Archive for May, 2011

A Quick Attempt to Rank the current ACC Basketball Coaches

Posted in acc sports, college basketball on May 16, 2011 by cueball

The Best

  1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke – The best college coach of his generation. Not quite at the, “He can take his and beat your or yours and beat his level,” but still the best.His strength lies in his flexibility to coach almost any type of team to wins. (Except for the 1994-1995 season when his bad back put Pete Gaudet into the frying pan.) May not win a national championship outside of his preferred perimeter-oriented style, but will still get you to the tournament. His other big strength are his in-game adjustments. His teams always come out of half time with a distinct and effective plan. His biggest weakness is his (and his staff’s) inability to develop any kind of big men in his system. He is demanding and has run off players because of it. Not as bad as his mentor (Bobby Knight), but he still alienates lots of players (most were post players).
  2. Roy Williams, North Carolina – Give him a good experienced point guard and a couple of athletic bigs, he will run you off the court.His biggest strength is his playing style which is very player friendly. Allowing players to run as much as they want. He is also loyal almost to a fault. Everyone else in the country, save the Drew family, knew the team was better with Kendall Marshall at point guard, but his loyalty to Larry Drew kept him from making the change until it was almost too late to save the season. Another strength is that he manages players egos pretty well. Outside of Drew, he usually gets players to accept their roles without damaging the team. His biggest weakness is, if he does not have his preferred type of team, things can get ugly (See 2009-2010 team). He does not change gears well to maximize the talents available to him in those cases. Again, he is loyal almost to a fault. Sometimes sticking with players too long (See Larry Drew).

The Best of Those Who Have Managed to Stick Around

  1. Leonard Hamilton, Florida State – The best defensive coach in the ACC. He has built a program based on defense, toughness, and athletic ability. His biggest strength is his ability to get his players to buy in to his defensive philosophy from day one. His biggest weakness is that his team has no discernible offensive strategy if he does not have a great individual scorer.
  2. Seth Greenburg, Virginia Tech – A good X’s and O’s coach who wears his heart on his sleeve. His emotions are his biggest weakness. His teams follow his emotional ups and downs. This past season is a great example. After beating Duke at home, he and his players celebrated like they just won the national championship because they thought that win would get them into the NCAA tournament. It would have, if they had taken care of business and beat Boston College at home. However, they were on such an emotional high after beating Duke, they couldn’t focus on the job that was still at hand. They still had a shot, if they had beaten Clemson in their next game. Win one of the next two games they finish by themselves in 4th place in the conference ahead of Clemson and BC and make the tournament.

Too Early To Tell

The recent hires for the ACC have for the most part been good solid hires. No home runs like a Brad Stevens or Sean Miller. Just solid coaches who will win a lot more than they will lose. Finally, it seems athletic directors have stopped trying to “win the press conference” and are concentrating on hiring coaches who will actually win games. Wins and tournament appearances are how you excite a fan base. The jury is out on these guys for another season or two so, they are listed in order of finish in the conference last year.

  1. Brad Brownell, Clemson – Came into the best situation of the new coaches. He should have done a little more with the talent he had, but transitions are always hard. This season will prove how good he actually is.
  2. Steve Donohue, Boston College – Managed a team with limited talent pretty well. Finished above .500 in the conference and had the team playing well at the end of the season. Next season could be very hare because they will be very young.
  3. Tony Bennett, Virginia – The biggest shift for all the programs hiring new coaches. His biggest question (which is the same for all the new coaches) is whether he can recruit ACC caliber players to play at his school.
  4. Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest – This was the firing and hiring no one outside of Wake Forest understands. He won at Air Force and had Colorado trending upward when he left. If he can recruit, he might be OK.

Just Walked Through the Door

These guys will be starting their first season as coaches next year.

  1. Jim Larranaga, Miami – A good coach at George Mason. A weird fit for Miami, but he could be successful in what is probably his retirement job.
  2. Mark Turgeon, Maryland – A quality coach. Again, not going to win the press conference, but he will win games.
  3. Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech – Fortunately for Gregory, he was the least expensive best option Tech could find (They are still paying Paul Hewitt $7 million to coach George Mason.). He was a solid coach at Dayton and if he can convince young African-American men to come play basketball in Atlanta, he should be successful.
  4. Mark Gottfried, NC State – He was doing the same thing as Sidney Lowe during the NCAA Tournament, watching it. Gottfried was getting paid to do so, however. That is why he has the job and Sidney doesn’t. He is another solid coach, but he also has a chip on his shoulder after things ended badly at Alabama.
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Late night dispatch #1

Posted in Uncategorized on May 8, 2011 by cueball

A great unappreciated album is Shake Your Moneymaker by The Black Crowes.  It is a brilliant debut album that perfectly distills Southern rock and what the Crowes have continued to grow into.

It goes especially well with bourbon on a porch on a late spring night.

ACC Coaches ain’t what we remember them to be

Posted in college basketball, sports on May 6, 2011 by cueball

This was originally going to be a post about Paul Hewitt and his wonderful contract from Georgia Tech which incomprehensibly will continue to pay him $7.2 million for the next five years even as he coaches George Mason. Then Gary Williams retired. So I want to ruminate on ACC coaches current and past.

Memory is a wonderful and terrible thing. The coaches I remember in the ACC were (are) titans. I grew up with Smith, Krzyzweski, Valvano, Dreisel, Holland, Cremins. That is six of the eight coaches in the ACC during its golden period. Two of the greatest of all time and at least three other hall of famers. Today, it is two good coaches and then some guys. Outside of Roy Williams and Krzyzweksi (especially now that Gary Williams has retired) who else would you take in a coaching fight? I think Brad Brownell will be good at Clemson, but if he is really good there, he will be lured away to a bigger and better job. The same with Tony Bennett, another young coach with a bright future. Is Virginia a destination job? For that matter, is Maryland?

List of current ACC coaches:

  • UNC – Roy Williams
  • NC State – Mark Gottfried
  • Duke – Mike Krzyzweski
  • Wake Forest – Jeff Bzdelik
  • Clemson – Brad Brownell
  • Virginia – Tony Bennett
  • Maryland – TBD
  • Georgia Tech – Brian Gregory
  • Florida State – Leonard Hamilton
  • Virginia Tech – Seth Greenberg
  • Miami – Jim Larranaga
  • Boston College – Steve Donohue

List of 1992-1993 coaches:

  • UNC – Dean Smith
  • NC State – Les Robinson
  • Duke – Mike Krzyzweski
  • Wake Forest – Dave Odom
  • Clemson – Cliff Ellis
  • Virginia – Jeff Jones
  • Maryland – Gary Williams
  • Georgia Tech – Bobby Cremins
  • Florida State – Pat Kennedy

Virginia Tech, Miami, and Boston College were not in the ACC at the time. I had hoped to make the point that the coaches back in the day were a deeper group. I don’t know if I can make that argument. Williams and Cremins were hall of fame caliber, but after that it is a rather undistinguished group. Odom and Kennedy recruited well and Ellis and Jones had their moments. I would take Hamilton over Kennedy and Brownell over Ellis. The other two are a wash. The ACC’s biggest problems is that the Big East schools brought in for football have done nothing for basketball and truth be told outside of Virginia Tech, nothing for football.

Maybe another golden era of ACC basketball is around the corner. The problem there is, the next two guys to retire will probably be K and Ol’Roy. If the league does not recover before that, things could get really ugly.