The coaching search is on and the big headline grabbers are Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan. Mike Woodson could not have started off any better with his win Wednesday and either Van Gundy brother would be an intriguing option.
John Calipari is allegedly uninterested, but I think he is the wrong college coach to go after anyway. Allow me to take you outside of the box.
The New York Knicks should go after Jim Boeheim.
What?! Jim Boeheim Would Never Leave Syracuse
I would have agreed a year ago, but now?
Think about it: at the beginning of the season there was the scandal of Bernie Fine. Yes, Fine was immediately removed, the case is not being prosecuted, and the story has disappeared from the main pages of newspapers, but it's still out there. People still have questions. If new details ever do come out, Boeheim will have to answer questions like "How did you not know this was going on?" from the media all over again.
Then came the allegations that 10 players since 2001 continued to play even though they violated drug rules. True or untrue, the investigation has been launched and there are only so many times Boeheim can answer with an, "I don't know anything about this" before the public begins to doubt him.
As if the first two weren't enough, now Syracuse has the Fab Melo suspension. A promising 31-2 season is beginning to look like an early exit in the Round of 32 or Sweet 16.
Jim Boeheim Never Wanted To Move to the ACC
Remember when Jim Boeheim said these things about the move to the ACC:
"If conference commissioners were the founding fathers of this country, we would have Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina in the United States. This audience knows why we are doing this. There's two reasons: money and football."
"Where would you want to go to to a tournament for five days? Let's see: Greensboro, North Carolina, or New York City? Jeez. Let me think about that one and get back to you."
(Quotes are courtesy of Erick Smith's USA Today story "Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim not happy about move to ACC. You can read his full story here.)
Well Jim, how about 40 games a year in New York City?
Seems like a long time ago now, but in 2003 Carmelo Anthony led the Syracuse Orange to a National Championship. The coach? You guessed it.
Whatever the level of truth is behind Carmelo Anthony running Mike D'Antoni out of town (I don't believe he was the sole reason D'Antoni stepped down, but it's hard to believe he wasn't some part of it), if the Knicks bring in Boeheim, at least Carmelo would be happy.
The feeling is mutual, too. When Boeheim was asked if Carmelo could co-exist with Jeremy Lin during the height of Linsanity, Boeheim responded:
"For somebody to assert that Carmelo Anthony can't play with somebody it's the most ridiculous thing that I've ever heard. I've heard a few now, but of all the statements I've ever heard that's the most ridiculous."
He also stated:
"We won a national championship, he had 10 points in a game on the way to the Final Four and was the happiest guy in the locker room after the game. He's won a gold medal in the Olympics when he was playing with Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron (James) and all those guys and he fit in just like a glove. So, I don't see any question that when Carmelo comes back he will help the Knicks get better."
(Quotes are courtesy of Katie Cramer's blog post titled, "Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says it's 'ridiculous' to say Carmelo Anthony can't play with Jeremy Lin." You can read her full story and follow her blog here.)
Can a team win a championship with Carmelo Anthony? Boeheim is the only coach in America who can answer yes and give legitimate evidence.
The big question when it comes to bringing in a college basketball coach is whether he can work with NBA players.
Jim Boeheim has been working with the biggest superstars the NBA has to offer as an assistant coach on Team USA.
We saw what a 2-3 zone did to the Miami Heat in last year's NBA Finals. Jim Boeheim is the architect of the legendary Syracuse 2-3 zone. Imagine bringing some sort of hybrid version of this (NBA has the defensive three-second rule) to the Eastern Conference.
The teams to beat for the next five-plus years out East are the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls. A zone has proven effective against the Heat and would do a lot in stopping penetration by Derrick Rose.
A major concern has always been getting Carmelo and Amare Stoudemire to play defense. Well, getting them to play zone is an easier baby step to make.
The roster sets up well for a zone. Tyson Chandler holding down the middle, Carmelo and Amare using their length to cover ground along the baselines, Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert at the top of the zone. A zone defense can hide your bad defenders, and when you have Lin, Carmelo, and Amare, it's definitely not a bad idea.
Let's look at the best-case versus worst-case scenarios associated with staying at Syracuse.
Best Case: Sticks around for enough years to reach a 1,000 wins and win another championship.
Worst Case: Bernie Fine story resurfaces, sanctions come down from the NCAA on the alleged drug scandal, fewer scholarships to work with, etc.
The potential for trouble on the horizon is a real issue and if I were Jim Boeheim, I would get out while I'm still on top. Going to New York City to coach a Knicks team with Carmelo, Amare, Tyson Chandler, and Jeremy Lin is not a bad second gig.
Syracuse is moving in to Duke and North Carolina's conference and will no longer be the top dog the way they were in the Big East. It's time to get out and try to make the 2003 magic happen again with Carmelo Anthony.