Posted on: April 19, 2008 10:58 am
Edited on: April 19, 2008 11:01 am
Proof that Derek Kellogg is likely to land the UMass job came Friday when Tony Barbee withdrew from consideration.
On the surface, Barbee's withdrawal makes no sense.
Barbee is a UMass graduate and man who has been successful recruiting the New England area. So the former Memphis assistant and current UTEP head coach was an obvious candidate to replace Travis Ford, particularly when considering Barbee was a finalist for the job when Ford was hired three years ago.
But Barbee withdrew Friday before the process even really got started.
Why, you ask?
Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com it wasn't as much about Barbee not being interested as it was about Barbee being told he probably shouldn't be interested any longer by his former boss John Calipari. In other words, the sources said Calipari strongly suggested -- which is a nice way of writing "pretty much demanded" -- Barbee get out of the way of Kellogg, a Memphis assistant who, like Barbee, is a former player at UMass under Calipari.
So why does this suggest Kellogg is the UMass frontrunner?
Because it seems out of character for Calipari to run the risk if upsetting a former player and assistant like Barbee by preventing him from landing a job at his alma mater -- for more money, it's worth noting -- unless Calipari had some sort of assurance from the UMass administration that Kellogg is very much in play. There is no other way to view this. Which is why it was no surprise that Kellogg spent Friday interviewing with UMass officials within hours of Barbee publicly withdrawing, and why it'll be less of a surprise if he is named Ford's replacement at UMass early next week.
Posted on: April 18, 2008 2:43 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2008 6:42 pm
None of the North Carolina stars seem ready to make a decision about their future.
Thus, we wait.
But for those keeping count, there are now really just four schools whose national title hopes hinge on a yet-to-be-made decision by an underclassman. They are North Carolina (Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough), Texas (D.J. Augustin), Connecticut (Hasheem Thabeet) and Tennessee (Tyler Smith). If things were to break correctly for those teams -- which is to say, if their players return for another season -- any of them would be a legitimate national title contender. If not -- which is to say, if their players enter the NBA Draft -- any of them would be damaged considerably.
So how will it play out?
Any guess is a reasonable guess on Lawson, Ellington and Hansbrough. They could all go, all stay or some combination of the three could go or stay, meaning there is no simple answer with the Tar Heels. It's likely nobody will know anything until next week. But if they all happen to return, you can go ahead and slot UNC as the preseason No. 1 in every relevant poll.
Moving on, it seems the smart money has Augustin and Thabeet entering with Augustin the most likely of that duo to return (though most believe he's absolutely leaning towards at least testing the waters). And if I had to pick one player from this entire list who I think will return it would be Smith, a 6-foot-7 forward who seems to get pushed down the board every time some other underclassman declares. Smith is aware of this, I'm told. So don't be surprised if he opts for another season at Tennessee, where he could team with McDonald's All-American Scotty Hopson to make the Vols the SEC favorites for the second straight year.
The deadline to enter the draft is April 27.
Posted on: April 17, 2008 2:20 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2008 2:33 pm
Turns out there might be a good reason for Derrick Rose not holding a press conference to announce his NBA plans.
You know, besides the whole he's-really-shy thing.
Which is not to suggest Rose isn't really shy, because he is really shy. Anybody who has ever seen the freshman basketball star in front of a camera knows that to be true. But multiple sources close to the Memphis basketball and football programs have told CBSSports.com that Rose was recently involved in an altercation over a girl with Tiger football player Steven Black, an altercation that -- how to phrase this? -- didn't go so well for Rose. Put another way, the possible No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft spent the early part of this week looking like a person who had just been in a scrap, making the way he announced his future plans -- through a release distributed by the Memphis Sports Information department -- convenient, if not necessary.
That's the bad news.
Here's the good news (in bullet points):
Posted on: April 17, 2008 12:33 am
Edited on: April 17, 2008 12:39 am
UMass athletic director Jack McCutcheon told The Republican newspaper Wednesday that head coaching experience would be looked upon "favorably" as he searches for Travis Ford's replacement. If that's true, John Calipari might be able to avoid the unenviable task of trying to aid one of his former players in pursuit of the opening without angering the other.
Here's the deal: Tony Barbee and Derek Kellogg both played at UMass under Calipari and are two men who would like to return to their alma mater under the right circumstances. In other words, they are friends and former colleagues (they both worked on the same staff at Memphis from 2000-2006) now interested in the same job, which puts Calipari in a tough spot because it's reasonable to assume he will be heavily involved in assisting the school he led to the 1996 Final Four.
So what should Calipari do?
Push for Barbee, one of his closest friends in the business?
Or push for Kellogg, one of his closest friends in the business?
There is no good answer, obviously, but McCutcheon might've given Calipari an out. If head coaching experience is a prerequisite or even a strongly desired attribute, Calipari can fairly push Barbee because he has been UTEP's head coach the past two seasons while Kellogg just finished his eighth year as a Memphis assistant. So that could be Calipari's rationale, the deciding factor he uses based upon the idea that it is already the deciding factor McCutcheon plans to use.
Of course there are other viable candidates with previous head coaching experience -- like Tom Herrion (former Charleston head coach/current Pitt assistant), Kevin Willard (Iona head coach), Fran McCaffrey (Siena head coach), Tim O'Shea (Ohio head coach) and Tom Moore (Quinnipiac head coach). But before Calipari can push his preferred candidate against any of those candidates he has to decide who his preferred candidate will be, and the good news for the Memphis coach is that McCutcheon might've aleady done it for him.
Posted on: April 16, 2008 11:42 am
Edited on: April 16, 2008 11:48 am
Somebody just emailed a recent story from the LSU campus newspaper, a story that seemed funny enough to pass along.
OK, the story's not that funny.
It's just a story.
But the headline is classic -- not to mention proof that some LSU editor has a sense of humor.
I won't ruin it for you.
Just click this link and take a look at how the LSU campus paper reported the school's hiring of Stanford's Trent Johnson.
Then read it in your best Beavis and Butthead voice.
Posted on: April 15, 2008 11:47 pm
It's nice to see Rob Senderoff get another job after last year's forced resignation at Indiana.
Which is not to suggest he was previously wronged in any way.
He cheated and got caught and paid a price.
There's no denying that.
But it was always pretty clear Senderoff was sacrificed by Indiana in attempt to keep Kelvin Sampson and the rest of the Hoosiers staff in place, always pretty clear Senderoff was the fall guy set up to take responsibility for everybody's sins. Obviously, it didn't work out that way; Sampson's rules violations and alleged lies about those violations led to his demise, too. But Senderoff was never any worse than the man Indiana allowed to continue coaching long after Senderoff was moved out, and knowing what I know about college basketball I feel reasonably safe telling you I believe Senderoff was probably just following orders from his boss to some degree when he facilitated those inappropriate three-way calls that led to Indiana's most-embarrassing moment, because that's what assistants do; they follow orders.
So good for Rob Senderoff for bouncing back.
And good for Kent State for giving him the opportunity.
(But it still probably wouldn't be a bad idea to monitor that cell phone, you know, just in case.)
Posted on: April 15, 2008 1:42 pm
Providence's hiring of Keno Davis means there are now just two BCS-affiliated jobs open.
1. Oklahoma State
Put another way, the coaching carousel is nearing a stop, and the two schools' athletic directors -- OSU's Mike Holder and Stanford's Bob Bowlsby -- are under a tremendous amount of pressure to make a great hire, though for completely different reasons.
Holder has to make a nice hire because he opted to remove Sean Sutton, a controversial move given how it came after just two seasons and alienated the school from the Sutton family. It's one thing to do that to get Bill Self, quite another to do it just to do it. Meantime, Bowlsby is in a tougher spot. By any measuring stick he completely misjudged his situation with Trent Johnson, let the coach's contract dwindle to one year and -- for lack of a better phrase -- pissed off Johnson to the point where he felt obligated to accept an offer from LSU. How that happens to a man who just made three NCAA tournaments in four years, I'll never know. But it happened to Johnson, and if Bowlsby can't find a suitable replacement he'll be forever ridiculed for running off a good coach and failing to find another.
Either way, college basketball is getting close to calming down.
That's my favorite part.
With any luck, everything will be done by the end of the week, if not sooner.
Posted on: April 14, 2008 7:03 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2008 7:05 pm
Michael Beasley didn't use college.
College used him.
That's the one thing I'd like to make clear in light of Beasley's announcement that he will enter the NBA Draft, because the emails have already started coming, one after another. People are trying to explain to me why Beasley never belonged in college, why it's all just a big joke, why the word student-athlete should never apply. And I agree with those people. But what you must remember about all this is that Beasley never wanted or needed college, and the only reason he was at Kansas State was because the establishment created a rule that forced him there.
Put another way, this is not Beasley's fault.
He's just playing the game somebody else created.
So don't hate on the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year for doing what he had to do to get to where he has long been headed. The NBA forbade Beasley from entering the draft out of high school and in turn forced him into a position that admittedly makes a mockery of our institutions of higher learning. But make no mistake, the blame lies with the NBA, not with Beasley, because he never wanted or needed college as much as college wanted and needed him.