SjT: on Basketball

This year's Big 10 record has again sparked the debate among some fans about Northwestern Basketball. Fans worry about NU's recruiting efforts, is Welsh Ryan too old and a detriment to recruitng prospects? Our Stephen J. Truog has doesn't think its the facility, but raises a bunch of questions - let the debate continue....

I haven't commented on this BBall debate here because I honestly don't have any easy answers -
Carmody is agood guy and seemed to be a good fit for the programwhen hired, but it hasn't worked out for one reason or another.

I will, however, say that blaming the arena seems tobe a purely cosmetic one that I don't buy. Nevermind that we can't fill our present arena ... but an old barn isn't that big of a negative as Duke, Vandy, Stanford, Minnesota, Kansas, Oregon and others have shown. It's not like we need the big arena to attract other non-sports things to the college town for fun like other schools (Penn State, Wisconsin, etc.) - we have Chicago an el ride away.

Upgrades could be done (say if they wanted to raze the upper deck on the north side to add some kind of boxes facing the court and better locker room facilities underneath) ... but Welsh-Ryan is a great place to watch a game and can be a huge plus to the program.

My freshman year, I didn't have the seniority to get into the pep band, so I sat in the student section and could literally reach out and touch the players - the fans are close and that's a great part of environment. And when filled with purple - as in the '94 NIT run during my sophomore season, Welsh-Ryan gets noisy in a hurry and can be a great home-court edge. I've been to the Palestra, Hinkle Fieldhouse, old UW Fieldhouse and some other old arenas and Welsh-Ryan could have that kind of folklore ... if we had a more storied team.

I wish I had solutions to the problem on the court ... but I'm pretty sure the court itself isn't part of it. We can't really build one closer to campus, it's a loud box that rocks when full and gets fans close to the action. Add suites and facilities if you want to the upper-level north side, but leave the lower bowl alone.

As for the team, I'm honestly stumped. The Princeton offense works at other places - why not here? And Carmody's a big step up from Kevin O'Neill in class and committment.

So I guess I'm wondering "if not Bill, then who?" If we fire Carmody, who do we get? Isthere someone out there who will take the time and task to build a program in Purple? Do we just need to hire an assistant coach who recruits like mad stateside? Bring in big alum bucks to find someone in the assistant ranks nationally? Or try and find our bball Fitz and see if any alums want to chance at a big-time job in return for loyalty to NU (is Kip Kirkpatrick coaching somewhere? Todd Leslie?

Answers won't be easy - but I do think we need to look elsewhere than Welsh-Ryan.

GO CATS!!! -SjT
Stephen J. Truog, former NU Marching Band member and now educator in Arizona, comments on the Wildcats from both the sidelines and his couch He has his own NU oriented Web Site - Visit SjTonline

You can send your direct comments or "back door" information directly to Coach Roy [CoachRoy74 on AIM] [or comment on the Purple Boards]
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