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Hey, I didn't say I was in favor of Vinny haha
I wonder how Stevens is going to design an NBA offense. His offenses at Butler we're pretty efficient (75th last year) but simple by college standards, so that will be interesting to watch.
My bad in my earlier post for not being more clear about my question regarding college to pro success stories. The real question I should have asked is this: "how many coaches who have had their original success building a strong body of work at the college level have jumped straight to professional head coaching jobs and also had success in the NBA?" I'm not sure any of the examples given meet this criterion, though I admit I don't know the college history at some of the smaller programs mentioned.
But still less bad for his career than spending the next three years in the bottom half of the new Big East. I really don't see Butler being able to contend annually with Georgetown, St. John's, and Marquette, and I see them struggling to stay with some of the other schools like Villanova and Xavier.
According to 247 team rankings, Butler managed the 8th, 6th, and 4th best recruiting classes among new Big East members over the 2011-2013 period), and this year's 4th place finish is mainly because Georgetown, St. John's and Xavier don't have room for more than 1 or 2 signees. (A third spot just opened for Xavier when a transferee, Chris Cantino, who was sitting out 2012-13, decided to leave a couple of weeks ago.)
Dick Motta was successful in college and went straight to an NBA head coaching job.
I don't think it's really fair to demand that he had to take Weber State to the Final Four.
He was a defense first coach, a fact that many people ignored in their clamor for him to replace Barnes. Over the last five seasons, his best offense checked in at 50th in Pomeroy, his worst at 228. His best defense was 5th; his worst was 51st.
Yes I'm not worried about him being able to put a quality defense on the floor, but how he manages the complexities of an NBA offense (it's a lot more than just a pick and roll like most people think) is what I'll be watching for.
Motta was a true lightning bolt. No one had heard of him when the Bulls hired him.
Bill Fitch also jumped successfully from college. Eight years at North Dakota, Bowling Green and Minnesota (the last two). Then the Cavs hired him.
“Kansas may wind up number one in these polls, but that would be so unfair to Texas...” -- Len Elmore, 2/13/11
A string of middle-of-the-pack finishes in that league would take luster off of him, no doubt. I think their recruiting would improve some, just by jumping up in class. Barnes took advantage of that big-time when he came over. He applied his ability to recruit to a different slice of the pie.
But you still have to win. I come back to Few, whose actions have shown that the next level is not for him. Compensation, family, place to live, all come above making the jump and not having sufficient job security.
Yeah, I mentioned Fitch along with MacLeod, Fitzsimmons, and Motta on the previous page, but JerseyBornHorn finds fault with all of them.
It is true that none of them had anything like back to back appearances in the NCAA championships, but each of the others either had success at college measured by a Sweet Sixteen or better (Fitzsimmons) or a fairly long college coaching career (Motta, MacLeod).
Fitch took several years to get to a winning record in the NBA, but that was because he was given the expansion Cavs in 1970-71.
I think Motta best exemplifies a successful college coach with nearly immediate success in the pros. Weber State won 3 of 5 Big Sky titles and went to the NCAA tournament in 1968 (23 team tournament). Motta took over the Bulls the next year. The Bulls had gone 29-53 in 67-68. Motta improved them over the next two years, then had 4 straight 50+ win seasons for the Bulls starting in 1970-71.
Fitzsimmons only coached a couple of years in college, getting KSU to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in his second year (all right, so he had a bye), then was a winning coach with the Suns the next season.
MacLeod had a very average record at OU and Notre Dame before going to the Suns. It took him a couple of losing seasons with the Suns before he snuck the 42-40 Paul Westphal, Alvan Adams team into the finals in 75-76.
Read a little more about Motta and he seems like the best comp to Stevens, albeit 44 years ago when he made the transition. Good young defensive-minded coach at a mid-major who went straight to a head coaching job in the NBA. Celtics should be happy if he turns out as good as Motta.
Their recruiting might jump some, but while Hinkle is cute and historic, Butler is surrounded by big name schools to suck up the best local talent, and most of the other schools in the conference have better facilities. Georgetown has McCullough, Marquette has the Al McGuire Center. Creighton is building a new facility. DePaul is possibly a sleeping giant. We'll see what they can do when the new city funded arena is completed. St. John's has Taffner Field House. Villanova has the Davis Center. I don't know much about the current state of Xavier, Providence, and Seton Hall facilities, but I remember reading a few years back about how Seton Hall was the joke of the conference at the time.
Butler plans to improve the Hinkle Fieldhouse to expand the training facilities, but it probably will still be running behind most of the conference.
Sorry about not reading the whole thread.
FWIW, MacLeod coached at ND after he was done with the NBA.
Thing is, most NBA teams now want guys who have prepped in the league at some level. Lawrence Frank has been coaching for years and he worked his way up. Same with Erik Spoelstra... Rick Carlisle.
Mike Schuler didn't make a direct jump, but he left Rice in a hurry for an assistant's job and became a HC.
I think there are two issues with going from college to the pros. First is the strategy. Many college defends, especially the pressure defenses like Pitino likes to use simply won't work at the pro level. Far too many skilled ball handlers. The NBA is a physical half court defensive game. The same holds true offensively. The NBA is dominated by the pick and roll because of the quality of the point guards across the league. You simply don't see motion offenses like you do in college.
But I suspect the bigger transition is dealing with mature professional athletes, many of who have guaranteed contracts and are much harder to motivate than college kids; or at least it takes pushing different buttons. I don't think the difference was a profound 15-20 years ago when long term guaranteed deals were rare. Coaches had more direct leverage. The pro season is also so much longer and much more of a grind. Keeping pro players healthy and motivated for 80-100 games is a different animal than the college schedule. I suspect that is the bigger hurdle of going from college to the pro ranks than strategy and scheme.
And the difference in talent is much narrower, so coaches look for good matchups and drill them over and over like a dentist filling a cavity.
I don't know that the difference in talent between next year's Celtics roster and the Heat/Pacers is that much less than between Kansas and the rest of the Big XII this year. Next year's Celtic roster is going to be as competitive as Tech is in the Big XII.
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