BOZICH | Monday Muse: Coaching rumors gone bad; Are you OK with jersey sponsorships?
Whatever happened to John Calipari to the Nets or Rick Pitino to UNLV? Would you be OK with sponsorship logos on college jerseys? What did U of L pay Howard Schnellenberger?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – It’s a special time of the year – football, baseball, basketball, hockey and horse racing are all fighting for the attention of the Monday Muse. (Suggestions, compliments and donations accepted.)
Let’s see how many sports I can work into the 10-item countdown. Ready, set, go.
1. CRUMMY COACHING RUMORS
John Calipari to the Brooklyn Nets. Rick Pitino to UNLV. Mike Woodson to Indiana.
I believe I have lost hours of my life inquiring about those three stories over the last two years.
Guess what? They were Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Twitter hyperventilates every time there is noise about the local college basketball coaches or the jobs at Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana.
The problem is that Twitter is on a longer losing streak than the Philadelphia 76ers.
During the winter, two respected NBA observers wrote that the Brooklyn Nets wanted Kentucky coach John Calipari to lift the Nets into the NBA mainstream. Maybe they did. But ...
Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops is one of the most plugged-in writers around the NBA. In March, Sheridan tweeted this:
Prediction: Chris Sheridan should explain what went wrong.
There’s more. Adrian Wojnarowski has more juice than anybody who covers the NBA. In January, he wrote that the Nets had interest in Calipari, who set his asking price at 10 years, $120 million.
Over the weekend, the Nets hired Kenny Atkinson as their next coach. He’s an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks. He will not make $120 million. He has never been compared to John Calipari.
In case you missed it, UNLV has now hired two coaches in the last month. Neither hire was named Rick Pitino, the alleged frontrunner for the job several months ago, when Pitino was going to fetch his son, Richard, from Minnesota as one of his assistants.
I can’t forget Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. He set the bar for coaching scoops in March 2014. Isola wrote that after Tom Crean was dismissed at Indiana, Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks would replace him.
Honk if you know where Mike Woodson is working today.
(Assistant coach Los Angeles Clippers.)
You have been warned.
2. JERSEY SPONSORSHIPS: WILL COLLEGES JOIN THE NBA?
What would you think about seeing the Papa John’s logo, about 2 ½ inches by 2 ½ inches, on the front of the University of Louisville basketball jersey?
How about a bank logo on the Kentucky jersey or a credit union patch on the front of the Indiana jersey?
I’m just asking because I saw the news the NBA announced last Friday. Starting next season, teams can sell jersey sponsorships to match the ones that we already see on the fronts of many soccer jerseys.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver called the move a three-year experiment but said the opportunity to create a new “revenue stream,” was too significant to overlook. Once that money comes into NBA accounts, that stream will not be turned off.
In fact, look for revenue streams to be turned on at NFL, MLB and NHL franchises near you.
Then, sit back and wait to find out who will be the first creative athletic director to sell space on a college football or basketball jersey – with or without the approval of the NCAA. Revenue streams find ways around the rule book.
3. ANGER MANAGEMENT
Who are the five angriest fan bases in college football?
I’m not certain of the surest way to pick the top five. In fact, I don’t think you can do it.
But I’m not Tom Fornelli of CBSSports. He’s not afraid of angering angry fans by making a list.
Especially Louisville fans.
Fornelli said that you’ve said nasty things about him because of nasty things that he has said about the Cardinals. A few cracks about Teddy Bridgewater, Charlie Strong and Bobby Petrino.
Are you really guilty of that?
Here are the schools that Fornelli selected:
5. Mississippi State
4. Penn State.
1. Texas A&M
Aren’t you surprised that (fill in the blank of your favorite angry fan base) missed the list?
4. THE MALIK MONK HYPE TRAIN
After all the people who wrote ridiculously glowing stories about Skal Labissiere, you’d think everybody would practice safe hype while introducing the next round of Kentucky basketball recruits.
You would be wrong.
Safe hype does not generate clicks on the Internet. Crazy comparisons do.
That’s the only explanation I can provide for this story by Nick Birdsong of The Sporting News, who wrote that UK recruit Malik Monk “may be” as talented as Oklahoma City all-pro Russell Westbrook.
Could be. And Skal Labissiere may be as talented as Bill Russell. And Andrew Harrison may be as talented as …
5. LES MILES: BACK ON THE HOT SEAT?
The biggest spring football news from the Southeastern Conference was not Georgia’s school record crowd of 93,000 to welcome new coach Kirby Smart.
Nor was it that four more schools – Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Florida – attracted crowds of more than 45,000 to watch practice (courtesy of Allen Iverson).
No, according to this story at SaturdayDownSouth.com, it was the news that Louisiana State had only the 10th largest spring crowd in the SEC. The Tigers’ gathering of an estimated 21,000 ranked below Kentucky and Missouri but ahead of Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
I remember when LSU could summon 21,000 to Tiger Stadium to watch guys play Yahtzee. We're not talking about the game Ben Simmons played. We're talking about King Football.
I thought LSU fans wanted Les Miles back for another season?
6. WHAT WOULD SCHNELLENBERGER BE WORTH?
The news last week that Bobby Petrino had been given a raise to over $4 million per season as well as an extension as the University of Louisville football coach made me reach for my calculator as well as a dusty contract.
How much did Howard Schnellenberger make in 1985, his first season as the U of L coach after arriving here two seasons off his national championship run at Miami?
Schnellenberger’s original deal was worth $190,000 for that 1985 season when he finished 2-9.
Yes, those are 1985 dollars. How much would he be worth today, using an inflation calculator?
Not quite $4 million. In fact, according to the inflation calculator that I used, Schnellenberger’s deal would be worth $426,778.25 in 2016 dollars.
7. SOMEBODY MUTE JOSH PASTNER
Georgia Tech made the worst hire of a new basketball coach for next season. Nobody else is close.
Athletic director Mike Bobinski fetched Pastner off his toxic hot seat at Memphis and gave him the job in Atlanta – even though Pastner’s record was not as sparkling as the record of Brian Gregory, the guy Pastner will replace at Tech.
Pastner won two NCAA Tournament games in seven seasons at Memphis – and now he’s moving into a league with Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim, Tony Bennett and Mike Brey.
Get this: If you’re a young Williams, Pitino, Boeheim, Dean Smith, Denny Crum or Bob Knight you can’t work for Josh Pastner.
Because Pastner said he does not want anybody on his staff that plays golf. Evidently, Pastner believes that guys who enjoy golf won't chase recruits that extra mile during summer evaluation periods.
Sometimes, “No comment,” truly is the wisest path, Josh.
8. DERBY DANDIES
My guy Lane (Gold) has accepted the challenge of forecasting the Kentucky Derby until the moment the starting gates swing open May 7. (I reserve the right to disagree after I replay the prep-race videos and dive into the Beyer Speed Figures.)
Gold shuffled his Derby Top Five to reflect the results of the Arkansas Derby after Cupid, his third pick last Monday, slogged home a disappointing 10th after racing as the favorite.
Here is the Gold Standard for Derby 142: 1. Nyquist; 2. Mor Spirit; 3. Exaggerator; 4. Mohaymen; 5. Gun Runner.
An explanation, please?
“Nyquist put in a solid first workout since the Florida Derby on Friday and now that Mohaymen is at Churchill, let's see how he trains,” Gold said. “Still one of the most talented horses in the field.”
You’re out of love with Cupid after one bad race? What should I tell his trainer, Bob Baffert?
“Cupid was so bad in the Ark Derby, hard to keep him in Top 5,” Gold said. “Gun Runner has been solid all year and although his times and numbers aren't spectacular, hard to ignore in the top 5.”
9. HUNT FOR REDS OCTOBER
Cincinnati’s 5-1 start was followed by the chilling reality of a 1-5 Week Two. Ouch. The Reds’ pitching staff allowed eight or more runs four times against the Cubs and Cardinals, their two primary rivals in the National League Central.
No wonder the full-season projected standings are no longer kind to the guys at Great American Ball Park. According to the numbers at Baseball Prospectus (yes, I’m a subscriber), the Reds’ chances of winning the National League Central currently sit at 1.6 percent. Their overall playoff chances are only slightly more uplifting – 6.9 percent.
Cheer up. Three teams in the National League are looking at uglier summers: Atlanta (0.8 percent), Philadelphia (2.0) and San Diego (4.9).
10. POLL RESULTS
Who is the best former Kentucky player to jump to the NBA during the Calipari Era?
Anthony Davis 75.3 percent
Karl-Anthony Towns 10.7 percent
John Wall 5.8 percent
DeMarcus Cousins 4.9 percent
Other 3.3 percent
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 0.0 percent
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