Friday, June 14, 2013
3-point shot: Bullock, Snell made good calls
By Andy Katz
1. In two weeks, the draft will be over and it will be easy to assess by reviewing the draft to see who made a mistake by coming out too soon from college. Late second-round picks usually don't get guaranteed money and not getting drafted means the player will have a harder time having to earn a spot. So much can change in the next two weeks but two players whose decisions appeared questionable may have been well-advised on their decisions after all. North Carolina's Reggie Bullock has the size and the quick shooting ability to make the transition. In watching him work out, he has solid first-round ability. He still needs to work on his ballhandling but can more than hold his own in a comparable position battle. The same could be true of New Mexico's Tony Snell. Bullock seems to be a lock for the first while Snell is making his case to be chosen late in the first round, too. There will be others who missed and some who surprise even more. But these two look like they made the right call.
2. Former Holy Cross and Seton Hall coach George Blaney retired Thursday at UConn after serving in a top assistant role for Jim Calhoun and then for Kevin Ollie in his first season as a head coach. Blaney was an unheralded person for the Huskies but a key behind the scenes during the rise to a title and then navigating through difficult times. Calhoun's health problems and suspension could have steered the program off course. But Blaney was always there as the sage adviser. Blaney had great command of his team, was well versed on the league and had a competent, realistic grasp on the current team. He was able to calm Calhoun down, offer respected advice and mentor the younger coaches on the staff. He should feel proud that he served the school well.
3. Northwestern coach Chris Collins said as a young head coach he wanted someone with experience to help him out. Hiring his former Glenbrook North High School coach Brian James, a longtime NBA assistant, who had worked with his father Doug, was a mature and intelligent move. Collins has played and coached, as an assistant, in high-pressure moments at Duke. But he had never been in those situations where the onus is on him to make the decision. Having James on his side will be a huge plus. Memphis coach Josh Pastner hired Willis Wilson in this capacity when he first got his job. Not every first-time coach makes the right decisions on a staff. There has to be trust and familiarity to make it work. This one should prove to be smart for Northwestern and Collins.