It's a rough business and Sean Miller played this opening like a violin, extracting a ton of money from Arizona while making Maryland look pretty damn foolish. If Anderson wants to play the game, he better know the rules. First rule - you don't visit the other man's home field without something iron clad. The minute you show your hand that you are hunting Miller with all your guns, then Dixon and Wright and any other top coaches immediately fold their hand. They may still want the job inside but how comfortable can they be with the knowledge that Anderson went sniffing after his top dog and they were back-ups. It is a prestige business and they have the right to protect their reputation.
Second rule, you make a statement that you are considering a number of candidates and you will be visiting them for personal interviews over the course of a week or so. Publicly make the opening viable in case you first choice blows smoke up your backside, which is exactly what happened. If you know the line in the Godfather about putting the gun in the bathroom so Michael doesn't come out with just his what-have-you in his hand, that is kind of what happened this weekend in Vegas. You never know when you are being played, just when you think people are honorable, they bite you right in the behind.
Third rule, you make it clear before you fly there whether Miller is interested. That takes a lot of understand what the factors are, whether his word is good and whether he is just playing your eagerness as the final trump card to get some major cash from Arizona. Regardless, all the rules were busted and now we are scrambling.
It seems our choices are dwindling. There seems a lot of media are predicting that Mike Brey is the odds-on-favorite to coach the team. Well, frankly, for a great number of fans, that would be a disaster. That includes me as well - I would frankly turn from a Maryland fanatic to a casual fan without much interest. Recruiting would die; name an elite recruit that Brey has ever landed at Notre Dame. Who, Torin Francis from a decade ago who basically occupied space for 4 years? This choice would be uninspired, tired, unwired, dire and cause every fan to become a crier and retire. If Anderson thought he felt heat with the Edsall hire, a foul ball here would cause an implosion that would be cataclysmic. Fact is basic - Anderson just lost some leverage big time and has to real up the ante for the next guy.
Somehow, I keep hoping that Jamie Dixon or Jay Wright can come here, make that happen somehow. It would swallowing a measure of pride but all in all, it would be a remarkably great hire in every respect. Perhaps that ship has passed for both, it might be for the old ball coach himself, Gary Williams, to step in and individually reach out for both men to gauge their interest. Perhaps even Rick Pitino might want to escape the Louisville job and give us a few years of his nomadic career. Larry Brown, Bobby Knight, who knows. Maryland needs a marquee coach here, Anderson needs to understand that as does whatever search committee is in place. And get those ducks in order before firing off your next round of ammunition.
This once-enviable job has been tarnished by the greed of Sean Miller and the amateurishness of Kevin Anderson. Hopefully the latter will be the wiser for the experience and we can a coach in here that the entire fan base can rally around. And it needs to be done with discretion and verification of every single step. One more slip and all credibility can be lost. The mood here now is somber and heavy, you can just sense it in the air. For die hard fans, it always seems like the end. But there is still a chance that this can be a great beginning if Anderson and company can sell a product that in actuality should need no selling at all.