UH should be cautious when extending Nash


POSTED: Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bad news for those of you who want Bob Nash gone, and yesterday.

Indications I'm getting are your wish won't come true, at least for another year—maybe two, if he gets an extension.

Now, whether this is bad news for the UH men's basketball program remains to be seen. Regular readers know I'm in favor of letting him complete his three-year contract, so we can at least see how he does with another recruiting class.

Proponents of a one-year extension right now, through the 2010-11 season, say he and his staff need it so prospects can be confident they'll have the same head coach for at least two seasons.

I'm not really feeling that, and here's why—in today's buyer-beware world of choosing a school (and a coach), why wouldn't prospects be curious about the same things that you or I would? Especially since they've got more at stake.

Let's listen in on a conversation between Nash and Joe Prospect:

“;This all sounds great, Mr. Nash, but, uh, my mom and dad want to know if it's a guarantee you'll be around my second season. Dad says you could get bought out if the team doesn't play well this year, and there's no telling if the new coach will want me around. That nice man from Utah State, Mr. Morrill, he's telling us the same thing.”;

Athletic director Jim Donovan needs to figure out something fair. Something like, “;OK, we announce an extension for a fourth year, but you privately agree to take a reduced buyout after the upcoming season if you don't at least make the NIT. Win the WAC and make the NCAAs, and you get a nice bonus and a new four-year deal.”;

Nash, loyal company man he is, would have to agree.

Success for next season is predicated on two things: Get help for Rod Flemings, and let the Rainbows run.

Is Flemings a Batman, or is he a Robin in search of one? Is he more Pippen than Jordan (figuratively speaking, of course)?

It's hard to tell even after an entire season because Flemings spent much of the early going battling an ankle injury. Also, that stodgy offense UH employs doesn't let a physical talent like Flemings fly free often enough to let him really take over games.

So this offense was Riley Wallace's flex motion, with some options that were supposed to make it better.

Well, if I've got an old car that used to work pretty well but won't go now, but I put some brand new windshield wipers on it, what do I have? A lousy old car that won't run with a really clean windshield, that's what.

The flex motion is a decent offense with the right players, i.e., good shooters who can learn the plays.

If you don't have many marksmen, but you've got fast athletic guys like Kareem Nitoto and Brandon Adams to go with Flemings, why not let them run?

So scrap the offense. That should help in recruiting. Tell prospects you're going to run; they love to hear that.

Now to the issue of decruiting. With just two scholarships available, it's very unlikely UH can get the pieces it needs to become a winner. That means jettisoning some good people and students who aren't good basketball players to make room for some who can help Flemings win.

Wallace did it early on, sending Mo Kleine-Brockhoff and Craig Murray on their not-so-merry ways. He took some heat for it, too.

If anything, Nash is a man of morals, and the concept of decruiting—unless you're ridding your team and school of a disruptive, non-class-attending punk—is a moral dilemma.

But scholarships are subject to non-renewal, at no cost to the school, every year. Unlike the contracts of most head coaches, including Bob Nash.

In college basketball, whether it's right or wrong, you can fire the players.

Reach Dave Reardon at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)