Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

Thanks to Bobby Jack for keeping the blog alive while our team has been on life support. My lone appearance since the SEC Tournament was when I was caught coming out of the Dope Testing Trailer at the Tour of Georgia. If you think I'm ashamed of that then ask yourselves how many of you could have ridden up Brasstown Bald mountain. Okay, so I rode up in a bus with all the other old and out of shape fans - at least I showed up. I make no apologies for the fact that I enjoy pro tour cycling. The bulk of my fan time between March and November are devoted to that sport.

Back to basketball for a few moments. Where does Bama Basketball go from here? There is only one person who can answer that question. That man is

Only a fool would deny that our players have failed the past two season to make the plays necessary to win their games. Only the coach is in control of doing everything he can to make sure that does not happen again next season. How does he do that? As I have heard many of the best football and basketball coaches of the past two generations say, "It's the coach's job to get the players to do what they would not do if the coach was not there."

Most Alabama football fans wear their feelings on their sleeves. I have been that way about Bama Basketball ever since I was a student - the Newton and Sanderson years. I was fortunate during the David Hobbs era. Both of my daughters were very young and I enjoyed being with them so much that I was able to forget about Bama Basketball until things came back around. Next year both of my daughters will be students at The University. I wish for them even a small part of the fun and excitement I experienced as a student attending Bama Basketball games.

I was among those who wanted to hire Mark Gottfried. My thoughts and feelings on his performance have been open and obvious to Bama Basketball fans since long before this blog was created.

The simple reality is that Mark Gottfried is our coach. What any of us thinks or feels about it (or says or prints about it for that matter) will have no impact on that simple fact. I am a Bama man and Gottfried is Bama's coach. I support our coach and our team and I hope that for the third season during his Alabama tenure Coach Gottfried performs up to his potential.

Mark Gottfried graduated from my high school and from my University. He embodied everything I ever wanted to see during his playing years at Alabama. He was like a coach on the court. He played both sides of the ball with a tenacious competitive spirit but understood that the guys wearing the other jerseys were his brothers when the last whistle blew. Anyone who followed that young man's college career knew he would be successful in some field. I hoped he would choose to return some day to lead our alma mater's basketball team.

During his earlier years at Alabama, Coach Gottfried did a good job of getting average players to perform up to their potential. He had his weaknesses as a coach. Every coach does. The good news was he was young, developing, and would only improve. In some ways he did.

Let us set aside for the moment all the arguments to the effect that the past two seaons have not been Mark's "fault." Many if not all of those arguments (or explanations) concerning the team's performance have merit. The repeated and consistent shortcomings of our teams over the past several seasons are obvious to any fan or student of the game. Coach Gottfried himself has identified those areas during his post game interviews. What is not obvious to a simple fan or student is, "How do I get the players I have to improve in the areas of those shortcomings so they perform better in the games next season?" Coach Gottfried is the only person who is in a position to answer that question. I hope he does.

So where do we go from here? I honestly do not know. Past performance always is the best indicator of future performance. Nothing in his performance over the past few seasons suggests to me that Coach Gottfried is up to the task. But while a man has breath in his lungs he has the capacity to change and to improve. I know a bit about Mark Gottfried's background. Everything in that background tells me he has all the tools and help he needs to make the necessary transitions.

Next season promises either to be the restart of an exciting and rewarding ride for Bama Basketball fans or to be the beginning of the end of the present regime. I for one am hoping for the former. I really do not care which coach leads our program to the Final Four, but I'm rooting for you, Coach. Good luck and God's speed.


Hville said...

Back with a bang!!! Good read...

Anonymous said...

sorry bud. mark gottfried is an incompetent boob that should have been fired long ago. period. and because he's still the coach (due basically to the fact that no one in that athletic dept. gives one whit about basketball, much less championship basketball), because you went to high school with him, because you swapped spit at some cub scout campout long ago, doesn't change that fact.

his merit as a major college coach was arguable until ron steele. his handling of steele has been a disaster. and absolute disaster. ron steele was - and i hope the best for ron, but the fact remains - WAS a multi-million dollar NBA lottery pick. no more.

and that's thanks to the incompetence, ineptitude and arrogance of your high school buddy. on the day the need for ron's knee surgeries were made public, your boy should have been shown the door. he wasn't because the football flunkies down there DON'T CARE.

feel free to send elizabeth my way. i'm in the book.

Alias said...

finebammer, you apparently have read my most recent post in a vacuum, but thanks for reading and contributing.

Anonymous said...

"Let us set aside for the moment all the arguments to the effect that the past two sea(s)ons have not been Mark's "fault." Many if not all of those arguments (or explanations) concerning the team's performance have merit."

sorry again bud. zero of his and his flunkies excuses have merit. zero.

think about how long you've heard the criticism that mark favors certain players and doesn't use his bench. that criticism started with rod grizzard. the response was that mark's the head coach, he knows what he's doing, you've never coached anything. shut up.

now after riding a lottery pick into the ground, (i would remind you that three seasons ago ron steele averaged 40.3 minutes per game) it seems those critics just might have had a point.

we're told what a great recruiter he is. where are those great recruits?? where were they last season?? and the one before??? i don't see us routinely beating out the top basketball recruits for talent. and it shows on the court.

"I really do not care which coach leads our program to the Final Four, but I'm rooting for you, Coach. Good luck and God's speed."

Is there something else i need to read or hear??

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog and this post is very refreshing. It is easy to criticize someone when they are not performing at their best. It says a lot more to stand by someone and support them through a difficult time. I'm not saying we should accept mediocrity, if that's what continues. But I do agree with supporting Coach Gottfried becuase he is still our coach. True Alabama fans should give him this support. Even if (and quite possibly when) he is fired, we should remember him for being one of Bama's best ever players and, as a coach, bringing the program out of absurdity, bringing some memorable players and successful seasons to Tuscaloosa, and running a (by all accounts) clean program.

I'm not from Mobile and my name is not Elizabeth.

Roll Tide.

Alias said...

finebummer, I do not think I am arguing with you. If you have read my posts for the past two seasons you will understand that I do not buy those excuses. That does not mean that the arguments do not have merit. But my opinion, as informed or uniformed as it may be, is that there is no excuse.

Also fwiw I agree with you completely about riding a lottery pick into the ground. I will go you one better and say that if Gottfried had been a decent recruiter he would have had a better backup for that lottery pick than the walk on young man (who happens to be my favorite player on this team) who was given a scholarship only after another of Gottfried's recruiting mistakes was shown the door.

Like it or not, Mark Gottfried is the coach of my team this year. How will he perform? "I honestly do not know. Past performance always is the best indicator of future performance. Nothing in his performance over the past few seasons suggests to me that Coach Gottfried is up to the task."

I do not see where harping on that problem is going to do anything but harm our program and our players at this point.

If you have read my prior posts, you will know to look for me USA's Mitchell Center this season instead of Coleman Coliseum. USA's program and players are not on par with even the subpar product Alabama has put on the court recently, but I do love college basketball and I have elected not to drive seven hours to watch a team that does not seem to care as much about the game they are playing as I do.

Thanks again for reading and contributing to the site. We need all the Bama Basketball fans we can find for the day when things get turned around. I sure hope my daughters can learn to enjoy the fact that Bama Basketball can be more fun and exciting than Bama football, especially when both programs are performing at their full capacity.

Roll Tide!

Anonymous said...

let me say first, i've been a fan of alabama basketball since c. m. newton. so trust me when i say the musings on what constitutes a "true" fan by some gottfried buttsniffer couldn't mean less to me. i've followed this team and this coach to madison, wisconsin. i've tried to attend most mid-week games because i know that's when the team really needs the support. (that's made for many a long thursday at work over the years)

mark gottfried has had ten years. he's about to begin year eleven. he had many weaknesses as a coach when he was hired and to my way of thinking he hasn't improved a whit.

i don't think anyone can now question the undeniable fact that the elite eight run was a fluke. without antione pettway, it doesn't happen. not only did he fail to build anything on that run, to the contrary, the program's gone in the tank. there was a time we were second only to kentucky in the sec. now programs are leaving us in the dust. and his arrogance as all this goes down.

but the mishandling of ron steele? i was publicly asking questions about what was going on with ron in december of '06. mark gottfried went on for two more months watching ron torture himself game after game, practice after practice. it only ended after ron's parents stepped in and halted the insanity. then the surgeries. the very second after ron's surgeries were announced, mark gottfried should have been fired.

since he's gone on to bring in that great basketball mind kobe baker to help revive the program he's choked the life out of. that's worked out real well, hasn't it?

so in closing, you'll have to forgive my distrust and outrage over any perceived pro-gottfried banter. i love 'bama b'ball every bit as much as football. but i hate mark gottfried. there's been too much bullsh*t and spin control.

regardless of this coming season's results, mark gottfried should be gone. and i won't go back until he is gone.

that's what's best for the program.