Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coach Profile: Jim Calhoun

Looking Back: Calhoun arguably had his best coaching season of his illustrious career. He had a top star in Kemba Walker but other than that he had some under performing sophomores and seniors, and an unheralded class of freshmen. But it didn’t matter, this team had “it”. Call it chemistry, a will to win, or lightning in a bottle, but when they got into a tournament setting, they were unbeatable. The team bought into playing tough defense and settling into their roles and that all comes from their coach.

The Good: Calhoun knows where and when to push a player to get the most out of them. He also isn’t afraid to change conventional thinking, starting a bench player to limit early fouls for a starter and to gain much needed experience for a younger player for the next season. He also is a master at development and finding those under the radar players. He discovers players like Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier that weren’t highly touted out of high school and instilling them the confidence to make major impacts. In the end, it comes down to players and Calhoun knows how to find them and mold them into winners.

The Bad: He is still fighting off the effects of the NCAA investigation and a bad NCAA grade that took away scholarships. A major factor for this is his catch and release of players like that of Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and several others throughout his career. He also isn’t to keen on players playing through mistakes and uses minutes as a punishment even at the detriment of the game. He is also in the twilight of his career and while it is obvious that he still has what it takes to win, his health has been an issue and can not be ignored.

Looking Ahead: Calhoun will have a much more experienced team though not a true talent like that of Kemba Walker, but his team will be more well rounded and proven. He has two offensively talented freshmen to complement his defensive minded squad. If he can get Lamb, Oriakhi, and Napier to all contribute more offensively then he should have another team to compete for another title, but it is awfully difficult for lightning to strike in the same place twice.

No comments: