Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Fly Route

March 30, 2006

Honestly, I could care less what people think of Bob Huggins.

Blast his tactics, his past and his success.

Blast his players and his tournament record.

I don't care if people call him Bob Thuggins. Heck, I don't care if people call him Bob Eats-babies.

The fact is in less than a week on the job he's done more to change Kansas State basketball than the introduction of the three-point line.

K-State is now a major player with the nation's top-three high school prospects for 2007, according to rivals.com.

Had Jim Wooldridge even been able to get one of the top 20 to mention K-State in an interview, he'd probably still have his job. Now nearly three weeks since he coached his last game, the Cats have a legitimate chance at landing at least one of the group.

I don't honestly expect O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker and Michael Beasley to all end up at K-State. It wouldn't surprise me if none of them did. But the fact that all three are at least considering the possibility is a testament to why K-State needed to hire Huggins.

Here's my favorite thing about Huggins: at least with Mayo and Walker, he recruited them without even having a job.

That seems next to impossible to me.

But a week ago breathing those players' names and "Kansas State" in the same sentence was also impossible.

The region's media continues to debate what effect Huggins will have on K-State, and whether K-State's wholesome image will have any effect on Huggins.

I think it's a very positive relationship for both. Huggins couldn't drop in on a school with a terrible academic reputation and K-State couldn't afford another so-nice-it-hurts coach like Wooldridge.

And no, I don't consider hiring Huggins selling the program's soul.

Is he a nice guy? Maybe, maybe not, but I know this: he'll win. That's not just a characteristic of Bob Huggins though. It's a characteristic of successful coaches across the athletic spectrum.

It's no secret I have great respect for Bill Snyder, but Snyder was not a terribly nice guy. Snyder won football games. He did whatever he had to within the rules to win football games, even if that portrayed him as anal and maniacal.

Roy Williams probably wasn't a terribly nice guy all the time either. Bill Parcells? Bill Cowher? Larry Brown? Bob Knight?

They all share characteristics, and no matter how they are seen by the national press, their first priority was always getting the job done.

That's how I see Huggins and why I'm not worried about his past.

Bob Knight was known as the biggest jerk in the sport -- probably still is -- but he hasn't booted any basketballs or tossed any chairs in his time at Texas Tech.

Eddie Sutton may have gone back to the bottle, but he hasn't had serious problems with probation like the ones that drove him from Kentucky.

Huggins won't be an angel at K-State, but I don't think he'll cheat. I do think he'll win, and I'm one of many K-State fans happy to give him the chance.

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