Kevin Grady is a longtime coach for the Grady Elite & Michigan Hurricanes AAU programs … having coached such players as his son Kelvin Grady, Tory Jackson, Alex Legion, Anthony Crater, Darquavis Tucker, Austin Thornton, and Paul Crosby (among others).
Looking back on Tommy Amaker's tenure, what would you say went wrong?
"I think when we really look at the thing, it's not really about what went wrong. I think the situation that he was put into…having to bring up a program that was a laughing stock of college basketball, it was one that had to take some time. I don't think they really looked at how much time it was going to take. All of the hard work involved in putting things back together…he couldn't even think about winning when he first got there because he had so many other things to fix. You look back to his second year… he proved he could coach. He came in second or third in the conference, but they couldn't go to the tournament because of the probation. To me it's about recruiting. When you can't recruit anymore, that's when you're in trouble. In 07 he brought best class in of his career (at Michigan) and he doesn't get to reap the benefits from it. I think the beginning of his success would go along with recruiting class success…the two good back to back classes. 06 is where it started, so that tells me that this man is doing something right. He put an 06 together and he put an 07 together."
Looking ahead, what are the attributes you want in the next Michigan basketball coach?
"I think you want somebody that has a passion to win, a passion to work hard, and a passion to be able to go out and relate to these kids. This isn't the 70's or the 80's where Michigan's name carries them. It's about having the passion for those three things. If you have those things kids are going to play for you, and they're going to play hard for you. A guy has to be able to coach AND recruit. That's why I'm saying this isn't the 70's or the 80's. The people that think just being able to do one is okay are missing the boat. It's about the type of relationship you build with the kids and the style of basketball that you play. It's got to be fun. Everybody knows college basketball is a job. Well, if it's a job, it's got to be fun. If it's not fun, the kids are not going to want to do it. You've got to get somebody in there that can relate to the kids and get them to understand that it's fun. It's a lot of hard work, but it's fun. You've got to get a guy in there that can relate to the kids in the 2000s."
Have you been paying attention to the candidates that they're talking about?
"Yeah, I've been paying attention to the candidates. I've heard they've got candidates that want to play that slow down basketball. They've got candidates that play aggressive defense and offense. I just think that they need to bring somebody in here with some intensity that is going to push the basketball and play good defense."
Lets talk about a few names. First, a guy I know you're familiar with. Sean Miller.
"I think Sean Miller is a young guy that could have come in here and could have really related to these kids. His style fits these kids. If you look back over the years at what Sean has done at Xavier, he has done a great job getting to the tournament and developing kids. He has done a hell of a job as a recruiter. He was down to the wire for two kids that he was trying to beat Michigan for (Kelvin Grady and Dante Jackson) and he went one for two. He's a hell of a recruiter. Look at the type of kids he has got coming in there. He's got athletes!"
Chris Lowery from Southern Illinois.
"Great guy. If you look at his teams, his teams are going to play defense and I strongly believe in a guy like that. Defense is going to bring offense. They are as aggressive as you ever want to be. They show his personality. He's aggressive and that defense is aggressive. I think he's a great guy. He'd be a great candidate for coming in and recruiting. I think with where he is and where he's ranked, what he did this year was unbelievable."
John Beilein from West Virginia.
"I think Beilein's offense doesn't fit Michigan. That's one of the guys that…yeah he has won with less talent, but he recruited those type of kids. Our kids would be sick if they had to play that kind of basketball. Everybody else watching them try to do it would be sick too. If he's going to come in here with that same offense that he has… nah, he can keep that. He can keep that where he's at. I don't know a lot about him as a recruiter, but I can say that I don't know of any superstars that he has brought in. A lot of it is the system he runs…so that's the kind of kid he recruits."
What about Karl Hobbs from George Washington?
"Oh my god… everybody knows that that guy has overachieved over the last five years. He has done a heck of a job there. Plus he can recruit. I'd love to see someone like that come in. You've got to watch these guys. Guys like him are doing it year after year."
"I think he would be a good candidate because of where he has been. He has been at every level and has been successful throughout his career. I think he has done a great job. I like him. If he brings his staff with from out west I don't know how well he would do as a recruiter. The coach that comes in has to be connected somewhat. If he is not connected, he has to have someone connected in the Midwest to be able to get into Detroit. They let the guy go (i.e. Mike Jackson) that could have done it… the one that has a proven record on the east side of the state. They let him get away and didn't really put a fight up."
In a nutshell, what does the next coach have to do to be successful?
"They're going to have to keep recruiting like they've been recruiting the last couple of years. They're going to have to keep bringing in stronger classes. I think that's going to be important. I don't buy that a guy can just come in and be a good coach and not be a good recruiter. I don't buy that. You've got to be a good recruiter. Kids aren't just going to walk in because it's Michigan. This is not football. Michigan basketball is not Michigan football. Some people are getting the two mixed up. Where Michigan is sitting, if you can't recruit Detroit or the east side of the state, the program is in trouble because you're not going to get enough quality kids outside of the state to come in. It's not going to happen. Anybody that thinks otherwise is crazy. Something is wrong with them."