Connected Coaches Webrun

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.

General NCS Basketball

5 Responses to Connected Coaches Webrun

  1. RBCentric 01/25/2005 at 2:47 PM #

    Thanks for the articles. Interesting connections between all of these guys. I am going to be very interested in seeing Skinner and BC enter the conference. They win with very little fanfare on the court and on the football field.

  2. JB34 01/31/2005 at 5:58 PM #

    I guess since Gary Williams coached at both Boston College and Ohio State…and currently holds a 17-5 all-time record on Herb Sendek, then he is “connected” enough to have this put here.

    Where There’s a Williams…
    By Dick Heller

    On a cold winter’s night, with ice forming and snow drifting, there is no warmer place for a basketball fan than Comcast Center. Watching Gary Williams operate.

    I don’t know whether Gary is the best coach in college basketball — how can anybody tell? — but he certainly is up there somewhere. Consider: Eight days ago, his Maryland Terrapins stunk up the joint and very nearly all of Prince George’s County in an embarrassing 16-point loss to N.C. State. “Woe is us,” said the faint of heart — or maybe, like those old Brooklyn baseball fans, “Wait till next year.”

    They should have known better. Williams is such a good coach that his teams nearly always improve as the season slogs on. All Maryland has done since the N.C. State debacle is beat No. 2 Duke on the road and No. 22 Georgia Tech last night at Comcast 79-71. In other words, a scrappy but not particularly daunting gang of Terps has dispatched an undefeated opponent and last season’s national runner-up after playing a game that might have made lesser outfits hang their heads and feel sorry for themselves.

    Invited to explain this astonishing turnaround, Gary wasn’t much help — probably because coaches would rather invite 10 referees to dinner than reveal their innermost thoughts to panting media hordes. “We all worked hard,” he suggested. “Maybe we worked a little harder. But that’s part of being a college athlete. You have to realize you’re not going to win every game.”

    Anyone who has seen Gary Williams coach — crouching tensely in front of the bench, sweating profusely, yowling at his players and the zebras with fine and impartial abandon — would have expected him to turn up at practice last Monday as a snapping turtle. But, Mike Grinnon said, nothing was further from the truth.

    Unless you’re as avid a Maryland fan as Robert Novak — the acerbic political columnist who would rather praise a liberal Democrat than miss a Terps game — you may not know who Mike Grinnon is. For four years, he has mostly decorated the Maryland bench, averaging about four minutes a game. Now a co-captain, he gets a better chance than anybody else to observe Williams at close range.

    “The thing about Coach is he’s good at seeing the big picture,” Grinnon said in a corner of the Terps’ locker room last night. “He never gets too high after a win or too low after a loss, and we pick up on that.”

    What! Gary didn’t bite off a few heads after the loss to N.C. State?

    “He left everything up to us,” Grinnon insisted. “He said he could only do so much on the sideline. … You know, he’s had to do a lot more teaching the last two seasons because the teams have been so young, and I think he’s gotten more patient. I don’t know why we played so badly against State, but all he said afterward was, ‘It’s not going to happen again.’ ”

    So far it hasn’t.

    Not that the Terps were brilliant or anything last night. Maryland and Georgia Tech have remarkably similar teams that play hard, if not always well. Both were due for a letdown after big victories, the Terps over Duke on Wednesday and the Yellow Jackets over No. 5 Wake Forest in overtime Thursday. But they certainly gave the paying customers all anybody could want in an extremely physical game.

    Maryland won with tenacious defense, as Williams acknowledged, while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and outrebounding Georgia Tech 41-36. Yet despite holding a 12-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half, the Terps never quite turned matters into a laugher. In fact, when their lead shrunk to five with two minutes left, a man sitting behind one of the baskets turned to a companion and said, “This one has heartbreaking loss written all over it.”

    Georgia Tech lacked the requisite finishing kick, however. Neither team scored for a stultifying span of 3:51 during which some fans probably took catnaps. No, I take that back because the action was frantic throughout, if not aesthetically pleasing. And five minutes after it was over, Williams probably was summoning up schemes for tomorrow night’s date at Clemson.

    “No matter how we play, when we come in for practice the next day, it’s all about the next opponent,” said Chris McCray, the Terps’ other captain. Meaning that what’s done is done, and — to quote the late George Allen — the future is now.

    Maryland’s future will be promising as long as Gary Williams is stewing on the bench and teaching on the court. In his 16th season at his alma mater, he needs just nine more victories to pass Lefty Driesell’s 348 and become the Terps’ winningest coach.

    Don’t ever bet against him. Don’t ever bet against him.

  3. roulette 06/27/2005 at 8:26 PM #

    I put my step in to your guestbook like I always

  4. gambling 06/27/2005 at 9:06 PM #

    SarahBell ( ) wrote:

  5. online pharmacy 06/28/2005 at 6:44 AM #

    Logging into this website should be a requirement for anyone knowledgeable on earth these days…

Leave a Reply