Tag Archives: NCAA Basketball

Damn You, Geno Auriemma! My Terrifying Commute From Hell!

10 Mar

This morning I left for work never realizing I’d soon be in hell….

For ten minutes straight the two sports talk stations in town (ESPN & The Fan) were talking Connecticut woman’s basketball at exactly the same time.  Seriously ten minutes.  How is that even possible?  And it was timed perfectly so I was stuck in traffic to boot.

Damn you, Geno Auriemma!

There’s only so much time in my life and I already spend too much of it on sports.  There’s no way I’m getting interested in women’s college basketball.

There are two exceptions to this.  Either, A, my daughter will go on to play college basketball, in which case I will become the game’s biggest fan.  (PS – I see her as a heady point guard, tougher than she looks, usually more concerned about getting her teammates involved, but not afraid to take the big shot)

Or, B, I’m offered a head coaching job at a division one woman’s basketball program.  Two words on that.  Not. Likely.

Is John Calipari a worse coach than Lawrence Frank??

7 Apr

John Calipari, he of the hair so slicked back that he makes Pat Riley feel self-aware, is about to coach for the NCCA Men’s Basketball Championship.  Calipari’s one loss Memphis squad is one win away from winning it all.  If you hadn’t been counting, this is the second team Calipari’s brought to a Final Four.  Not many coaches can make that claim.

Impressive, right?  It’s even more impressive when you consider the programs he’s revived.  Let’s just say there’s places more steeped in college basketball glory and tradition than UMass or Memphis.

The intriguing thing is that such an accomplished coach couldn’t get it done on the biggest stage he’s played on.  Calipari was a wash out in the NBA.  For better or worse, this renowed turnaround specialist bit off way more than he could chew when he tried to right the Net’s historically off course ship.  The Nets have been too much for many a good coach and player since they joined the NBA.  The organization has ruined a ton of promising careers.  Some say it’s a Babe Ruth like curse, which the franchise was put under when they traded basketball god Dr. J.  Whatever the case, Calipari couldn’t turn it around.

Eventually, Byron Scott with a lot of help from Rod Thorn and the recently departed Jason Kidd got the NOTS turned around enough to play the role of Eastern Conference Patsy in the NBA Finals two years running.  Scott was let go prematurely for his trouble.  This is not surprising when you really think about it. It’s actually very much in line with the franchise’s history. 

Lawrence Frank, a good guy, good coach and about 15 when he was hired, replaced Byron Scott.  The Nets have been just OK ever since and now seem destined to miss the playoffs for the next season or two.  Frank seems safe in his job nonetheless.

So, all of this got me thinking.  How is it that Lawrence Frank is making a living in the NBA and John Calipari isn’t?  I’ve heard the whole argument about how some guys are college coaches and others are meant to coach the pros.  I don’t really buy that.

Here’s what I think happens.  When coaches like Calipari or his buddy Rick Pitino come into the NBA with whiz kid relationships and in Pitino’s case too much power within an organization, they come in with too much arrogance.  Hot shot college guys figure they’ll just keep doing things like they always have and keep churning out the wins. That lack of understanding of how the NBA really works is a recipe for disaster.

The only advantage Lawrence Frank has over John Calipari is that Frank learned how the NBA works as an assistant before becoming the head guy.  If Calipari had left UMass for some NBA assistant gig, he’d be one of the best coaches in the league right now.  However, his hair would still look rediculous…

PS – oh and Byron Scott, he’s just coaching one of the best Western Conference teams in the NBA.  Go former Nets’ coaches!