You may have missed it, but Jason Whitlock didn't. Yes, that's right, when KSU landed heralded recruit Delivez Yearby and just happened to hire his high school coach as an assistant coach, most of you just figured it was on the up and up. But Jason Whitlock, crack investigational reporter that he is, got to the root of the story by following a trail of loose speculation, allowing him to arrive at this morning's gem, which due to situations outside of his control, was backshelved by the powers that be at the Star. Luckily, I have preserved this small chunk of history for you. And here it is KSU image isn't everything to Wooldridge
But winning should be, and that's why coach shouldn't worry about team's perception
The Tom Asbury succession plan being executed by Kansas State basketball coach Jim Wooldridge makes perfect sense. It's the only real option at Wooldridge's disposal. Despite the considerable risk, he has no other choice.
To survive at Kansas State, Wooldridge must win at any cost.
He can't worry about perception or maintaining the squeaky image/illusion his predecessor cultivated. Wooldridge's singular focus is NCAA Tournament success, a Final Four appearance at a minimum.
That focus is what's driving Wooldridge's actions. That focus is why Ben Kelso, the high school coach of KSU recruit Deilvez Yearby, was officially announced as Kansas State' an assistant coach at 7 p.m. Tuesday, minutes after the start of the NBA draft and a few hours before JR Giddens' transfer extravaganza
Obviously, there are hundreds - perhaps even thousands - of more qualified candidates to be KSU's an assistant coach than a two bit high school coach whose high school coaching career in Michigan just happened to get launched at the same time his Yearby was approaching prep stardom.
Wooldridge knows this. That's why KSU buried the announcement of Kelso's hiring beneath the glow of JR Giddens' transfer extravaganza.
I don't blame Wooldridge for attacking Tom's shadow with a win-at-any-cost method. Maintaining the "Duke" image that Tom built at KSU was a task that contributed to Tom's departure. Tom was struggling to keep it going, so there was little incentive for Wooldridge to take on that burden.
Plus, "package deals" have been a staple in college athletics for years, and nobody been immune. Kansas's Larry Brown hired his old friend Ed Manning and signed Ed's 6-foot-11 son, Danny. Heck, the McDonald's All-America point guard Chalmers was recruited to replace - Aaron Miles - was part of a package deal. Roy signed Miles' good friend and teammate Michael Lee.
What makes all of this so risky for Wooldridge is the timing. The cow pasture brawl, the loss to practically everybody, the transfers of a few players whose names I can't remember dramatically raise the stakes for Wooldridge.
Everyone expected KSU's image to lose some luster when Tom bolted, but no one expected this. Not this fast. It's only been two years, and KSU is a jailhouse phone call and a Tony Harvey DUI away from being Missouri. Wooldridge is backed into a corner. He must win. Big. Soon.
His actions should be evaluated from that perspective. And our expectations and analysis of Wooldridge should be filtered through the same lenses. We should think Bill Snyder when we think of Jim Wooldridge. We should think Dana Altman when we think of Jim Wooldridge.
Snyder and Altman are two of my favorite coaches. They have a single focus: winning. They don't worry about perception or maintaining a squeaky-clean image. What wins them respect is their consistent ability to win and win big. Altman's package deals won Kansas State a few games more than they were used to. Snyder's tolerance of lawless players led K-State to an improbable run that included a Big 12 title and a lot of bowl trips.
Wooldridge has a chance to experience similar success. This upcoming season will be difficult. His leading returning scorer and most experienced player, what's his face, has been slowed this offseason by the injury he sustained in the cow pasture brawl. Wooldridge has hinted at booting whoozit from the team. I expect this guy whose name I can't remember to be retained.
Wooldridge doesn't have a viable alternative on the wing. About six players transferred. And incoming freshman Delivez Yearby won't be ready as a freshman. He's not physically strong, and his ball handling is suspect, which means he's that one guy with less experience and a better jump shot.
In the frontcourt, KSU has an assortment of role players. The Wildcats don't have a go-to low-post scorer. The red headed kid and whoever replaces Massey have a lot of work to do developing offensive fundamentals. Freshman Delivez Yearby is not a polished scorer, either.
The early word is that Deilvez Yearby is KSU's best player. He's quite a package. We won't know, however, if The Package (Delivez) was worth The Deal (Benny) until the 2006-07 season. Kansas State fans need to be patient with Wooldridge's strategy.
In case you didn't recognize it, the above article is a parody on Whitlock's zealous attentions to KU in the last week or so.