Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Thursdays With Raider

Editor’s Note: Welcome to a new feature here at Hoyo’s Revenge, THURSDAY’S WITH RAIDER.  Bill Simmons and the late Ralph Wiley used to do this piece where one would email the other with a question and they would respond back and forth, with where ever they went.  We’re essentially stealing that.  As for Raider, he and I share the special bond of being the only two Utah fans who were born in Wyoming and as such we share a special bond.  We’ve been great friends for a very long time despite sharing opposite views on so many things, I mean he’s a Raider and I’m a Bronco fan for God Sakes.  So we hope you enjoy our rantings and if you have a topic you’d like us to address on Thursdays with Raider, contact one of us in all the usual places.  And now without further delay, Thursdays with Raider.  BTW I know today is Wednesday, I just could wait.

And our first question asked to Hoyo’s Revenge editor Dave Mac (I need a better nickname)…
If Andre Miller retired at the end of this year and said he wanted to be head basketball coach at the University of Utah.  Would I Want Him?
You know if you’d asked me this question 5 years ago, I’d have said, no he’s not ready he should go be an assistant and so on.  But I’ve really come around on the idea that is old outdated thinking.  What in the hell is five years on a college bench in a suit going to teach Andre.  He learned how to play point under Rick Majerus.  He’s spent 12 years in the NBA in good situations and bad.  He knows what talented players look like, he knows what full of shit guys look like. He’s seen every kind of play called in every kind of situation.  Truthfully I’d like the idea. You come in and make a guy like Andre the face of your program.  He tells recruits I’ve spent 12 years in the league and I can get you there too.  Then we run an uptempo system kids want to be a part of.  Honestly, we’d win more than six games for certain.
Plus the fact that Andre is a African-American would overcome a stigma that the University of Utah faces.
We need to desperately shake much of the Utah Fanbase and frankly the High Council (for those of you who are new, the High Council are the wealthy almost entirely LDS basketball boosters who have brought you the last decade of Ute Hoops) out of what Spike Lee called, the Hoosiers Myth.  Because far too many Utah guys played Ward Ball, they grew up believe that if their team just executed well enough well it would over come actual talent.  And whatever you think of Spike Lee, he’s right about this.  Utah went to the Elite Eight and Final Four because we had Van Horn, Doleac and Andre Miller.  Hickory High won the state title because Jimmy Chitwood was easily the best damn player on the court.  Maybe Hiring Andre would shake us out of this or at least he’d have enough street cred with the High Council having player here and all that we wouldn’t be firing a coach every three years.
I look forward to your retort sir.
Raider Ute Responds
The whole Andre topic was one I brought to your attention recently and it was basically under the same guise that Kyle hired BJ as our offensive coordinator.  I know, the circumstances are vastly different, but I can peer into such a theoretical hire and see a similar reaction to it.  But let’s go back to your 5 year ago self, look at that question again and keep a few things in mind.

1. Five years ago, ‘Dre was 31 years old, which is ordinarily the beginning of the end of the typical NBA career, but his has been solid enough that I think it would mean he would be at least 40 before he even entered into the college coaching ranks.

2. Five years ago, Jim Boylen was hired, which seemed like a good idea at the time.

3. The Van Horn/Dre/Doleac and certainly the Bogut mini-era were still fresh enough in people’s minds that one would be forgiven for thinking that the Runnin’ Utes could be a solid basketball program for the foreseeable future.

And at the risk of looking like an idiot on these series of tubes, back then I thought “hey, Luke Nevill will get us another few runs in the NCAAs, Boylen will be here for a good decade” and all was hunky dory.  While I am thinking out loud, do you think the biggest indictment of the Boylen era is that it took basically until his senior year for Nevill to become the type of player a lot of fans (myself included) thought he should have been?  Your readers and followers will bring up other things to denigrate Boylen, which I don’t invalidate.  But I often go back to the career of Nevill as the most glaring disappointment of that era.  Yes, I’m fully aware that he’s the best shot blocker we have had in a long time, but like most of my adventures in dating, I was left wanting more.  Sue me.

You also may not know this either, but I swear it is required under Utah law that every able bodied citizen must discuss the Jazz in at least every 15 conversations until one either dies or relocates.  This naturally drifted into a random drunken conversation I had recently where we discussed whether the Jazz should have drafted Andre.  I completely understand that they may not have needed Dre anymore than they would have needed Jimmer.  But it did get me to thinking about that vis a vis Brian Johnson being too young to rent a car, but old enough to be the OC.

I don’t need to convince you or anyone else not in a vegetative state that the basketball program needs a shot in the arm, and Larry to me isn’t the guy that can do that.  Does it not bother you that Boise State–a never was in basketball–wanted nothing to do with him?  Not surprisingly, I have a hard time getting past that little factoid.  But why not see what happens by bringing him on?  I mean, the Warriors brought in Mark Jackson as their he—oh, wait, that might not be the best example.

All that having been said, it doesn’t mean that I would be dead set against seeing what, say, Tommy Connor has up his sleeve as a head coach in a few years.  But anything shiny that the athletic department can use to distract people into showing up and giving a damn about basketball I’m all for.

Well, it is the U and for the time being, football is the shiny, big titted thing that distracts us all.  But I get the feeling that I just may be the one grouch in the fan base that is expecting only 8 wins again this year.  Yes, it’s easy for me to look at it that way, but I would be lying if I didn’t get discouraged by this: so I took a quick glance at the recruiting class of 2016 the other day (which would be current HS freshmen) and read that not only is there a commit already, but he’s going to USC.  Of course he’s going to USC, if you were a 15 year old kid, the promise of having the finest casual sex outside of a European backpacking trip would have to appeal to you.

So I don’t know about you, but I’m going into the spring game this year w/ an open mind ready to be talked into the prospect of a season that was better than last year.  Jordan Wynn can’t possibly get hurt again can he?  He would make Darnell Arcenaux look durable by comparison.

Anyway, I never know when or where these emails will end up going, because I also don’t know how to approach the question of whether Benny Dees or Al Kincaid is more reviled to you.  So I’m willing to take this project to whatever its eventual conclusion happens to be.

And Shannon Sharpe was no Clarence Kay.  Just sayin’.

Dave Mac’s Reply
Now to return your volley…
First I think I would actually point to Luke Nevill as a success point for Jim.  Remember Luke spent his first two year under Ray Giac and people were going to call him a bust and soft and whatnot, Boylen made him conference player of the year and combined him with a bunch of Giac recruits Utah fans said weren’t D-1 material and won the MWC with them.  Now the indictment might come with Jason Washburn.  But I offer there is a middle ground.  Both Jim and Larry are good big men coaches, and sometimes big men take time to grow into themselves.  I know that’s me being dangerously close to a compliment for Larry.
But your comment about Boise St., not even coming close to wanting him despite him desperately trying to get the job really says something.  Despite our mutual hatred of their myopic fans, as an athletic program they seem to have their crap stacked neatly in a well designed box.  If they were passing, and no one else was looking, college or pro, shouldn’t that be a red flag?  Would have been nice to have someone that some other school wanted.
The great question is what is there to be done now.  I mean we’ve got our 3rd new team in three years and we’re hoping to land a couple of JC’s that combined with our new theory in scheduling which we’ve taken from the Stew Morrill School of Basketball Scheduling and Refrigerator Repair, will give the illusion of progress.
I still remain puzzled on what the hell progress is supposed to look like for Larry.  Jim was fired 2 years after 24 wins and an NCAA bid.  Ray 2 years after a Sweet 16.  Seriously what would our team in year four have to look like in order for Larry to get an extension from the Good Doctor.  Or is the good Doctor planning on retiring in 2 years and thus he doesn’t give a shit and it will be the next guys problem.  Any thoughts on what keeps Larry going?
BTW one day good or bad, I’m writing a book about the Larry K era in Utah hoops.  Between the stories I’ve told and the stories I can’t tell yet, either this explodes in an amazing disaster, or if we can recover from such utter incompetence in order to win basketball games, it will be worth a read.  Maybe Pat will write the forward.
But like you its nice to turn from the dumpster fire of Ute Hoops to the glory of football.  And I tell you what, maybe I’m setting myself up but I’m committing this year, I’ve got a 32 oz Crimson Kool Aid and I’m ready.  Jordan is back, the defense is amazing and we’ll spring board from a win over #1 ranked USC to at least the Rose Bowl and maybe a shot at the national title.  WAR UTAH BABY…. FREEEEEEEEDOOOOOOM.  Is your half empty view of this season just the ususal Ute fan negativity or is it something more than beyond us having Samuel L. Jackson from Unbreakable at QB.
As a side note, will you help me give Travis Wilson the nickname of Bodhi (as in Patrick Swayze from Point Break).  I feel very strongly about this.
Now to mention Benny Dees or Al Kinkade, well that is a topic for a whole nother one of these, but if we’re trying to hurt each other, care to relieve the last 3 innings of Game 6 of the 2002 world series pitch by pitch?  Ok that was out of bounds.  I Apologize.
But I leave one last question.  Have you seen the TV Show Two Broke Girls?  Has a worse television show ever been made in the history of the medium?
Raider Ute’s Final Reply
For this return of serve, I’ll lick the wounds served to me in your half of the conversation, since I might as well get that over with.

2002 doesn’t seem to sting quite as bad as it used to (Thank you, Edgar!), but I never could quite wrap my head around why Dusty used Livan Hernandez as the focal point of the starting rotation in that series.  Why you don’t have Jason Schmidt start games 1, 4, and 7 and let the chips fall where they may is one I will never understand.  It took until the Mitchell Report came out for me to also discover certain bits of hilarity that stemmed from that series.  Take Benito Santiago for example, who was named in the Mitchell Report.  When he did his juice (allegedly), he was 39 years old.  Hell, if it wasn’t anabolic steroids, it would have been Viagra or Rogaine or something else elderly people take anyway.  Maybe I’m old fashioned, but if you’re getting to be that old and still playing, you might as well take whatever you want.

(There’s also the fact that Marvin Benard was named, which is sort of a punch line that I really don’t have to write).

Someone used the joke already that 2 Broke Girls was a better when it was called Laverne & Shirley.  However, I do feel as though I must answer your question regarding 2 Broke Girls with a very simple and blunt “no”.  You didn’t notice this several years ago, but ABC tried to pull a fast one on the American television viewer with a show called “Hot Properties”.  Adapted I believe from a German television series, it starred 3 women who work as realtors in Manhattan that embark upon…well, whatever it is that three hot women that work together might embark upon.  Who were the three actresses, you ask?  I will mention the names of Sofia Vergara (who doesn’t require further explanation), Gail O’Grady (who if you check out her IMDb page, you will immediately understand why I consider her spouse material), and Nicole Sullivan (perfectly fine to me, your results may vary).  Perhaps I shouldn’t have this bit of knowledge, but I’m also single with no kids and no girlfriend.  I have plenty of time on my hands to dispense this obscure broadcasting footnote, arousing though it may be.

I suppose I should be more optimistic about football this year, but truth be told, the CU game last year leaves me wondering if the cool-aid got watered down at some point.  Let me go back to that point in time for a minute.  As Coleman Peterson is lining up for the game tying field goal, the single thought that hit my brain was “how the hell did this happen?  CU was really this tough of a matchup for us?”  Peterson kicks the ball toward my seat in the NEZ and I knew just about from the moment it hit his foot “that’s not going in”.  And sadly, I was right.  Pessimism is a comfortable thing for a lot of Ute fans, even if it is a reaction toward BYU fans and the fact that they believe glory is inevitable.  So if I conveniently ignore the fact that Wynn getting hurt made the offense hella one-dimensional and that the defense was put in some bad positions due to turnovers, I apologize to your readers and followers.  I will do 20 Urban Meyer’s when I finish writing this reply.

One would also have to forgive me for going out of my way to make yet another hyperbolic point regarding Larry, but I expected two wins this past season.  We got six.  So I guess in a way, that’s progress.  But whether or not one thinks Larry is capable of turning the basketball program around, the fact that UCLA got Shabazz Muhammad makes his job a hell of a lot harder.  You have said it yourself recently when you wrote that we aren’t the type of program that gets “big” recruits like that.  Now that we’ve seen the first indicator that UCLA might be “back” themselves, I keep asking myself the rhetorical question of whether Larry can display something resembling improvement.  I saw none of that this year, but for now, I’ll chalk it up to a small sample size.

Before some of your readers get mad at me for unfairly picking on Larry (according to them anyway), I will explicate what cognitively motivates me about The Great Larry Debate.  I like seeing the Utes in the NCAA tournament.  Most people do.  Okay, Zoobs don’t and Makhtar N’Diaye might not, but I’m talking about most people and those aren’t most people.  The fact that over the course of about 10 years, if not the last 5 or 6, this became something that was nearly impossible to achieve.  Lynn Archibald did it once, so it can’t be this insurmountable of a task.  If the retort I keep getting is “oh, you’ll be eating your own bodily fluids when we make the NCAAs in two years”, well, I can only say that “he damn sure better”.  Clearly, I’m not asking for much.

I had a similar mindset when the Raiders hired Norv Turner.  I developed a pretty good instinct with Al’s head coaching hires up until he died, and Norval (as Al liked to call him) was one I knew from moment one wouldn’t work out.  Going into the 2004 season there was all this hype around Kerry Collins (!) and Randy Moss potentially scoring 40 points a game that year.  Well, we barely got half of that total and I ended up being proven correct.

But hey, I am a pessimistic Ute fan and I’ve perfected that pessimism over the years, so what do I know?

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Tags: Byu Kyle Whittingham Larry Krystkowiak Pac 12 Ucla Utah Utes

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