9 things and 1 crazy prediction
Kirk Bohls, Commentary
Austin American Statesman
- If Texas Tech hasn’t already done it, the school should hire Billy Gillispie immediately before Arkansas or another school does it first. The Red Raiders might worry about his personal baggage, but they should insist he sign an ironclad contract that could terminate him for cause without pay and make him agree to a huge buyout if he gets wanderlust. There isn’t a coach who will put fannies in the seats. Bobby Knight didn’t after a while, but Gillispie is a terrific recruiter and better X’s and O’s coach.
- Betting Texas’ women will make the NCAA tournament, but the team might do better if it went to the WNIT and got valuable practice and playing time for young freshmen like Tiffany Moore, Chelsea Bass, Anne Marie Hartung and Chassidy Fussell than get an at-large NCAA berth and lose quickly. Gail Goestenkors has never had that do-it-all, true point guard but will have one next season in 5-6 recruit Cassie Peoples in her best recruiting class, led by Pflugerville’s strong, athletic Nneka Enemkpali. It’ll be a make-or-break year for Gail.
That said, it should be pointed out that Texas A&M’s Gary Blair has one Big 12 title in eight years and didn’t really break through to the high level the Aggies are at now until reaching the Elite Eight in his fifth year. And he had reams of Texas experience as a former Dallas South Oak Cliff coach and a stint at Stephen F. Austin for nine years. Baylor’s Kim Mulkey won a national title in her fifth year but found momentum in a WNIT final in her third year and an NCAA regional berth the following season.
Goestenkors had no Texas experience and was advised incorrectly to completely clean staff when she took over. She desperately needed a Texas-centric coach, say, like former Jody Conradt assistant Travis Mays.
- Shouldn’t the NCAA come down hard on Jim Tressel and make his suspension as long as the Buckeye players who sold their jerseys and Ohio State memorabilia for tattoos? It’s high time the NCAA treat rules-breaking coaches with the same punishment it does its athletes. Tressel should sit for an entire season. And school president Gordon Gee should have been reprimanded big-time when he cracked that he hoped Tressel wouldn’t fire him.
- Highly respected officials Jim Burr and Tim Higgins, who are two of the very best in the nation, did the right thing in voluntarily withdrawing from the rest of the Big East tournament after they botched the end of the Rutgers-St. John’s game. That’s accountability, folks.
- Have to agree with Bill Self when the Kansas coach told me the winning record of next year’s Big 12 regular-season champion “is going to be the worst ever” because of the double round-robin play in which every team plays every other one twice. “A 13-5 record might win the league.”
- I can appreciate Jalen Rose’s candor, but strongly disagree with his opinion that Duke recruits only “black players that were Uncle Toms.” I don’t think Mike Krzyzewski will apologize. After all, his Blue Devils players, black or white, haven’t had championships or wins vacated and don’t have their hands out, say, like the Fab Five, some of whom received, uh, loans from a Michigan booster.
It’s totally wrong to impugn Duke’s black players just because they’re not all from inner-city neighborhoods and/or impoverished backgrounds. To use a phrase the Fab Five can appreciate, I’d send Rose to “time out.”
- Hearing good things out of Texas spring football about wide receiver John Harris, running back Jeremy Hills and defensive tackles Ashton Dorsey and Taylor Bible. Also, I hear whispers that redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Wood is leading the battle at his position, but no announcement will come until August. Hear Mack Brown read his upperclassmen the riot act and told them to step up their game or leave. Good for Mack.
- Bob Stoops couldn’t help but gig Bedlam brethren Oklahoma State for claiming a half, rather a third, of last year’s Big 12 South Division crown and even wearing rings stating such when the Oklahoma football coach pointed out to the media the Sooners’ newest championship banner. Not exactly a limited edition of those banners at OUland. Stoops is Mr. Big 12.
- Just wondering if Connecticut might be worn out after winning five games in five days. There’s a fine line between being hot and being worn out.
- One crazy prediction: The Houston Rockets will pick up either Deron Williams or Chris Paul in the offseason and become relevant again.