By now, you probably know how I tend to think about most things. When it comes to Mizzou's basketball coaching search, I want Mike Alden to be looking at the long-term hire and not necessarily trying to focus on a particular style or a coach who can probably do well in the short-term, i.e. next year with a lot of seniors. Obviously we want a coach who can win with the solid players he'll have on next year's squad, but if Alden decides that the best fit is someone like a Ben Jacobson, a strong coach who represents a complete, 180-degree stylistic shift from the Mike Anderson, and whose style might clash a bit with the strengths of the current roster, so be it. Long-term gain > short-term pain.
(Of course, it doesn't really matter that I want him to do this -- I know he will because he's good at his job.)
Last night we saw why this is a difficult balance, why it is easier in theory than in practiice. From Kim English's Twitter page:
The part that Hurt the most about the Mike Anderson to Ark was not him leaving. But I loved all of our asst coaches, GA's and Strength coach
I'm gonna miss those guys and the coaches wives like crazy. some of my fav practice moments were laughing with asst coaches and GA's
I'm gonna miss coach Z rebounding and passing balls back out to me after practice. Im gonna miss joking w/ coach Watkins sons.
I'm gonna miss all the parts that people don't see. The REAL reason I fell in love with staff at Missouri.
I wish those guys the best of luck down in Arkansas. You don't find this too much in Coll basketball. But they truly were stand up guys.
I haven't slept well the last couple of weeks. Thinking about that, I just wanted to get it off my chest.
It was a rather stark reminder that in thinking long-term, we could end up doing slightly wrong to people who have come to represent this university incredibly well in recent years. Guys like Kimmie, Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowers and Steve Moore. (It's not like Ricardo Ratliffe and Matt Pressey have done anything wrong either -- they just haven't been here as long.)
In a perfect world, where players aren't actual people and we can make decisions based entirely on a five- or ten-year plan (i.e. in video games), feelings don't really matter. But in real life, that is not necessarily the case. So my question for the day, as we continue to try to figure out Mike Alden's No. 2 choice for the job, is simple: how much do we (and by "we," I mean "Mike Alden" of course) owe it to next year's senior class to find a coach who helps them finish their final season with the most positive possible result? Should style and next year's seniors play a role in Alden's coaching search?
(And yes, I realize that the current roster is probably adaptable to any number of styles -- it's not like they would all play horribly in Ben Jacobson's system or something. But we're talking about degrees here; clearly they are probably best suited to a certain up-tempo style to which they are more accustomed. More a philosophical question than anything else...)