Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One more thing...

Piggybacking on yesterday's post about SJSU men's basketball academics and Tim Pierce's expected summer graduation, we're back with another issue worth highlighting. We came across this in a recent issue of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper. It 's the opening paragraphs of a laudatory article on Southern Mississippi senior backcourter Craig Craft and details how well his final season is going:

"Southern Miss guard Craig Craft has always been known for his 3-point shooting, but the senior has become a well-rounded player as USM heads into the heart of Conference USA competition.

Craft has averaged 20.3 points over the last three games and is USM's second-leading rebounder on the season (5.7 rpg) going into tonight's home game against Marshall (9-10, 2-3 C-USA).

It's been a tough road at times for the low-key player, one coach Larry Eustachy says he once tried to run off because he didn't think Craft fit into his plans..."
Well, Eustachy deserves some credit for his honesty but...

And why was the sports reporter so casually unengaged after hearing that last line?

Now granted, we are not now nor have we ever been a college sports coach but we absolutely understand winning, losing and creating a positive cash flow for the program are the metrics used in determining coaching tenure.

But while recruiting Craft, did Larry Eustachy enter this young man's living room and, among other things, tell him in front of his parents "By the way, I will make life miserable for you, enough so that you will quit, if your potential doesn't pan out at the pace I expect"?

It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows on that one.

What a crass and cold-blooded calculation, a one-way 'what have you done for me lately' relationship minus an iota of concern for the player as a student or as a person.

It's a business tactic some coaches choose to employ but thankfully many do not.

The positive in all this is that San Jose State men's basketball operates differently, buttressed by an uncommon set of values. Coach Nessman has not and will not run any player off due to a slower-than-expected player contribution or even a determination that so-and-so is not a WAC-level talent. He sees recruiting as a two-way commitment and even kept this promise with student-athletes he inherited when he came aboard in 2005, regardless of any effect on the won-loss record. This conviction is another example of a college athletics pledge that receives zero attention in the media, let alone on any message boards, when it should be lauded as a 'best practices' benchmark.

It's something we as fans should strongly support and sustain, never wavering in our commitment.

No comments: