Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Coaching search tidbits

Monday February 9, 2009

First read pwd’s take on why we’d rather certain basketball programs do well down the stretch. That’s exactly right. It’s just like competing for an at-large tournament spot. If you’re a bubble team, you want the favorites to win their conference tournaments. Otherwise they get knocked down to at-large status and take a bid that could have been yours. Similarly we want to avoid as many high-profile coaching vacancies after this season as we can because that’s our competition for available coaches. Who we get depends on who would even consider the Georgia job, and that pool shrinks if there are openings at places like Maryland or Arizona.

Meanwhile it wasn’t the best week for many of the prospective candidates.

Anthony Grant’s VCU team lost a key midweek conference game to UNC-Wilmington. VCU is 10-3 in conference and 17-7 overall.

Sean Miller’s Xavier team rose into the Top 10 but were upset by Duquesne last week.

Lon Kruger’s UNLV team have lost their past two games by a combined four points. They’ve dropped from 5-2 in conference to 5-4.

Even Oliver Purnell, whose Clemson team beat the daylights out of Duke last week, couldn’t avoid the upset bug. Clemson blew a 19-point lead at home and lost to FSU.

But Jeff Capel and Oklahoma are riding an 11-game winning streak and are 23-1 overall. Speaking of Capel, the Oklahoman has a look at what is attractive about the Oklahoma job and what might drive a successful coach away. Naturally it’s written from the Oklahoma perspective, but the things that make Oklahoma a great job could so easily apply to Georgia. Of course Georgia has nowhere near the basketball tradition of Oklahoma as a program; that’s not my point. Just consider these lines:

When you’re in a league like we’re in… It’s not the strongest year for the SEC, but it’s usually at least on par with the Big 12. …when you have the resources like we have… Georgia doesn’t lack for resources, and it’s shown the willingness recently to invest in hoops. …an athletic director and athletic department like we have… Again, Damon Evans is saying all the right things about supporting basketball, and the athletic department is positioned to make the necessary investments.

Lloyd Noble Center isn’t a basketball cathedral and can’t be turned into one in these economic times, but it’s still not a bad place to watch a ball game. And OU’s practice facility is state of the art. Ditto Georgia. Stegeman isn’t the new UVA arena, but the improvements to the seating area have made it a good place to watch a game. And I’d put UGA’s new practice facility up against any in the nation.

Capel sits in fertile recruiting territory. Not many areas produce basketball talent on a year to year basis than Georgia.

Big-time football means big-time money for resources, facilities, even contracts. Yep. We know.

Again, I don’t claim that Georgia is on par with Oklahoma right now. It is still, to some extent, “career roulette.” We have to admit that. We don’t have nearly the tradition of success on which to stand. But I couldn’t help reading those points that were compelling evidence to keep Capel in Norman and realize how, almost point for point, how they apply to Georgia. We’re in a strong league, in fertile recruiting territory, and we have an athletic department squarely in the black that sounds as if it is willing to commit to a successful basketball program. When people talk about lofty expectations for the Georgia program, those are the reasons why we think Georgia could, under the right circumstances, become every bit the program that Oklahoma is. It’s also why we might get a coach like Capel of the #2 team in the nation to at least listen.

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