BOZICH | Monday Muse: Calipari stays; Drake stays; Why the Phil - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Monday Muse: Calipari stays; Drake stays; Why the Phil Simms bashing?

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Rick Bozich delivers his weekly Monday Muse. Rick Bozich delivers his weekly Monday Muse.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – John Calipari to the NBA. (Hah.) Drake in trouble with the NCAA (Hah, hah.) Howard Schnellenberger snubbed again. (Not so funny.) Phil Simms in trouble with NFL viewers. (What’s the problem?)

Sorry, Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. I know Alabama and Clemson have this college football game tonight in Arizona. But the Monday Muse does not have time to wait.

1. John Calipari: Will he stay or will he go?

John Calipari will not leave Kentucky for the NBA before next season.

That’s my prediction. What’s yours?

At Kentucky, Calipari has always been able to ensure that he has better players than the other bench, especially in the Southeastern Conference. In the NBA, Calipari cannot ensure that. No coach can. Ask Phil Jackson. Or Pat Riley. Or Rick Pitino.

That has not stopped the bi-monthly stories about Calipari finally leaving Kentucky for the league where he won less than 40 percent of his games. Calipari lost 1-1/2 games in 2-1/4 seasons in the NBA. He’s lost 41 in about 6-1/2 seasons at UK. He's not printing any 40-0 T-shirts in The Association.

But the NBA rumors never sleep, especially when there are reports from Adrian Wojnarowski, the masterful reporter of all things NBA at Yahoo! Sports, that the Brooklyn Nets would like Calipari to fix their dreadful franchise and that Cal has set his price at 10 years and $120 million to serve as Mr. Fix-It as coach and general manager.

People with money do silly things. Giving any coach that much money and that many years would be silly. I believe we just discovered that the last coach (Steve Kerr) to win an NBA title joined the Golden State Warriors after working on TV. 

Who’s the best coach in the NBA?

I vote for Gregg Popovich of San Antonio. He didn’t make his name in college basketball. He took over the Spurs one season before Calipari took over the Nets in 1997.

Pop was career assistant who graduated from my high school. Now he’s got five NBA championship rings, in part because the Spurs won the 1997 draft lottery and drafted Tim Duncan.

The Nets are not primed to win the lottery because they have traded away their top draft picks for the next three seasons. They might be able to throw free-agent money at two of Calipari’s former UK players, DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall, when they become free agents in 2018 and 2019. But Cousins has never made the playoffs and Wall has yet to make the conference finals.

If Calipari wants to continue to win and be loved, he’ll stay at Kentucky. It ain't $120 million. But it's not 1-1/2 losses in 2-1/4 seasons either.

2. Drake 2, NCAA 0

Drake loves Calipari and the UK basketball program. The coach and players love Drake.

NCAA rules, a cease-and-desist order issued by UK and other admonitions are not going to stop that. Word is that Kentucky has self-reported another secondary violation because Tyler Ulis, UK’s point guard, apparently visited with the entertainer and snapped a picture at a recent concert.

There is no penalty involved. In fact, there is a benefit. The takeaway is that if you come to Kentucky, odds are that you’ll be introduced to guys like Drake.

Sports websites and commentators have mostly shrugged at the news. The NCAA has more important items to chase. It’s been a bigger story in the hip-hop world than it has been in sports world.

The best way to combat this trend is to recruit Kanye, Kendrick Lamar or Lil Wayne to your bench.

3. Another Plug for Howard Schnellenberger and the Hall of Fame

I’ve written at least three columns about the absurdity of Howard Schnellenberger’s absence from the College Football Hall of Fame.

Maybe four. Or more.

There’s no need to sell Schnellenberger’s credentials in this area – not for the work he did as a receiver at Kentucky or as a coach at Miami, Louisville or Florida Atlantic.

But Schnellenberger is the Hall of Famer who’ll never be a Hall of Famer because there is a rule that a coach must have a career winning percentage of at least 60 percent to even make the ballot. (Others are taking up the cause.)

Schnellenberger didn’t win 60 percent of his games because he pulled programs out of the discard pile at Miami and Louisville and built a program from nothing at FAU. Throw in a national title and a perfect 6-for-6 record in bowl games and there’s nothing to debate.

Howard Schnellenberger is a Hall of Famer. Even if the Hall of Fame can’t admit it.

4. Phil Simms Bashing

I watch considerably less pro football than the average American male so odds are I’m simply not in the loop.

But do football fans dislike the announcing work of Louisville native Phil Simms as much as I suspect they do while checking Twitter Saturday night? Viewers were not impressed by the work Simms delivered during the Steelers-Bengals game.

I did some research and uncovered more Simms’ bashing from sources like the Washington Post. He's been a frequent target of Deadspin, too.

Is Simms, a graduate of Southern High School and Morehead State, truly that disliked?

Why?

5. Vote Yes on Joe Jacoby

I don’t have a vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But if I did, I would mark the box for former University of Louisville star Joe Jacoby.

A product of Western High School, Jacoby had a good career at U of L, but not good enough to convince any NFL team to invest a draft pick in him. He made the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent, nearly quitting the quest during his rookie season after his mother passed away while Jacoby was in training camp.

Jacoby’s brother worked in a Louisville ladder factory. He convinced Joe to stay in D.C., where head coach Joe Gibbs and assistant Joe Bugel nurtured his career. Jacoby played the toughest spot on the line (left tackle) against the toughest linebackers in the game (like Lawrence Taylor) and helped drive the Redskins to three Super Bowl victories.

John Madden loved Jacoby. They called that Redskins’ offensive line “The Hogs,” and nobody was more willing to get in the mud and grind with a bloody nose than Jacoby.

Hall of Fame voters should love him, too.

6. Virginia Bashing

I’m not sure how many wins it will take to win the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference basketball title, but I’m certain that losing games to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech is not a shortcut to the trophy ceremony.

That is what Virginia did last week. Lose to the Hokies. Lose to the Yellow Jackets. A pair of teams that nobody expects to make the NCAA Tournament.

How unusual was that performance by Tony Bennett’s program? David Teel tweeted that it was the first time since March of 2013 that Virginia lost back-to-back games to unranked teams.

Virginia gets Louisville twice -- in Louisville Jan. 30 and at Charlottesville March 5.

7. Silly Season Starts

In case you missed it, UNLV hit the first eject button on the college basketball-coaching carousel – three games into the conference season.

The Running Rebels forced Dave Rice, the guy who beat Kentucky for 5-star recruit Stephen Zimmerman and beat Indiana in the Maui Invitational, out of his job Sunday night. Rice, for the record, signed a contract extension in March 2014 that was supposed to make him the coach through the 2019 season. (Shrug.)

If three conference defeats are all that it takes to get you to the unemployment line, what other coaches should be apprehensive about picking up the telephone?

*Bruce Weber of Kansas State, the only 0-3 program in the Big 12.

*Mark Gottfried of North Carolina State, whose team has a legitimate chance to start 1-6 in the ACC.

*Eddie Jordan of Rutgers, who has a new athletic director and a legitimate chance of going 2-16 in the Big Ten.

*Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt, whose team was supposed to be a contender in the SEC but is currently the league’s only 0-3 team.

8. Can Florida Remain A Force in the SEC?

Rick Pitino once famously advised Billy Donovan against taking the head coaching job at Florida. Billy the Kid ignored Pitino, went to Florid and excelled, staying nearly two decades and winning a pair of NCAA titles.

Last spring, Donovan finally needed a new challenge and left for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It was about a year ago that word started circulating that Donovan was starting to question Florida’s commitment to basketball. The school’s facilities made it difficult for him to compete with the best of the best. Football was getting more recruiting toys to sell than the basketball program.

Maybe the Gators are finally taking Donovan’s concerns seriously because the school has announced a king-sized renovation at the O’Connell Center. According to this story in the Gainesville Sun, Florida will spend more than $64 million to make the place sparkle, while reducing capacity by 1,000 to 10,500.

That will only make it more difficult for Kentucky fans to get inside every year. And it might help Mike White, Donovan's successor, hold his ground.

9. Apologies to OG

The two best college players that Tom Crean has coached into the NBA were recruits who were not on the radar of North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UConn or the other schools that rule the recruiting shark tank.

That would be Dwyane Wade of Marquette and Victor Oladipo of Indiana.

Now Crean has another guy performing like a recruiting Gotcha.

That would be OG Anunoby, IU’s freshman wing from Jefferson City, Missouri.

Nobody has done more to fill the void created by the loss of guard James Blackmon Jr. than Anunoby, who is comfortable playing on the perimeter at 6 feet 8.

In the four games since Blackmon hurt his knee, Anunoby has averaged 9.3 points and four rebounds in less than 16 minutes per game.

The first apology comes from me. Anunoby goes by OG, not O.G. It’s a shortened version of his first name – Ogugua.

The second apology should come from the recruiting gurus. According to the 24/7 Sports composite rankings, Anunoby arrived in Bloomington as the 280th best prospect in the nation.

Recount, anyone?

10. Poll Results

Last week’s question: Which team should be ranked Number One in college basketball?

Kansas 42.4 percent

Oklahoma 18.7 percent

Michigan State 15.1 percent

Other 12.7 percent

Virginia 8.4 percent

Maryland 2.8 percent

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