Coaching is one of my favorite parts of college sports. It’s one thing for pro coaches to deal with grown men, but the greatest coaches are the ones who can keep a solid reputation while juggling intense recruitment pressure, along with 18 year olds who think their s*** don’t stink.
March Madness throws coaches into the fire of national television and we get to see some of the highlights, and lowlights, of collegiate coaching. Let’s start with the good.
The Good: Geno Auriemma
If you haven’t seen his press conference already, you need to take a listen.
THIS is how coaches need to recruit and value their players. Get kids who care. Who want to win. Some may say that for certain college players, they just need to perform and they’ll be set for the draft (every Kentucky player ever) but just look at how much Lonzo Ball’s stock is rising because he wins. And look how little Markelle Fultz is being talked about. Winning matters.
Geno is right too. He has an obvious advantage of having All-Americans on his bench, but if you’ve ever watched a UConn women’s game, they have heart. A lot more than any other team they play.
Although we love to see the blue bloods of men’s basketball shine, there is a discernible difference in body language between a Kentucky or Duke team, vs. a mid major who got hot at the right time and are upsetting teams to the sweet 16. We love seeing raw emotion out of players, and that’s what Geno is preaching. Get players who would rather win than put up 25. Keep preaching Geno.
The Bad: Jay Wright
Wright’s knock as a coach was that he couldn’t coach his team in March, playing good teams each time they hit the court. With the national championship win last year, haters were silent.
Just when the country was starting to have faith in Villanova’s ability to win in March, head coach Jay Wright rips it all away with his horrific decision to leave the game to Josh Hart down the stretch in the round of 32 vs. Wisconsin.
Take a look:
Really? This is what you draw up? I get Josh Hart is a National Player of the Year candidate, but c’mon. Get some movement and get a good shot. And it’s not even one of those “Wright would have looked like a genius if Hart made the shot.” He literally told him to do what he wants. He ain’t LeBron.
Good luck getting the March Choker monkey off your back now, Jay.
The Ugly: Chris Collins (Northwestern Head Coach)
Just watch before I say anything:
He became my least favorite head coach. If you didn’t watch the game, yes, Northwestern got hosed on multiple calls and certainly wasn’t fair officiating, and the call he is reacting on was outrageous. But dude, handle that internally. You just look like an ass. A child. I’m embarrassed for the Northwestern players who worked their tails off to work through the calls and handle the refs in a professional manner. This is your first NCAA tournament year ever. Don’t act like you deserve anything.
Also, at the time of this call, THERE WERE 5 MINUTES LEFT IN THE GAME! Go get another stop and move on.
Word to Geno, talk about body language. Collins’ baiting the reporter and sarcastic jabs is a disgrace to coaching at any level.
The irony of the graphic “Northwestern outscored 38-20 in the first half” makes his conference much more ridiculous. Don’t go down 20 at the half and maybe you can afford to have missed calls on possessions.
The worst part is, Collins received a technical after arguing after the fact, which created a 4 point swing in favor of Gonzaga.
Sorry Northwestern. Gonzaga was still the better team, and you have a coaching problem. Better luck next year.