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Thread: Should Cal hire another assistant coach to be our head coach?

  1. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by SFCityBear View Post
    I have a mild difference of opinion with you. Ben Braun was not a great coach, but he was the best of the first 5 Cal coaches since Newell, and he was great for the Cal program at the time he was hired. And he was hired to get Cal’s image back on the right track, after Todd Bozeman put Cal on probation, and put Cal’s reputation into the tank. Likeable, squeaky-clean, and had a great first season, with 23 wins (the most ever for a first-year Cal coach), when Cal was picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference. The team finished tied for 2nd, and went to the Sweet 16. He followed it up with mostly winning seasons, plus two 3rd-place, and two 4th place finishes, not chopped liver. His winning percentage was the best since Newell. He brought in some excellent recruits, entertaining ones. He didn’t have much of an offense or a defense. His best recruiting class was a flop (not unlike some other classes who would come after him, and one that came before him.) I thank him for cleaning up the Cal program.

    I also liked Lou Campanelli a lot. He too, was good medicine for Cal, which had played milk-toast defense and 10th place finishes for years under the previous coach. With his theme song, “Louie, Louie” the crowd got fired up, and he fired up the defense, to return a toughness to Cal basketball that hadn’t been seen since Pete Newell. The big win to end the UCLA streak was so fine. Yes, he couldn’t coach offense, but he remedied that by bringing in Gary Colson. Lou was just the thing that the doctor ordered. The problem was the same as Braun’s, in that was they both stayed at Cal too long. The game passed both of them by. Both of them tried to solve their problems by bringing in terrific recruits, but with the failure of Campanelli to control his, and the injuries and defection of Braun’s recruits brought both of their Cal careers to an end. Still, I would rather have either one of them than what we went through the last three years. I feel Cuonzo Martin is still a young coach, and is very limited in what he has to offer. He knows man defense, but no one is playing it much now, it is all help defense or zones. He doesn’t know offense. He did bring a few good recruits. Brown was not the kind of kid who would really help any program much, except to sell tickets in his only year. To me it seemed that it was Rabb’s mom more than Cuonzo who recruited him. The main things I thank Cuonzo for are Rabb, Kingsley, and Moore, definitely Mullins, with the jury still out on Coleman, Davis, etc., and of course running a clean program and a pretty good defense. I wish him well.
    I'm curious why say not many teams play man defense anymore. Of the remaining 16 teams, the majority rely on man to man defense.

    I always like Coach Tarkanian's saying that "the best man defense looks like a zone, and the best zone defense looks like man". The key is to have all 5 players moving as one, regardless if it man or zone. Martin's teams were extremely disciplined in their communication and "team" defense. We had the best defense in the conference this year and only had one player receive Pac-12 honorable mention for defense. Last year we had the top defense without any player being mentioned for all defense.

    Our man to man defense was so disciplined that in a lot of ways it was a pseudo zone. I don't think he is worth the money Missouri is giving him at this point and he is not without his faults. But, I don't think you can criticize him for his defensive acumen.

  2. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by btsktr View Post
    I'm curious why say not many teams play man defense anymore. Of the remaining 16 teams, the majority rely on man to man defense.

    I always like Coach Tarkanian's saying that "the best man defense looks like a zone, and the best zone defense looks like man". The key is to have all 5 players moving as one, regardless if it man or zone. Martin's teams were extremely disciplined in their communication and "team" defense. We had the best defense in the conference this year and only had one player receive Pac-12 honorable mention for defense. Last year we had the top defense without any player being mentioned for all defense.

    Our man to man defense was so disciplined that in a lot of ways it was a pseudo zone. I don't think he is worth the money Missouri is giving him at this point and he is not without his faults. But, I don't think you can criticize him for his defensive acumen.
    Exactly. The best man defenses have help principles. I don't understand that from SFCB.

    Martin might someday be worth his contract if he ever evolves his offensive philosophy, but it's clear that he can coach defense.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesaxe View Post
    To me those example say you need to be careful with the person you pick and that you would need to insist on an assistant who does have the experience to mentor a bit. As for HC experience, there would be too many examples to even start to name of mid-major HCs who flop at power conference levels. What I'd be looking for is a person who knows what Cal is, who comes into an interview with a specific plan for right now and longer-term, someone who is a dynamic person that players would relate to, someone who wants to play a style that players would want to play, and understands who he can recruit. If the person who has all that happens to be an assistant, so be it...........................
    I only posed the question. If Cal names an assistant coach to be our next head coach, I would support him through a few seasons at least. My implication was that you need to vet a candidate who has never been a head coach much more thoroughly than one who has. The latter has a resume, a body of work running a team and a program, so there is some basis for comparing that with the job at Cal, making a prediction about how he might do at Cal.

    The assistant coach’s resume is completely lacking that body of work experience, so you really have to delve into his philosophy and his plans a lot more to see if there is anything that relates to or detracts from him taking over the Cal program, to even get him to the level where he can be compared to head coach candidates for this job.

    In vetting candidates for a head coaching job in D1 BB, here is what I’d like to think is being considered:

    1. Is the candidate a good manager? Can he evaluate assistants as to their basketball knowledge and teaching abilities, their ability to recruit, and perhaps most important, their character, and select good ones? Will he hire another Yanni or another Bozeman? Will he hire coaches who can’t coach offense? Will he hire another S & C coach who can’t build stamina in his players? Can he delegate tasks to his staff, trust them, and not try to do too much himself?

    2. Is he a good judge of high school players, their skills and talents, and their character? Will he vet his recruits, as well as sell them, even if they are Mickey Ds? He should not offer a recruit if he suspects him of being a prima donna who wants only individual glory, no matter how good he is. He won’t likely be able to change a recruit like that into a team player. Did Cuonzo know that Jaylen Brown would not be much of a team player? He should have.

    Why didn’t Montgomery suspect D.J. Seeley might sulk if he wasn’t given a starting spot? Why didn’t Braun suspect the immaturity of Amondi Omoke or Montgomery suspect the immaturity of Richard Solomon? Maybe you can never tell about character in a kid with only a few visits. I think you should be able to weed out a few. Talk to a recruit’s teammates, and his coach, if it is allowed, to find out what kind of a kid he is.

    3. Does the candidate know his own strengths and weaknesses as a coach? Would he be like Cuonzo, who never would admit he did not have the ability to coach offense, and stubbornly continued to try and coach it himself, without adding an offensive coach to help? Or would he be like Lou Campanelli, who did finally realize it, and brought in Gary Colson?

    4. What is his offensive philosophy? Teamwork dominant, or individual dominant? Movement to get open, or standing around the three point line waiting for a pass? Working with the players he has to provide openings for them to shoot from their favorite spots on the floor, or asking them to create their own openings? Using their strengths, or forcing them to do things they are not skilled at, to fit into his system? Will he fast break at every opportunity?

    5. What is his defensive philosophy? Tough, hard nosed? Will his defense dictate to the opponent, or just react to the opponent? Will he use man, zone, help, or a combination? Will he use a full court press to create easy baskets?

    6. Will he be able to put together a strategy for each opponent? In a game, will he be able to see the whole floor, and be a good tactical coach? Will he be able to teach his offense and his defense, and then trust his players to execute it, and not call a timeout every minute or two? Cuonzo’s teams never played with much confidence, except in blowout pre-season games.

    Most of you have a different criteria perhaps. But for mine, there are only a few of these questions that can be answered by looking at the resume of an assistant coach candidate for a head coaching job. Most of them can be answered by looking at the resume of someone who has been a head coach. That only means that the interview of assistant coaches has to be much more in depth and probing to find out whether he might be worth the risk if you give him the job.

  4. #49
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    That being said, we should hire Coach Miller (uOFa) or Coach Enfield (uSC). Coach Altman (uO) "may" qualify.

    Personally, using your criteria, I don't think Coach Alford is qualified.

  5. #50
    That's a pretty comprehensive list, SFCity, and, for the most part, I agree, although when you talk about "offensive philosophy" your examples are basically "does he run an offense or just throw a ball out there." When I think offensive philosophy, I think motion v. triangle. 4 out-1 in, v. post-dominated, etc.

    I would say, however, that while there is a paper trail, so to speak with HC's or former HC's, it isn't always probative. Crean was very successful at Marquette and fired at Indiana. Kent managed an Elite-8 at Oregon, but is flailing at WSU. Yes, there are more data, but the degree to which the programs are similar is crucial. Recruiting to Wichita State ain't the same as recruiting to Cal, for instance.

    A few minor quibbles. I think you are unfair to Jaylen Brown saying he "wasn't a team player" and embedding that into a paragraph about "individual glory." Jaylen hadn't developed the passing skills, and Cuonzo never taught them--or developed an offense that stressed that. Your implying that he was selfish as a player--unless you know him well personally--is unfair.

    Another minor quibble: Campanelli only let Gary Colson come in and coach offense because his wife was seriously injured and he knew he was going to have to spend a lot of time with her. It was in no way because he recognized his limitations in that area. Indeed, the next year Colson was gone and no one was hired to replace him as "offensive coordinator." Instead we went back to the same boring "offense." I raise this only because I think it is difficult for coaches to admit their own weaknesses and trust assistants. Finding one willing to do so is a herculean task.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by btsktr View Post
    I'm curious why say not many teams play man defense anymore. Of the remaining 16 teams, the majority rely on man to man defense.

    I always like Coach Tarkanian's saying that "the best man defense looks like a zone, and the best zone defense looks like man". The key is to have all 5 players moving as one, regardless if it man or zone. Martin's teams were extremely disciplined in their communication and "team" defense. We had the best defense in the conference this year and only had one player receive Pac-12 honorable mention for defense. Last year we had the top defense without any player being mentioned for all defense.

    Our man to man defense was so disciplined that in a lot of ways it was a pseudo zone. I don't think he is worth the money Missouri is giving him at this point and he is not without his faults. But, I don't think you can criticize him for his defensive acumen.
    True man defense, with no doubling or switching at all, probably hasn’t been played in college since the 1940s. By the time Pete Newell coached at Cal in the late 1950s, Cal’s defense was at least 90% straight man-to-man. It was your responsibility to shut your man down. Pete took it a step further, in that you had to get up in your man’s face, and be tougher, stronger and quicker, with better technique than he was used to facing, and force him off his spots, or force him out of the path he wanted to take. Your job was to make him go where you wanted him to go, not where he wanted to go. When Cal played teams with the truly great players like Wilt, Oscar, and Jerry West, and some a little less talented, then you would see some help. Duane Asplund, at 6-7 defended Wilt at 7-1, with help, and the next season Don McIntosh at 6-6 defended Wilt with help, all with pretty good results. Bob Dalton defended both Oscar and Jerry West, primarily by himself, but with some help. The next year, Tandy Gillis defended Oscar, again primarily by himself, but with some help. The players on Newell’s teams seldom helped on defense, either by switching or double-teaming. They were just tough defenders all through the rotation. I’d guess they played 90% man, and 10% help, in today’s terminology.

    As basketball evolved over the years, more and more help was employed in man defense. As defense became more dominant, the NCAA took more steps to free up the offense to be able to score more. They put in the 3 point shot, so defenders had to move away from the basket more, and they reduced and finally ceased calling palming and traveling. Then they eliminated the hand check and man-to-man defense was no longer as effective as it once was. With no palming calls, it was easy to break down a defender on the dribble. Young players began learning offensive skills and were no longer learning as many defensive skills, and they arrived in college not being able to play much defense. College coaches began employing more and more help defense, to cover up player deficiencies and help them to defend under all the rules that limit good man-to-man defense.

    I would characterize most man defenses today as 40% man-to-man defense, and 60% help defense. Mike Montgomery as a broadcaster was the first to describe Cuonzo Martin’s Cal defense, when he said, “They switch EVERYTHING.” I guess I would describe Counzo’s man defense as “20% true man-to-man, and 80% help defense.” You want to see a good man defender in today’s rules, watch Kadeem Allen. He is in your face. He can move you around a bit. He can pick your pocket. Cal has no one like that, and has to resort to more help defense than Arizona does.

    I exaggerated when I said no one plays man defense anymore. I should have explained what I meant, and I thank you and Tsubamoto for pointing out my error. We play a true man defense less and less. Nothing wrong with that, and I don’t think Montgomery meant to criticize Counzo Martin for that, and I certainly did not. He tried hard to make his players better individual defenders, but as the three years went along, he had them helping each other more and more. He was working within the rules with players relatively unskilled on defense to create a very tough defense. He deserves all the credit in the world for that.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrsaMajor View Post
    That's a pretty comprehensive list, SFCity, and, for the most part, I agree, although when you talk about "offensive philosophy" your examples are basically "does he run an offense or just throw a ball out there." When I think offensive philosophy, I think motion v. triangle. 4 out-1 in, v. post-dominated, etc.
    I was looking at our starting point. What would you call our offense this season? “Roll the ball out there and go play”, is exactly what I would call it, unless we were trying to run an actual offense and failing at it. I just know what it looked like. “motion, triangle, post offense” are all details I feel are beyond the purview of an AD. He has little expertise to evaluate one offense vs another, and he should trust his coach on the details. The offense you run in year one should depend on the hand you are dealt, because nearly all your personnel is set and in the stable, and you have to cater it to what you’ve got. If you want to change your system, you do it by recruiting for it in coming seasons.

    I would say, however, that while there is a paper trail, so to speak with HC's or former HC's, it isn't always probative. Crean was very successful at Marquette and fired at Indiana. Kent managed an Elite-8 at Oregon, but is flailing at WSU. Yes, there are more data, but the degree to which the programs are similar is crucial. Recruiting to Wichita State ain't the same as recruiting to Cal, for instance.
    So a school like Tennessee should not have been on the list, right?

    A few minor quibbles. I think you are unfair to Jaylen Brown saying he "wasn't a team player" and embedding that into a paragraph about "individual glory." Jaylen hadn't developed the passing skills, and Cuonzo never taught them--or developed an offense that stressed that. Your implying that he was selfish as a player--unless you know him well personally--is unfair.
    One minor quibble with your minor quibbles: Jaylen Brown had passing skills. In Arizona, he took over in the second half for Sam Singer running the offense. He penetrated and he dished, over and over, as I remember. He had the skills, but did not use them very often in other games. It may very well be that Counzo told him to forget that, just take it to the rim, which was Martin’s preference for almost all his players, or shoot a three, IMO. Or Brown might have been a selfish player. Maybe both. Tyrone at least passed some of the time. I only know I saw Brown disdaining the pass for the shot in the Illawarra game in Australia when Brown and Martin hardly knew each other, and it continued in most games, except for that one exquisite half in Tucson.

    Another minor quibble: Campanelli only let Gary Colson come in and coach offense because his wife was seriously injured and he knew he was going to have to spend a lot of time with her. It was in no way because he recognized his limitations in that area. Indeed, the next year Colson was gone and no one was hired to replace him as "offensive coordinator." Instead we went back to the same boring "offense." I raise this only because I think it is difficult for coaches to admit their own weaknesses and trust assistants. Finding one willing to do so is a herculean task.
    How would you know whether Campanelli realized his limitations or not unless you knew him personally? He must have realized them in some small degree, because why bring in an offensive coach? Wouldn’t he have hired a defensive coach like himself? I thought Colson left to take a better job, the head job at Fresno.

    By the way, a boring offense, I can live with. An incompetent, ineffective one like the last three years, I cannot live with.

  8. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by SFCityBear View Post







    By the way, a boring offense, I can live with. An incompetent, ineffective one like the last three years, I cannot live with.
    But, my dear friend, you are still alive and spring is here!

    Go Bears!



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