Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Final Straw, probably not

I saw this blog post on ESPN that Saul Smith, Minnesota assistant coach and son of head coach Tubby Smith, was arrested for DUI. I am not one to jump on a person for making a mistake like getting a DUI. Many people make that error, and pay for it as I'm sure Saul will. What I do jump on people for is making that mistake more than once. This is where Minnesota basketball comes in because kids in this program, and now coaches just can't stay clear of trouble.

I don't know why this team keeps finding trouble. Is this just bad luck? Is Minnesota taking on players with character issues because they can't recruit good players without them? Does there come a time when Tubby just runs out of good will with the community?

Tubby has hardly been a dynamo at Minnesota, but he has 4 20+ win seasons 2 NCAA and 2 NIT tourney appearances in 5 years. That is probably all that will matter.

Of all the great things about Bo Ryan, and all the winning, it was very telling when 2 players got into trouble and were removed. One of which was a highly regarded recruit. I don't know of any other Bo Ryan kids getting into trouble. Maybe UW just has better luck?


  1. I like Tubby Smith. I think he's been a bit snakebitten. But I also think he has no chance to make Minnesota into a consistent winner on par with Wisconsin.

    I'm reminded a little of Bruce Weber's classic rant last year, where he lamented that he had been too focused on winning games. What I took him to mean was that he was compromising his principles—enforcing discipline, hard work, etc.—to short term considerations. And the realization hit him one day that this just doesn't work, usually not even in the short run.

    Obviously this is something Bo Ryan is incapable of doing. He has his principles and he will stick to them. People make mistakes and it usually makes sense to let people fix their mistakes. But playing college basketball is unquestionably a privilege. If you let players think they have a right to playing time, no matter their conduct, your program will fall apart.

    There are a lot of parallels between Tubby and Bruce Smith. Both are obviously good basketball coaches who proved themselves at the mid-major level. Both made deep runs in the NCAA tournament with someone else's recruits. But, in the end, I think that neither of them is cut out to coach big time college basketball. It may seem crazy to say this about Tubby Smith, who won a national championship and went to four Elite Eights at Kentucky, but the proof is in the pudding. Minnesota will never be better than mediocre in the Big Ten as long as he is their coach.

    So, I hope that he stays there forever!

  2. Bruce Weber is a very good comparison. I am not a Tubby hater. He has done a great job at every place he has been. Kentucky is the only place he left for a worse job.
    Minnesota is not exactly a basketball powerhouse. As I pointed out in my post, 4 post season appearances in 5 years is pretty good by Minnesota standards.
    I must agree he will never do what Bo has been able to do at UW.