Friday, October 24, 2008

Did Lute Olson Break The Coaching Speed Limit?

I don't want to speculate over the reason's for Olson's sudden retirement. Personal illness, family illness, personal problems... none of the people giving opinions on this know one way or the other, so I'm not going to waste my time with idle speculation. What I'd rather talk about is the chaos that is Arizona basketball:

Olson stepped away last season, leaving Kevin O'Neill (Olson's chosen successor) in charge. This started well, until Olson started making himself a bit too large of a presence in the locker room. He started speaking to the players behind O'Neill's back, and started showing up where he wasn't wanted. He still wanted some control over what he viewed as his team, and the schism he created was obviously a big factor in the under-achievement of that very talented team. Olson then came back, and told O'Neill to get lost. Then without coaching a game, Olson suddenly exits, leaving the University reeling. Now the school is going to have to conduct a search to find a new coach, somebody who will not be able to simply continue the Olson legacy (in the way that longtime assistant Bill Guthridge was able to smoothly continue Dean Smith's work at North Carolina). And this doesn't even get to recruiting anomalies, like this one.

Seeing all this happen around 74-year-old Lute Olson makes me think about the "Speed Limit Coaching Corollary", which ESPN's Bill Simmons came up with after the 2007 NFL playoffs. His theory was that head coaching is an incredibly stressful and time consuming job, that requires a ton of creative ingenuity. All of these are characteristics that fade as coaches age. Simmons theorizes that this starts when coaches pass the age of 55. To be fair, even if you accept this theory, the Sell By Date on an NFL coach is going to be younger than in any other sport. NFL strategies change so much week to week that constant creativity is necessary. You don't need to re-invent yourself as much if you're coaching baseball or basketball. How much have college basketball games changed over the past 20 years?

Also, coaching legacies mean something in college sports, and don't mean anything in pro sports. It's easier to get a kid to come to your school if you have been in your position for years, and have a history of success. So you would think that coaches over the age of 60 would be commonplace, especially compared to the pro sports. But here is the entire list that I can come up with of current head coaches over the age of 60 who are, in my opinion, among the nation's best:

Bo Ryan - 60
Mike Krzyzewski - 61
Jim Boeheim - 63
Gary Williams - 63
Jim Calhoun - 66

If we go further, I think we can actually have doubts about Calhoun. I commented a couple times recently about how it seems like Calhoun had somewhat lost his team. He can still bring in wonderful recruiting classes, but his kids seem to underachieve. So if we assume that Calhoun may be a couple of years past his best, then we go back to Boeheim & Williams, who are each 63. That's a full eleven years younger than Lute Olson.

So what changes as coaches get into their 60s and 70s? I would argue for two things. One is the standard issue of being able to get down on the floor, participate in practice and patrol the sidelines for two hours during games. A bigger one, I would guess, is the ability to relate to players. A coach in his 40s and 50s can be a real father figure to a player. Coaches like Bruce Pearl (age 46), Al Skinner (56) and John Calipari (49) are famous for the way that they can relate to, and influence their players. Obviously there are many others that fall into this category, and I don't mean to offend fans of other coaches, but I simply needed a short list.

Anyway, once a coach gets into his mid-60s, or into his 70s, I think he starts to lose his hold over the players. So not only is it harder for him to keep up with the day-to-day grind, but I think he has less of a personal effect on his kids. Teams are more likely to underachieve, as they're full of talented kids that don't really mesh.

Pat Forde wrote a piece for yesterday where he compared the graceful exit of John Wooden (aged 64 at the time) and Dean Smith (66) to the awkward exits of Bobby Knight (67) and Eddie Sutton (72). Maybe the speed limit for college basketball coaches is a bit beyond 55 years of age. And obviously it's a gray area, because I don't think any of us doubt that a 67-year-old John Wooden would have been a pretty darned good head coach. But I think the evidence is clear that coaches above the age of 65 are in real danger of losing their ability to coach at a high level.

Maybe it was for the best that John Wooden and Dean Smith left us too soon. Nobody likes to remember Willie Mays on the Mets, Jerry Rice on the Seahawks or OJ Simpson on the 49ers. Coaches, like players, can stay on beyond their expiration date. Nobody will forget how Lute Olson took an Arizona program without much history of success to the pinnacle of the college basketball world. But it will be hard to remember him without recalling the messy end to his tenure. And if the other great legends of the modern college basketball world are going to leave while still on top of their game, we could see a whole lot of high profile retirements over the next five years.

2008-09 Conference Previews

As always, I want to have a one-stop location for links to all of the 2008-09 conference previews. This link will stay up under "Important BP65 Links" on the top right-hand side of this site. Remember, all non-BCS conferences are listed with more than one on a page. So even after you click on a conference, you may have to scroll down a bit to actually get to the conference preview.

America East
Atlantic Coast
Atlantic Sun
Atlantic Ten
Big East
Big Sky
Big South
Big Ten
Big 12
Big West
Conference USA
Ivy League
Missouri Valley
Mountain West
Ohio Valley
Pac 10
Patriot League
Sun Belt


Post-Midnight Madness BP65

Here we go! This BP65 will have to hold you until Sunday, November 16th:

1. TEXAS (BIG 12)
1. UCLA (PAC-10)

2. Notre Dame
2. Georgetown

3. Wake Forest
3. Tennessee
3. Duke
3. Baylor

4. Michigan State
4. Marquette
4. Louisville

5. Kansas
5. Ohio State
5. USC
5. Kentucky

6. Clemson
6. Villanova
6. Wisconsin

7. Oklahoma
7. Syracuse
7. Arizona State

8. West Virginia
8. Washington State
8. Virginia Tech

9. Michigan
9. Maryland
9. LSU

10. Arizona
10. Miami (Fl)
10. Oklahoma State

11. Missouri
11. UMass
11. San Diego
11. Pittsburgh

12. Oregon
12. South Carolina





Other teams considered, but that missed the cut:
Boston College, Georgia Tech, NC State, Virginia, Charlotte, St. Louis, Xavier, Cincinnati, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas A&M, VCU, Southern Miss, UAB, Butler, Miami (OH), Bradley, Creighton, Drake, BYU, San Diego State, UNLV, California, Stanford, Washington, Alabama, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Saint Mary's, New Mexico State

Other teams I'm keeping my eye on:
Florida State, Dayton, George Washington, Richmond, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, High Point, Winthrop, Indiana, Penn State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas Tech, Cal State Northridge, Hofstra, Old Dominion, Houston, Marshall, UTEP, Cleveland State, Marist, Rider, Ohio, Western Michigan, Northern Iowa, Wichita State, Air Force, Utah, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Appalachian State, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, Pepperdine, Fresno State, San Jose State, Utah State

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coming up: BP65 + Lute Olson

Midnight Madness has come and gone, and college basketball interest is starting to perk up around the country. I'm seeing a big pick-up in website traffic as well. So I just want to let everybody know what is coming this weekend:

New BP65: As promised, a new BP65 will be completed within a week of Midnight Madness. The plan is to have it up by early tomorrow (Friday) evening. Following that, the next BP65 will be the W-17 BP65, which will be out on Sunday, November 16th.

Lute Olson's retirement: I'm still putting my thoughts together on this one. I want to relate this story to a more general issue about age in coaching. I have it mostly together in my head, and I expect to have it completed by tomorrow night, or by Saturday evening at the very latest.

I have a few more odds and ends to get to over the next week or so, but those two posts will be my focus for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ranking Conferences

I've talked in the past about how to rank (and how not to rank) teams, so it's worthwhile to discuss ranking conferences:

Why do we care how conferences are ranked?
We hear about conference rankings all the time during the college football season. We hear less of it during college basketball season. This is ironic, since conference rankings are actually much more important in college basketball than college football. The college football season is much shorter: Most teams don't play every team in their own conference, and none ever get a home-and-home series. In college basketball, on the other hand, every team plays every other team in their conference. They also play most (if not all) of those teams in a home-and-home.

Since there is much more randomness in the college football schedule, it's easy for a team to finish behind another team that they're better than. And nobody would make the argument "Team A is better than Team B because they both finished third in their conference, and Team A's conference is better" with a straight face. But in college basketball, one can make that argument somewhat plausible. And you also can say pretty confidently that the team finishing 3rd in a conference is better than the team that finished 6th.

Yet try watching a full football game between BCS conference teams without hearing the announcers talk about which conferences are better. You will rarely hear this during a college basketball game. Still, enough people care about it that it's worth discussing.

Why are most conference rankings wrong?

The Absurd.
One only has to read some blogs, or big message boards (like ESPN or CBS Sportsline) to hear some truly idiotic conference rankings. One of my favorites: You'll hear all the time that because Ohio State lost badly the last two National Title games to SEC teams that we can therefore conclude that the Big Ten is vastly inferior to the SEC. First of all, we know that the mere fact that LSU beat Ohio State in a game last season doesn't even make last year's LSU team better than last year's Ohio State team. It certainly doesn't make this year's LSU team better than this year's Ohio State team. And even that would discount the other 21 teams that play in the Big Ten or SEC.

The Slightly Less Absurd.
Interestingly enough, the arguments that you hear broadcast announcers and professional tv/radio analysts making aren't too much less absurd than the message board example. After week 4 of this college football season, for example, I heard a number of announcers and analysts declare the SEC the best conference in the land because they had three teams in the AP top five. This is absurd on its face because early season rankings have nothing to do with results. None of the teams in the top five (other than USC) had played a good team yet. So the fact that those teams were in the top five had to do with preseason expectations and bias, rather than any statement of fact about their abilities.

And even if one conference ends a season with three teams in the top five, this doesn't make any kind of strong statement about the strength of a conference anyway. The Mountain West has three teams in the USA Today Top 25, while the Pac-10 has two. Does that make the Mountain West better? Ah, but a Pac-10 fan will counter: The Pac-10 has one team in the Top 8 while the Mountain West has none. Ah, but the Mountain West fan will counter: The Mountain West has two teams in the Top 20 while the Pac-10 only has one. Ah, but the Pac-10 fan will counter: The Pac-10 has six teams in the Sagarin Top 50, while the Mountain West only has four. See how stupid this argument is? Let me expand:

Don't pick an arbitrary ranking level and count the number of teams within it
I know that's kind of a long title for a post section, but it's the point of my Mountain West/Pac 10 example. Unless two conferences are wildly far apart in ability level (such as the SEC and the Sun Belt), one can always come up with a ranking level that has more teams from one conference than the other. Yet for some reason, this is the most commonly used argument for why one conference is better than another. People think that "most teams in the Top 25" is a plausible argument since people are always seeing Top 25 rankings, but 25 is really an arbitrary number. Why not the Top 24 or 26? Why not the Top 15 or Top 40? Any arbitrary ranking system like this is bound to fail.

Which team is better: Kansas State or Mississippi State?
During this college football season, you've probably heard countless pundits debate whether the SEC or Big 12 is better, and you always hear them debating Florida, LSU, Alabama & Georgia vs. Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech & Missouri. But I'll bet that you haven't heard anybody debating whether Kansas State is better than Mississippi State. But why not? Why choose to compare only the top four teams in each conference? According to Sagarin, Kansas State and Mississippi State are the 9th best team (out of 12) in the Big 12 and SEC, respectively. So shouldn't we be debating teams all the way down a conference?

So the real question is: How do we weight teams?
Since it's wrong to arbitrarily count teams within the Top "n" spots of the AP poll, and it's also wrong to only focus on the top two or three teams in a conference, it's clear that we need to look at all of the teams in a conference. But certainly we need to weight these teams, because I think we would all agree that the difference between the top team being 2nd or 5th in the country is a lot more important than whether the last place team is 100th or 110th. If we again look at Sagarin (I'm continuing to use the same computer polling simply for consistency, not because it's the only choice in computer polling) we see that he ranks conference in two separate ways. One is to just average all of the teams in a conference, and the other is to take a "central mean", which discounts the rankings at the very top and bottom of a conference. This keeps one really good team from singlehandedly pulling up the ranking of a conference, and also keeps one really bad team from dragging it down.

So to repeat the question of this section: how should we weight the teams in a conference? I would argue that there is more than one answer to this, and it depends on why we are ranking the conferences. If we want to compare a team at the top of one conference against a team at the top of another conference to determine whether a 14-2 record is better in one conference than another, then we should probably be discounting the teams at the top of a conference. For example, a highly ranked Gonzaga will drag up the average rating of the WCC, but we can't then use that highly rated WCC as an argument for why Gonzaga is good - it's circular reasoning. We can only judge Gonzaga's conference record by rating WCC with a discounting for Gonzaga's own record.

While one would think it's silly that we judge conferences by whether their worst teams are bad or really bad, there is something to caring about those teams. Take the ACC and Big East conferences during the last college basketball season. The fact that the Big East had some near-automatic wins on the bottom and the ACC didn't has to be taken into account. You see this in the Sagarin ratings again: The ACC has a higher "simple average" than the Big East, but the Big East has the higher "weighted average." This tells us what we already knew: The Big East was stronger in the middle of the conference (hard to argue for Clemson, Miami, Maryland and Virginia Tech over West Virginia, Pitt, Marquette and Notre Dame), but the ACC was stronger at the very top and very bottom (UNC & Duke over Louisville & Georgetown... as well as Virginia & Boston College over South Florida & Rutgers). Therefore, both weightings of the teams tell us two sides to the same information, and I don't think any of us can say definitively which is the "correct" ranking.

The clear answer, therefore, is that we have to take all teams into account with some sort of weighting. But different weightings are all valid, and there is no clear "best" possible weighting. So since there are different possible ways to weight conference, it's also impossible to perfectly rank conferences. Ergo, all weighted conference rankings are decent, but imperfect. But a conference ranking system doesn't need to be perfect in order to be far better than anything you're hearing from tv/radio sports analysts right now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trouble For Tar Heels? Ronald Steele healthy?

Marcus Ginyard is out for eight weeks with a stress fracture in his foot. This is a problem, but not a huge problem. For one thing, Ginyard is not the most important piece in the Carolina puzzle. He's obviously not Ty Lawson or Psycho-T. And it's only eight weeks, so he'll be back in plenty of time for the ACC schedule. But if his absence is felt in any noticeable way, Carolina might rack up an early loss or two. Because they do have quite the early season schedule.

It was smart for Roy Williams to give his team a tough out-of-conference schedule. He knows that his team can lose a couple of games and still get a #1 seed in the Tournament. And playing tough teams of different styles will help prepare his boys for a title run. The Tar Heels get a possibly tough Kentucky team on November 18th. They then head to Maui, which is chock full of good teams. They are gifted with Chaminade in round one, but the Tar Heels will get either Oregon or Alabama in round two. In the finals, they will get either Texas, Indiana, Notre Dame or St. Joe's. Finally, the Tar Heels play Michigan State at Ford Field on December 3rd. So assuming that Ginyard does miss a full eight weeks, that puts four very tough teams in that stretch. Can Ginyard's loss cause the Tar Heels to have an extra loss? Possibly. Will it do any real damage to their National Championship hopes? Definitely not.

Also, read this interesting piece on Ronald Steele. People seem to forget how good this guy was before his injury. He was an honorable mention All-American after the 2005-06 season, when he electrified Tuscaloosa with his play. His stats were great up and down the box score: 14 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg, 2 spg, 41% 3-point shooting, 89% free throw shooting. But he suffered with injuries in 2006-07, and the resulting surgery caused him to miss all of 2007-08. He was granted a redshirt, and now the guy who was expected by many to play in the 2006-07 NBA season, is now a fifth year senior in 2008-09.

From last season, the Crimson Tide lose Mykal Riley to graduation and Richard Hendrix to the NBA. But Alonzo Gee is back, and the team has a bunch of young talent. But they were very thin last season, and without a healthy Steele I just can't see them being a Tournament team. But if he can play like he did in 2005-06, then just about anything is possible. There's no reason that they can't contend to win the SEC West. Steele seems to be convinced that he'll be completely healthy and completely back, but we'll have to see for ourselves. We'll all get a look at Alabama when they play Oregon in the Maui Invitational (November 25th). If Steele really does look like he did three seasons ago, I will probably have to put them in the BP65.

Needed: Perspective

I try not to write about other sports on this blog, because I feel like it waters it down. I always see those blogs where guys give their thoughts about every sport under the sun, and it's just all so periphery - it's like watching an episode of Around the Horn, but with only one contestant. But I have spoken in general about college football before, not to tell you who I think will win this game or that game but to relate it to a general lack of perspective in the world of sports.

One thing I'm always shocked at with sports analysts is that they seem to completely lack any understanding of how upsets work. They always assume that top teams will roll through their bad competition, so that they can only lose to other good teams. In every college football season, it's about three or four weeks before we suddenly see a slew of undefeated teams in the top 10. And you hear incessantly that "This is the year the BCS will be busted!" Everybody predicts that four or five teams are going to go undefeated.

And it's not just undefeated teams. Every analyst I heard said that Ohio State's National Title hopes were done when they lost to USC. I honestly could not believe my ears. You're telling me that a team that loses early in the season (early losses count less than late losses) to one of the five best teams in the country, on their home field, without two of their best players (Pryor didn't really play, and Beanie Wells didn't play at all)... you're telling me you think that team has no chance of making the National Title game? That's ridiculous. I'm not predicting that Ohio State will go undefeated the rest of the way (see: previous paragraph). But if they do go undefeated the rest of the way and finish 11-1, I'd be shocked if they don't get in the National Title game.

The fact is that upsets happen for lots of reasons. I've spoken about many of them on this website. As I said, I'm not going to sit here telling you who is going to win the Oklahoma-Texas game, because that's just not what this blog is about. But I can tell you that you have to add your own perspective when you watch college football analysis. Both Ohio State and USC are still in the National Title hunt, as will be the loser of Texas-Oklahoma today, as will be just about any SEC team with two losses. You'll hear analysts say otherwise, but they're wrong.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Following Up On Thursday

A few more notes:

The calendar is becoming more clear. Midnight Madness, again, will be on the night of Friday the 17th. The next BP65 will come out less than a week later. The following BP65 will come out 17 weeks before Selection Sunday (March 15th, 2009), which will be November 16th (six weeks from today). They will then continue every Sunday until the week of February 9th.

As for the first games of the year, the match-ups for the season-opening Coaches vs Cancer Classic are now set. The full bracket is here. As we know with these tournaments, we often get a bunch of lame regions, with the home team being protected with easy opponents. In this case, Michigan gets an especially easy route. We will get no sense of how good Michigan is until they play in Madison Square Garden on November 20th. Duke might get a fight from Houston, and UCLA will have to be careful with Miami of Ohio, but the only real potential upset I see is in Carbondale, where SIU will be tested by UMass. Barring some very strange turn of events, however, we will be set for a UCLA-Duke final. And that will be a great game, to be sure. But we can't overlook the consolation game. Whichever team wins that game, be it Michigan, SIU or UMass (or even possibly a mini-cinderella, like Houston), will find itself with a good win or two for their Tournament resume. Duke and UCLA and playing to strengthen their argument for a #1 seed in March. And as we all know, it's a lot more fun to think about who will get into the Tournament, and who will be left at home. It's not hard to see the aforementioned trio, as well as Houston and Miami of Ohio, finding their way onto the bubble in February and March. You can't underestimate good wins over other bubble teams during November.

Looking back at Marquette for a moment, here is a nice feature on Buzz Williams and his Golden Eagles. While there are obviously questions about the head coaching abilities of Williams (his only season as a head coach was a 14-17 season with the mighty New Orleans Privateers of the Sun Belt), those will get answered in time. Williams has got to be grateful that he got dropped into such a good situation at Marquette. Jerel McNeal and Dominic James eschewed the draft to make one more run at a Big East title. Throw in Wes Matthews and Lazar Haywood and you've got a heck of a starting lineup no matter who is playing center. The only question I have is depth. Marquette probably will have the best backcourt in the Big East, but they're going to be weak in the paint unless some player from last year's bench makes some huge strides (the incoming recruiting class is pretty weak, so I wouldn't expect any freshmen to make a huge impact on the 2008-09 season). So Marquette's best strategy will be to run on offense, and use pressure defense on the perimeter. It's a strategy that Duke employed last year with great success. But Duke is so deep that they have McDonald's All-Americans serving up gatorade and towels on the bench. With a weak recruiting class and a bench that wasn't that deep to begin with, is Marquette going to be able to keep this up without wearing out? What if Jerel McNeal gets hurt again (as he did two season ago)? What if Dominic James wears down again and becomes an inefficient shooter late in the season due to heavy minutes and the fact that his playing style causes him to take a beating on the floor (as happened last season)? Marquette just feels a lot like a team that will start out very strong, but fade down the stretch.

So what about the future in Marquette? Even though the incoming freshman class is weak, Buzz Williams is known as a strong recruiter. His first full recruiting class will be a strong one that features three of's Top 100 2009 players. It's impossible for a recruiting class to come right in and replace James, McNeal and Matthews (who are all going to be seniors this season), but it will be a good start. The question will be whether Williams will be able to continue to bring in those types of classes (a lot of coaches put together a good inaugural recruiting class, but struggle to ever match that again), and whether he can be as strong of an in-game coach as Tom Crean was. As usual, I'm not going to make predictions about things I can't possibly predict (unlike pretty much everybody else on the internet). We'll just have to see how this plays out.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

News From Around The Country

There's a lot going on in the sports world right now: Baseball is in the playoffs, NFL & NCAA football are in the middle of their season, NBA preseason games start up this weekend, NASCAR's season is nearing a class, the WNBA playoffs are going on... Okay, I was just kidding about the last one. Nobody watches the WNBA. But the point is that college basketball has been squeezed out of the news cycle. But there are still stories out there. Here's a quick round-up of some of the more interesting stories around the web right now:

Kelvin Sampson just won't go away - The Kelvin Sampson story continues to dominate the IU campus. Indiana University is insisting that they knew nothing of Sampson's actions, and that therefore they should not be on the hook for any further punishment by the NCAA. Sampson, meanwhile, is insisting that Indiana was well aware of what was going on. To me, this is like watching one of those court shows on daytime television - I feel sympathy for nobody. First of all, Kelvin Sampson is a dirty coach, period. He should have known better. To break the same rule that got him in trouble at his previous job is just arrogance. But at the same time, even if Indiana University is correct, they're still wrong. They knew they were hiring a dirty coach. After so many years of a clean program under Bobby Knight, they sold out and hired a coach with a checkered past because they thought he could bring more wins than Mike Davis. Guess not. It's possible that they're going to turn the corner this year, as Tom Crean was a wonderful hire. He's a great recruiter, and a very good in-game coach as well (in addition to being a person with no history of bad behavior). Both Mike Davis and Kelvin Sampson were powerful recruiters, but I always felt like neither could coach their way out of a wet paper bag. Crean should make Hoosiers fans happy. This year is going to be tough for him, of course. Basically the entire team is gone, and they're re-building from scratch. My guess is that Indiana fans will be optimistic about it, however, if we are to learn anything from University of Michigan football fans this year. Fans are willing to deal with a rebuilding year when it feels like they're moving in the right direction. And I think that the University of Indiana is doing just that.

Preseason tournament fields are set - This page also gives the dates of the tournaments. As usual, the preseason NIT and Coaches vs Cancer will have elite fields. The Old Spice Classic is again full of outstanding teams. Most of the other big tournaments continue to be strong: Maui and Paradise Jam, for example. The Legends Classic has also caught on - after being a second tier tournament, it managed to put together a top tier field in '07, and now looks set to stay with another strong field. One tournament that has lost a lot of its luster is the Great Alaska Shootout, although that can't be a huge surprise. They were one of the first to get in on the preseason tournament business, and they got their pick of top programs. But now that are nearly a dozen of these things, how many schools are going to choose Alaska over Florida or Hawaii in late November? The only legitimate bubble team going out there this season is San Diego State.

Travis Ford update - Longtime readers know that I've always been a big Travis Ford fan. He is a big upgrade for Oklahoma State, and he should be able to achieve things in the Big 12 that he couldn't do in the Atlantic Ten. In my preaseason Big 12 predictions, I listed Oklahoma State as a bubble team that might come up just short of an at-large bid. With Ford, I might have to put them in. He does have a lot of good talent to work with, including seventh-year senior Byron Eaton (just kidding... but it does feel like he's been around forever).

Should we feel sympathy?
- In one of those stories that casual fans will never see, star point guard Abdul Gaddy re-committed to Arizona, meaning that Lute Olsen cut a commitment that he had to point guard Reger Dewell. I usually am not a fan of CBS Sportsline college basketball writers (they tend to be pretty arrogant, and they're terrible as far as predictions go), but Gary Parrish has a good article on this topic. I have to agree with him here - I don't feel bad for Dewell. These kids are superheroes from time they're 12 years old, and they and their entourages get wined and dined by these coaches - to pretend that they're the same as kids in non-money sports is preposterous. They lie to coaches and back out of commitments all the time, so I don't feel sympathy of Dewell because a coach took the same action against him. I do have to say, though, that Lute Olsen is not a saint in all of this. He has shown a penchant for dishonesty, as it was just last season that he intentionally undermined Kevin O'Neill (by showing up at practices and games and speaking to O'Neill's players behind his back), and then backed out on a promise to let O'Neill be his successor. O'Neill showed a lot of character in agreeing to step down as head coach and rejoin Olsen as an assistant, and it showed a lack of character in Olsen's letting him go. So, while I don't feel bad for Dewell, I do have to say that I've lost a bit of respect for Olsen's integrity over the past few years.