Tag Archives: Pat Haden

2015-16 USC Basketball Preview: Troy’s stability

Well, that quote was from two and a half years ago off the record in practice when I was making a point. It wasn’t intended to be any disrespect to anyone else. So the fact that you bring that up, I forgot about that.”

And you know exactly who said that and what quote he’s talking about (except for my mom who says reading what I write is like a foreign language to her). But as reminder, that was our presser winning Trojan head coach, Andy Enfield!, being brash and arrogant just like the Trojans grow ‘em. And we haven’t heard much from him since. Which I suppose is a good thing. You can’t do much chest bumping and mouth running when you’ve only ever won six Pac-12 games. Furthermore, he’s currently BMOC as the football coaching situation is what it is. Andy Enfield is the most stable thing USC has right now. And yet we’re still not convinced of what he’s capable of doing. Is he out of his weight class? Or was the cupboard just that bare when he inherited Kevin O’Neil’s Trojans (yes, yes it was)? Rebuilding generally takes about four seasons. By recruiting measures, Enfield appears to be tracking quite well. The concern lies in 23 total wins and no signature victory. But maybe I’m not giving enough value to their first round Pac-12 tournament win (the classic 12/5 upset) last season. Of course beating ASU has rarely been the projection point for a basketball programs, but in the midst of rebuilding, you’ll take what you can get.

Why I love them

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THREE FOR BART: Shot clock, Haden, Utah hoops

  1. 30-second shot clock doesn’t bother Oregon basketball – My gut reaction is, “Tell me something I don’t know.” Then you read an article full of Dana Altman quotes and again I react with, “Tell me anything.” But this is worth for Dana’s passive aggressive comments about his most impactful players as well as the fact that he discusses playing 11 guys will be critical. Did you know that Altman teams have pretty traditionally ranked in the latter half of bench minutes? He goes deep into that thing. More fouls won’t be a terrible concern.
  2. Outside of USC, Pat Haden holds more than a dozen roles that pay at least a half-million dollars a year – This article says that Pat Haden is a bad athletic director because he has too many peripheral jobs. Yet, if you have any familiarity with the role of an AD, he’s being called out for over reaching in a role that’s specifically built for creating reach. Someone tell me what Haden is doing besides making bad hires because from a fiscal standpoint I believe USC athletics is doing just fine. Additionally, if any of you would like to hire me to be a professional networker, I’m your guy.
  3. 2016 wing Josh Conley commits to Utah – You all know that I’m an Arizona fan. What you might not know is that there’s a slogan flung around by Nike – presumably propigated by Miller but who really knows – that says, “Arizona Basketball Never Stops.” As it were, there’s a pretty consistent Arizona basketball news cycle: TJ McConnell a 76er, Rondae buys his mom a house, Luke Walton (35) is the head coach of the defending NBA champs, etc. But here’s a piece on Utah signing their second significant recruit of the week. Utah basketball (athletics?) might not be stopping any time soon. (they also received a commitment from Devon Daniels).

The Galen Dunk Center

As the new basketball coach at USC, Andy Enfield will give stiff competition to Lane Kiffin for hottest spouse in the Athletic Department.

Football:

layla-kiffin-5_feature

Layla Kiffin

Basketball:

Amanda_Marcum-5

Amanda Marcum

OK, so now that that’s out of the way, I love this hire. But it’s on pure potential, speculation, and magic stemming from his run to the Sweet Sixteen.

Looking at the numbers we can’t say a ton about Enfield. After all, there are only two season’s worth of data to determine much about his coaching abilities. He got this year’s team – which included the conference’s POY, Sherwood Brown – to play at a top-50 tempo (last season, Enfield’s first, they were closer to average, coming in as the 101st fastest squad). They shot 52.3% of their shots from 2pt distance (Dunk City) this season. America got to see them play a fun, energetic, exciting, root-for-able brand of ball. He, like cross town rival Steve Alford, has been to one Sweet Sixteen.

He assisted at at Florida State beginning in 2006. During that time, the Seminoles had four Top-25 recruiting classes. Is this enough to say he’s cut his recruiting teeth? Maybe. But note: did you see the spouse he recruited? Have I mentioned that?

Because ultimately, most of what we know is anecdotal. It’s surface. It’s fluff. Like a Maxim model, it’s shiny and pretty and wonderful on the outside; but we’re going to have to date her to find out if there’s any depth.

Further fact finding, however, suggests that this guy has been wildly successful in just about every endeavor he’s undertook: HS valedictorian, All-American basketball player (and All-Academic), entrepreneur (TractManager, All Net Shooting), NBA shooting coach, FGCU head coach (.594 win %, Sweet Sixteen), dating (perhaps NSFW).

Pat Haden has made a risky hire but an exciting one.

Of course the merits of such a hire will be evaluated on the eventual wins and losses accumulated by Enfield and the program he’s about to build. One must adhere to rule #12 in Surviving Your Coaching Hunt. Believe.

And Haden – by “winning the press conference” – has made it a lot easier to believe.

In January, I called this coaching hunt the Battle for Los Angeles following the firing of O’Neill. The respective regimes in Pauley and the Galen Center were failing to bring in local talent which had been central to each of their previous success.

So now the battle begins – Alford v. Enfield – and I love what Haden has done. He’s taken the completely polar opposite pick to that of his rival. Alford is a good hire, a guy with a proven track record of sound success and should continue to do such. Enfield has an HC track record of two years. Both are wildcards.

But my favorite part of this is the contrasting styles.

Alford has the bigger name job. His arena has 11 banners dangling in it and there is little doubt that he should be able to capture most blue chippers out of the LA area. He’ll have to fight for them, but UCLA will always have clout and a leg up on these recruitments. But his style could be limiting. Some players might not fit well and that’s where Enfield can swoop in, garner some of the premium athletes, and build the budding legend of The Galen Dunk Center.

This contrast propagates the Battle for Los Angeles, a fresh take on a classic rivalry.

Ultimately, however, comparing these hires is to compare apples and oranges. The parallels end at “vacant position.” Haden had the drawing board. Guerrero had the gauntlet. Time will tell whether these are “good hires” or not for their respective situations.

Alas, I like the Enfield hire for the excitement it garners which is the best it can do when no games are being played. Did you see the Galen stands as the season came to a close? This program needed an injection of joy. Haden delivered.

#IsItNovemberYet

The Battle for LA in Pat Haden’s Office

Please let me know if you have not heard of the following basketball players. I’ll be happy to tell you all about them:

But odds are you have heard of these players who never played a single minute for a university in their home city of Los Angeles. They played as Longhorns, Wildcats, Aztecs, even Sun Devils; but not one was a Bruin or Trojan.

So in the wake of Kevin O’Neill’s dismal at USC, the collective eyes of West Coast basketball settle onto the administrative offices of Pat Haden. Here is a man with the potential to restructure Pac-12 hoops with ripple effects across every conference on this coast; his own conference not withstanding. It’s no secret that Los Angeles produces talent and that the Pac-12 is a down conference today. Such a combination would appear to make a seat in the Galen Center a desirable one. Should that coach begin to garner the talent that has seemingly “fallen through the cracks” (Jamaal Franklin, Kendall Williams, all of the above), well then there are games to be won.

Of course there is the case of the cross-town and mighty Bruins. Owners of a pyramid and infinitesimal championships, it’s assumed they snatch up the major talent and leave pittance for the rest. Not true.

Ben Howland has burnt just about every possible bridge in what is to be considered his breadbasket. Don’t believe me? Of Howland’s recruiting classes since 2008, he has secured eleven commitments from Californians. Of these Golden Staters, just two (Norman Powell and Jerime Anderson) are on the roster or remained four years and one was a first round one-and-done (Jrue Holiday). These three cases we can argue are successful. Beyond that is where it gets ugly: two left shockingly early to be second round picks (Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee); two were dismissed from the team (Anthony Stover and Reeves Nelson); and four have transferred (Brendon Lane, De’End Paker, Drew Gordon, and Tyler Lamb). Howland’s potentially program altering 2012 class? Zero Californians. I could put the same critique to KO and his recruiting at USC but when you run the unsustainable model of accepting oodles of transfers, losing six games, and playing under NCAA sanctions, recruiting become a bit of an afterthought.

It’s this very local ineptitude that has me fascinated with this USC coaching a hunt. A home run here will put the heat on UCLA. Can the biggest program on the west coast –if not the country – really play second recruiting fiddle at home? I’m not questioning whether or not UCLA is a better job than USC – I’m taking the UCLA job seven days a week and twice on Sunday – but the Trojans have the opportunity to become LA’s team and to be regularly successful without having to do much work. Meanwhile in Westwood, a national recruiting hunt and association with the perceived dirtiest recruitments ever gets exhausting. It screams “no identity.” Wanna hear some names that played in those three Final Fours we still talk about? Afflalo, Shipp, Collison, Farmar, Roll, Mata-Real, Westbrook, Bozeman, Hollins. Some fun Trojan names from 06-09 with a 68-37 record? Young, Pruitt, Hackett, Jefferson, Derozan All of the aforementioned were contributing LA kids.

The last four Gatorade California HS Players of the year are all in college. None are in Los Angeles. This fact has Sean Miller, Tad Boyle, Steve Fisher, and every other coach in a less-than-talent-rich area salivating. There’s already significant questioning surrounding what’s happening behind Dan Guerrero’s door and I have to imagine he’s thinking hard about what to do.

So Pat Haden has a list and with that list I believe he will dictate a lot more than the bank account and real estate maneuvering of a man on that list. He has the opportunity to seismically shift Pac-12 basketball. But more finitely:

The battle for Los Angeles is on.