Hey, all, I was out of town visiting the Cuban side of my family tree in Miami - SPRING BREAK WOOO - but luckily Herman held down the fort here and posted some good stuff. I filmed some video in Miami, but the audio didn't work, so, well, I can't post it.
Anyway, here's what I have to say about the LUCKY NUMBER 13: I'm not thoroughly disappointed. I was on the side of Carmody not returning to Northwestern, but even then, I was troubled by that possibility. Northwestern would have had to find another coach and likely take some steps backwards as the team adjusted in what could be an effective season for Northwestern. Sure, NU loses the best player in program history, and a guy who kept Northwestern in key games on their near-tourney run, but Drew Crawford is still there, and there are new players - Nikola Cerina, Tre Demps, Kale Abrahamson, Sanjay Lumpkin, Alex Olah, and Michael Turner - who can hopefully step up to fill some of the void. Sure, that's asking a lot, but considering three of the four graduating seniors this season contributed little, and that's six guys, at least one of whom will hopefully contribute in a big way. One can assume the transition period from a new coach - which might have long-term gains for the program - would provide a dip in the immediate future. So this isn't the end of the world, although it wasn't optimal.
What does irk me, however, was the double revelation that Carmody is not only under contract this year, but past this year, and that he doesn't intend on telling us how long he is under contract for. Somebody at a conference call announcing someone's return due to public chatter that they would not be back for one more year saying they have an indefinite amount of more years is trolling of the highest quality. It's Maury opening the envelope and saying "yes, you are the father! AND YOU HAVE AN INDEFINITE NUMBER OF OTHER CHILDREN AND WE'RE NOT TELLING YOU HOW MANY, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO RIDE THE LOLLERCOASTER IF YOU DON'T TAKE OFF YOUR LOLLERBLADES HAHAHAHA!" Seriously though, it's disconcerting. The status quo in Northwestern basketball is on the wrong side of the "doing good things as a basketball program" meter, and while a tense sense of "this is the year, or else!" is an acceptable situation and rewarding a coach for being so so close with another year was plausible, this is just saying "eh, screw it". But what genuinely strikes me is the audacity in not revealing the length of the contract. Sure, Northwestern is a private institution, and they have no requirement to tell us. Sure, coaches hide information all the time - ask Pat Fitzgerald a question, and there's a 40 percent chance he'll look you in the eye and say something along the lines of "you know I can't tell you that" and move on. But when he does that, it's about things where public knowledge provide a competitive disadvantage: information about player availability, formations, strategies, and gameplan preparation. I can see one scenario in which the knowledge of a coaches' contract length could provide a competitive disadvantage: where recruits would be troubled by committing to play for a coach with an uncertain future. On that end, Carmody said he tells recruits, but won't tell us. It's a privileged wank motion on an institutional level, and while I have only a slight problem with Carmody's return, I think this is just a jerk move.
- Lotta talk about facilities upgrades. This, obviously, is good. The talk of potentially moving a season to Loyola while Northwestern upgrades or rebuilds Welsh-Ryan is great because of the part that we'd be upgrading or rebuilding W-R, but the Loyola thing, ehh. It would murder already precarious student attendance numbers for a season. How annoying would it be if that was the tourney year? Sounds like the type of thing you could do in a year with low expectations and get away with it - maybe after firing your head coach or something like that. (In all honesty, I won't be a student anymore and it won't make a huge difference, but pre-game and post-game P.Co or Hamilton's runs I can get behind.)
- Nikola Cerina the most athletic player on the team? Alright! Hopefully he can be an upgrade from Davide Curletti at the center position - not being injured will put him above Luka Mirkovic. It'll be interesting to see how that center position with Cerina, Olah, and Turner will turn out.
- The news that Tavaras Hardy won't be taking the Southern Illinois job is big. First off, he's Northwestern's best recruiter, second, much to some of y'alls' chagrin, he is a potential Carmody successor, and it would be nice to keep him in the fold.
That's all, people - back with other stuff soons-ish.