Tag Archives: John Wall

More Tournament Thoughts

The last time West Virginia was in the Final Four was 51 years ago.  Jerry  West was on the team then.  Jerry West’s son is on the current team.  I don’t have a calculator in front of me, but I think that means that Jerry West had a son when he was about 51 years old.
Generally, I think coaches get too much credit for their teams’ success (and, often, too much blame for their teams’ failures).   When a coach leads his team to glory, people treat the coach like he’s brilliant.  Even when the coach subsequently winds up coaching teams that are mediocre, or even bad, people rarely question whether that coach is among the best.  Think of Bobby Knight, who achieved some great success at Indiana, but then fell off at Indiana, and couldn’t approach that level of success at Texas Tech.  Or think of Billy Donovan, who caught lightning in a bottle at Florida.  He hasn’t proven that he can win with a different group of players, but few question whether Donovan is an excellent coach.

I’m not sure why it is.  The best reason I can think of is that when we grade coaches, we put some of them in an “elite” group, and, once they are there, we don’t really spend time distinguishing among them the way we distinguish among players.  When people talk about John Wall, Evan Turner, or DeMarcus Cousins, the conversation doesn’t just end by saying that they’re all excellent — the conversation turns into a conversation about who is the best / who should be drafted highest.  The point is even clearer when you think about pros.  People don’t just say that Kobe, LeBron, and D-Wade are really good; they argue about which one is the best.  But, with college coaches, people are generally happy to say that someone is one of the best, and stop there — that elite group generally includes Coach K, Jim Boeheim, Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, Donovan, Ben Howland, Tom Izzo, Jim Calhoun, and maybe Huggins, Calipari, and Bill Self (there might be a few others, but that’s generally the crew).  We don’t usually spend much time arguing about whether Roy Williams is a better coach than Billy Donovan, whether Donovan is better than Pitino, whether Pitino is better than Boeheim, etc.

That’s a long-winded way of hoopserving that coaches are often designated as being awesome, and then they aren’t really critically analyzed after that.  And the only reason I’m making this point is to then make the point that Tom Izzo is a freaking machine.  Six Final Fours in 12 years.  Wow.  Props to Tom Izzo from a guy who thinks coaches are too often overrated (and who is incapable of explaining why in fewer than four paragraphs).


The funniest dude in the tournament was Steven Pearl on Tennessee.  My man was rocking a mohawk.  He averaged 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds per game for the season.  And, what a coincidence… he has the same last name as his coach.

Leave a Comment:

Week In Review

We’re approaching a great time of year for hoops. The NBA is approaching the halfway mark, and conference play is going to start to make college hoops quite exciting.

The major storylines, for those who haven’t been paying attention:


The Lakers and Celtics are scary good. The Nuggets, Mavs, Suns, Magic, Hawks, and Cavs, are very good.

The Nets might be the worst team ever. Yes, ever. Those dudes are 2-26.

The Spurs started badly, but, if the playoffs started today, they’d be in as the #7 seed. That’s one hell of a #7 seed.

Though the East sometimes seems to be catching up with the West, if the playoffs started today, three teams would make the playoffs in the East (Milwaukee, Toronto, Charlotte) with records below .500. Think about that. Three playoff teams with records below .500. An even stranger fact is that the Knicks are only a half-game out of the last playoff spot.


John Wall is a star.

Kansas and Texas are on a collision course. I’ve seen both of them play, and am psyched for that matchup.

The top of the standings has not seen much change, except for a slight drop from Villanova. The top 6 teams seem to be establishing themselves as the top teams, and the bulk of the movement seems to be lower in the polls. I guess that’s how it often goes.

Speaking of the top 6 teams, Syracuse somehow lost Jonny Flynn, Paul Harris, and Eric Devendorf, and got much better.

And speaking of Big East teams, there are 5 in the top 15.

I’m psyched for some hoopserving during the holiday season. Please note, though, that I’ll be hoopserving while on vacation, and won’t be blogging for a few days. I hope you’ll check back next week. In the meantime, if you have hoopservations you want to share, please post them in the comments. Happy Holidays!

Leave a Comment: