Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is Saunders trying to line himself up for the Golden Gophers job?

To some in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Golden Gophers head basketball coach, Tubby Smith, might be a disappointment. When Smith arrived in Minneapolis, there were some hoping that he could recreate the magic that Clem Haskins had during his run at Minnesota. Instead there has been mediocrity that could land Smith on the proverbial hot seat with two years left on his contract.

Flip Saunders is an ex-NBA coach and Minnesota alum. Since he is unemployed he has a lot of idle time on his hands. So in an interview with KFAN's Dan Barreiro, it almost sounds like Saunders is doing a bit of politicking on his behalf for the Minnesota job. 

When answering questions about why college coaches have failed in the NBA, Saunders unintentionally sounded as if he wanted the job.

"One thing I’ve always said a lot is college coaches don’t always translate to the NBA. But yet guys have been college, gone to the NBA, that maybe fail in the NBA even their experience when they go back to college, they always say they’re much better coaches in college after they’ve been to the NBA."

After Barreiro jumped on the reply, Saunders back-pedaled, saying " No, no, no, no don’t throw that out there. I’m just saying if you look at guys like Larry Brown, [who] went from a pro coach and then goes back to UCLA and Kansas, has a lot of success; you look at [John] Calipari, as far as [Rick] Pitino. And if you talk to a lot of those guys, you’ve got to realize you spend 24/7 on basketball; it’s the purest you can be from a standpoint of basketball that there is as far as just working on basketball and just working on different plays, different schemes. So when you’re doing that, and you’re playing so many games, 110 games a year when you’re in the playoffs, those are the things that are going to make you better as a coach because the more situations you see the better you’re going to get."

I get what he was saying, but Saunders could've used a better choice of words. As much as I dislike Saunders as a coach, I don't think he was trying to get a jump on the Minnesota gig. I think he might be content in his unemployment right now and would like a few years away from the game.  

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