Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lots of praise for ACC coaches

ACC basketball coaches love to pontificate on the ability of the coaches in the conference.

Showering the competition with compliments makes a coach look good, whether he is winning or losing against the coaches he is praising.

This season, a lot of that praise is deserved. The most interesting postseason awards vote by the media will be the one for ACC coach of the year because there are so many strong candidates:

- Mike Krzyzewski tossed out Duke’s plodding style and remade the Blue Devils into a fast-breaking, 3-point shooting whirlwind, creating a competitive race with North Carolina for the top spot in the ACC standings.

- Roy Williams has directed North Carolina to five wins in six games without point guard Ty Lawson. The Tar Heels overcame injuries and illness to move a half-game ahead of Duke in the standings as the Blue Devils prepared to play Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.

- Dino Gaudio has Wake Forest in the hunt for an NCAA tournament bid despite the heartrending offseason loss of former coach Skip Prosser. The Demon Deacons were picked 11th in the ACC’s preseason media poll but are 6-6 in conference play.

- Seth Greenberg has an 8-6 conference record at Virginia Tech despite being picked to finish 10th in the ACC in the preseason. He could earn his second coach of the year award in four years.

- Frank Haith has coached a Miami team picked to finish last in the conference to the brink of the NCAA tournament. Two wins in their last four games probably will get the Hurricanes, who’ve won four in a row, an at-large bid.

All these coaches have had outstanding seasons. The guess here is that if all candidates otherwise seem equal, Gaudio will deservedly get the award because he made winners out of a team that could have been emotionally wrecked.

“Dino and his staff have done a terrific job developing his own identity while honoring what happened this summer with Skip,” Krzyzewski said last week.

That’s praise Gaudio richly deserves.

– Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Nice job. I guess Oliver Purnell has not made as much progress at Clemson as some think. Big Four bias lives on!

Anonymous said...

I agree!! Of course, I kept reading on, because I just knew you would mention the Clemson coach, but you didn't! What about "OPP" Oliver Purnell's Poise? I can't believe you can leave out the one coach that has turned around a program so well. Bias! Bias! Bias!