Monday, August 27, 2012
Coaching Profile: Jim Calhoun
Looking Back: Calhoun was coming off one of his best coaching job of his Hall of Fame career, taking an upstart young team to a National Championship. The 2011-2012 season looked just as promising with a young and experienced nucleus coupled with a five-star recruit. What was supposed to be a team that had a chance to repeat quickly became a dysfunctional unit that struggled to put together 40 minutes of quality basketball. Add some suspensions, internal squabbling, and the NCAA sanctions that was put on the team, the season became a train wreck, leading to the transfers of three players and two more leaving early for the NBA.
The Good: There is no doubt that he still has the eye for under the radar talent that he can develop into solid players. There is a long list of players that are either playing in the NBA today or making a living at it overseas that owe Calhoun a ton of credit. It helps that he runs an NBA styled offense and defensive scheme that allows players to thrive in a system that can easily convert to the pro game. No matter what people say about his program, he is honest to his players. If they work hard, they will play.
The Bad: He’s abrasive, demanding, and refuses to back down and he’s not going to change his stripes any time soon, but that is how he got to where he has. Players sometimes have problems with his coaching style and he’s forced many a transfer because of it, which might’ve contributed to such a poor APR score. The program which he had built up is teetering and the blame lies squarely on his shoulders and he wouldn’t want it any other way. Poor grades, recruiting bad characters, and catch and releasing players every other year have taken a toll on the program and it is desperately in need of stability before Calhoun retires.
Looking Ahead: The NCAA has made UConn their example on how much of an emphasis they are putting towards student’s academic grades and Calhoun wants to send a message right back. They can take the postseason, they can suspend him, but they can’t take away his legacy nor his team. He’s going to be as fired up for this season then any he has ever coached before. If there is one thing that Calhoun still has it is passion and he is going to get every ounce of potential out of this team.