Commentary: Public Criticism Bad Policy

Public criticism of guard Jannero Pargo by head coach Nolan Richardson just adds fuel to the fire. Is there more misery in store for this basketball team?

When coaches start talking about their players' short comings in the press, then it's the same as talking about their own shortcomings. The way players perform in a game is a direct reflection of the coach. So, they are talking about themselves.

So when Nolan Richardson talked about Jannero Pargo at his news conference Monday, he was talking about himself.

If your best player takes poor shots, and makes poor decisions, then it's up to the coach to change them. Putting those shortcomings out for the press and the general public to discuss is not the way to go about it. It's best to take care of that behind closed doors and at practice.

Richardson was critical of Pargo and suggested that "there would be some sitting" in coming games. In other words, Pargo would not play as much because of his penchant for forcing shots.

"When Pargo is in the game, there is no flow," Richardson said. "The others don't move. So, maybe we are better off without him in the game."

I think those are fair comments, but they are a public relations nightmare for the coach to be taking them to the media. Fix it and move on.

"I think the world of Pargo, but he has never seen a shot he doesn't like," Richardson said. "It's bad when the others see him taking bad shots. It sends a message to the rest of the team ... they think he can take any shot he wants and it will be fine. That's not a good situation.

"Pargo came here as a clever guard that was a great passer. He's lost that art. He's become a shooter and a scorer. Maybe he feels that he must do that to help this team, but I don't want that. It sends the wrong message. We've got to change that and it may mean he has to do some sitting."

Indeed, all of that is true, but Richardson has always been a coach who defends his players in the media and doesn't take the dirty laundry to the public. These are the kind of quotes that will be clipped and displayed to recruits by rival schools. They can't help Richardson's cause when it comes to signing great players.

Pargo was the team's most valuable player last year, and no doubt is the best player on the team now. He is the only player who has provided a consistent scoring threat. Without him, this team is doomed.

No doubt, Richardson has a right to coach his team and sitting down his best player is within his power. And, it's not a bad thing to do. But, when you criticize the best player in the media, it is sure to backfire. And, when you do it during a losing conference campaign, there can be no good come from such a process.

When you ask if the Hogs have hit rock bottom, it's easy to imagine things falling still further ... espeically when the head coach begins to criticize his best player in the media.






Hawgs Daily Top Stories