It is time. Time to get serious and go into the Nostradamus mode in looking at the landscape of college basketball in the crazy world of college basketball coaching.
We are now into Final Four week when decisions and announcements take over the early part of the week. After talking to several sources and using the theory of who is NOT being talked to, as much as definitive evidence and also attempting to use logic, here is what should happen in the next few days, specifically concerning the openings at UMass and Georgetown.
This should be done by Tuesday night at the latest. After absorbing the shock wave created when Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey walked away from his contract with the Minutemen last week, UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford’s master plan appears to go like this.
- Bring Celtic assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry to Amherst for a second interview, with the understanding that it is Shrewsberry’s job to turn down. Shrewsberry was impressive enough in his first interview to merit serious discussion, but he didn’t make the cut behind a list of candidates who had more head coaching experience, including Kelsey.
- If Shrewsberry declines, Plan B apparently is to reach out to ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg, a former coach at Long Beach State, South Florida and Virginia Tech. But it has been 5 seasons since Greenberg was actually coaching.
There might be other plans in place, but Nostradamus doesn’t see them right now. It is the ideal situation for UMass? No, but after Kelsey’s reverse, there are don’t seem to be any plans without risks for UMass. Shrewsberry might be a future star, but his connections with New England are based on his linkage to Celtics Coach Brad Stevens and their days together at Butler.
Greenberg is a head scratcher, but he has been actively looking to get back into coaching. And late on Tuesday, Miami associate head coach Chris Caputo, remerged as a viable candidate after sources confirmed that he also talked to UMass officials on Monday. Another name which came up was Towsend coach Pat Skerry, which would seem to suggest that Greenberg’s role was more show than substance.
And late Tuesday, a dark horse candidate emerged, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, who appeared to chase down all the other contenders in Bamford’s view and emerged as the clear cut front runner.
This is linked to Harvard and Tommy Amaker. Amaker is the best fit in lots of ways. He grew up in the Washington D.C corridor. He knows how to recruit in an academic environment. He has won at Seton Hall and Harvard and to a lesser extent Michigan. And he has the backing of a powerful Godfather in Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The situation at Georgetown gets more complicated when you throw in the John Thompson Sr and John Thompson III factor. The decision to fire JT III, did not go over well with Big John, who remains the primary face of Hoya basketball. Mending fences is important here, which brings us to an interesting footnote. Amaker is represented by David Falk, who also represents John Thompson. Linkage? You tell me.
Amaker has done a great job in elevating Harvard. He has won multiple Ivy League titles, he has even won an NCAA tournament game. His life at Harvard is good. He is well paid and he has a wonderful life, as does his wife Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, who may have more clout than Tommy in the Harvard medical school community.
But Amaker has hit a ceiling at Harvard. Georgetown offers higher goals, bigger challenges. Any move Amaker makes must include a place where his wife can flourish in her career. The Washington DC area is one of the few places where such a merger could take place.
Again, there are other candidates in the mix, ranging from Texas coach Shaka Smart to former Hoya Patrick Ewing. At Georgtown, with former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue running the search, anything is possible, including Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area.
But for now, and with nothing more than the instincts and a few bits of evidence, we are going to put on our Nostradamus hats and declare that by the time the Final Four begins in Arizona this weekend, Micah Shrewsberry or Seth Greenberg or Chris Caputo will be coaching UMass and Tommy Amaker will be coaching Georgetown. (LATE Breaking news puts Matt McCall into the front runner’s spot at UMass).
If we are wrong, feel free to fold, spin and mutilate these projections, but of course, in the wonderful world of tweets and blogs, we can erase them with a simple pushing of the delete button and they never existed.