It may have gone for pure, unadulterated, unrepentant buzz. That may’ve meant leaning on its deepest-pocketed donors to throw a pile of money at Rick Pitino, sufficient to make Pitino overlook his absurd caveat to solely take the job if the U.S. Lawyer for the Southern District cleared his title and as an alternative to embrace an opportunity to redeem himself within the metropolis the place it began for him.
It may’ve gone for the sort of program-builder this storied however sagging program so desperately craves. That may’ve meant inserting a name to Olean, N.Y., and convincing Mark Schmidt to depart his fiefdom at St. Bonaventure. Schmidt hasn’t merely carried out miracles with the Bonnies, he did the identical at Robert Morris earlier than that, and people tradition modifications nonetheless resound 12 years later.
It may’ve recognized the new head-coach-in-waiting engaged on workers of any of the highest packages within the nation. Let’s throw one title on the market — Jon Scheyer, the newest Mike Krzyzewski protégé, one thing that would nicely enchantment to St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg, one other longtime Coach Ok apostle.
However the first path would take the sort of monetary step — overstep, actually — that might be arduous to justify in a vacuum, and can be even tougher to reconcile given the bags Pitino would carry to his Vincentian employers. And the opposite two would require deep breaths and leaps of religion, as a result of one of many unfair truths of the enterprise is that, as usually as not, being essentially the most certified coach for a job isn’t essentially the most interesting asset.
So Cragg determined to go one other method: the established mid-major route. And that led to a suggestion to Loyola-Chicago’s Porter Moser, who rode shotgun alongside Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt all the way in which to the Last 4 final yr, one of many charming tales in a school basketball panorama so ravaged by storm and controversy.
Moser is a high quality coach; you don’t information a trip just like the one the Ramblers went on just by rolling cube. He’s a disciple of the late Rick Majerus, so he has good teaching DNA. He additionally has been a head coach for 15 years at Loyola, Illinois State and Arkansas-Little Rock and has as many NCAA appearances as Chris Mullin — one.
That doesn’t imply he would’ve been a horrible rent, if he hadn’t determined late Tuesday afternoon to show the job down and keep at Loyola.
But it surely does make you marvel: If that is the trail Cragg has chosen, if he’s turning to mid-major coaches with monitor information, why wouldn’t he select somebody who really has an impeccable one? Who has really taken the subway earlier than? Who has really competed, and recruited in the identical basketball market, already is aware of all of the coaches a St. John’s coach must know, and has by no means accomplished something however win in his profession, all ranges, highschool and JuCo, Division II and Division I? Somebody who’s coached within the NCAAs six instances?
Why not goal Iona’s Tim Cluess?
Look, I get it, this isn’t 1967 or 1977 or 1987, and you’ll’t fill out a aggressive Massive East roster one subway cease at a time. New York isn’t as fertile with high-end expertise because it was anyway, and till a St. John’s coach offers the native stars a purpose to remain residence, they may flee to Durham and Lawrence and Lexington and Chapel Hill.
Lou Carnesecca didn’t get everybody he wished, in spite of everything. He didn’t preserve Lew Alcindor residence. He didn’t preserve John Roche or Kevin Joyce away from Frank McGuire’s South Carolina retreat, couldn’t persuade Pearl Washington to choose the Backyard over the Provider Dome. Carnesecca received anyway. He figured it out. coach will determine it out, if he’s as much as it.
Tim Cluess is as much as it. He’s 60, and that’s a quantity that certainly works in opposition to him within the corridors of energy alongside Utopia Parkway. However his résumé pretty screams that there is no such thing as a purpose to consider he received’t discover a solution to preserve successful roughly 70 p.c of his video games, the way in which he has at Iona, at Submit, at Suffolk CC.
If Cragg was prepared to go all-in for an out-of-towner with a .521 successful share, why not do the identical for the native man with a .694 successful share on the identical degree? There’s speak the AD might need to return to looking for a house run rent.
What he wants to appreciate in case the subsequent candidate doesn’t save him from himself the way in which Moser did is that this: Tim Cluess is that residence run rent.