There is a small eddy current in the flow of collegiate basketball coaches at the moment. Let me hit a few highlights here:
UNLV fired its coach in mid-season last year. On March 27, UNLV hired Chris Beard away from Arkansas-Little Rock.
It took about 2 weeks before the pooh-bahs at UNLV approved Beard’s contract and even then it was a split vote to accept it.
Soon after that vote, Tubby Smith left Texas Tech to take the head coaching job at Memphis.
About a week after the vote to approve Beard’s contract at UNLV, he paid them the “exit fee” (reportedly $1M) to get out of the contract and take the job at Texas Tech.
UNLV then hired Marvin Menzies away from New Mexico State.
New Mexico State is on the clock…
None of this would have been particularly interesting without a comment made by the UNLV Athletic Director, Tina Kunzer-Murphy, as she announced that Menzies would take over the program at UNLV. She said among other things that Menzies “respects the tradition of Runnin’ Rebel basketball.” [Aside: Menzies was an assistant coach at UNLV in the past.]
I do not want to rain on Ms. Kunzer-Murphy’s parade here, but 99% of college basketball coaches respect the tradition of whatever college they are at now only to the degree that they do not get a more lucrative offer elsewhere. This whole round-robin started when Chris Beard disrespected the tradition of Arkansas-Little Rock basketball to jump to UNLV. Then Tubby Smith moved on so that Beard could make a second coaching jump in a couple of weeks. Then Ms. Kunzer-Murphy hired Menzies away from New Mexico State meaning that he showed no respect for Aggie basketball. All of these men had time left on their existing contracts.
Memo to Tina Kunzer-Murphy: ‘Tis the way of the college coaching world. In most cases, schools can only buy loyalty from coaches. And when you “buy loyalty”, it really is not a high grade of “loyalty”.
While on the topic of collegiate athletic directors – sort of – USC picked Lynn Swann to take over the position vacated by Pat Haden recently. This is the third consecutive time that USC has turned to one of its former star football players to run the athletic department. Here is what Dwight Perry had to say about that in the Seattle Times:
“From USC football star to Trojans athletic director: Mike Garrett … Pat Haden … Lynn Swann …
“’So when’s it my turn?’ asked O.J.”
With the NBA regular season mercifully behind us – it began on 27 October 2015, two weeks shy of 6 months ago – the attendance figures for the teams are “in the books”. Here is a link where you can find the numbers for all of the teams if you wish. Here are six highlights that stood out to me:
Nine of the thirty teams played to 100% of capacity – or higher – in their home games for the season.
Thirteen of the thirty teams played to between 90% and 99.7% of capacity in their home games for the season.
The Chicago Bulls had the highest average home attendance (21,820) for the season despite the fact that the Bulls did not make the playoffs.
The “Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour Across America” was a real phenomenon. The Lakers played to the highest percentage of capacity in road games for the season (100.9%)
The Sixers were not dead last in home attendance despite their record of 10-72. Both the Timberwolves and the Nuggets drew fewer fans to home games last year.
The Sixers were not dead last in road attendance either. In fact, six teams drew fewer fans on the road (Celtics, Jazz, Kings, Magic, Raptors, Suns)
I read a report that the NBA “ruled” that a Sudanese/Australian high schooler would be eligible for the NBA Draft this year. The collectively bargained draft eligibility rules for the NBA Draft are that the player must be 19 years old and that he is one-year removed from high school. The player in question here is named Thon Maker; he is 19 years old and the NBA determined that he did in fact graduate from a high school in Ontario in 2015.
Maker is 7’ 1” tall but he only weighs 218 lbs according to a scouting report. He was born in South Sudan but escaped from the civil strife there to Uganda and then Australia. He has been playing basketball for only 5 years but clearly his size makes him a worthy prospect. Given his need to add significant bulk to be able to play inside in the NBA, it is unlikely that he will be an impact player next year. Too bad for him that Sam Hinkie is no longer making draft decisions for the Sixers; Maker would fit perfectly with previous Hinkie selections of center, Nerlens Noel, – injured and had to sit out a year – and center, Joel Embiid – injured and had to sit out two years.
Finally, here is an item from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“LeBron James signs lifetime deal with Nike. Am picturing LeBron, at 75, pushing Nike’s new line of orthopedic bedroom slippers.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………