Monday, May 08, 2006

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together

Now that we finally have a head coach, we can cross out the offseason's biggest question. Several other issues remain uncertain. Will anyone transfer? Will the class of 2006 arrive on campus intact? What about Chris Wright? Is there any chance that Cedric Simmons returns to college?

With Lowe likely being in Detroit for several more weeks (no one in the Eastern Conference is going to beat the Pistons...), and with him needing to complete both an undergraduate degree and get NCAA recruiting certification, it could be a while before many of these issues are resolved. In Ced's case, obviously, we'll know by mid-June at the latest.

Right now I'm optimistic that none of the current players are going to transfer, but you never know:

"There’s relief and excitement rolled into one," said forward Gavin Grant. "I don’t think we could have held up much longer without a coach. Schools have been calling our guys trying to get them to transfer. Now that we have a coach, we can settle down a little bit."

Emphasis mine. Um...isn't that illegal? Contacting another school's scholarship players and recruiting them? If anyone does decide to transfer, it is probably fair to say the destination school has been talking to the transfer for some time.

Gavin Grant made several other candid remarks this weekend, including:

"He told us he wanted us to be free and have fun," said sophomore Gavin Grant, an athletic 6-foot-7 swingman. "[Sendek] wasn't focused on having fun. He was more focused on we've got to win and it was this way or no way at all.

"In the Princeton offense, I don't think that offense fit me and a couple of other guys on the team as best we could. Now that we have a coach that understands where we're coming from and played a little bit like some of us here, things should be a lot better around here."


"If anyone came in here with Herb's offense, that Princeton offense, I was gone," guard Gavin Grant said. "When I heard we might get Beilein, I was like, 'Oh, no. It's Herb all over again'."

Grant's comments add perspective to his career thus far. During his freshman season, it was pretty clear that he wasn't interested in playing within Herb's system. As a result, Grant was often detrimental while on the court, taking poor shots and playing impatiently.

If he dislikes the system as much as it appears he does, I can't help but wonder why Gavin came here in the first place. By the time he was recruited, Sendek's offense was well-established. Maybe it's just a case of him not knowing exactly what he got himself into until he got on campus.

I also wonder if Gavin will be a more efficient player in an offense that better suits his skill set. Probably not, but I can hope.

Cedric Simmons's plans haven't changed, and his comments aren't encouraging:

"I feel like if you work hard you’re going to get better either way, here at State or in the NBA," he said.
When asked what the plus-minus of returning to State is, Simmons replied, "There really is no plus-minus – the plus-minus is money."

He did acknowledge that playing for Lowe, a two-time NBA head coach, former NBA player and current assistant with the Detroit Pistons until the playoffs conclude, would provide him an edge over most other college players.