THE ACC COACHING CAROUSEL
1. AL SKINNER DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE…
I’ll be honest, I was a little shocked to see Skinner go, but according to Bob Ryan of the Globe, maybe I shouldn’t have been. It appears Al was a lazy son-of-a-bitch, who let his assistants do just about everything. Still, the man was the winningest coach in B.C. history, taking the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament seven times in nine years.
Although there were rumors that former Duke player Tommy Amaker was being considered for the job, Boston College went elsewhere in the Ivy League and pulled out Cornell’s Steve Donahue. I’m sure most Ivy League Coaches are happy to see him go, since Cornell has owned the league the last three years (winning the conference title in each of the last three years).
However, let’s not forget, Donahue has been at Cornell since the 2000-2001 season. It took him seven years to turn the Big Red into a winning program and eight seasons to win the conference title (earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament).
He’s going to have to do things a little quicker at Boston College if he plans on sticking around. I don’t think B.C. is going to allow an eight-year plan. Luckily for him, he will be taking over the most experienced team in the ACC next year.
The Eagles lose only one player. Of the eleven remaining players, six will be seniors, five will be juniors. Of their top-six returning scorers, five will be seniors next year. I’m not going to predict that BC will compete for the ACC Crown, but I would not be shocked to see them back in the NCAA Tournament.
2. CLEMSON, A STEPPING STONE TO DEPAUL?
It’s almost sad, isn’t it. The Clemson Tigers were once one of the premier programs in the ACC. Now…they are just a stepping stone to other places. First, after four uneventful years at Clemson, Rick Barnes ran off to Texas. Now leaving Clemson to go to Texas is one thing. They’re an elite school. They’re the No 1 attraction in the biggest state in the Union. No one can really blame Barnes for heading west.
But I was shocked when I saw that Oliver Purnell left Clemson to go coach Depaul. Yes, Depaul. Now we all know the Blue Demons were once a good school throughout the decades. They’ve been to the Final Four twice (1943 and 1979) and in the 1980′s, they made it to the tournament nine times (until they were hit by probation).
However, since joining the Big East in 2005, things have not worked out as planned. The Blue Demons have been stuck in the Big East basement throughout, failing to sniff the NCAA Tourney since. It’s gotten so bad for Depaul, they lost to a team called Florida Gulf Coast University last year (yep, I never heard of them either, although they do have more students than Duke).
So how could Purnell abandon a ACC school for the worst Big East team? It’s not like the cupboard was completely empty. Sure Trevor Booker and David Potter are gone, but that’s it. The roster, much like Boston College’s, will be stacked with upperclassmen. However, one major problem any new coach will have to deal with will be recruiting. There is a chance the Tigers could have no incoming 2010 recruits. The only guy Purnell landed was Marcus Thornton (Mr. Basketball in Georgia) and reports are, he wants out of his commitment.
3. GOODBYE GINO
Of all the coaching changes, Wake Forest’s firing of Dino Gaudio was the most surprising. The man was only given three years? That’s cold.
While Dino had struggled to find success in the post-season, the man took over a program dealing with the death of Skip Prosser. Somehow, Gaudio was able to keep everything together (including top recruits James Johnson and Jeff Teague) and have three very productive seasons at Wake.
Most importantly, he was successful on the recruitment trail. In fact, he had the 8th ranked recruitment class coming in next season. Yet, Wake Forest thought they could do better.
It appears that man will be Jeff Bzdelik, current head coach at Colorado. I have to ask, this guy is going to do better than Dino?
Bzdelik has been a college head coach for seven years. Prior to college he was the head coach for the Denver Nuggets, where he actually had some success in 2+ seasons. He turned a 17-65 Nugget team (in 2002-2003) into a 43-39 team in 2003-2004.
In college, he began at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, followed that up with two seasons at Air Force, before heading to Colorado for the last three seasons.
In seven years of college basketball, he’s only produced two winning seasons, both at Air Force, and has been to the NCAA Tournament only once (for Air Force, losing in the first round). At Colorado, he had three losing seasons, although his 2009-2010 squad improved to 15-16 (a six-game jump from the season before).
Time will tell if Bzdelik can make Wake fans forget all about Dino, but his first job is to save that top-10 recruiting class. Dino snagged five players, including four 4-star guys. However, only one has actually signed a letter of intent.
VIRGINIA MINUS TWO GUARDS
There is little doubt that under Tony Bennett, the Cavaliers took a nice step forward. They went from 10-18 to 15-16 in only his first year. However, don’t be shocked to see Virginia take a step backwards, at least for one season. The Cavs will be losing three of their top five scores, which is never good when you’re already a team that struggles to score. Gone are leading scorer Sylven Landesberg (going pro), guard Jeff Jones (transfer) and center Jerome Meyinsse (graduation).
This leaves Virginia with only five scholarship players, which means you’re going to see a lot of playing from Virginia’s incoming recruitment class. Luckily Tony Bennett is proving to be a savvy recruiter, as he has produced the 14th best recruitment class for next season.
GOING PRO, ACC STYLE
Here is a quick list of the players leaving early for the NBA; Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake), Malcolm Delaney (Va Tech), Derrick Favors (Ga Tech), Gani Lawal (Ga Tech) and Sylvan Landesberg (Virginia).
Obviously, Aminu and Favors were going to leave. Both have lottery pick written all over them (both will go top-10). Lawal might surprise some, but it shouldn’t. He’ll land somewhere in the back of the first-round. Seeing Delaney’s name on the list should surprise you, but I wouldn’t sweat it Hokie fans. I believe he’s just testing the waters and he’ll be back. Landesberg won’t be back, although he should be. He won’t be because of school trouble. Right now, he’s mid-second round at best.
You might find it surprising to not see a couple names show up on the ‘early entry’ list. Ed Davis and Kyle Singler are the two biggest. If I had to throw a guess out there, I’d give Singler a 60% chance he’ll go (without signing an agent) and as for Davis, I’d say there is a 60-70% chance he comes back right now (which would make many Carolina fans very happy).
Who comes up with this stuff? After Duke won the championship over Butler, MSNBC.COM actually put a poll up asking, “Did Duke deserve to win Monday’s game?” I repeat my question, huh? Your two options are, “Yes, the Devils proved themselves,” or “No. Butler got robbed.”
How the hell did Butler get robbed? Shockingly 42% say Butler got robbed. Do yourself a favor…if you don’t want to start punching yourself in the head, don’t read the comments section.
VIRGINIA TECH RECRUIT WATCH, 2011
Don’t look now, but Seth Greenberg is putting together a solid recruiting class for 2011. So far, the Hokies have landed three players in 2011. The two to look out for are C.J. Barksdale and Marquis Rankin.
Barksdale is ranked 6th among all power forwards, while Rankin is the 4th best point guard. Not bad. There aren’t too many teams that have locked up two top-10 players in 2011 already.
MIAMI LOSES ONE
The Hurricanes lost freshman guard, Antoine Allen, who is transferring after only one season in Miami. Not too shocking. Allen’s natural position is point guard and it appears Durand Scott has locked up that position for the next few years.
BULLOCK VS THE RAT
Incoming Carolina shooting guard, Reggie Bullock is certainly proven to be a talker. He’s already declared that Andre Dawkins can’t guard him (I guess he forgot that it would be Nolan Smith guarding him next season) and now he’s gone after Coach K…
“We’re going to have signs about him, too — that he looks like a rat…”
Keep talking kid, Coach K is going to need something for the bulletin board next season. I just don’t know how motivating it will be to say, “watch out for Carolina, they were the N.I.T. runner up!”
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