Well, well. Now Kansas has it's third national championship, the Hall of Fame inductees announced, this player and that has been deservedly fawned over. Time for the silly season to begin.
First, some accolades. Congratulations to the Kansas Jayhawks and Memphis Tigers for an entertaining and exciting game. I'm not going to deconstruct it, what we saw was pretty much what we expected to see. There were no outrageous calls, no fights, no technicals or ejections or any of that badness. There was one pretty amazing comeback completed by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers that put the contest into overtime, and Kansas pretty much controlled the overtime and won the game. Be sure to stop by SB Nation's Kansas blog, Rock Chalk Talk, and congratulate them on their third national title. We currently have no Memphis blog, and I frankly don't know any to tell you to visit, so if anyone else does, post them below.
To me, the silly season in College basketball is the four to eight weeks immediately following the national championship game. That's when all the players who are definitely leaving sign with agents, the coaching carousel starts spinning madly like a top on steroids, angst, arm-twisting, moaning and groaning and gnashing of teeth begins. I have come to really like this time of the year because of it's uncertainty and surprises, good and bad. It's the time when the Kelenna Azubuike's of the world go pro, the Shagari Allene's flunk out, the Alex Legion's fly in like a bolt from the blue and the Tubby Smiths split for the tundra of the frozen North. Anything, and I mean anything can happen now, and the best thing to do if you are a Wildcat fan his grab onto yourself and enjoy the ride. This is where the season really gets interesting.
So far this morning we have the following unsurprising news:
- Eric Gordon has announced he is heading off to the promised land
- Marquette has a new coach
- Seth Davis assures us that Gillispie is plan B for Oklahoma State on national TV last night
- Pitino says Terrance Williams will return to the Cardinals
- Adam Rank at Fanhouse says that it was very sportsmanlike of Calipari not to foul Chalmers in the back court last night. I wonder how many Memphis fans agree?
- Christian Laettner is scared of Kentucky fans, and tells us that he would rather pee in a bottle than get out of the car to relieve himself on our Bluegrass. I think we should change our "Welcome to Kentucky" signs to read "Everybody Welcome except Christian Laettner." Whady'a think?
- Anthony Randolph seems headed to the promised land along with Gordon.
- Nolan Richardson is a HOFer. Warts and all.
- Oregon State has a new coach. Update [2008-4-8 12:27:16 by Truzenzuzex]: More on that over at Building the Dam.
If some reports are even close to being accurate, we're talking funny money here. The latest rumor to surface in coaching circles this weekend was that OSU plans to toss a $6 million signing bonus on the table if it can get Self to agree to a contract that reportedly could pay him at least $3.5 million per season.
From the same article, Kansas has reportedly told self that they simply cannot match that kind of money, no matter what:
And Perkins has to know that OSU is ready, willing and able to guarantee every single dollar it offers Self.
Nobody who was not a Kansas fan would be surprised if Self, or anyone else, took that kind of money. It isn't like going to the NBA, where coaches often last as little as 6 months. We are talking crazy, insane dollars to coach a college basketball team at a university that is, at best, a second-tier basketball program and arguably not even that. There is something all out of proportion here, but quite frankly, what can anyone say?
If OSU makes this offer, they will confirm what everyone already knows -- T. Boone Pickens owns that athletic program -- it is his. All his, like his dog or his horse, or his athletic director and by extension, the new coach. There is something very oily and unctuous about the whole affair if it comes to pass as the rumor mill has it going, as though there were something morally reprehensible going on. Yet when you think about it, it is merely a case of a school with a disproportionate amount of financial resources at its disposal outbidding others for the services of a professional coach. That has been going on for years, and nobody has said much other than the normal hand-wringing about money in college sports.
But when a school's financial strength is all out of proportion to their position in the hierarchy of college basketball, it will look very disturbing to many college basketball purists. What can be done? Should anything be done? I don't know the answer to either question. But if Self takes the job, I am sure that his reputation will ... suffer. Oh, there will be the usual, "But how could anyone turn that down? Think of his family!" Heh. Yeah, the roughly $1.5 million he is making now sure does constitute poverty in this day and age, and that is going to go up to at least 2-point-something no matter what.
Gillispie's lack of a contract would also make such a change messy, because the legal effect of an MOU is not as iron-clad as a contract, and a judge may well invalidate parts of it -- like the buyout clause -- or hold them to effect. People like Pickens are not just going to write a check for the buyout without testing it's legality, should it come to that. But even if it is upheld, it really is more of a nuisance than a deal-breaker. There is an awful lot of room between Gillispie's current compensation and what Pickens has in his bank account, and we really do not know how far this man is willing to go to get his way. He plunked down $165 million just to get to name the athletic director. That fact aught to give us great pause.
Folks, this will be interesting. I suppose most UK fans should be pulling for Self to do like the old Steve Miller Band song says, "Go on, take the money and run." Do we really want that Brinks truck pulling up to the Kraft Center and testing the theory held many Wildcat fans that no amount of coin can tempt Gillispie away from the oh-so-desirable UK job after only one year?
I'm thinking not ...