Haven’t done a “3 Truths” in a while, but I felt it was time to get back to it. Remember the rules, they are truths, as my own truths, but everyone is welcome to disagree, agree and/or disprove them. Come on in and take a seat for the lecture.
Have a Little Haith: So Mizzou finally settled on a coach this week, after Mike Anderson’s trip home to Arkansas, letting the best in-state coaching prospect walk (Cuonzo Martin) and not luring Matt Painter away from Purdue. Who they got was Frank Haith, who comes to Columbia from Miami (man…that doesn’t even sound right at all. I’ve left Miami for CoMO before, and it hurt my soul). He doesn’t bring what would be called a superb record along with him, notably a 43-69 record in ACC play. But really, what did everyone expect? When did Mizzou become a destination job that is owed whichever top coaching prospect is on the market to replace whatever just left?
I heard a lot about, why Mizzou shouldn’t have signed this guy because he can’t win, but I haven’t heard one name that was dropped that was desired to actually take Anderson’s place with a realistic connotation. All the talk has been about what type of coach SHOULD be at Mizzou. AD Mike Alden didn’t have to luxury of namelessly saying what should be; instead he had to put an actual person in place while dealing with the reality of what type of program he had. He has a program that is not a national powerhouse, tradition or geographical location. A program that is good in spells every five years or so, but rarely strings together a consistent season or a strong surge in the NCAA’s. It’s been a solid program over the last few seasons, but it started to curb again this year. This even happened during Norm Stewart’s thousand year reign. Mizzou is not on the level of a program that automatically lures a top name guy that could be looking to relocate (Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens) or lure a guy away from a power conference school to come and resurrect them (see the aforementioned Painter strikeout). Not saying it’s not possible, but assuming it is a right or privilege is also an overestimation of what type of program it is as well. This school is only a few months removed from also being a free agent vying for a spot in the MAC, WAC or WTF conferences (well no the last one, but you get the point). If it had top tier power in the NCAA scene, that wouldn’t have been an issue. Texas and Kansas basketball are the only two school s with that kind of power, and sway, in the Big 12. Proof is in the result and very existence of the Big 12.
So you have to look into the gray, into the unproven. Alden went out and got a guy that has recruited in the Big 12 before and is hungry, knowing good and well if he blows this gig he’ll probably be at best a backup singer to another HC for the rest of his career. Don’t underestimate what survival will bring out of a guy. He’s looking to make good on his opportunity already by closing the gaping hole that is St. Louis recruiting, the most plentiful area of talent in the state that was conveniently ignored by Anderson, who made his home in KC instead. If Haith can secure a circle of trust in St. Louis (which supplied multiple presences in this year’s Elite 8 and produced yet another McDonalds All-American in Bradley Beal this year) and in southern Missouri (Hansbrough. Plural), Mizzou would look drastically different.
All I am saying…is give Haith a chance (bonus points if you set this sentence to the song it was set from and sang along once or twice).
Red Sox, the Heat is on….already: If this last year as taught us anything it’s don’t get folks expectations up too high. You’ll get baked, fried and BBQed if you let up for one second or don’t win 9.5 out every 9 games. Ask the Miami Heat, for whom being a #2 or #3 seed is beyond belief and completely unacceptable (insert Dennis Leary-level sarcasm). The great thing about baseball season is that it is pointless to worry about a team falling off too early (as in before August), but the grumbling about what the Red Sox will actually be, and this early, is ridiculous. The sweep by the Indians is no good, but the Rangers are better version of who they were last year, when all they ended up as were the American League champions.
Looking into everything this club will do all season will happen for a variety of reasons. Because they are one of the most prestigious clubs in the game, had the best offseason of any team in the game and have satellite high expectations as a result of these factors, but thinking they’ll stay at this level (which would land them at a historic 0-162 mark) is a panic move as well. They’ll play the Yankees in their first home series of the season this weekend, and could even drop two of three of those and be at a 1-8 mark. You know what then? Still don’t panic, teams like these don’t stay down, even when they have open heart media-operated surgery after every loss. Once again, see the Miami Heat.
De-Clawed?: I love when the golf Majors come up these days, because the “Tiger Watch” has taken on such a funeral march now, it’s quite funny to watch him do well and then have commentators stumble over themselves trying to correct their words. It seems to be status quo now to speak about his career in terms that wreak of “waste”, “what could’ve been” and basically one step from just saying “over”. Other than Mike Tyson in his Super Saiyan days, no other individual athlete in recent memory has created more of an aura of invincibility than Tiger, but after his troubles of a few years back followed him to work, the talk of his decline is greatly exaggerated. Taking a look at what he has accomplished, there is absolutely no reason to think he can’t still finish with the same glory his rise built him up to.
It’s way too early to give him the Ken Griffey, “what could’ve been treatment”, basically because he’s still so far ahead of the game. He has 14 Majors at the age of 35. Which means he has 15 years before he qualifies for the Champion’s Tour (formerly the Senior Tour) at age 50, and about 60 more rounds of Major golf to play (which he can still participate in after becoming a “senior”), and A TON of average, tune-up tournaments to tinker around with in-between. It’s not going out on a limb to know that that Tiger can win another 15 rounds of Majors golf, at the very least, and be the all-time leader. Sure he hasn’t won in a few years, which means he’s normal right now. But how many normal golfers have had his potential, ever? (None) How many have ever been through the gauntlet of the public relations nightmare he did and still come back from it? Hell, no other golfer has even ever had that much attention paid to him, let alone the negative variety.
It took Jack Nicklaus 24 years to get his record 18 Majors. Tiger’s grabbed 14 in 14. I’m taking Eldrick on the under to take that. Still.