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Friday, April 03, 2009

Geoff Calkins: Scott Drew's peers shocked Memphis would consider Baylor

Geoff Calkins: Scott Drew's peers shocked Memphis would consider Baylor coach

Memphis Commercial Appeal

Friday, April 3, 2009

So the conversation turned to the Memphis coaching search, and the Division I head coach asked who the Tigers search team might be going after next.

“It could be Scott Drew.”

The Division I head coach paused at this.
“Do they KNOW Scott Drew?” he asked.

Evidently, not.

Or they know something about the Baylor coach that nobody else seems to know.

A national television commentator (by phone): “WHAT?”

An assistant coach in the SEC (by text): “Wow.”

Scott Drew would be a “wow” hire in the world of college basketball, all right.
Just not in a good way.

And let me say, in the interest of complete disclosure, that I would not know Scott Drew if he walked into my living room and offered me a package deal.

Which he might do, by all accounts. But that’s not the point here. I don’t know Drew. I have never met the guy.

If the Memphis Tigers hire him — and word is that they just might — it could turn out to be the best thing for this city since pulled pork.

But that’s not what people who know Drew seem to think. I made a lot of calls on this. And Drew was invariably described as:

1) A phony.
2) A man who has never met a recruiting rule he couldn’t bend.
3) A lousy bench coach.
4) And, really, what more do you need?

It’s not just me, saying worrisome things about Drew, either. It’s everyone. Jeff Goodman, the national college basketball writer for FOX Sports, said on my radio show that hiring Drew would be a mistake. Texas coach Rick Barnes has publicly criticized Drew’s recruiting tactics.

George Lapides — a newspaperman without a newspaper — took the extraordinary step on his radio show of warning Memphis not to hire Drew.

Lapides said he thought about saying the same thing when Memphis was on the verge of hiring Tic Price. When the Price era played out as it did, Lapides vowed never to keep quiet again.
Undaunted, the Memphis search team has pressed on. Because, well, nobody can quite figure that one out.

Drew has done a reasonable job of rebuilding a Baylor program devastated by scandal and tragedy. But it’s not like he’s ever won an NCAA Tournament game.

Drew has a reputation as a creative recruiter. That must be part of it. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a head coach who didn’t spend all his time chasing national recruits with offers of jobs on the staff?

Drew hired John Wall’s AAU coach to help bring the star guard to Baylor. Problem is, he forgot to get a guarantee that Wall would actually come. John Calipari might have been shady, but at least he was great at it. Drew just took a Baylor team loaded with talent — and picked to finish third in the Big 12 — and guided it to a loss in the NIT.

The Memphis search team appears not to care about any of this. And maybe they’re the smartest guys in the room.

But do you really believe that? Honestly?

It’s dangerous to judge a person on reputation, of course. It’s just as dangerous — and maybe more so — to hire a person of suspect reputation without thoroughly checking things out.
If I were on the search committee, I’d take one last trip, just to be sure. Fly to Detroit, the site of the Final Four. Wander through the hotels. Ask people in the business what they think of their candidate.

They’ll shoot straight. They may roll their eyes a bit, too.

The Tigers are interested in hiring Scott Drew?



Anonymous said...

Drew is a huge problem


9-7 last year in conf
5-11 this year in conf

That is 2 losses for 1 win

NCAA last year -- NIT this year

Coach said...

I think that people like Dan Wolken of the Memphis Commercial Appeal and Doug Gottlieb of ESPN see Scott Drew as a strong recruiter. No he doesn't appear to at John Calipari's level of recruiting, but lets be fair. Cal didn't really catch fire for several years. Yes, he gambled on a few guys like Amare Stoudemire, Qyntel Woods, Shawn Banks and Dajuan Wagner and lost early. It wasn't until the Laurinburg Prep class that things really took off.

Is Scott Drew the right guy? I don't know, but I believe they need someone soon. This can't drag out for weeks or the recruits go completely away and the program suffers mightly.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen an article based on so much hearsay and non fact WOW!

Anonymous said...

Drew sounds like a good fit for Memphis!

Coach said...

No matter now.