Thursday, March 29, 2007

I know I talk a lot about this coaching search...

But c'mon, for me this is a huge deal. I've been dreaming all season to cover a coaching change. The latest info has this coaching search ending in the very near future. In fact it could possibly end by Monday. Bill MArtin is waiting for Beilein's season to come to a close tomorrow after the NIT Final (Speaking of which, the WVU guy made a ridiculous game winner in the NIT semis against Mississippi State). But it may not be his job to lose as once thought. Apparently Martin has already tried to lock up Lon Kruger of UNLV, but they couldn't agree on the right figures. Kruger has midwest connections and is an established coach having led UNLV, Illinois, Florida, and Kansas State to the NCAA Tournament. He led Florida to the Final Four in '94 (where they lost to Grant HIl-led Dukies) and he got Illinois to the Elite 8, while laying the ground work for Bill Self's successful run there. Kruger's one drawback is his aversion to the AAU coaches that dominate the recruiting circuit. He just didn't feel like dealing with the Chicago ones as the Fighting Illini coach, and from what I hear, the Detroit AAUs are even worse and more political.

And I guess Kruger is an adequate fit, something just doesn't feel right about it. For me it just doesn't sound right when I say the phrase "Michigan coach Lon Kruger" or "Coach Kruger". "Michigan coach John Beilein" comes out a whole lot smoother if you ask me. I just don't understand why some Detroit columnists just hate him. They say he can't recruit, they say his offense is just a system, not something that can get you to a national title. Well guess what, I think he will be able to recruit because of how rich the Detroit talent pool is. Ann Arbor is just 45 minutes away and a lot of these guys are family-oriented and want to be close to home. Everytime I talked to Alex Legion, and I asked what made him come it was, "my mom loves coach Amaker". He cared what his Mom thought, and wanted to stay home. A lot of these Detroit kids have this attachment to Detroit. DeShawn Sims talks about how homesick he got all season, and how much he wants to make a difference in his neighborhood while in college. He doesn't want to leave the neighborhood completely behind him. Manny Harris was the same way. He had an entourage of 20 family members at every game I saw him play. So don't give me this recruiting crap. Beilein just seems like the right choice to me. I really think this team, if it keeps Manny and Alex, will make the NCAA Tournament next season with John Beilein as head coach. My gut just tells me that.

But right now the reality is that unless Beilein has a good interiew, the Kruger signing is imminent. Kruger wants to be here, the money just needs to get sorted out. But Martin is waiting for an interview with Beilein first. A report came out on CBS SPortsline today saying that Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt was the frontrunner for the job. I say don't believe it. The national websites are usually a few days behind the local media. I really believe Bill Martin has his list down to two guys: Kruger and Beilein. We just gotta see what happens from here. I hope Bill makes the right call.

I don't think I'm the only who feels like he isn't the right guy.
He's so average it hurts. We'll be better than with Tommy...
But how much better?

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