To me what matters the most when it comes to whether to endorse Bzdelik's slow, plodding wannabe Sendek/Odom style of play, or a fast-paced style of play, we really are considering two key aspects of each competing alternative:
- Is it successful?
- Is it sexy enough for our program to get in the upper 30% of ACC recruiting classes in the future?
The answer is no & no.
1) I won't go into detail but Bzdelik’s record speaks for itself. More importantly, if you compare him to any of the other ACC coaches he's easily the worst. The margin is scary though. I'm not starting an unnecessary fire - if you get incensed when someone reminds you how bad the coach is, don't reduce it to mere repetition because you should really check it out - Bzdelik's even worse than Sidney Lowe by a wide margin. Check it out, compare his record broken down into discrete, in-depth analytical categories, to the other ACC coaches, even the two that lost their jobs, it's supremely revealing.
2) And Bzdelik's style has never attracted great recruits, he's not a compelling personality (in fact he's pretty glib [as you can see here] for a coach who's 1-8 in getting to the NCAA Tournament and has zero postseason wins in his career, which has made alot of people angry), and the only time he ever had a winning season at AFA, he did it with another coach's recruits. The upshot (downshot?) is that every time he's recruited for "his system," he's never attracted the kind of talent that will win against Duke, UNC, Maryland, or programs that have retooled with younger, more charismatic, more successful coaches like Steve Donahue, Tony Bennett, Brian Gregory, and Brad Brownell.
The point is, we're digging ourselves into a very bad position here. Unlike what RA said in a recent thread, you can't reduce it down to "You would rather lose playing a fast-paced, exciting style of game than win [presumably] playing in Bzdelik's permutation of the tried-&-failed Sendek/Odom style?"
Framing the question in such a polarizing way is plainly inaccurate. What we need to look at is whether the Bzdelik variant of the Sendek/Odom slow, plodding offense has a history of winning, and whether this kind of offense compared to other ACC schools with whom we're competing for top-flight recruits is sexy enough to attract the kind of personnel we need to win or lose credibly, two things you'll see if you compare Bzdelik's record to any of the other ACC coaches, even the fired ones, that don't show up at all. Anyway, in short, I think the debate, as usual, needs to be more sophisticated than "do you want to lose playing an exciting game or win?" I think the relevant questions are is the coach's variant of the Sendek/Odom offense successful, and will it attract recruits that will get our classes into the top 30% of the ACC, rather than 12th? I think the answer's no on both counts.
And on that note, after the jump check out this for the most part, eerily accurate article that the CO Springs Gazette published almost exactly one year ago. (Direct link to story here).
Ramsey: Oh Happy Day, Bzdelik Is Flying Away
April 13, 2010
Colorado is a great state, and it’s about to be blessed with a vast improvement.
Buzzy, sometimes known as Jeff Bzdelik, is flying away to North Carolina. As soon as he departs, our state transforms to a better place.
Three years ago, Buzzy abandoned the basketball team at Air Force amid a haze of deception after a clandestine courtship by Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn.
This morning, Bohn will receive his payback when Bzdelik is introduced as coach at Wake Forest. The man who betrayed two Colorado colleges in three years will be gone.
If we’re lucky, he’ll never come back.
What a strange hire. Last week, Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman fired Dino Gaudio after three seasons. Gaudio finished 44-18 the past two seasons, including a 20-12 record in the ultra-tough Atlantic Coast Conference.
Today, Wellman introduces Bzdelik, who finished 10-38 in the Big 12 in three seasons at CU. Bzdelik never has won an NCAA Tournament game.
Wellman dismissed Gaudio because he was disappointed by the Demon Deacons’ late-season collapses.
I’m wondering if Wellman examined the 2006-07 Air Force team coached by Bzdelik. The Falcons climbed as high as No. 11 in the nation and were hopping along with a 10-3 Mountain West record with a clear view of the NCAA Tournament.
Then it all fell apart.
The Falcons crashed, losing four straight and blowing a certain ride to college basketball’s ultimate show.
Bzdelik deserves most of the blame for the skid. He pushed his exhausted players without mercy or wisdom. He refused to use his bench in a crucial late-season loss to BYU. He drove his Falcons straight out of the tourney.
I’m also wondering if Wellman has taken a close look — or any look — at what has happened at Air Force since Bzdelik’s departure. The Falcons have lost 31 of their past 32 regular-season conference games, and there are plenty of villains to be found in the wreckage.
Bzdelik resides near the top of the list. He inherited five players — Nick Welch, Dan Nwaelele, Antoine Hood, Jacob Burtschi and Tim Anderson — who had been or would be first- or second-team all-MWC.
In his two seasons at the academy, Bzdelik didn’t recruit one player who approaches that quintet in talent.
“Jeff Bzdelik didn’t do a lot of personal recruiting,” athletic director Hans Mueh told me last year. “He just didn’t. I don’t know what to make of that. It just is.”
I can explain Bzdelik’s lack of recruiting success at Air Force. He never planned to stay. He never cared about the future of the program. He was too busy plotting his next move.
After Bzdelik’s first season at Air Force, he met with Denver Nuggets coach George Karl at a Village Inn to talk about an assistant’s job. This began a Buzzy tradition.
After each season, Bzdelik is looking for another job. He talked with NBA teams every offseason during his time in Boulder.
Let me make a wild prediction:
Next spring, when Wake Forest’s season concludes, Bzdelik will be testing the NBA waters again. The man knows no other way.
Yet he’s being handed a massive bundle of cash to follow a fired coach who won 71 percent of his games the past two seasons.
What a strange hire.
But what a great day for our state.
And, please, don’t come back.