Assisted Losing

Ken Pomeroy has a new post up where he talks about a new statistic on his site – Assist Rate. Like his other statistics, it takes a common stat and adjusts based on a team’s tempo so that you can more accurately compare a team like UNC to a team like Princeton.
The top 100 players for last season ranked by assist rate are here. Take a good look at that list and see what it’s (mostly) missing. The ACC was down this year and one of the most common (and accurate) reasons was the paucity of top-notch point guards. Well, according to Ken’s table, only one(!!) of the nation’s top 100 assist men played in the ACC – Sean Singletary at number 77. And Singletary is hardly known as a pass-first point guard.
Actually, it appears that there are relatively few players from power conferences. One reason for that may be simply that pass-first point guards are rare in today’s game, especially at the top levels. Guards at big-time schools think that they will play in the NBA and if you want to play in the NBA you need to be able to score.

Calipari On State’s Menu?

If you’ve been on the Internet in the last day or two, you’ve probably heard this rumor swirling – NC State has met with and offered John Calipari their head coaching job. You can read the details a number of places, but David Glenn probably has the best sources. According to Glenn, Calipari was “overwhelmed” by State’s offer.
Calipari seems like a near-perfect fit for the Wolfpack. He’s a big name with proven recruiting success and he’s built two programs up to national elite status. Given his stature and history, there’s no question that he’s not afraid to challenge Duke and Carolina for regional (and national) supremacy. On top of that, Calipari gives off the whiff of scandal that I think a lot of State fans are probably looking for at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they want trouble, but I think they are tired of getting praise for doing everything the right way and then losing. A guy who seems willing to bend some rules (whether he actually does or not) to get to the promised land is just what they need now. Remember, all three of their past successful coaches ran afoul of the NCAA at some point.
I’ve written a bit about my feelings on Calipari before – here and here – but I should point out that I do think he’s a very good coach. I’m not sure he’s a great game coach (and I know some Memphis fans who would back me on that), but he’s a great recruiter who builds some great teams.
I should also add that from the sound of things, he is doing a much better job keeping his players in school than he did at UMass. Memphis has a long history of not graduation players, but I’ve read that Calipari has a success rate of 80%, which is commendable. If he comes to State (and I bet he will), I hope he keeps that up.

Hodge Finally Gets Shot

After riding the bench all season, Denver Nuggets rookie and former NC State star Julius Hodge finally got shot. Not a shot, but shot, as in three times in the “lower body” while driving in his car.
Fortunately, it sounds like Jules is doing fine and is expected to be playing again in just two to three weeks.
No word on whether Chris Paul has been taken in for questioning.

ACC Coaches – The First Ten Years

David Glenn had a post a couple of weeks ago where he took a look at Herb Sendek’s ten-year career at State (this was before Herb stepped down). To show how Sendek compared to other ACC coaches, he listed the accomplishments of every coach who coached at least ten years in the ACC. It’s a fascinating list.
To make it a bit easier to review, I reformatted Glenn’s data into a HTML table here:

Coach School Years ACC (Reg. Season) Overall ACC Tournament NCAA Tournament ACC Titles ACC 1st Place NCAA Bids Sweet Sixteens Final Fours NCAA Titles
Vic Bubas Duke 1960-69 106-32 (.768) 213-67 (.761) 22-6 (.786) 11-4 (.733) 4 4 4 4 3 0
Dean Smith UNC 1962-71 97-43 (.693) 191-77 (.713) 14-7 (.667) 7-5 (.583) 3 4 3 3 3 0
Everett Case NC State 1954-63 85-49 (.634) 183-77 (.704) 15-6 (.714) 2-2 (.500) 4 3 2 2 0 0
Norm Sloan NC State 1967-76 78-52 (.600) 190-86 (.688) 12-7 (.632) 4-1 (.800) 3 2 2 1 1 1
Terry Holland UVA 1975-84 73-57 (.562) 214-95 (.693) 10-9 (.526) 11-5 (.688) 1 3 5 3 2 0
Dave Odom WF 1990-99 86-70 (.551) 199-97 (.672) 8-8 (.500) 10-7 (.588) 2 1 7 3 0 0
Mike Krzyzewski Duke 1981-90 76-64 (.543) 231-101 (.696) 12-8 (.600) 21-7 (.750) 2 1 7 5 4 0
Lefty Driesell MD 1970-79 67-57 (.540) 189-85 (.690) 9-10 (.474) 3-2 (.600) 0 1 2 1 0 0
Bud Millikan MD 1954-63 71-64 (.526) 147-104 (.586) 6-9 (.400) 2-1 (.667) 1 0 1 1 0 0
Jim Valvano NC State 1981-90 71-69 (.507) 209-114 (.647) 9-8 (.529) 14-6 (.700) 2 2 7 4 1 1
Bobby Cremins GT 1982-91 70-70 (.500) 198-112 (.639) 9-8 (.529) 11-7 (.611) 2 1 7 3 1 0
Gary Williams MD 1990-99 78-78 (.500) 192-118 (.619) 7-9 (.438) 8-6 (.571) 0 1 6 4 0 0
Herb Sendek N.C. State 1997-2006 72-88 (.450) 191-132 (.591) 13-10 (.565) 5-5 (.500) 0 0 5 1 0 0
Carl Tacy WF 1973-82 52-74 (.413) 164-114 (.590) 5-10 (.333) 3-3 (.500) 0 0 3 1 0 0
Cliff Ellis Clem 1985-94 56-90 (.384) 177-128 (.580) 3-10 (.231) 3-3 (.500) 0 1 3 2 0 0
Bill Gibson UVA 1964-73 46-90 (.338) 109-142 (.434) 4-10 (.286) 0-0 (.000) 0 0 0 0 0 0

A few observations:
– I had no idea that Vic Bubas was so good. I knew him as a good old ACC coach, but I never would have guessed that he had the best first ten years of any ACC coach ever. I think Bubas needs to come up more often in discussions of past great ACC coaches.
– I wouldn’t have guessed that Terry Holland and Dave Odom had a better first ten years (ranked by ACC regular season success) than Mike Krzyzewski. In fact, Coach K is ranked only 7 by that measure. Where you can see his numbers shine though is in his NCAA tournament success. Those number only got better in the next decade.
– It’s pretty clear that Herb Sendek was nothing special at State. He barely beats out Carl Tacy and I don’t think there are any statues of Tacy over in Winston-Salem.
– As I expected, Jim Valvano’s numbers are fairly pedestrian. In fact, he’s very comparable to Bobby Cremins. The only real difference are those last two wins of the 1983 team. If that team had lost in the FF like Cremins’ one FF team did (Lethal Weapon 3 losing to UNLV in 1990), they would be almost identical. But of course, they didn’t lose, and that certainly counts for something.

Texas Two-Step

David Glenn, for my money the best ACC sports journalist on the radio, has a very nice take on the Rick Barnes to NC State rumors. Glenn, as you might imagine, has some good contacts, so if he says that State has had conversations with Barnes via intermediaries, you can believe it.
Even though they have engaged Barnes in some unofficial talks, I don’t think they have any chance of landing him. Why would he leave Texas for Raleigh? Just because he’s originally from the state? He makes too much money in Austin and they have plenty of jack to pay him more (and it sounds like they will be), need be. The only knock on UT is that it’s a football school, but you’d think Barnes would be used to that by now. He’d be leaving a hell of a lot of talent behind if he left now. But he won’t.

Inspired By J.J.

Nothing works Chris Chase into a frothy lather quite like the sight of J.J. Redick running around in a Duke uniform. Watching the talented senior inspired Chris to imagine that he was J.J. himself and write this piece of poetry:
The bouncing basketball echoes through the gym,
But maybe it’s merely my heart.
Fans cheering, coaches yelling, players running,
And me: The Napoleon of the court.
I soar like a condor. Free. Freer.
But my soul is brittle. Like peanuts.
Or an old person’s bones.
Why do they hate me?
Fear of nominal alliteration?
My Caesar haircut?
Or can it be they love me?
My passion, my inspiration, my commitment.
My soul is filled to bursting.
Parting! Which is what I now must do.
Chris Collins is knocking on my door.
If that weren’t enough, Chris also subjected himself to a long night of Duke and Dick Vitale, just so we could read this.

Congratulations To The Gators

I never thought I’d find myself rooting for Florida in a basketball game. Not in any game, much less a national championship. My dislike for the Gators began years back when the evil Steve Spurrier was in his prime, sneering and snarking his way to the top. Spurrier gave off all sorts of sleazy vibes and this at a school that has a history of playing loose with the NCAA rules in both football and basketball. Then Billy Donovan arrived – young, brash, aggressive and cocky with that slicked-back hair. He was the archetype of the crooked basketball coach, the guy who would do anything to win. And Donovan’s style was immediately successful, particularly with recruiting. He was landing high school All-Americans left and right – yet another reason to be suspicious of his methods. I wasn’t the only one who questioned the manner in which Donovan worked – other coaches like Roy Williams and Eddie Fogler openly criticized Donovan’s tactics.

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