DICK'S TIDBITS | Jan. 27, 2004
As a former coach who dealt with recruiting for years, I get tired of hearing how reporters pose questions about a player who haunts a school that didn't recruit him.
Last week media members in Connecticut questioned Jim Calhoun after Providence junior forward Ryan Gomes keyed an upset of the Huskies. Gomes is from Waterbury, Connecticut.
After answering questions about Gomes several times leading up to the game, Calhoun was angered by the same thing being asked after the loss.
How can someone blame Calhoun for not recruiting Gomes when he had Caron Butler and Emeka Okafor recruited and signed already? With only 13 scholarships available, you simply can't get every single player out there.
At the moment Calhoun saw Gomes, he did not see the finished product. He had what he felt were better players lined up.
Gomes ended up in the perfect environment at Providence. He was able to develop and improve to the point where he is not only one of the premier players in the Big East but also a legitimate All-America candidate.
Connecticut has done fine with the players it has recruited. Calhoun doesn't have to apologize to anyone for his success with the Huskies. People should get off of his back regarding the Gomes situation.
Not every kid out there who succeeds on the college hardwood was a McDonald's All-America. Hard work and effort pay off, as they have for Gomes. It's wrong to criticize Calhoun for that.
The bottom line is that fans should enjoy watching Gomes and Providence. I really believe the Friars are a legitimate team -- they would be 16-1 if they hadn't lost last-second decisions against Texas and Rutgers. Coach Tim Welsh's team can be dangerous come NCAA Tournament time.
SUTTON FOR HALL
Isn't it time for Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton to get some consideration for the Hall of Fame?
He has more than 700 career wins and he's one of 11 men to take two different schools to the Final Four (Oklahoma State and Arkansas; Lute Olson and Frank McGuire are Hall of Famers in that group).
Sutton is in the rare group of coaches to take four different schools to the NCAA Tournament (along with Jim Harrick and Lefty Driesell). He's enjoying another fine season at Oklahoma State.
His name merits consideration for the great honor of the Hall of Fame.
COACH K HANDLES TRIP WELL
I love the way that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski handled his team's recent trip to Maryland and Georgetown.
Coach K used it like a dress rehearsal for the NCAA Tournament, keeping the team in the D.C. area including the Wednesday win over Maryland through Saturday's big W over Georgetown.
There was added motivation in preparing for these games.
CAROLINA-NC STATE RIVALRY RENEWAL
Whenever North Carolina and NC State hook up on Tobacco Road, it's a classic confrontation.
Right now, Wednesday's showdown (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET) may be more important for North Carolina. Coach Roy Williams' Tar Heels have already lost three of their five league tilts. NC State is an impressive 4-1 in ACC play.
Junior guard Julius Hodge looks to bounce back after another struggle against Georgia Tech, a program that has always had his number. Hodge missed all six of his field-goal attempts, but the Wolfpack still escaped with a W last weekend.
The Tar Heels can't afford another home loss and must toughen up their defense.
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