With the Michigan game looming this Saturday, David Wharton from the LA Times, the same guy who wrote a loopy article earlier this year calling Dorrell a "Thinker," has written up a profile of embattled Michigan coach Tommy Amaker. I pretty much started snickering after reading this line:
They praise his demeanor and recruiting, but insist he has not fully developed the talent at hand. As one Detroit columnist wrote: "Make the NCAA tournament or lose your job!"
No worries, though. Little K is on top of it. Wharton reports:
Amaker laughs. "I've got to talk to them about repeating what I say," he says.
I won't subject you to the rest of the article when Wharton once again swoons all over yet another underachieving head coach.
If you want to read what knowledgeable die hard Wolverines think about Amaker, you need to read this post from Joey over at Schembechler Hall. He wrote this last November, which is likely applicable today:
Now, before I keep going, I know what you're thinking: Here we go again. Joey hates on a Michigan coach. Well, this is not the same thing. I think that many of Michigan's football problems are Lloyd Carr problems, but I am open to the possibility that I am somewhat unfair in my evaluation of Carr. But not with Amaker. No no. Winning basketball and losing basketball are discernibly different, and Michigan is not taught and does not play winning basketball. And that's c-o-a-c-h-i-n-g.
Look, we all know the Tommy Amaker story: A promising Duke assistant and potential Coach K successor got put on at Seton Hall in 1997. He stayed there until 2001, making the tournament four times. In 2001, the rising star left to rebuild a Michigan program that had fallen into infamy and disarray. He will surely be a success because, well, he went to Duke and he's really nice. What people like to leave out is that Amaker left Seton Hall following a season during which his Seton Hall team--a preseason top-ten outfit featuring the best freshmen group in the country--came within one Rutgers loss of missing the Big East tournament. That team closed the year on a 4-11 tear.
These same people also like to point to Amaker's increasing win totals (11-18; 17-13; 23-11; 13-18*) while ignoring that Michigan is usually an inefficient, disorganized mess on offense that often fails to adequately box out, rotate on defense, move the ball, and penetrate. And let's not even talk about offensive production in crunch time, situations that require excellent preparation and clear understanding of basketball strategy.
There is, of course, a chance that Tommy Amaker knows what he's doing. As mentioned above, he finally has a healthy roster wholly populated by his players. And perhaps his increasing win totals are indicative that his players are learning. However, I remain a resolute skeptic. Show me an Amaker player who has become appreciably better during his time in Ann Arbor; show me an Amaker post player in possession of an actual low-post skill set; show me an Amaker team that plays organized offense; show me an Amaker team that knows what a good shot is and how to get one in crunch time--should I continue?
I will have more notes on Michigan in a bit. Despite being led by a questionable head coach, they do have team with a number of athletes and they can be dangerous just like those UCLA teams were every now and then when they played inspired ball despite the no talent assclown. So, the Bruins will have to be ready and focused this Saturday.