what looks like a cohesive half-court offense. Recruiting true point guards (which we seem to have in the next two classes) may certainly help the overall flow of the offense.

Anonymous said...

If TM thinks we would be at the level of FL & TN right now if we had Smith, he's off his rocker. Tubby had a nat'l champ team, a school committed to everything hoops and still screwed it up. The main reason he was successful early on at UGA is because everyone took us for granted as a cellar dweller and didn't play hard. If UGA were to become the likes of FL, how come KY couldn't remain there?

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