Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Friday, February 02, 2007

This might not be helping Tommy Amaker

It can't be a very good sign when Rob Parker is defending you, can it? After all, this is the same guy who's brought us such sportswriting gold as calling the Tigers' Dave Dombrowski the worst general manager in Detroit last season.

(Much more, of course, can be found at the "Wobb Parker, Sooper Geenus" database at The Wayne Fontes Experience. On more of a personal note, I'd like to say to Big Al, "Good luck. We're all counting on you.")

So in today's Detroit News - which has several pieces on not only Michigan basketball's currently precarious situation, but on the Big Ten's NCAA tournament hopes, as well - Parker says Amaker shouldn't be fired.

In the process, Parker lists several reasons why Amaker should keep his job - first and foremost being that two top-notch recruits are coming in next season, and a coaching change could cause some alienation. And that could very well be the reason that Amaker won't be fired.

From there on, however, Parker goes into full excuse-making mode, using the same stuff he would surely use to call for a coach's firing. Unfortunately for Michigan fans, we've heard these rationalizations already. The clean-up job in lieu of the Ed Martin scandal. The successful NIT runs. The team's overall won-loss record this season. And perhaps lamest of all, injuries are used as an excuse.

There isn't a single person who watched Wednesday night's loss to Iowa and thought to him or herself, "Boy, Michigan would've won that game if not for injuries." Michigan did, however, lose that game in large part because of Amaker's continued failure to install any sort of consistent offensive or defensive schemes that can lead to a good shot or key stop. When his players needed to be sharpest, they looked lost.

And while we're on the subject of looking lost out on the floor, one of the major factors in Michigan's recent lack of success is cited by Eric Lacy elsewhere in the Detroit News: Terrible point guard play. Is it unfair to criticize a coach for an inability to properly tutor the position he played in college? Because I'm thinking a former point guard could be criticized for an inability to develop any point guards.

But back to Parker and his case for Amaker. What's funny is that the whole thing falls apart at the end because of two points brought up to support his argument.

Don't forget that in his second season, Amaker's squad went 10-6 in the Big Ten, tied for third.

Well, that would mean the team's actually getting worse, not better. Right? Or am I missing something?

Maryland gave coach Gary Williams time to fix its troubled program. Williams took over in 1989. Five years later, the program's first season off probation, the Terrapins received their first NCAA bid since 1988. Williams led Maryland to a national championship in 2002. Hence, it wound up taking Williams 13 years to accomplish his ultimate goal.

Amaker's had six years. I was an English major in college (as anyone who's asked me to calculate a tip can tell you), but that's one more than five, isn't it? And in his sixth season, Michigan likely won't make the NCAA tournament. Williams' Maryland team went 26-8, tied for first in the ACC, and scored a #3 seed in the West Region. Thus, he earned the seven subsequent years it took him to win a national championship.

I'm not sure you're doing Coach Amaker any favors, Rob. Or maybe you should keep writing columns in support of Amaker. After all, looked how your anti-Dombrowski column worked out for the Tigers. It's like the Seinfeld opposite theory: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

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