College Basketball Nation: Eddie Sutton

Oregon plans to unleash 40 minutes of hell

October, 20, 2011
Oregon coach Dana Altman managed to turn a makeshift Ducks roster in his first season into a team of CBI champions, and now he's apparently feeling comfortable enough with this current group to play his preferred style of defense, according to The Register Guard.
The Ducks lost Malcolm Armstead, who led the Ducks and set a UO record with 89 steals, but a more aggressive overall approach in man-to-man defense, and an increase in full-court pressure, could more than offset the steals that went with Armstead’s transfer to Wichita State.

"We'd like to press the whole game," Altman said.

"Last year, we were in a soft press most of the time."

Altman's emphasis on the fullcourt press speaks to the athleticism and depth that he believes the team now has, so that's a good sign for Ducks fans looking for the team to make a move up in the Pac-12.

To get an idea of what this Altman defense might look like, go back to his statements the last time he planned to install the defense at a new school. At that awkward press conference at Arkansas where just hours later he would decide the job wasn't for him and return to Creighton, here's what Altman had to say about defense:
Altman said he was excited to follow in the footsteps of Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson. Sutton, also a former Creighton coach, took Arkansas to the Final Four in 1978. Richardson's teams reached the Final Four in 1990, 1994 and 1995 and won the national title in 1994 with a style of play dubbed "40 Minutes of Hell."

The soft-spoken Altman described himself as "boring" -- but he was only talking about his personality.

"We press 40 minutes a game," he said. "It's not quite the old Nolan press. We change it up a little bit. We'll back it up to three-quarter and we trap in different spots. But we do press all the time."

Oregon players and the rest of the Pac-12 had better be ready. The Ducks are going to press, so opponents will have to be careful not to get lost in the trees on the court at Matthew Knight Arena.

Altman's going to be introducing his aggressive defense once again.

Who is college basketball's tough guy?

April, 22, 2011
College basketball has a new award, and this one bears the name of former coach and 804-game winner Eddie Sutton. This award is unique in that it honors the national player of the year who played most like a warrior.

The Eddie Sutton Tustenugee Award honors the tenacity of unselfish play that Sutton demanded. The word "tustenugee," means "warrior" in the language of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

The finalists for the award -- Arizona's Derrick Williams, Butler's Matt Howard, Cal's Jorge Gutierrez, Duke's Kyle Singler, Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor -- represent those ideals. Maybe you've seen Williams playing with a cast over a broken pinkie or Howard with his face bloodied. Gutierrez pestered opponents on both ends of the floor. Singler was last seen getting a floor burn in the NCAA tournament. Taylor willed his team to a win that toppled top-ranked, and at the time previously unbeaten, Ohio State.

"The idea behind this award to to reward both tangible and intangible qualities that help teams win games," said ESPN's Doug Gottlieb, who played for Sutton at Oklahoma State. "Eddie Sutton's coaching style demanded toughness and team play at both ends, so too will this award. In many ways all of these finalists are great players for their teams due to their all around efforts at both ends of the floor."

The winner will be named May 7 in Tulsa.

"I remember growing up watching Coach Sutton's teams and admiring how hard they played and the success they had at Oklahoma State," Taylor said in a statement. "I'm honored to be recognized as a finalist for this award."

Eddie Sutton brings courtroom drama

May, 18, 2010
Retired coach Eddie Sutton testified for a former assistant coach who is suing the University of Minnesota and Golden Gophers coach Tubby Smith, creating quite a courtroom scene.

Jimmy Williams filed the lawsuit after he quit his job at Oklahoma State so he could join Smith's staff, only to be ultimately denied the position because of athletic director Joel Maturi's concerns about previous NCAA violations.

According to the Star Tribune, Smith watched as Sutton, who has 804 career wins, gave testimony that it is common practice in college basketball for head coaches to have the power to name their assistants rather than athletic directors.

Under cross-examination, university lawyer Brian Slovut went to work on the 74-year-old Sutton and raised a subject matter that angered the coaching legend and one that Smith should know a thing or two about -- Kentucky.

Sutton resigned as Kentucky's coach in 1989 while the NCAA was investigating the program and didn't appreciate it all being brought up in court.
Of the Kentucky investigation, Sutton said he was cleared completely. Slovut noted that one of his Wildcats assistants was not. Sutton conceded that he was in charge, but said angrily: "We thought that program was as clean as Kentucky would ever be. They [NCAA investigators] were after Kentucky. They laid traps."

Slovut at one point even offered Sutton a copy of the NCAA report, and Sutton bristled.
Sutton said he didn't want it because he had already read it many times.

He later apologized to the courtroom and asked Slovut for a copy of the NCAA report about his tenure with the Wildcats.

"If you have an extra copy of it, I'd like to have it if I write a book," Sutton said.

Pregame nuggets

December, 19, 2009
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few notes before Carolina and Texas tip off here at Cowboys Stadium:

George W. Bush is expected to be in attendance today, which explains the tight security outside.

Eddie Sutton is in a courtside seat.

Roy Williams is sporting a new Carolina blue sleeve on his sling. I'm told that designer and Chapel Hill guy Alexander Julian made it for him. Julian also designed the UNC uniforms.