From Kansas To SMU......24 Years Later
In 1988 Larry Brown won the National Championship as coach of the Kansas Jayhawks. Danny Manning was on that team and given the content of my last article "The Culture Of Losing", I now have so much to talk about with Larry Brown accepting the coaching position at SMU. SMU stands for Southern Methodist University. Let's get that out of the way first because I know many of you out there have never heard of the place. But there are some of us who were alive in the 80's who might remember that 1988 was also the last time the Mustangs(yes i had to answer that one too) won an NCAA Tournament game. I couldn't tell you, however, the name of anyone on that team or any SMU team since. So SMU goes with Larry Brown to try and attract first rate recruits to Dallas(admit it some of you were still asking "Where is SMU?"). The last time Larry Brown was relevant in coaching was in 2005 when he coached the Detroit Pistons to the NBA finals. The high school players he will be trying to recruit were 11 years old or younger at that time and many of them living in Texas or surrounding states. I think it's safe to say that not one of them was aware who the coach of the Pistons was in 2005. The point being that the name Larry Brown no longer has the appeal it once did long ago in the college game, ESPECIALLY at a school which has been so bad at basketball for so long.
Not to mention the fact that SMU is about to join the Big East Conference in 2013. Forgetting for the moment the absurdity of having a school from Texas in a conference called "Big East", let's look at some of SMU's future competitors. They include Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia, and Connecticut. SMU will be lucky to win 12 games each of its first two years in that conference and that's only if they pad their non-conference schedule with the weakest teams they play in their current conference. Three years is all I give Larry Brown at SMU. Why? Let's look at his history.
Larry Brown has been a completely predictable character in the pro coaching ranks. He finds a team with talent, coaches them as best he can until he loses patience with the egos and bad attitudes, and then leaves for someplace where he can do it again. The difference with this endeavor is HE HAS NO TALENT TO BEGIN WITH. Referring to my article from last week, the early 90's was when Brown missed his chance to really leave his imprint on the pro game. After bailing out on the San Antonio Spurs(yes the pattern began right there), he was hired by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992 with none other than Danny Manning on the team. Granted the huge mistake of taking Danny Ferry in 1989 had already set them back astronomically, but Charles Smith was still there and the opportunity to fix what was wrong was still possible. But what did Brown do just a year and half later? He gave up on the project and left for the Indiana Pacers. The best Manning could do the rest of his career was win "Sixth Man Of The Year" with the Phoenix Suns, coming nowhere close to the expectations of a number one overall pick. I'm sure Danny Manning is still working on a letter to coach Brown which probably goes something like this......"thanks coach for letting my pro career melt into a puddle of mediocrity."