Sports

This Would Be A Bad Idea For Ducks

P.J. Carlesimo? Really? Oregon has P.J. Carlesimo on its short list of prospective basketball coaches?

What, aren’t Steve Fisher and Jerry Tarkanian available? P.J. Carlesimo? The result would be many variations of this conversation:

BIG-TIME RECRUIT: Hey, whose this guy Oregon has hired?

DAD OF BIG-TIME RECRUIT: Well, son, that’s P.J. Carlesimo. He once took Seton Hall, believe it or not, to the NCAA title game. But that was before you were born.

BIG-TIME RECRUIT: Oh. Hey, did coach Romar call today?

With a new arena and a new academic center for athletes and a history of two Elite Eight trips in the past decade, Oregon basketball is a sleeping giant.

But P.J. Carlesimo? What’s the attraction? Is it his 21-74 record in his last job as a head coach? The fact that he hasn’t been in college basketball in 16 years? The fact that this astute basketball mind played Kevin Durant out of position for Durant’s first 1 1/4 NBA seasons? Brilliant!

Unless Oregon can pry Mark Few away from Gonzaga, it’s not going to get a coach who can sell tickets based on name recognition or force of personality. So the focus needs to be on somebody who can recruit, who can get a seat on the couch and sell a family on the benefits of being a Duck. I don’t know who would be the best person for that job, but I’m convinced it’s not Carlesimo.

Compare him with, say, Cameron Dollar at Seattle University. Dollar has been a Division I head coach for one year, but at least it was in this century. More important, he has spent a decade recruiting throughout the Northwest. He knows the club coaches; he knows the high school coaches; he has the connections necessary to be an effective recruiter.

I’m not saying that Oregon should hire Cameron Dollar. I’m just pointing out one of the people who would be a better candidate than P.J. Carlesimo. There must be hundreds. Really.