Friday, March 29, 2013
3-point shot: Good coaches hard to land
By Andy Katz
1. UCLA, USC and Minnesota are finding out what Oregon and others have discovered in how difficult it is to extract coaches from good situations. On the surface the jobs are perceived as better jobs than what some of these coaches currently have, but leaving a comfortable situation, an athletic director or president that they get along with, and facilities can be difficult to match. Oregon was fortunate when it landed Creighton's Dana Altman, but he was down the list. How many schools get their first choice? Even Wichita State's Gregg Marshall has a great situation for him. He makes more than $1 million and is now at the top job in the Missouri Valley Conference. Marshall could make his style work at any of the three openings. All three schools should make a major play for him. But he doesn't have to move now that he made the Elite Eight. Butler's Brad Stevens, Gonzaga's Mark Few and VCU's Shaka Smart have listened, but don't need to move and haven't so far. This is a humbling experience for these ADs when they go out expecting to find a coach and struggle.
2. We'll see what happens over the weekend, but I still think Flip Saunders would be the perfect fit for Minnesota. He's working for ESPN as an NBA analyst and loves the Gophers. He could do for Minnesota what Fred Hoiberg has done for Iowa State. A former UCLA staffer is convinced that the Bruins could end up with Washington's Lorenzo Romar. The point being made was that the Bruins need a coach who can work Los Angeles as well as the country club crew. He also would play an up-tempo style. Romar won the Pac-12 in 2012, but didn't make the NCAAs. He didn't make it again this year. Romar could be a fall-back candidate, but he wouldn't be a bad settling choice for the Bruins at this point. UCLA, USC and Minnesota had to make plays for names, but in the end they all got played.
3. Indiana could be a Big Ten title contender again in 2014 with Cody Zeller. He has a month to consider (by the time of the NBA deadline) and get worked by agents. But Zeller was exposed against Syracuse as playing too short and not being able to get his shot off in a half-court set. Zeller will have to seriously consider if he's ready. He can get drafted, but he won't be able to contribute, and so much now is about the second contract. He needs to get into the league and be ready to play. He's not. Meanwhile, Indiana's Victor Oladipo is and will be a lottery pick with his overall athleticism, and ability to defend and score in a variety of ways. I would be shocked if he returned.