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State's Disastrous Wednesday

Remember how Saddam Hussein supposedly used to have surgically altered
doubles all over the place? Those guys are bound to be looking for work
about now, and, well, Lee Fowler could probably use some doubles in Raleigh
about now, as the State coaching search has descended into what appears to be
chaos. Rejected by Rick Barnes and John Calipari, State was also dumped on
by Steve Lavin and John Beilein Wednesday, which puts the Pack back at square
one.

The search is so thoroughly bizarre that Dereck Whittenburg, who threw up the
most famous miss in NCAA history, gets no props from his alma mater, but Phil
Ford's name comes up - and UNC's greatest player ever and one of their most
passionate backers, is publicly batting eyes at Raleigh.

Welcome to Bizarro World. Next up on the radar: Art Vandelay!

One of the good/ bad things about the search is that Lee Fowler has, well,
maintained a daytight compartment, and this is obviously frustrating to members
of the local media, who can't get in the loop.

Our impression of Fowler, admittedly from afar, is that of a guy who is
exceedingly self-confident and who no doubt feels supremely qualified to manage
the search, and even now, we're sure, feels he can control the situation.
But unless he has a rabbit in the hat - and Lavin may have been his rabbit -
he's in trouble.

Maybe there are some reasons why State has been reluctant to talk to
Whittenburg, but at least he wants the job. He's passionate about it,
too. Beats Lavin.

The Ford thing is just bizarre. He's an ACC guy, and we're pretty sure
he's got the coaching goods. But he's also got a devastating disease, and
has had trouble managing it in the past.

No, we're not referring to his alcoholism. We're talking about his
passion for the Heels. If Buzz Peterson had a hard time in Raleigh, what
would it be like for Ford?

The one part of this which is fun to watch, and perhaps useful, is that State
fans, or at least the fans who ran off Herb Sendek and assumed great coaches
would beat down their doors to get the job, have been thoroughly humbled.

Sendek is greatly respected by his peers, and the reaction to his departure
among the fraternity was a tremendous sense of disdain towards State fans who,
they sense, ran a good man out of town. The self-interested corollary to
that is: there but for the grace of Fowler go I.

This thoroughly delights the Mr. Blackwell of college basketball, Gregg Doyel,
who earlier took great pleasure in this very scenario.

Doyel, by the way is increasingly coming out of the closet as a Krzyzewski/Duke
hater. Brief sidetrack: check out his latest hate mail column, which
includes insults suggesting he shagged someone's girl, a masturbation joke, and
this screed against Duke. We don't call the Mr. Blackwell of college basketball
for nothing:

Ask Corey Maggette, whom Coach K tried to keep in school with some of his
mental mindfreak. Ask William Avery. Ask Jay Williams, whose Duke career
lasted one year too long. Ask Mike Dunleavy. All were lottery picks, or
near-lottery picks, whom Coach K counseled to stay in school. By now, poor
Josh McRoberts has been under round-the-clock hypnosis from Coach K --
believe that.

There's no point in arguing with someone who answers e-mails the way he does,
but just to point out a few things: 1) Maggette lost millions by coming out
after his freshman year; 2) Avery lost a meaningful NBA career by not sticking
around; 3) no one calls Jason Jay anymore, but his parents wanted him to stick
around and graduate, which he did; and 4) Dunleavy came out as a #3 pick, if
memory serves. But his career has been up and down to this point, and
another year of physical maturation might have helped him.

As for McRoberts, he announced Wednesday that he would return. With NBA
scouts in near unison saying that he wasn't ready, apparently Krzyewski was
supposed to say: look, the scouts think you aren't ready, your mother wants you
to come back, and you had an up-and-down freshman year, but you're a lottery
pick. I think you should go.

Doyel is flamboyant, and willing to go out on limbs, as he did when he
taunted State fans so charmingly, but increasingly he's just coming across as a
bag of hot air.