Basketball Prediction: Stability
We had a little fun yesterday afternoon as we took a stroll down memory lane...and as Mizzou's Frank Haith became Tulsa's HC, I, along with a few Twitter followers enjoyed a tongue-in-cheek back-and-fourth about the possibility of Painter going to Mizzou. Is it a possibility right now? Sure. Are some Mizzou fans still gaga for Matty? You bet. BUT, a lot aren't. A few articles from Mizzou-centric sites have expressed a range of possibilities for whom Alden will pursue and sign as their next coach...and me thinks...It won't be Painter.
Missouri and Alden missed when they tried to make a splash hire in Painter a few years ago. Painter's agent pulled the strings brilliantly and got all of his clients new jobs or raises in the process...and Matty stayed at his alma mater. As we all detailed yesterday via Twitter, the circumstances are different this time around. Painter's buyout is bigger...and his winning percentage is worse. AND, the cloud of NCAA garbage that swirled around Haith was an unwelcome visitor for Tiger faithful. They want stability...and need it in a hurry for a number of reasons.
I predicted this earlier...in a less-than-bold prognostication: Mizzou will go after someone within the family; for multiple reasons. Their attempts at splash hires have failed in the last decade...And, like Purdue, there are some solid candidates out there with ties to their university. They need to shore up the fan base with stability, and they'll do that in a hurry...I'm guessing.
Meanwhile in God's country, things will move forward quietly. I think Alden's people will send a text to Painter's agent (if they haven't already) to see if there's any interest...but I'm not sure it'll go much further than that. I will say, if it does, if the conversation gets to long-term deals and similar money, I'd think Painter would leave. His kids are getting older, his family situation is different and his relationship with Purdue is different than it was in 2011. Everything's changed.
But as we've been talking about for a while, it seems what Purdue's basketball program might need most right now is stability. Hammons went a long way to assuring some of that with his recent decision to stay...and as Aneesh detailed, a best-case scenario for Purdue's program could be unfolding. But for Purdue to have any chance at winning 20 games next season, the only change the program needs is an all-around good guy point guard 5th year transfer to walk through the doors of Mackey in the coming weeks...That'd be a little change that everyone would welcome.
The apple of my eye, when it comes to CEOs of the basketball program, has always been Cuonzo Martin. Now, as he enters his second major head coaching job at Berkley, the odds of him coaching the old metallic beige and black get slimmer and slimmer. For the record, I don't like the hints that Lavin or Weber might be good candidates. Hopefully, they've both found their last coaching jobs.
We can all debate the merits of potential future coaches, but there's absolutely no need or room for that debate if Matty gets the program back on track in the coming season and that figurative train gets its mojo back. Sure, in the wake of the last two seasons that scenario feels like a long shot...but it's far from an impossibility.
The last time Missouri sought a new head coach, Purdue's basketball universe was knocked off kilter...maybe this time, the stars will align in the wake of Mizzou's next hire (Quinn Snyder again, anyone?) and our Boilers will go on a tear. One can dream.