Thursday, March 29, 2012
3-point shot: Bryce Drew made right call
By Andy Katz
1. Bryce Drew made the right choice to withdraw from the Mississippi State coaching search. The first-year Valparaiso coach wouldn’t have been a fit in the deep South. He is perfect for the next Big Ten opening that may occur in the coming years. Drew has name recognition that is still strong in the Midwest. He won the Horizon League (over Butler and Detroit) in his first season and should be in contention again next season. He played in the NBA. He doesn’t need to rush to the first high-major stop that shows an interest. He’ll be fine.
2. John Groce may get the Frank Haith treatment at Illinois from those critical of the hiring. But he shouldn’t. Fans and Chicago high schools should give Groce a chance. Haith’s hiring was mocked at first by Mizzou loyalists because he wasn’t the first choice and Miami wasn’t a consistent NCAA team. Groce didn’t top the list at Illinois after the Illini lost out on Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens. But Groce has proven he is tremendous late-season coach more than anything else. His teams improve and are a tough out in the postseason. Groce has strong Midwest ties and an infectious energy that should be celebrated upon arrival.
3. The SEC confirmed that it does have a rule that a player must have two years of eligibility left in order to transfer to a member school. That would mean Florida, Kentucky and Missouri couldn’t stay in the Alex Oriakhi sweepstakes. A waiver could be sought since this is an unusual circumstance. Another interesting curveball: Would Oriakhi be able to play immediately if UConn were to win its appeal and earn back the right to play in the 2013 NCAA tournament? Oriakhi might be given a special circumstance since he is transferring at a point when the Huskies are currently ineligible to play in the postseason during his senior year.