BigXII coaches ranking

Seymore Cox

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http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basket...ArVoJiKQfMJaitqFqoEvFdhkVJJ4?urn=ncaab,162653

We've been through the SEC and the Pac-10. Next up? The Big 12, where basketball is fun for three or four teams and the rest of the conference is just hustling its way back to football season, thank you very much. The SEC takes a lot of guff for being a "football conference," but when you look up and down the Big 12, doesn't it deserve the same? Not that we should be using such ugly labels in the first place. But if that distinction doesn't go for the Big 12, it should go for the SEC. Just saying.

Anyway, enough about the conference at large. We're here for the coaches. Let's go to the tape.

THE AH WHATEVER, IT DOESN'T MATTER ANYWAYS

Jeff Bzdelik, Colorado; Doc Sadler, Nebraska: Much as they may loathe each other, leave it to me to give Nebraska and Colorado fans something to agree on: I'm probably being kind of mean. Sorry guys. But Nebraska and Colorado's programs are such that no matter how successful their respective coaches are -- Jeff Bzdelik, he of moderate NBA success with the Denver Nuggets, or Doc Sadler, former UTEP whiz with two NIT berths in three years at Nebraska thus far -- it seems pretty impossible that either program will ever become "elite." It actually seems unlikely that either will earn permanent competitive status. Oh, sure, a good year here or there. Why not? But the notion that either program will soon break free from their competitive doldrums -- well, good coaches or not, it's not likely.*

That said, Bzdelik and Sadler are OK coaches. It could be worse for both schools.

*Then again, I would have said that about Kansas State a couple of years ago, and then one Michael Beasley later, voila. In other words, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Ignore me.

THE TOO SOONERS

(Much like the SEC, this is a big category, so hold tight, and we'll make it through.)

Greg McDermott, Iowa State: McDermott's first three years at Iowa State have been decidedly mediocre, so perhaps he belongs in the aforementioned category, but it's hard to forget what he did in his last three years at Northern Iowa before he took the Iowa State job: three straight NCAA berths. That was no small feat in the then-murderous Missouri Valley. So far, Cyclones fans have seen none of that success transfer, but the acumen is still clearly there. Iowa State is, in the absence of talent, at least well-coached. Whether McDermott survives for a few more years will depend on whether he can finally convince some kids to come to Ames.

Scott Drew, Baylor: Maybe Drew's inclusion here is too friendly, too. What can I say? It's a sunny Monday here in Chicago, and I'm feeling the love. The real reason Baylor gets too-soon status is the situation he inherited. When Baylor took over, it wasn't just an ailing program akin to most coaching transitions. Baylor's Dave Bliss-related scandal rocked everything about the basketball program; it was the collegiate hoops equivalent of a natural disaster, and those things just don't go away overnight. So Drew's first four years were bad. But in year five, he took a very competitive Baylor team to the NCAA tournament, and in year six, 2008-09, Baylor finished as the NIT runners-up. Drew gets a longer window here. With the program on level ground again, 2009-10 will have to be another step forward. We'll see.

Pat Knight, Texas Tech: Because of the nepotistic way former Texas Tech coach Bob Knight gave his son his position in mid-season, and because Pat Knight has no college experience to draw from, it's hard to say what kind of coach he will be. He'll no doubt follow his father's principles -- man to man defense, motion offense, a dearth of three point attempts -- but will he be able to inspire and/or dominate his teams with sheer force of will the way his father could? I don't know. You don't know. Nobody really knows.

Frank Martin, Kansas State: Martin faces the "other guy's players" problem. In 2007-08, his first year at Kansas State, Martin coached a team recruited by Bob Huggins just before Huggins left for West Virginia. That team happened to include Michael Beasley, arguably the best player in the country that season. Kansas State was good but not great. In his second season, Martin and the Wildcats suffered from a Beasley-less drop off. So is Martin a good coach? Or just the beneficiary of being able to work an offense -- and a defense -- around one of the more complete college basketball players in recent memory? Martin's recruiting should help him answer that question; he has one of the best classes in the country signed for 2009.

Travis Ford, Oklahoma State: Travis Ford, despite his mere one year at the helm of Oklahoma State, is one of those coaches that exudes an aura of success. He seems like the kind of coach so insanely dedicated to winning that he won't fail to do so, regardless of the means by which it occurs, one of those coaches who expects the same intensity from his players as he expects from himself. So it's a bit too early to tell how well he'll do over the long term in Stillwater, but early returns -- a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament in his first season; three successful years at UMass before it -- bode well for those insane OSU fans. As with Martin, so does a top-rated recruiting class.

THE SOLIDS

(Not to be confused with band of same name that apparently exists.)

Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M: Not inexperienced or unproven enough to be a Too Sooner, but certainly not an elite coach -- yet -- Mark Turgeon has Texas A&M in good shape after two years at the helm. Formerly of Wichita State, where he made a host of NIT appearances and one run into the Sweet Sixteen, Turgeon is like his predecessor, Billy Gillispie, in that he seems to prefer guard-oriented play and man-to-man defense. (The preciptious decline of Billy Gillispie's stature means that maybe this isn't as friendly a comparison as it's meant to be.) In any case, Turgeon has proved a capable recruiter -- he even managed to land prized Gillispie recruit DeAndre Jordan in the transition two years ago -- and he has two tournament appearances under his belt to show for it.

THE ALMOST THERES

Jeff Capel, Oklahoma; Mike Anderson, Missouri: Is it unfair to Jeff Capel to wonder how well he'll do without Blake Griffin? The answer is probably not all that difficult: He still has prized point guard Willie Warren, who stepped away from the NBA draft to attempt to fill Griffin's large shoes. But the crucial factor in Capel's success thus far was his ability to land Griffin. Once that happened, he wisely realized his player's talent and organized an NBA-type scheme around him. Griffin thrived. Oklahoma surged. Capel earned himself a whole bunch of coaching capital. And in 2009, Capel has another great recruiting class coming in, including the No. 9-ranked player in the class, center Keith Gallon. There's no reason to think Capel won't be able to utilize Warren the way he used Griffin, and no reason to think Capel's program is headed anywhere but up.

Mike Anderson, meanwhile, has instituted his Nolan Richardson-esque 40 Minutes Of Hell style in Columbia to great effect. Mizzou gradually gained steam this year, and despite their lack of NBA stars, both competed for the Big 12 and drove deep into the heart of the NCAA tournament, making the Elite Eight and beating stacked Memphis at their own uptempo game before losing No. 1 seed Connecticut. Anderson's style would warm Malcolm Gladwell's basketball-confused heart: Anderson presses all game, for 90 feet; he traps and runs and traps and steals and does everything allowed within the rules of basketball to make your existence a living nightmare on the basketball court, and you know what? It works. With lesser talent, it works. It doesn't work like Gladwell thinks it does, but enough about that. Anderson is a very good coach. I would rather punch myself in the face 10 times than play basketball against his teams. And I love to play basketball.

THE ELITE

Rick Barnes, Texas: Rick Barnes is as good as a coach can be without an NCAA title to his name. He has made the NCAA tournament in each of his 11 years at Texas; he's gone to two Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights and one Final Four. He's recruited the best talent in the country and loosed them on an unsuspecting basketball populace (who remembers how good Kevin Durant was?). The only thing keeping him just a notch behind his more revered contemporaries -- and maybe that's fair, or maybe not, depending on how you feel about the transience of NCAA tournament success -- is his lack of a title. But in terms of keeping his teams contiuously competitive, year in and year out, Barnes is as good as a coach as anyone in the country.

THE SUPERELITE

Bill Self, Kansas: If it wasn't for Bill Self, Barnes would probably be held in even higher regard. If it wasn't for Bill Self, the Big 12's coaches would have a lot less of a headache altogether. If it wasn't for Bill Self, Kansas might well have slipped into something barely higher than mediocrity following Roy Williams' triumphant return to North Carolina. Instead, Self has proved he's one of the best coaches in the country. He won an NCAA title. He recruits the best players almost every year. He melds teams in ways that seem impossible in the beginning of the season, and yet, by their end, seemed inevitable. He's like Tom Izzo in that even when his teams don't have the sort of vintage talents coaches win NCAA tournaments with -- both coaches faced this situation in 2008-09 -- they seem to consistently improve to the point where it's just kind of ridiculous. Oh, and that defense. Good lord, that defense.

Anyway, Self is without question the ruler of the Big 12. Barnes nips at his heels. Anderson and Capel are hot on the trail. As it stands, that's not too shabby.

COMPLETELY ARBITRARY GRADE THAT WILL LATER BE USED FOR AN ONLY SLIGHTLY ARBITRARY RANKING: B-. Great coaches at the top of the conference. Solid coaches in the middle. A few potential risers. A couple of dead-ends in the bottom. If the Big 12 seems occasionally underrated, perhaps we just have discovered the reason why.
 
Seems spot on to me.
Agreed, it was a very fair assessment.

I think a lot of people, and really me included, are eager to see what Capel does without the best college player in years. People I talk to who are not affiliated with OU think Capel is a bit of a fluke, and will be exposed without Blake. Now, some of these guys are idiots (most are former players though) but I do think there is that perception some out there. Even when I plug for Capel and his staff it's more of a "you got to show me" type of thing by winning on the court post-Blake.

We all think and know he will excel, but it will be interesting to see how he approaches things and how he goes about things without Blake.
 
griffin, warren, tmg, gallon. what more does he have to prove?
 
Agreed, it was a very fair assessment.

I think a lot of people, and really me included, are eager to see what Capel does without the best college player in years. People I talk to who are not affiliated with OU think Capel is a bit of a fluke, and will be exposed without Blake. Now, some of these guys are idiots (most are former players though) but I do think there is that perception some out there. Even when I plug for Capel and his staff it's more of a "you got to show me" type of thing by winning on the court post-Blake.

We all think and know he will excel, but it will be interesting to see how he approaches things and how he goes about things without Blake.

I think Capel has shown that he can recruit. My question is whether or not he can get his team to guard at a high level regardless of talent. I also haven't been real impressed with his offensive sets.

To me the coaches that set themselves apart are the ones whose teams guard relentlessly regardless of talent level (Izzo, Self, Sampson, Howland). I haven't ever felt that way about Capel's teams.
 
To me the coaches that set themselves apart are the ones whose teams guard relentlessly regardless of talent level (Izzo, Self, Sampson, Howland).

to me, the coaches that set themselves apart are the ones whose teams always have more talent than the other teams.
 
I think Capel has shown that he can recruit. My question is whether or not he can get his team to guard at a high level regardless of talent. I also haven't been real impressed with his offensive sets.

To me the coaches that set themselves apart are the ones whose teams guard relentlessly regardless of talent level (Izzo, Self, Sampson, Howland). I haven't ever felt that way about Capel's teams.

I like that coach Capel can make defensive adjustments in the game. As far as the individual defenders, some of OU's guys have been inconsistent, some guys like Crocker have been effective. AJ, Taylor, and Crocker have been the better defenders. i think it's due to their experience. I think WW improved alot throughout the year. He was horrible at the beginning of the year.
 
I like that coach Capel can make defensive adjustments in the game. As far as the individual defenders, some of OU's guys have been inconsistent, some guys like Crocker have been effective. AJ, Taylor, and Crocker have been the better defenders. i think it's due to their experience. I think WW improved alot throughout the year. He was horrible at the beginning of the year.

Yeah, I see what you're saying but that again goes to my point that other coaches seem like they can take any team and get them to defend and play tough. I've just never gotten that feeling with Capel. I think one of OU's biggest weaknesses under Capel has been that they seem a little soft.
 
to me, the coaches that set themselves apart are the ones whose teams always have more talent than the other teams.

Thank you Captain Obvious! :)

That goes without saying but there are definitely coaches who get their teams to play a certain way that leads to winning regardless of what level they are coaching at or the talent they have.
 
Yeah, I see what you're saying but that again goes to my point that other coaches seem like they can take any team and get them to defend and play tough. I've just never gotten that feeling with Capel. I think one of OU's biggest weaknesses under Capel has been that they seem a little soft.

Individual defense is not teachable, but an indication of effort. You can't teach effort, but you can bench lack of effort. OU hasn't had the luxury to do the latter due to lack of depth. If there is one thing that I personally think Capel has made mistakes on is his inconsistency between switching and rotating vs. hedging and recovering. Screen have given the guards fits. I would also like to see the post players 3/4 their men defensively instead of playing from behind. I understand why we don't, because we don't have a weakside shot blocker, and Blake refuse to put himself on the line by challenging shots. Next year will probably be worse, because we still don't have a weakside shot blocker. Hopefully tiny can push his man far off the post so it won't be as huge an issue.

I don't think OU is there personnel wise defensively. I like Juan Patillo as an off ball shot blocker to a degree, but he's not a dominate shot blocker. Juan is a good core defender, but I feel he'll be stretched out like Marcus Dove was for OSU a few years back. Defense is where a guy like Kyle Hardrick(if he shows effort and understands that's the best way to get on the court) and Ryan Wright cam make an impact. Orlando Allen has a long ways o go defensively, but if he gets in better shape to where he can move his feet better, learns how to use his big body to obstruct the lane, and understand not to contest every shot, for that leaves you in bad rebounding postition, he might make an impact too.
 
Individual defense is not teachable, but an indication of effort. You can't teach effort, but you can bench lack of effort. OU hasn't had the luxury to do the latter due to lack of depth. If there is one thing that I personally think Capel has made mistakes on is his inconsistency between switching and rotating vs. hedging and recovering. Screen have given the guards fits. I would also like to see the post players 3/4 their men defensively instead of playing from behind. I understand why we don't, because we don't have a weakside shot blocker, and Blake refuse to put himself on the line by challenging shots. Next year will probably be worse, because we still don't have a weakside shot blocker. Hopefully tiny can push his man far off the post so it won't be as huge an issue.

I don't think OU is there personnel wise defensively. I like Juan Patillo as an off ball shot blocker to a degree, but he's not a dominate shot blocker. Juan is a good core defender, but I feel he'll be stretched out like Marcus Dove was for OSU a few years back. Defense is where a guy like Kyle Hardrick(if he shows effort and understands that's the best way to get on the court) and Ryan Wright cam make an impact. Orlando Allen has a long ways o go defensively, but if he gets in better shape to where he can move his feet better, learns how to use his big body to obstruct the lane, and understand not to contest every shot, for that leaves you in bad rebounding postition, he might make an impact too.

You can definitely coach effort. The great coaches get there teams to play hard year in and year out. They get them to do the dirty work: defend, rebound, and hustle.
 
You can definitely coach effort. The great coaches get there teams to play hard year in and year out. They get them to do the dirty work: defend, rebound, and hustle.

And every great coach has had some guys that were dogs on defense.
 
Thank you Captain Obvious! :)

That goes without saying but there are definitely coaches who get their teams to play a certain way that leads to winning regardless of what level they are coaching at or the talent they have.

it is an obvious point. but you were going out of your way to ignore it.

the simple truth is it really doesn't matter if capel is a great x&os coach or a great motivator or not. if he continues to bring in a top 20 player or two every year, he will be extremely successful.
 
the simple truth is it really doesn't matter if capel is a great x&os coach or a great motivator or not. if he continues to bring in a top 20 player or two every year, he will be extremely successful.

I don't recall anyone saying he wouldn't be extremely successful.
That being said if Coach Capel doesn't become a great X & O's coach or a great motivator (not saying he's not already) then he won't move to the top category on the list. Rick Barnes has been chastised here for years for only being able to recruit and that he wasn't that good of a coach.

Personally, I think Coach Capel will eventually get into that top category with Bill Self. I don't think Rick Barnes ever will.
 
And like you said above, for those great coaches you don't play if you're a dog on defense.

They will if there's no depth!!!! What comes first, the chicken or the egg. In other words what makes a great coach, great x's and o's or great talent. That's why I respect what a Sutton and Sampson did because they had great defensive teams with minimal talent. It's easy to play great pressure defense, when you can run ten or eleven guys in the game.
 
it is an obvious point. but you were going out of your way to ignore it.

the simple truth is it really doesn't matter if capel is a great x&os coach or a great motivator or not. if he continues to bring in a top 20 player or two every year, he will be extremely successful.

I wasn't ignoring it, it just wasn't my point.

The simple truth is it DOES matter if he is a great motivator. I guess it depends on your definition of successful.

Scott Drew is a great example that talent alone is not enough.
 
what makes a great coach, great x's and o's or great talent.

When talking the college game it's both. To be considered "great" you have to do both great. IMO, in college, you can't only have one of the two and be considered great. That's why I never considered Sampson a great coach. I thought he was very good but he couldn't recruit to be considered great.
That's why he lost more games than he won in the big dance.
 
They will if there's no depth!!!! What comes first, the chicken or the egg. In other words what makes a great coach, great x's and o's or great talent. That's why I respect what a Sutton and Sampson did because they had great defensive teams with minimal talent. It's easy to play great pressure defense, when you can run ten or eleven guys in the game.

LOL, so now you are agreeing with my original point. Great coaches get their teams to defend at a high level regardless of the level of talent.
 
LOL, so now you are agreeing with my original point. Great coaches get their teams to defend at a high level regardless of the level of talent.

Where are you finding disagreement from. Your original point is a no brainer. See Scott Drew.

why I never considered Sampson a great coach. I thought he was very good but he couldn't recruit to be considered great.
That's why he lost more games than he won in the big dance.

There are caviots between great coaches and coaches who have great talent. People consider Calipari a great coach, and I think he's overrated and sucks. I think the same for Boeheim and to some degree Calhoun(Calhoun is great at teaching catch and shoot and use of screens, pumpfakes and shooting off the dribble). The one thing that give the illusion of these coaches being great is they put talented guys on the floor and they have been in the game for a while. Boeheim gets too much credit for the 2-3 which in my opinion is a defense born out of the fact he's not a good m2m coach. I considered Sampson one of the best X's and O's guy for the defensive adjustments he made. One year he went strong match up zone and gave the league fits. After OU loss to Syracuse, he started implementing the 2-3 and through a matchup wrinkle in it that was effective the year OU was co champs with KU. He did this as a ploy to hide Drew Lavender. I think Self's years at TU were masterful. He switched defenses and played very high pressure 3/4 court presses. Now self doesn't have to resort to switching defense.
 
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