Blog Entry

Well done, Lute Olson

Posted on: April 1, 2008 6:57 pm

Kevin O'Neill had to go at Arizona, but frankly I'm surprised Lute Olson had the wherewithal to know it -- and the stones to do it.

O'Neill, who joined Olson's staff before this past season and then replaced him on an interim basis, has been ripping Olson behind his back. Just crushing him. How do I know this? Because I've talked to several people -- not one; several -- who were on the receiving end of O'Neill's rants against Olson. O'Neill isn't as smart as he thinks if he thought his hammerings of Olson weren't going to come out. Good grief, Kevin. This stuff always comes out.

O'Neill wasn't just the Wildcats' interim coach. He was their next coach, or at least, he thought he was. Arizona made him that verbal promise months ago, and O'Neill accepted it. Last week when Olson announced he was returning to the team for the 2008-09 season, O'Neill said he would be back at Olson's side.

Apparently not. Olson seems to have fired O'Neill, and let me tell you, the pink slip was deserved. This is a bad guy, OK? Kevin O'Neill is simply not a good dude, and Olson -- whose program has been crushed by other bad dudes masquerading as players -- was able to sniff this one out. Good for you, Lute Olson.

Shame on you, Kevin O'Neill.

Go back to the NBA, you back-stabbing leach. You don't deserve to work in college basketball ever again.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: April 2, 2008 9:56 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

Good job Lute,Kevin O'Neil was the same person at Arizona that he was at Marquette. You saved yourselves a major headache ,imho


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2008 6:58 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

Okay he has an axe to grind and all, but Lute is throwing O'Neil under the bus.  The roster was depleted this year, and given O'Neil took over a month into the season(!), I still say he did a great job. 

How many other ASSISTANTS could take over a team one month into the season, starting 1 senior, 3 sophs and 1freshman, with basically no bench,  to a 19-14 record and into the dance, all the while installing both a defense and offense on the run during the season?

Not many.


Oh that's rich! Good laugh. I watched every AZ game this season and Kevin O'neill didn't do anything approaching a good job.  You obviously don't know jack about this basketball program. Any other coach in the PAC-10 (inculding the two that got fired) would have coached this team to 22-24 wins at least. O'niell was outcoached every game this season.  O'neill had a bench, he just chose not to use them. Case in point: O'niell pulled Zane Johnson out of his redshirt year, telling him, his parent's, and the media that the kid would play about ten minutes a game. Johnson only got 10 minutes in one game and barely saw the court the rest of the year. KO IS a bad guy and a bad coach. Thanks for firing him Lute. I just wonder wtf you were thinking when you hired this scumbag in the first place.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2008 6:25 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

Thank you for bringing up what an a-hole O'Neill is.  I was told he was back when he was a UofA assistant in the late 80's too, so apparently he hasn't changed much.  Just older with a larger ego.

Anyone dissing on Lute's divorce is missing the real reason for Lute's absence... his health.   You could see the guy was having issues at the end of his last season... you could watch his body trembling as he screamed at referees.   If you saw the press conference yesterday, you can see that he's aged tremendously since the last time we saw him (it had been over a year for me).  Granted, he's old(er).   But there were whispers about his health two seasons ago and he denied all of them.  Then after his leave he definitively stated it was NOT because of his health, only his personal issues.  Then, when he decided to return, it was stated he was over his medical issues.  I guess some were explained as anxiety or something, but who really knows?   I think he was trying to hide his health issues, then decided he didn't want to hide anything from his players.  

Regardless, he looked older and weaker yesterday... although he obviously still hates the press with a passion.  He hasn't lost his anger, that's for sure.  Now to continue translating that into basketball success.   I hope Lute's return means both Budinger and Bayless will be here when Jennings comes in as the latest superstar freshman this next fall.   Welcome back, Lute!!

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: April 2, 2008 4:47 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

Learning that O'Neill was disparaging Lute makes the situation a lot clearer. I kept seeing KO say the right things when the cameras were around and wondering where all the division was coming from. This explains a lot.

I'm not surprised, though, that Lute pulled the trigger. He's a stand-up guy who cares deeply about this program and the players. He built it from nothing and could have left for the Kentucky opening years ago. Instead he stayed in Tucson, where his grandchildren live too. There's no way he would let some backstabber take over like that. 

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: April 2, 2008 4:18 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

First of all, since it's written, it would be libel, not slander.

Second of all, it's "innuendos" not "innuendo's" unless you are trying to imply -- you know what, no.  There is no unless.

Third of all, it's not an 'article.'  It is a blog post.  Meaning it can be about any subject the author chooses, with or without unsubstantiated facts.  Would it be nice for us readers to get some more details?  Sure.  Does he required to provide that in his blog?  No.

Personally, I'm glad to see O'Neill go.  As a fan of the PAC-10 (though more specifically, of my alma mater, UCLA), it was disappointing to see one of our 'powerhouses' do so poorly this year, both in the regular season and in the Big Dance.  I don't really know or care if Olson is that great a guy himself, but regardless, he built a great basketball legacy and to have that tarnished by someone else during a leave of absence -- intentionally or not -- is a travesty.  Olson's obviously done something right all these years and I'm rooting for him to bring Arizona back to its former glory.  It's nice to see multiple PAC-10 teams in the top 25, and regular season games are just more fun to watch when you're playing against well-coached opponents -- and it means more, too.

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: April 2, 2008 4:03 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

As a Tucson Arizona Basketball Fan, I appreciate your insight into Kevin O'Neil's character. O'Neil has been publicly bashing the quality of the basketball players on the Arizona bench all season. I think it was to cover for his keeping the starters in for almost the entire game. Unfortunately, he ran the starters into the ground especially with his rigid man to man defense and his set plays that had the starters running in continuous circles for the entire time on offense. It's no wonder that the starters were so tired by the end of every game that they could barely play. I think the starters were suffering from season fatigue by the end of the year so that they looked pretty ragged and slow for most of the games at the end of the season. Knowing that they were not going to get any relief during a game had to force the starters to pace themselves. They also had to play cautiously since they knew that O'Neil didn't want to use the bench.

What is strange about O'Neil's strategy is that several of these players on the bench had started many games some even under O'Neil. Some would start in one or two games and then not even get on the floor for several games in a row. O'Neil never indicated how he decided who would start or how much time a bench player might get, but playing someone off the bench for one minute or sometimes two minutes did not seem like a reasonable strategy. O'Neil admitted that he used instinct to decide who played, but he said it was based on some obscure "matchup" scheme. He rarely played his biggest player, Walters, even though Walters, now a Senior, had been a starter under Lute before going out with Mononucleosis and a concussion. Arizona played several teams with talented big men and O'Neil used an overmatched, undersized player against them while leaving Walters on the bench.

I believe that several of the players on Arizona's Bench (many who had started under Lute and even O'Neil) could have started for many of the teams that were in the Tournament this year. So to constantly disparage the Arizona Bench seemed strange to say the least.

Many of the Fans of Arizona Basketball feel that Arizona underachieved under O'Neil especially considering that this years's team included two solid first round NBA picks, Bayless and Budinger, and a likely future first round pick in Hill as well as McClellan, a Macdonald's All American selection and a guy who would have been a first round draft pick if he didn't get injured for much of his time at Arizona. The fifth guy on the team was Nic Wise, who was Mr Basketball in his home state when he left high school and who could also wind up in the NBA is spite of his size. Wise may actually be the best game three point shooter on this team.

If Lute succeeds in keeping most of the team together next season, along with the incoming group (rated as the number 7 recruiting class in the country) the Arizona Team should be a contender. The proof will be in the pudding. O'Neil had to leave for there to be any chance of keeping most of the team together. That's why Olson had to announce that he was coming back when he did.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2008 2:43 pm

Another perspective ....

Okay he has an axe to grind and all, but Lute is throwing O'Neil under the bus.  The roster was depleted this year, and given O'Neil took over a month into the season(!), I still say he did a great job. 

How many other ASSISTANTS could take over a team one month into the season, starting 1 senior, 3 sophs and 1freshman, with basically no bench,  to a 19-14 record and into the dance, all the while installing both a defense and offense on the run during the season?

Not many.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2008 12:47 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

Slander? Anyone involved in the program HATES O"Neill and could not stand him. Doyel hit this one on the head without a doubt.  Although revealing sources might have helped, O'Neill has been such a complete mess all year I really don't need "sources close to the program" to tell me what a piece of *&^$ this guy is.

Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: April 2, 2008 12:05 pm


This article is complete, unsubstantiated slander.  It is so harmful to O'Neill's career that these vague innuendo's should be backed up with substantial references.  If Doyel cannot do so, then he should be fired for this article.  This is not journalism; it's just mean slander.

Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: April 2, 2008 12:02 pm

Well done, Lute Olson

Absolutely agree.  The whole article seems made up, and is such a serious slander and so harmful to O'Neill's career that such statements should be backed up.  Doyel should be fired for this article.

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