Here's Barry Jacobs with a look at Frank Haith's surprising success in his first season at Mizzou.Â He has done a brilliant job, not least of all because he has no size and no depth. What gives? And why couldn't he do it at Miami?
Good question.Â It wasn't like he never had talent at Miami.Â In 2009-10, he had Dwayne Collins, DeQuan Jones, Malcolm Grant, James Dews, Durand Scott and Adrian Thomas.
Jack McClinton worked our fairly well. Jimmy Graham found his true niche in the NFL, but even that fact just tends to underscore his athletic talents.
One could argue that a lot of his talented players were erratic. Take Jones for instance, who is highly athletic yet has never done much at Miami. Same for Adrian Thomas, who could be devastating or ineffective.
And certainly recruiting to Miami is not easy.Â Johnson turned out to be an effective player, but as a high schooler, he was a tub of lard.
One could also argue that Miami is hardly a hoops hotbed.Â All of that would be fair.
Even so, you'd expect some signs of improvement. Haith only finished at .500 in the conference once - his fourth year, which was also the only year the 'Canes went to the Big Dance.
Consider Leonard Hamilton's performance at Miami from 1991-92 to 2000.
In his third year, Miami was 0-18 in the Big East.
The next year the Hurricanes were 9-9 and only finished under .500 once after that.
In his last three seasons, he took his team to the tournament, advancing further each time.
There's no template for coaches.Â What worked for Hamilton wouldn't necessarily work for Haith and vice-versa.
When we saw Haith's teams though, they were not particularly smart, didn't always play solid defense, and didn't really show a lot of obvious improvement.
So his success at Mizzou is a bit surprising, at least to us.Â Of course, to date he has played with his predecessor's recruits and we'll see more when he has his own.
No matter. It's good to see a North Carolina kid do well; let's hope it continues.
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