Thursday, December 15, 2011

MocsMania Q&A

I've been in contact with Jon over at MocsMania this week talking about the coaching move. We decided to do a little Q & A over on his site. Normally I would just link to it b/c I want him to get the site traffic. However, I think this one is important enough to post in it's entirety over here too.

BTW, still go over and check out Jon's site. Even though it's from a UTC perspective, he really pays attention to the entire SoCon. Lots of cool stuff there.

What do you think the breaking point was for Dement that caused him to be fired midseason?

I'm not sure if there was any one thing that brought this on now. Dement has spent the last two seasons on the hot seat. However, a widely accepted rumor has been that former AD Nelson Bobb gave Dement a contract extension right before he left. So the new AD has been forced to stick with him whether she believed in him or not. This year was the last year of that deal. I guess AD Kim Record decided she couldn't wait any longer. Fall recruiting hadn't went as well as hoped and I can only guess that this was a move to try to shore it up as quickly as possible.

Were you in favor of making the move now?

I think there are some advantages to making it now. First, if you think Miller is a possible candidate then this is a great time to see what he's got. Also, It may give UNCG something to sell to spring signees. I think it would be a good sales pitch for Miller to say, "I took a 2-8 team and finished 15-15. We're building momentum." Also, if Miller is obviously not ready, UNCG has just given itself a 3 month head start on other programs that will be making a change at the end of the year. They can already get in contact with possible candidates and, maybe have one in place much earlier in the process than other schools.

What do you think about Miller?

Honestly, I don't know enough about him to give this a good answer. He seems to have been born to be a coach. He was a walk-on at UNC (after being on scholarship at James Madison) that turned himself into a starting PG and team captain. So, you know he has some leadership qualities. He apparently has some very good prep school connections in the northeast and is credited with picking up current freshman Nick Paulos. So, he does have some upside. Plus, he's only 28. When you think about some of the rising stars in coaching right now (Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart, etc.) most got their first big break at around the same age. Not sure if Miller can be as successful as those guys here at UNCG. If the administration thinks he might have some of those guys in him, might as well give him a shot.

Are there any candidates out there to take the job long term? Is Miller the long term answer?

Well, here's where things get a little tricky. I don't think there are any other candidates. I think Miller has been the guy all along and will continue to be the guy beyond this year as far as the athletics department is concerned. There are wild flying rumors that several people that hold "clout" with the university are graduates of UNC and have been dreaming of a Tarheel running the show at UNCG. However, I wonder (if these rumors are true) will these people will be inclined to give increased financial support to the program. That is something G is sorely needing right now. If this is happening this simply to get a home game with UNC at the Greensboro Coliseum, then I am beyond outraged.

However in the fictitious world where an actual search takes place after this season, three names absolutely scream at me as possible coaching candidates. One is former WFU and South Carolina HC (and Greensboro resident) Dave Odom. I have no idea if he'd be interested based on desire to coach again or based on extreme budget restrictions that come with the job. However, he's spotted quite frequently at our games and maybe the success of other big name coaches (Bobby Cremins, Cliff Ellis) at other mid-major jobs might entice him. Who knows? I think there has to be a phone call made to him.

The second person has to be former Charlotte HC Bobby Lutz. He is currently having a successful stint as an assistant coach at NC State. I've heard that he is making more money at that position than I think we will be offering for our HC spot. So, if money is his issue then we have no shot. If he wants to move back to the big chair, then he might be willing to listen. Plus, he's a NC native. Again, I think it's a call that needs to be made.

My final suggestion is completely off the grid. However, geographically and financially it would make sense. I think that local Guilford College coach Tom Palombo would be a great choice. He's coached Guilford to 4 straight DIII NCAA tournaments (including back-to-back final fours). He's coached 2 of the last 4 DIII National players of the year and has a 104-19 coaching record the last 4 years. His team this year is already 7-2 (one loss to Davidson). The question is can he recruit to the D1 level. Also, is he comfortable staying at that level or does he have the ambition to move up to a bigger challenge. I've seen his teams play and I think he could definitely be a coaching star.

What about the defection of Cody Henegar? Why do you think he left the team?

I haven't heard a lot about this except that he was unhappy with his role on the team. I've heard he had some defensive limitations that kept him from seeing a lot of playing time. Not sure about the truth to that, though. Cody seemed to have a nice "face the basket" game and would have probably figured heavily into the rotation next year. So, I hate to see him go. I absolutely expect there to be at least another defection or two before the dust settles. And maybe that is a good thing. Whatever was going on up until now wasn't working at all. Something had to change. So, if some guys feel like they need to be other places to succeed, then so be it. I wish Cody and who ever else leaves good luck.

How do you think the Spartans will respond to all this? Let's face it. They've been a wreck, between the blowout loss to UNC-A&T, and the Twitter crisis, and now this. Do they have anything left in the tank to make a run in the SoCon and go from 0-3 in league play into contention for a bye from the North?

Its hard to imagine things can get much worse. I mean, with the way they've treated their fans, I guess the team could just jump into the crowd and start randomly punching people like they were in NBA. But that's getting off point. I think we've already started to see a much better UNCG team. Ever since Drew Parker was inserted into the starting lineup at PG, the team has played much better. I'm not sure how the coaching change is going to play with the team now. I think there are at least one or two of the guys that had mentally given up on Dement. Maybe a new message will cause them to bring a different attitude to the court. I may be wrong, but I think UNCG can realistically go 10-10 over it's last remaining games this season. And that would be a very successful run for coach Miller.


Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to hear Cody Henegar left team-- Does anybody know where he is going to play next?-- At this point I would play Paulos thirty minutes a game-- We have a terrible shooting team- He can shoot if he has his confidence--- How much for Duke tickets and what is availability?