|Larry Brown's hiring reportedly contributed to the dismissal of SMU AD Steve Orsini. (Getty Images)|
SMU is without an athletic director, USA Basketball could soon be without a coach and Sports Illustrated has a high school hooper on its cover. That should get us through Five for the Weekend.
1. Surprised that SMU fired athletic director Steve Orsini?
Considering I didn't start the week expecting a man who just made a high-profile coaching hire to be terminated, I guess I'll say yes. But it turns out that SMU's controversial marriage with Larry Brown was more of president R. Gerald Turner's doing than Orsini's, according to the Dallas Morning News. The two men allegedly clashed over that and other things in recent months, which makes this move less surprising.
Orsini is a strong personality.
Sometimes that's good.
But it clearly hurt him at SMU.
|Five for the Weekend|
2. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is probably out as Team USA's coach after this summer's London Olympics. Who should replace him?
San Antonio's Gregg Popovich has received a lot of attention, and I couldn't possibly argue against that man's credentials. He's terrific and already in possession of what amounts to an endorsement from LeBron James. And USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo is on record saying "Pop would certainly be a leading candidate if it's going to be a pro coach." So my guess is Popovich, I guess. But what I found interesting about Colangelo's quote is how he suggested there's no guarantee that a pro coach will replace Krzyzewski, meaning it could very well be another college coach.
Kentucky's John Calipari would get some consideration based on his strong ties to Nike and close relationships with James, Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis, among others. Florida's Billy Donovan and Kansas' Bill Self would also make interesting candidates because a large part of the job is managing stars and their egos, and Donovan and Self have coached no shortage of stars. But, that said, I think I'd probably pick Michigan State's Tom Izzo.
Everybody respects Izzo.
And if the Coach K era with USA Basketball has taught us anything it's that the players must trust that their coach knows what he's doing and that he's doing what he's doing for the right reasons, and I believe Izzo would get the benefit of the doubt from the jump. He's as lauded at the college level as Popovich is at the NBA level. So give my vote to Izzo ... although I'm not sure I actually have a vote.
4. Any thoughts on Jabari Parker's Sports Illustrated cover?
I don't think SI did him any favors putting him on the cover while calling him "the best high school basketball player since LeBron James" because nobody I know genuinely thinks Parker is the best high school basketball player since LeBron James. That label probably belongs to Greg Oden or Dwight Howard, both of whom were overwhelming at the prep level. And this is precisely the problem with the cover. Parker is an elite prospect and, by all accounts, a fine young man. But that label SI bestowed upon him transformed a conversation about Parker as a player and person into a debate about whether he's truly what the cover proclaimed, which caused Parker's interesting story to be immediately overshadowed by a label that's at best debatable and at worst complete BS. The kid? He's just caught in the middle of the debate, and that's unfortunate because I'm confident he didn't ask to be projected that way.
5. So is Jabari Parker awesome or not?
Yes, he's awesome. I've watched him play multiple times and believe he'll be a star for one year in college before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, if such is the path he chooses. Kid's legit. And that's why it would be better for everybody if this week's conversation was strictly about Parker's gifts and unique background instead of a debate about how he compares to Oden, Howard and everybody else who has played high school basketball since LeBron.
That SI cover changed the story.
And not in a good way.
But it sure did get everybody talking, didn't it?