Thursday, April 02, 2009
Not an April Fools Joke
Leave it to the man who hired John Mackovic to keep 'em guessing. The amount of people who even mentioned the words Tim Floyd as a candidate for the Arizona job was none. Unless they were hiding behind the woodshed.
Today, a new chapter in Arizona basketball was written. Tim Floyd will reportedly be hired as the next coach of Arizona after meeting with athletic director Jim Livengood.
This comes as a surprise. Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Mark Few, Jamie Dixon, Lon Kruger, Jeff Capel, Reggie Theus all mentioned, none hired. Even Russ Pennell would have been less shocking.
Which is not to say that this was a bad hire. Just kind of ironic it came on April Fools Day. A Pac-10 coach leaving a program he rebuilt to join another Pac-10 program he will have to rebuild? Head coaches don't leave to coach another program within the same conference. It just doesn't happen.
The good thing about Tim Floyd is that he wins. He led USC, Iowa State, and New Orleans to the NCAA Tournament.
The bad thing is that no one is exactly sold that Floyd is doing things the right way. There's the curios case of OJ Mayo and what (if any) involvement Floyd had in that fiasco. There's Daniel Hackett and his dad Rudy who reportedly were a package deal (Floyd denies this). There's the recruitment of Dwayne Polee Jr. who committed before he ever played a high school game.
So if you're willing to have a few scandals but win on a consistent basis then Floyd is the right man for you. Interestingly enough, the Trojans had a similar season to Arizona this year. Like the Wildcats, the Trojans underachieved, and then made a run in the tournament. In the case of USC, it was the Pac-10 tournament and the NCAA Tournament, where USC upset Boston College.
Floyd has had enough recruiting coups in the last several years (Mayo, Demar Derozan, Renardo Sidney) to establish himself as one of the premier recruiters in the country. That's a good thing. Does it matter to you how he's getting these players? Do you think John Calipari has World Wide Wes hanging around but is Mr. Clean?
The buzz in Wildcat country, similarly to the talk in the Bluegrass State, surrounds the notion that a new coach's recruits will follow him to his new place of business. While getting Renardo Sidney, Dwayne Polee, or Solomon Hill (originally committed to Arizona) would be nice, I doubt that it will happen.
So Floyd will have to rebuild the same way he has at his other non-NBA stops. Defense. And isn't that refreshing? Wildcat fans have been clamoring for defense for a while now and Floyd will surely change the philosophy upon arrival.
I'm still not sure what to think. It was a good hire, but not great. Floyd is a very good college coach, but perhaps it's not the sexy hire everyone wanted. Hiring another Pac-10 coach was certainly unexpected and still needs some digesting.
I can't help but wonder who else would have taken the job. I doubt Pitino or Izzo, but would Mark Few or Jamie Dixon be better choices. Will one of those coaches take the USC job. If Floyd struggles, we will revisit those questions in the near future.
I'm puzzled by how this came to fruition and I'm curious as to how Floyd's personality fits as the new face of Arizona basketball. I'm still having a hard time picturing Floyd roaming the Arizona sideline, but I think I'm ready to start getting used to it.
Tim Floyd, the head coach of Arizona. It's gotta a ring to it.