My story in tomorrow's Star Tribune about today's news and recapping the week that was.
My Sunday centerpiece: Mid-major coaches (like Smart, Stevens, Gregg Marshall) are finding fewer reasons to leave.
I wouldn’t believe this could be true – knowing how long these things can last – but after five days the early panic has practically reached a fever pitch around Minnesota.
The fact is, a lot of the leaks that have come out – the Gophers offering Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens and Fred Hoiberg, for example – have been a lot of hearsay. We don’t really know all (or much, even) of what’s going on, mostly because the ‘U’ has done such a good job locking down everyone involved.
That makes things difficult for me, of course, and perhaps frustrating for all of you. But really: five days is no time at all in many coaching searches.
The mood, however, did not lighten any today when ESPN’s Andy Katz reported that Flip Saunders – long a fan-favorite in this thing – had declined the Gophers’ offer.
So who -- people spoke loudly to me on Twitter -- is left???
Well, um, lots of people.
Here are the facts, Gopher Nation:
- a) Minnesota has REPORTEDLY gone after four candidates so far.
- b) Three of those candidates were never on the “likely” list. Say whatever you want: they weren’t. If Indiana, UCLA, Arizona, etc. can’t lure the likes of Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart and Fred Hoiberg – well, Minnesota has a tough challenge. There is nothing wrong with making phone calls – hey, why not try – but to say that no one is left because those three have said no is like claiming that Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson and Kate Upton all refused you and so you’ll be alone forever. There is life beyond the unattainable.
- c) This administration is one of the most respected and connected there is in college basketball. I’ve spoken to a lot ofdifferent coaches on this. “Villa 7” is a term that rings loud and impressively around the country. They know people.
Look – fanhood is not a logical thing, certainly. All I’m saying is, this is not the time to panic.
On the surface, having four names connected to this search without any results is embarrassing. But that’s how these things work. Keep it all in perspective.
Who do the Gophers go to next? I say Buzz Williams. More on that tomorrow.
For now, a few other notes from the day that was:
- Steve Alford accepted UCLA’s open coaching position today, just DAYS after agreeing to a 10-year extension with New Mexico. Alford had been brought up here and there regarding the Gophers’ coaching search.