While we wait for the next big football recruit to announce and wait for the Pack’s match-up with Florida State on the hardwood on Wednesday, feel free to take a look at some of the articles that I have compiled that were interesting for a variety of issues. In addition to being interesting, they also all share a common thread of being intertwined with NC State and Herb Sendek.
* Al Skinner played college basketball in a backcourt with some guy named, Rick Pitino. We all know of Pitino’s employment of Herb Sendek at Kentucky, even if we continue to wonder how none of Pitino’s philosophies, personality, or success seemed to rub off on Sendek. At Boston College, Skinner is more than just 2-0 against Herb Sendek; he is also currently #5 in the RPI and at the helm of an undefeated Boston College program that will be joining the ACC next year. “Getting it done quietly” is an excellent piece that will interest you.
The Eagles were thankful to draw the second sellout of the season (8,606) to their campus arena Wednesday night and were not overly concerned that it was telecast nowhere in a conference built on TV markets.
“[Public acclaim] is not essential to our success,” Skinner said. “The most important motivation is personal satisfaction. You have to know who you are. That doesn’t mean we can’t have the same success as other teams, just not the same acknowledgment.”
Perhaps partly for that reason, Boston College does not attract blue-chip basketball players. “I think it’s BC’s style,” sophomore forward Jared Dudley said shortly after scoring a career-high 36 points in the Eagles’ last-gasp victory over Villanova. “When’s the last time we got a Top 50 recruit?”
* Thad Matta served as an assistant coach for Herb Sendek at Miami of Ohio in 1994-1995. He left Sendek after only one year for another assistant coaching position at perennial loser, Western Carolina. (Wow! Talk about desperate to get away). Matta has immediately brought a positive outlook to a troubled program in Columbus, Ohio.
Some of Thad Matta’s closest friends wondered why he would trade a comfortable situation as the coach at Xavier for a tempest at Ohio State and a roster full of slackers and prima donnas.
Matta’s Musketeers came within a play or two of the Final Four a year ago, while the Buckeyes went 14-16 with players who weren’t inclined to play hard or guard anybody. What’s more, Ohio State was under the NCAA microscope for infractions that allegedly occurred on the watch of the fired Jim O’Brien.
Six months later, Matta’s Buckeyes are 12-5 and have surprised many heading into Wednesday night’s game against Minnesota.
* Ben Howland left Pitt just a couple of years ago. After whiffing on Skip Prosser, Herb Sendek’s camp took advantage of the customarily private coaching search to “leak” that Sendek was being considered as a candidate by (I guess someone who lived somewhere near) Pittsburgh. Howland has been at UCLA for a year and a half, but Yahoo sports sees Howland already returning UCLA to their glory days. (January 13, 2005)
Ben Howland, who has turned around programs at Northern Arizona and Pittsburgh, now seems on the verge of revitalizing the most storied basketball program in the nation.
After dreaming of coaching at UCLA when he was a boy, Howland took over the program in 2003-04, when the Bruins were coming off their first losing season in 55 years (10-19).
UCLA continued its losing ways last season, going 11-17, but they are off to a 9-3 start this season with a starting lineup that includes three freshmen and senior forward Dijon Thompson…
The Bruins are a few years away from being a dominant power again, but if it happened this year, it wouldn’t be the first time a young UCLA team went deep into the tournament.
* Talk about connections! Sean Miller closes all the loops! Miller was one of Pitt’s all-time great basketball players and was an assistant coach for Herb Sendek in Raleigh until 2001 when he left to go coach with…Thad Matta at Xavier. Matta had replaced the same Skip Prosser who turned down Pitt last year. Now that Matta has moved to Ohio State, Miller is the Man among the Muskies.
Unlike the carpetbagging Thad Matta, Sean Miller didn’t walk into a gym of roses at Xavier. Everywhere Miller looks, Lionel Chalmers isn’t there. Neither is Romain Sato. The closest David West gets to Cintas Center is his jersey, hanging from the north end wall.
In college basketball, unless you are Duke or North Carolina or Kansas or Kentucky – where the former McDonald’s high school All-Americas stretch from the end of your bench to the drive-through window – you are going to be doing lots of re-inventing on the fly, every year. That’s what Xavier is doing in the year after The Year. The Musketeers are doing it double, given that Miller is a rookie coach.
At the moment, the Musketeers are pieces looking for a puzzle. Nothing quite fits, not yet. They’re trying to navigate the room without denting the walls. There is no Man…
…The challenge for Miller – and how he will be graded after his freshman year – is how well he does in meshing a bunch of complementary players into a cohesive team capable of playing with everyone and pulling an upset or two.