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Thread: Steve Alford

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    Default Steve Alford

    I've been a harsh critic of Steve Alford's coaching since his Manchester days.

    But I'm watching New Mexico during this year's tournament because it appears to me that he's finally on the verge of becoming a good coach on his own merits.

    Obviously, the scam he pulled at Manchester (dropping home-and-home's with Taylor and other Indiana small-college basketball powers from the schedule to boost his record) carried him a long way until he was exposed at Iowa (where its a bit harder to drop the home-and-home's with the conference powerhouses, the Big Ten sets that portion of the schedule.)

    (Aside, Taylor had an NAIA Final four team at the time led by a guy with the great basketball name of Dale Miller -yes, really. Dale was 6'3" PF with post moves that would make McHale jealous and obviously no size at all. Had he gone D-I, he would have been making the same PF-to-PG transition that Damon Bailey was also making at that time. Difference was, of course, that Damon has the skillset to play point, wing or post. Dale Miller was 100% a post player.)

    Maybe I'm still bitter than Alford only came to Odle Gymnasium once during his tenure at Manchester, but to have a D-III Final four team and NAIA Final four team less fifty-five miles apart, and to have played a home-and-home every season for thirty-plus years prior to Steve's decision to drop us (and it was picked back up as soon as he left) was just cheap.

    But I wonder if New Mexico might be the best thing to happen to Steve. Obviously, he had no coaching experience whatsoever, he went straight from the NBA (although I think he was on the injured list) to small college head coach.

    And finally at Iowa, it was exposed.

    Out in New Mexico, he's away from the bright spotlight of the Big Ten and he can just coach and recruit. And it seems to be working. A few more years of good development and progress, and maybe he'll really be ready for the Big Ten. He's 45 now, so he's not the same inexperienced, overwhelmed guy that showed up in Iowa.

    Over the next three or four seasons, we'll get to see if he's finally as good a coach as people wish him to be. And we'll also get to see if Crean is really this bad at x's and o's (my Marquette colleagues say yes, "great recruiter but not a very good game coach").
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    I've been a harsh critic of Steve Alford's coaching since his Manchester days.

    But I'm watching New Mexico during this year's tournament because it appears to me that he's finally on the verge of becoming a good coach on his own merits.

    Obviously, the scam he pulled at Manchester (dropping home-and-home's with Taylor and other Indiana small-college basketball powers from the schedule to boost his record) carried him a long way until he was exposed at Iowa (where its a bit harder to drop the home-and-home's with the conference powerhouses, the Big Ten sets that portion of the schedule.)

    (Aside, Taylor had an NAIA Final four team at the time led by a guy with the great basketball name of Dale Miller -yes, really. Dale was 6'3" PF with post moves that would make McHale jealous and obviously no size at all. Had he gone D-I, he would have been making the same PF-to-PG transition that Damon Bailey was also making at that time. Difference was, of course, that Damon has the skillset to play point, wing or post. Dale Miller was 100% a post player.)

    Maybe I'm still bitter than Alford only came to Odle Gymnasium once during his tenure at Manchester, but to have a D-III Final four team and NAIA Final four team less fifty-five miles apart, and to have played a home-and-home every season for thirty-plus years prior to Steve's decision to drop us (and it was picked back up as soon as he left) was just cheap.

    But I wonder if New Mexico might be the best thing to happen to Steve. Obviously, he had no coaching experience whatsoever, he went straight from the NBA (although I think he was on the injured list) to small college head coach.

    And finally at Iowa, it was exposed.

    Out in New Mexico, he's away from the bright spotlight of the Big Ten and he can just coach and recruit. And it seems to be working. A few more years of good development and progress, and maybe he'll really be ready for the Big Ten. He's 45 now, so he's not the same inexperienced, overwhelmed guy that showed up in Iowa.

    Over the next three or four seasons, we'll get to see if he's finally as good a coach as people wish him to be. And we'll also get to see if Crean is really this bad at x's and o's (my Marquette colleagues say yes, "great recruiter but not a very good game coach").
    I agree with this post completely. I conducted the pep band at Illionois Wesleyan in the Div. III elite 8 against Manchester the year they went to the final 4. Anyway, I am rooting for Alford and enjoy watching his New Mexico team. I hope that he ends up back in the Big Ten at some point. Todd Lickliter proved that Iowa is an incredibly difficult place to recruit and win. Alford did do well in the Big Ten tournament while he was there. To me, his downfall was largely a problem recruiting the right types of kids.

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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    I hear ya. This is the first time I've cheered for Steve since '87.

    PS, I watch Illinois Wesleyan when they come to town to play the BlueJays. They continue to have a good program. And it doesn't hurt when your have an Elite-8 team where your three best players are juniors and your next best player is a sophomore. They're legit championship contenders next season.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    While your overall point may be valid, someone should point out that he took SW Missouri St. to the Sweet 16 in 1999. You can't really blame is Iowa days on being inexperienced.

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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    And that's his only Sweet-16 appearance at the D-1 level, right?

    I guess there are three different views on that: (1) he's not very good, period, and got lucky once; (2) his effective experience is less than his actual experience (having his Dad on his staff for a number of years, his highest levels of success have occured away from the spotlight); (3) he's been dealing with talent defeciencies and his results are what you'd expect with that type of roster. Maybe he can't recruit.

    Boy, did his team get drilled on Saturday. Although I think injuries might have been a contributing factor. Losing by 1-7 points might be "outcoached". Losing by that many points probably points to something else.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    If there's one thing I've realized, it's that Tom Davis was a hell of a coach. Iowa is a much tougher job than I thought. Of course, when Northern Iowa beats Kansas with 9 local kids on the roster, maybe their recruiting priorties are wack.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
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    If there's one thing I've realized, it's that Tom Davis was a hell of a coach. Iowa is a much tougher job than I thought. Of course, when Northern Iowa beats Kansas with 9 local kids on the roster, maybe their recruiting priorties are wack.
    And back here, we see Butler and Purdue having success with Indiana kids that Crean and Sampson and Davis weren't interested in, either.

    Maybe I'm stubborn, but I still believe the Hoosiers can build a national title contender with Indiana/ Ohio/ Illinois/ midwest kids. And they refuse to even try to prove me wrong.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    And back here, we see Butler and Purdue having success with Indiana kids that Crean and Sampson and Davis weren't interested in, either.

    Maybe I'm stubborn, but I still believe the Hoosiers can build a national title contender with Indiana/ Ohio/ Illinois/ midwest kids. And they refuse to even try to prove me wrong.

    I'm not sure Crean's not interested in them... I think they might rather go to Butler or Purdue right now.

    I've heard Crean say he is interested in Indiana kids... but I have no idea how much he follows through on that in balance.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

    -John Wooden

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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    I'm not sure Crean's not interested in them... I think they might rather go to Butler or Purdue right now.

    I've heard Crean say he is interested in Indiana kids... but I have no idea how much he follows through on that in balance.
    No link. My parents and my aunt and uncle sat behind the Creans and next to the Harbaughs at an IU football game a couple of seasons ago when the Ravens were in town. (Who knew my aunt had such a good contact at the IU ticket office, considering she was an ISU grad?!)

    Anyway, Dad had the audacity to suggest to Crean an Indiana-based recruiting strategy and Crean told him, "No, we're a national program and we're going to recruit that way."

    The irony, of course, was that IU was a national program in the first place because Branch and Bobby stocked their teams with the best kids from Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.

    Oh well.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  12. #10
    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    I agree with Crean, though. Last I checked, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois were all part of the national landscape. There is no need to limit yourself to a small segment of the country if you don't have to. Crean didn't say he wouldn't recruit Indiana guys, only that Indiana guys are not his only focus.

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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    And we haven't been the same since Calbert, Greg and Pat Graham, Nover, Henderson and Bailey - all Indiana kids and the major components of a Final Four/ national powerhouse team were replaced Charlie Miller (FL), Andrae Patterson (TX), Neil Reid (LA), etc. It was unheralded Michael Lewis from Jasper that held that dysfunctional team of misfits together, and later Coverdale and Dane Fife (an honorary Indiana kid who had the audacity to decorate his room in cream and crimson when the family tradition was to play for the Wolverines.)

    IU has five national championshis with a focus on Indiana/ Ohio/ Illinois kids, and zero with a national focus. And Bulter and Purdue are relevant right now with kids that probably would like to wear cream and crimson but weren't given "the love".

    Hell, Purdue is coached by a guy that wanted to wear cream and crimson instead but wasn't given the love and he's gone back there as coach.

    It would be one thing if Indiana were actually getting a bunch of "#1 recruiting classes" with a national focus. Indiana's last #1 recruiting class was probably Funderburke/ Cheaney/ Graham/ Graham/ Reynolds. Three Indiana kids, Illinois, and Columbus, Ohio. And look at the winners of those "recruiting class sweepstakes". Those are very uneven predictors of future success, even more uneven than the media's mock NBA drafts.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  14. #12
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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    I see both sides of this one. With the weight hanging over Indiana U right now I don't think Crean could afford to focus on Indiana and the Indiana area in his first 2 years. But let's look again in 5 years. I'm not sure he had much to offer Indiana blue chip players that Purdue, ND, or Butler couldn't trump.

    Of course maybe he could've focused on the region, taken the 2nd tier after the other area schools had their pick, and hoped to steal a 1st tier kid who has always dreamed of IU plus hoped those 2nd tier kids would rally 'round the cause and work that much harder because they were at IU (a school they probably dreamed of playing for themselves).

    But it was a gamble either way. In hindsight he probably would've been fine with that approach... but heading into it he probably hoped to expand the search and maybe the expanded area would allow him to steal a few 1st tier recruits that he could sell on being part of the turnaround at IU, or some right on that borderline, that focusing on this region alone might never have yielded (simply because of the smaller pool).

    Crean really inherited a mess. I think he was probably in a 'damned if I do and damned if I don't' scenario to begin with no matter what.

    But like I said, in 5 years that shouldn't be the case, so let's be ready to revisit this in the coming years. Even 3 years in the future when Crean is 5 years into his tenure. That should give us a better feel of what normalcy will look like.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

    -John Wooden

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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    And we haven't been the same since Calbert, Greg and Pat Graham, Nover, Henderson and Bailey - all Indiana kids and the major components of a Final Four/ national powerhouse team were replaced Charlie Miller (FL), Andrae Patterson (TX), Neil Reid (LA), etc. It was unheralded Michael Lewis from Jasper that held that dysfunctional team of misfits together, and later Coverdale and Dane Fife (an honorary Indiana kid who had the audacity to decorate his room in cream and crimson when the family tradition was to play for the Wolverines.)

    IU has five national championshis with a focus on Indiana/ Ohio/ Illinois kids, and zero with a national focus. And Bulter and Purdue are relevant right now with kids that probably would like to wear cream and crimson but weren't given "the love".

    Hell, Purdue is coached by a guy that wanted to wear cream and crimson instead but wasn't given the love and he's gone back there as coach.

    It would be one thing if Indiana were actually getting a bunch of "#1 recruiting classes" with a national focus. Indiana's last #1 recruiting class was probably Funderburke/ Cheaney/ Graham/ Graham/ Reynolds. Three Indiana kids, Illinois, and Columbus, Ohio. And look at the winners of those "recruiting class sweepstakes". Those are very uneven predictors of future success, even more uneven than the media's mock NBA drafts.
    Again, Crean didn't say that he wouldn't recruit Indiana guys, only that he's not going to narrow his focus to only Indiana guys.

    Plenty of NCAA titles have been won without Hoosier-bred players.

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    Default Re: Steve Alford

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    Again, Crean didn't say that he wouldn't recruit Indiana guys, only that he's not going to narrow his focus to only Indiana guys.

    Plenty of NCAA titles have been won without Hoosier-bred players.
    Not by midwestern teams.

    Illinois hasn't won any national championships that way. Neither has Purdue. Neither has Iowa, Minnesota, etc.

    Neither has Michigan. Glen Rice and Demitrius Calip were from Flint. Loy Vaught was from Kentwood. Terry Mills was from Romulus.

    Ohio State won with Ohio kids in '60 (Knight, Hondo and Lucas were all Ohio kids).

    I have no idea what Wisconsin did in #41.

    Michigan State had Magic in '79 and they were a one-man team. In 2000, Mo Pete, Charlie Bell and Mateen Cleaves were from Flint and Jason Richardson was from Saginaw.

    If you're in midwest and you want to win, you need to have the brand power of INDIANA BASKETBALL and stock your roster with the best players from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan on your team. Not Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana, other places. If you get a good player from outside the great lakes region and they can fit in (think: Joe Hillman who scored 45+ ppg in a weak (relative to the IHSAA) CIF and was a role player for the Hoosiers) then okay, that's a luxury.

    When you start splitting up the Indiana talent among Purdue, Butler, Indiana and certain out-of-state schools, its no wonder that none of them have any success. The talent has been diluted, not maximized.

    Meanwhile, you could have assembled an All-Indiana kids dream team during the 2000s, with Jeffries, Coverdale, May, Gordon, Oden, Conley, Zeller, Hill, Teague, McRoberts, Gardner, even Randolph and honorary Hoosier Fife and that would have been a solid foundation for a few national championships over that time. But you need the Hoosiers to be credible because that's the only school in the midwest that can pull it off.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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