Morning Five: 02.16.10 EditionPosted by rtmsf on February 16th, 2010
- Sad news from Memphis last night as it was reported that former Tigers coach Dana Kirk, died from a heart attack at 74 years old. Kirk was essentially the architect of Memphis (State) basketball in the 1980s, as he turned a hoops backwater into a program that consistently recruited top players (mostly local), won 158 games, and made regular trips to the NCAA Tournament. Kirk coached the Tigers to the 1985 Final Four behind star forward Keith Lee, but he was dismissed by the school in 1986 and was later imprisoned a few months for federal tax evasion. His legacy was further tarnished by numerous NCAA violations on his watch, which led to his F4 appearance getting vacated and the school serving a probation in the late 80s. But make no mistake, Memphis probably wouldn’t have become the elite job it has become today without Kirk’s groundbreaking work there. RIP.
- Wow, Nolan Richardson with an Isiah Thomas moment… his target, however, wasn’t Larry Bird but rather John Wooden and Bob Knight. Talking about some of the forgotten great black coaches in history, he said, “No matter how well they did the white power structure in college basketball mostly ignored them. If [John] McLendon had been white, he’d have been a star in the coaching world. If all the great coaches in basketball history like Knight or [John] Wooden had been black, they’d be nobodies.”
- In case you missed it on Saturday, Oklahoma’s Willie Warren did not travel with his team to take part in the shellacking in Stillwater (OU lost by 21). He has the dreaded mononucleosis, which means officially that he’s out ‘indefinitely,’ but it could also mean that he’s shutting it down for the rest of the Sooners’ miserable season. OU has games left against Kansas, K-State, Texas, Baylor and Texas A&M in the next three weeks.
- We really have to get an invite to this thing one year. Seth Davis gives his report from the annual NCAA Media Mock Bracket, which he was supposed to attend but couldn’t (weather). He breaks down the bracket that the media came up with, pointing out the obvious and subtle errors in their version. Honestly, we’re pretty surprised that the media bracket doesn’t do a better job with this each year — there’s very little pressure to ‘get it right,’ and these people are the ones who eat, sleep and breathe this stuff.
- Gary Parrish’s take on why John Calipari should at least listen in case the Nets come to him with an offer is the most compelling we’ve seen on the matter. The next Phil Jackson will be the coach who gets to tell Lebron James when to pass the ball from time to time, and whoever that person is will ultimately become a legend because of it.