Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Take on Sean Miller

Though my opinion doesnt matter a whole lot, I would like to go on record with my take regarding the recent departure of Xavier basketball coach Sean Miller. These opinions may ruffle some feathers, but Im not afraid of the criticism. Feel free to comment. By the way, remember that I was correct in saying Miller would leave Xavier for Arizona. Ill tell you why.

1) Xavier AD Mike Babinski screwed up. First, he stated that Xavier was willing to match any offer from Arizona. Miller returned from an Arizona visit on Sunday without a move in place. In fact, he had turned down the initial offer. He returned to Xavier hoping that Babinski would match the 2 million + offer, but Babinski instead sat on his hands. Xavier made no attempt to match and Miller later changed his mind and accepted to Arizona offer. Ive got new for you Babinski, if you want to keep a coach, especially a coach as coveted as Miller you need to pay the man. The offer from Arizona was reasonable and one Xavier very easily could have matched.
2) Jordan Crawford got screwed (and for that matter several other Xavier players). Some players came to Xavier specifically for Miller. In fact, Crawford even sat out a year to do it only to see Miller leave for another program. The NCAA needs to review this rule and change it in order to give some value to the players as well.
3) If you think Sean Miller went to Arizona simply because of their NCAA tournament appearances you are mistaken. Yes they have been to 25 straight. However, he had been going to the NCAA with Xavier. Outside of the money, Arizona gives Sean Miller the opportunity to play in a major conference and most importantly win a national championship (even though that wont be in the near future). At Xavier, the chance for an NCAA title was zero, unless a change of conference occurs.
4) I don't think Sean Miller is that good. He is good yes, but great or above average no. Yes he is young and yes he coached several teams to deep NCAA runs. However, I believe that was a product of a good program at Xavier and good players more so than a great coach. Maybe he was good behind the scenes in practice, that I do not know. I know he was good person, but that alone doesn't win games. To me, Miller showed a man that was a good recruiter but not a great one. He also displayed only average game coaching. Though this is only my opinion and may change with age, I saw him lose games coaching that Xavier should have won as well as a team that tended to play down to some competition at the same high rate that they played up to good teams.
5) John Groce should be the next Xavier coach. He is a former Xavier assistant who currently coaches at Ohio University. He knows the "Xavier Way" and is highly regarded as big time recruiter. He was the main recruiter for Thad Matta at OSU.


SHU said...

My Rebuttal

1) Mike Bobinski said he would match any offer that Arizona came up with which was a dumb move in the first place because X doesn’t have that kind of money, they’re a small Jesuit school that can’t pay a coach $2 million a year. X has a total university enrollment of 6,600 students when Arizona has an enrollment over 37,000. Bobinski should’ve known not to make the statement in the first place; you can only make up so much money from tv and radio rights, sponsors, and anonymous donors.
2) Players always get screwed when coaches leave so why feel sorry for Jordan Crawford…. It’s the name of the game. Yes, Crawford came to play for Miller but also over that time developed a relationship with people who recruited him, like Chris Mack. If Mack is named head coach I don’t think Crawford will be unhappy as he’ll be familiar with the coach and his supporting cast as most are coming back.
3) The 25 straight NCAA appearances signifies a winning team, which is why he’s mainly going there because he knows he can win championships and recruit bigger names, I just didn’t go into detail about all of this.
4) I don’t think Miller is a great coach yes but he’s certainly above average. Yes he had good players and a good program surrounding him but he never had final 4 talent on his team. In some peoples minds he over-exceeded this year with the team. Coming into the year X wasn’t even thought of as a top team and was considered to be “re-building” after the loss of three seniors. Both of his losses which were deep in the tournament ended in close game to better teams OSU in the Elite 8 and Pitt in the Sweet 16, both one seeds. It’s like you saying Mike Krzyzewski isn’t one of the top-5 college basketball coaches right now the other night…. He had to build the program at Duke to what it’s today coming from Army, he wasn’t just handed a great team. He built this program and a recent study in SI reported that he’s the top coach that kids want to play for, voted on by the players themselves. He’s a great teacher and his resume speaks for itself. He gets solid players because he’s a good recruiter. When I look at a coach I look at more than just what he does on the court I also look at what he does behind the scenes which is why we may differ. This may be a solid post by the way, who in your opinion are the top 5 college basketball coaches today?

Also, you have to factor that Miller was recruiting big names to come play for Xavier in a “mid-major” conference. It’s still young but in my opinion Miller put together the greatest recruiting class in Xavier history last year. He signed Kenny Frease, Terrell Holloway, Brad Redford, Jordan Crawford, Mark Lyons, and Brian Walsh (last 3 had to sit out). All were highly sought after players unlike some of the best X players of all-time who flew under the radar (i.e. David West, Brian Grant, etc.).

Anonymous said...

18 points in second half vs Pitt.

SHU said...

And what's your point.... that all has to do with coaching.... it could be that the team didn't shot well (close to 20% in the second half and a little over 30% for the game) and Pitt played good D. Raymond had plenty of open shots and missed in the 2nd half and so did others like C.J. Anderson. Plus Raymond wanted to be the hero at the end of the game and got his pocket picked by the combo of dejuan blair and levance fields and that's on the coach?

Anonymous said...

Ummm... If you don't know to spell the AD's name correctly, what does that say about your overall knowledge of the Xavier program???

SHU said...

It's because the post was written by a UC fan buddy.

Matt said...

Sorry for anyone who i offended by saying Babinski...my bad on the a instead of the o...No I am not a fan but I think I do deserve the right to speak my opinion on it. I live in the city, watch many of their games, have friends who are fans, listen to commentary on the team, love college basketball, and write on a sports blog.

Now for the relevant part. I agree with much of what you are saying Kyle. In fact, I think you said a lot of the same things that I said just in a different way. I was in no way trying to downgrade Xavier or Miller so I hope you didnt get that opinion. I know from a diehard fan of a team that immediate reaction is defense when you think someone is doing that.

However, here is where we differ. I think your mistaken on Xaviers ability to pay Miller. The 2 million he received was 1.2 million more than at XU. They could have done it. The size of the school and enrollment would not have had a large effect on that. The basketball program, media contracts, sponsors, and donors bring in WAY WAY WAY more than that. Mens basketball alone could pay that contract as well as support other sports teams for the school.

Secondly, I think you are overestimating Miller as well as his recruiting class. Ill give you a good coach and recruiter but nothing more. I don't think this team overachieved as much as you think, in fact, they were probably pretty much on par with preseason ideals. However, I have seen him lose games due to coaching that he should have won (not including PITT either like your rebuttal to the anonymous poster). Lastly, the recruiting class was good but i dont think its the best they have had. To say that all those players were highly regarded isnt exactly true. Frease most definitely. Walsh maybe. Holloway and Crawford were very good gets and good players but they really cant be included in terms of Millers recruiting ability because of their tranfer circumstances. Once a trasfer occurs that late, a lot more has to do with location, team situation, other team scholarship abilities, etc. and a player happens to fall in a teams lap.

Good posts and solid debate though