The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that Eddie
Griffin is set to commit to The Hall on Monday.Â Apparently he is sick
and tired of the recruiting game, and is just ready to get it over with. And if
this turns out to be true, of course his pals Andre Barrett and Marcus Tony-El
are there, forming one of the best classes, if not the best class, of next year.
Congratulations to Tommy Amaker for his huge, huge week.
Ok, Heels fans, the Temple is NOT collapsing.Â Things work out in
strange ways. As a matter of fact, guess who is most likely to be screwed by
this? Herb Sendek.Â While Herb is off (wisely) building chemistry and
eating fine pasta in Italy, UNC will start to focus on secondary targets like
Chris Wilcox and possibly Michael Bell (and maybe also possibly Chris Hobbs) and
even conceivably Scooter Sherrill.
So rejoice. You lost the war, but you can still win the neighborhood battle.
As a side note - Duke fans have long known Amaker is a great recruiter.Â
Now the rest of the nation is finding out.
And as another sidenote - we talked a bit last year about how we felt UNC
athletics were in a general decline (look at the Sears Cup standings & Weber
State for circumstantial evidence). It's not with any great delight we say that,
though we of course would like them to lose at least four games a year (twice to
Duke in regular season, once in the ACC tourney, and once in the NCAAs to
anyone).Â UNC is a vital part of a strong ACC and in that sense a decline
hurts everyone.Â The interesting thing to us now is the pressure is
on.Â Now that UNC has facilities second to none, they have to actually pay
for them.Â Thus recruiting isn't as simple as it once seemed.Â If
football, and more importantly basketball, fall off, the revenue will fall
accordingly, and UNC is apparently already operating at a deficit.
Recruiting is, of course, a funny business.Â Eddie Griffin might turn
out to have as little impact as Tim Thomas.Â Brian Bersticker might turn
into the next Bobby Jones.Â But on a fundamental level, in order to support
the edifice they have, UNC has to get talent. They have no choice.Â The
pressure will build on Guthridge - it is already up sharply - and it will build
on Torbush if he doesn't have a decent year.Â The tradition at UNC, at
least on the basketball side, is to be tremendously loyal to the program.Â
If - and it's a very big if - recruiting truly suffers, or UNC has a significant
dip, it'll be interesting to see where loyalty and money find their parting
point.Â And then the most interesting question - if Gut is forced out,
would Roy, Eddie, Matt or Karl be willing to step in? How would Dean feel? And
if they went outside, to whom?
All speculation of course.Â We expect UNC to be as competitive as ever,
and that Gut will manage just fine: despite his critics, he's a good
coach.Â Cota, Forte, Owens, Curry, and Capel are a solid group, and they
can jiggle around with Lang, Haywood, and Bersticker up front.Â The
facilities, though they may lose money, are still there and impressive. And the
name will continue to draw recruits, even as Kentucky drew recruits in it's
darkest hour.Â UNC is one of the great programs, and while it may have a tough stretch, a tough stretch for them is very different than a tough stretch for, say, Wake.
To Duke fans, and other ACC fans, it is funny though to watch the loyalty
factor be pushed aside in the current panic.Â It happened to Dean
periodically, but never to the extent Guthridge is getting it.Â But that's
what happens when you follow a legend - and also what happens when you build a
cult around Dean Smith as The Greatest Coach In Recorded History.Â That
makes it a tough act to follow.Â We think Coach K is a superb coach, but
we'll never say he's the best coach Duke will ever have, because that means that
no matter what, a decline is coming.
Ok, we got this amusing e-mail which reinforces some of our thoughts.
GOOD STORY ON UNC BUT YOU PEOPLE ARE BEING NICE TO THE GUY THERE IS NO WAY SETON HALL SHOULD BEAT OUT UNC FOR
A PLAYER LIKE THAT. I SAW GRIFFIN COMMENTS ABOUT WHAT A SCHOOL SHOULD HAVE IT FIT UNC TO A TEE. THERE WAS JUST ONE
THING THAT DID NOT FIT THE COACH. THAT WAS THE REASON WHY THAT HAPPEN. A GOOD PLAYER (A SUPERSTAR) WILL NOT PLAY FOR
THE GUT PLAN AND SIMPLE. HE LOOKS LIKE A GUY FROM THE FIFTYS NOT SOMEONE WHO WILL COACH A GREAT PROGRAM INTO 2000
THIS IS BAD GET RID OF HIM. THERE IS NO WAY HE SHOULD BE A COACH OF THIS SCHOOL, GET MICHAEL JORDAN TO COACH OR MAYBE HIS WIFE
JUST GET HIM THE HELL OUT