Friday, April 16, 2010

Pollard Says Colvin Exit Part of a Larger Problem

  • A source told me weeks ago Iowa State basketball player Chris Colvin was telling teammates and friends he'd made up his mind to transfer. At the same time, Cyclone head coach Greg McDermott felt Colvin had reassured him he was not leaving. Thursday, Iowa State confirmed what Cyclone fans had come to expect: Colvin is indeed gone.
  • Colvin told our Shawn Terrell he just doesn't like McDermott's style of play, and wants to go somewhere he can run and gun. I'm not sure how McDermott's offensive strategy escaped Colvin during his recruitment, but Colvin never seemed happy at Iowa State. McDermott suspended Colvin for walking out of a team meeting, then made the questionable decision of reinstating him early due, in part, to Iowa State's depleted roster. Colvin showed flashes on the court, but mostly disappointed. He had bad body language, and never seemed to put the team first. 
  • Cyclone fans run the spectrum from concerned to angry. Iowa State is proud of its basketball history, but it's been a bad five years. I can't overstate how much Greg McDermott is liked and respected throughout the Iowa State athletic offices, not to mention the coaching fraternity. I also know there's not a fan anywhere more frustrated or disappointed than McDermott himself, but Mac's record in Ames is getting harder to defend, and the defections are arming critics with more ammo.
  • The Wesley Johnson transfer blindsided McDermott two years ago, Lucca Staiger was the mid-season surprise, Justin Hamilton the post. There have been many other departures, which Iowa State Athletics Director Jamie Pollard sees as more of a generational trend than an indictment of McDermott. Pollard remains a strong supporter of McDermott, and I believe Pollard is convinced McDermott is the right man for the job, but needs more time and better luck. Here's what Pollard is writing to Cyclone fans concerned about the defections:
Certainly we share your frustration, disappointment and even anger about the transfers in our men's and now even our women's basketball programs (women have now lost all four of their recruits from last year despite having Elite 8 and Sweet 16 teams). I can assure you both Coach McDermott and Coach Fennelly are concerned and trying to figure out how best to combat it. Part of Coach McDermott having two coaching vacancies is a direct result of his wanting to try and address the issue.

However, it also helps to keep our transfers in perspective. My peers and I continually discuss the epidemic around the country in the sport of basketball. In the past two years over 500 men's basketball players have transferred from a Division I team to another program. That number is absolutely amazing. Unfortunately if a kid's world is not absolutely perfect (in their mind), they run from the problem rather than deal with it. Makes you wonder if it is the first signs of our society's change in our early education program (no longer give kids grades - everybody passes; can't keep score, everybody has to win; if you do not like something, have mom or dad complain on your behalf). Personally I wonder how that generation is going to survive in the real world when mom or dad or AAU coach are not there for them during their first job interview or first job evaluation. The bottom line is life is not a video game, you can't just hit reset if you do not like your initial score.

Here are several links that clearly help put our transfers in perspective. Doesn't solve the issue but perspective on this issue is important.

First Link (SEC Transfers)

Second Link (List of over 300 transfers in 2008)

Third Link (more on 2008 transfers)

Thanks again for your support. One way or the other, we will get basketball fixed.

Go Cyclones!

Jamie Pollard
  • McDermott is fortunate to have a boss who  has his back the way Pollard does. And Pollard is right, players are transferring everywhere, they are more entitled than ever, and the reset culture is troubling, but I doubt this makes Cyclone fans feel better. All coaches and schools are dealing with this reality; however, most aren't struggling the way Iowa State is. Successful coaches in the power conferences have to massage egos, recover from inevitable defections, and get everyone working toward the same goal. In that way, the college game is becoming more like the NBA.
  • Greg McDermott and Todd Lickliter both proved a long time ago they can coach, but at a different level. Remember succesfull college coaches John Calipari, Rick Pitino, and Tim Floyd all failed miserably when they tried the NBA. In 2010 you have to find a way to relate to all your players, and for reasons I don't understand, that's where McDermott and Lickliter apparently struggle.
  • I like Greg. I sincerely hope he finds a way to make it work in year five. It's hard to imagine right now, but it would make for a hell of a story.

1 comment:

Hawkeyemkn said...

In the past 5-10 years I really am getting sick of the transfers and the way the players are being coddled. I remember watching in the 80s and 90s when guys would be at Iowa or ISU for 4 years. Heck Jess Settles even stayed at Iowa 6 years. I grew up watching BJ, Marble and Horton for their whole college careers. Then you get to today and it’s like pro sports with free agency. A whole new team ever year. I know it doesn’t just happen at Iowa or ISU but its something that needs to be really looked at by the NCAA. Maybe more so then going to a 96 team tournament.