Running around to Give you the Reacharound

2.03.2009

Knightmare on Carlton Street

For some reason, the Bobby Knight to UGA rumors won't die down, even though the only person with knowledge close to the situation is an unidentified "friend" of Knight that provided a senile old journalist with his first scoop of the millenium. Somehow it seems appropriate that the first story Furman Bisher breaks in over a decade involves a sports figure old enough to be a member of the AARP. Go back to finding links between Dice-K and Pearl Harbor, Furm.

Anyways, when trying to find out if something is a good idea or not, I find it useful to make a pro and con list. I really didn't think that was necessary at this time, as I couldn't understand why any Georgia basketball fan would promote the idea of hiring a coach with a record over the last five seasons that is a whopping three games better than Dennis Felton's, but OBJ seems to like the idea of Knight in Athens, so... onto the list, yo.

Pros of Hiring Bobby Knight:

1. UGA basketball becomes relevant on a national stage: Given ESPN's hard-on for the guy - he's got Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps (two other former coaches that had their last taste of success 25+ years ago!) openly endorsing him for the job - it's pretty clear that win or lose, UGA hoops would receive national exposure it hasn't had, well, ever. Ask Texas Tech how that's worked out for their program.

2. His teams make the NCAA Tourney: 19 out of his last 21 teams have made the tournament. More on this in a minute.

3. He runs a clean program, and his players graduate: Admittedly a biggie for Georgia, following Harrick's epic failure in this area and Felton's admirable effort but eventual failure as well.

And that's it for the pros, as far as I can tell. Feel free to add more in the comments if you see 'em. To the cons:

1. He's a friggin' sociopath: National attention for big wins = good. National attention for that crap = weak-ass gimmick.

2. His teams no longer win in the NCAA Tourney: Speaking of "big wins," Knight doesn't get 'em anymore. Since the 1994-1995 season, his teams are 5-10 in the NCAA Tournament. He has one Sweet Sixteen appearance in that time. Our mediocre program, the one Knight-supporters think would be so lucky to land a coach like Bobby Knight, has as many Sweet Sixteen appearances during that timeframe. The ultimate goal of Georgia basketball, with the money being poured into facilities and this hire, is to compete on a national level like Florida and Tennessee are doing. It is not to be on the "Bubble Watch" every February. Knight's teams' inability to win big games is likely due to the fact that...

3. His coaching style is outdated: Post screens to get jump-shooters wide open on 80% of your offensive plays was effective as hell in the 70's and 80's. In today's SEC and ACC, where Grade-A athletes can get to an immobile spot-shooter in a split second, not so much. In order to compete in the SEC and nationally, Georgia needs to recruit top-notch athletes; but,

4. Knight can't recruit: It is imperitave that the next UGA coach follow's Richt's lead from 2001 and "build a proverbial wall" around Georgia to lock down the plentiful in-state hoops talent. With Georgia Tech's recent downturn, it would not take much success in the recruiting area to make UGA the premeire program in the state of Georgia. Right now, a dozen or so blue-chip prospects from the state turn down Georgia to go elsewhere each year. There is no evidence whatsoever that Bobby Knight would change this. The last blue chip recruit he landed was Jason Collier in 1997, who lasted all of one-and-a-half seasons at Indiana before transferring to Georgia Tech due to Knight's coaching philosophy. Before that, his last big recruit was Calbert Cheaney...in 1992.

5. He's 68 years old: You saw how he left Texas Tech high-and-dry. How many more years does this guy have left in him? You really want this guy as a stopgap replacement so you can redo this whole process over in 4-5 years? Screw that. Hire a young, hungry coach that has experience recruiting in the south and can actually relate to the players, families and AAU coaches he will be dealing with. Look for the basketball program's version of Mark Richt. Maybe you end up with another Felton; but if records are any indication, that's not going to be much worse than what you get out of Bobby Knight.

It's a simple choice. Don't contact him.

4 comments:

ashley said...

have to go the Miami route and hire a Randy Shannon who can recruit within the state. I mean the top ten recruits from within Georgia from the class of '09 have commited to either schools outside Georgia or to Georgia Tech. I know Georgia is on the decline but unless you pull a coach that has a relationship with the youth basketball leagues in Georgia no recruit is choosing an Georgia, an SEC school where football COMPLETELY overshadows football, over an ACC school where basketball is life. I guess one advantage of Bobby Knight is recruits feel like they are going to school that will get a lot of press because of him but they may also be terrified that a missed free throw will mean being hit in the face with a chair! Either way...good luck with that Dawgs,

ashley said...

CORRECTION: I meant Georgia Tech is on the decline

Jesse said...

Is the subject recruiting or on-court success when talking about "GT being on the decline"? Sure the wins aren't falling as often as they used to, but the recruiting hasn't declined at all. GT also has a coach who has been in place for 9 years and is located in the heart of Atlanta where 99% of the top basketball talent hails from. It's much easier to talk moms into keeping their kids at home right down the street than moving out to the farmlands where for whatever reasons, you can't seem to keep the players out of trouble.

Now that's an interesting topic to discuss. Inner city school with less academic and off court issues than the country school...

-Jesse

Joe Friday said...

Jesse-

Athens ain't exactly Missoula, Montana brother. Farmlands?

GT's recruiting stands to decline if there is another viable in-state alternative, I would reason.