Monday, April 21, 2008

Thoughts On Vince Taylor and Krys Faber

VINCE TAYLOR STAYS: I'd like to say how pleased I am to see that Vince Taylor did not get the Western Kentucky job. While I of course wish him nothing but the best, his position on Tubby's staff, I believe, is very important.

Taylor was probably as perfect a fit as there could have been for the Hilltoppers. Taylor has the Kentucky roots. He surely knows the recruiting scene in the commonwealth. But the job went to former WKU assistant Ken McDonald, who was earning his stripes at Texas.

Tubby Smith came to Minnesota with the reputation as a great bench coach but a lackadaisical recruiter. Now, I'm not sure I buy that completely. Tubby had some very solid classes at UK, but because he didn't land the likes of Tyler Hansborough and was one of many coaches who underestimated the ability of Chris Lofton, Tubby was tagged with being a soft recruiter.

Not so for Vince Taylor. As I discussed last year when he was hired, Taylor possesses quite the pedigree. He's worked for Denny Crum and Rick Pitino at Louisville. He played at Duke. Taylor also had a journeyman's professional playing career, making various international stops. That has helped him procure a reputation as a recruiter with a knack for international success. We haven't seen that play out too much so far at Minnesota--unless you consider Devoe Joseph's recruitment from Canada and international "get."

No matter how much credit Taylor deserves for Tubby Smith's first class, which ranks in the top 10 to 20 nationally depending on your expert of choice, Taylor has the drive the Gophers need to build on that. Taylor will certainly be a head man someday given his track record and coaching pedigree. But for Minnesota's sake, let's hope he continues to help Tubby hit the recruiting trail.

And, hey, Tubby Smith isn't going to be around forever. Maybe Joel Maturi should have a conversation with Taylor about grooming the assistant to take over down the road. That's certainly a path that has worked well for Purdue, for instance.

KRYS FABER: After flirting with the Gophers for months and telling recruiting services that the Gophers were his #1 choice, Los Angeles big man Krys Faber has decided on DePaul, according to the PiPress' Gophers blog.

Minnesota's need to add big men is no secret. The Gophers lacked size this past season, and the departures of Dan Coleman and Spencer Tollackson certainly won't help that cause. The additions of Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson III will give the Gophers the same number of interior players they had this past year, and that includes hybrid, inside-outside threat Damian Johnson.

The Gophers' incoming class is already five players deep. But because Travis Busch and Jamal Abu-Shamala were on one year contracts, Tubby has room to add more talent. Now, we should keep some scholarships available for next year when Minnesota products Royce White and Rodney Williams become available, but the need to add big men, and simply talent for that matter, is important now.

The Gophers are still in the running for point guard Verdell Jones, who is also being sought after by Tom Crean at Indiana, Bruce Pearl at Tennessee and Billy Gillispie at Kentucky. Point guard is the other glaring need for the Gophers. Al Nolen played OK as a freshman. Tubby's recruitment of Jones would also indicate that the coaching staff views Devoe Joseph as a two-guard.

We'll see how this plays out, but no matter where Jones goes, this has been an impressive recruiting class for the Gophers. But let's hope Jones lands in Dinkytown, if for no other reason then we can say that Tubby Smith, for the second time, landed a recruit his successor was after at UK.


Friend Of Tubby said...

Tubby recruiting history:

1991-95 at Tulsa. 4 players on scholarship in 1991 when he took over. He signed 100% of players who made back-2-back Sweet 16 finishes at Tulsa. Never before nor since has that been done at Tulsa.

1995-97 at Georgia. 8 seniors on 1996 team led way to 21 W. Tubby recruited their replacements who had 24 W in 1997. Never before nor since has Georgua had 24 W in a season. 2 straight Top 10 to 15 classes there in 1996 and 1997.

1997-2007 at Kentucky, as follows.

Top 5 classes in 1998 and 1999.

Top 10 classes in 2000 and 2001.

Top 15 classes in 2002 and 2006.

Top 20 class in 2003.

#1 class in 2004. He sign 3 guards rated higher (better) than Lofton.

NR classes in 2005 and 2007. (His 2007 class with Patterson and Lucas would be Top 10 class)

And now Top 10 to 15 rated class at Minnesota after 20 W season.

PJS said...

Like I said, FOT, I don't buy the lousy recruiter line completely. Tubby has certainly had some success at other stops and his incoming class is the best Minnesota has done since the Clem Haskins era, and I'd doubt those classes were on the up and up.

I think another complaint the UK faitful had was Tubby was loathe to pursue the one and done types who have recently catapulted programs from simply your average NCAA Tournament team to title contenders. I'm not sure Minnesota is ready for a one and done freshman. But once Tubby has a base of talent here in a year or two, it will be interesting to see if he aggressively pursues the Carmello Anthony's and Greg Oden's of the world.

Friend Of Tubby said...

Maybe so. Let's review the facts.

Pitino coached 3 early NBA entrants (Mashburn Jr, Mercer So, Walker So).

Tubby coached 3 early NBA entrants (Nazr Mohammed Jr, Rondo So, Morris Jr) and 1 more (Azubuike) who left early but made NBA a year later.

He signed Jumaine Jones at Georgia. Two years then NBA for him.

lurker said...

I don't think this program is ready for the one and done type of player. Put a Greg Oden type on last year's team and that gets you to the NCAAs probably but probably doesn't win the conference. The Gophers need to add talent depth before thinking that big.

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