If you have any hopes of Oregon Ducks Basketball rising to national prominence, you better start waiting for four more years.
Ernie Kent, the head coach of the Oregon Ducks Men's Basketball team, has been given a contract extension that will keep him around until 2012.
Before the contract extension, it would have been all too easy to get rid of Kent. It only would have taken a handful of the university's biggest donors to pitch in enough money for a buyout of his contract.
Why didn't this happen?
Sure, the Ducks have made it to the big dance two years in a row. The more successful season was two years ago, when the Ducks made it to the Elite Eight before getting eliminated by the eventual champion, the Florida Gators.
Last year, the Ducks were knocked out in the first round by the Mississippi State Bulldogs after a horrible coaching performance by Kent.
I will give Kent credit for one thing only: He knows how to recruit. He can bring in highly touted recruits such as Malik Hairston, Bryce Taylor, Maarty Leunen, TaJuan Porter, Michael Dunigan, Matthew Humphrey, Garrett Sim, Teondre Williams, and Drew Wiley.
However, the biggest question with the most obvious answer surrounding Kent, is just how good of a coach he is.
Kent does not know how to coach, period. Hairston was regarded as the best high school basketball recruit in the nation as a senior. He was contemplating entering the draft, and going straight into the NBA.
Instead, he signed an LOI with Oregon, bolstering its recruiting class for that season. But just how much did Hairston progress and improve as a player? If he did, Kent sure didn't have anything to do with it.
Kent sticks to recruiting, while he leaves the biggest responsibility, coaching and teaching the players, to his assistants.
Oregon has had many chances to can Kent, and hire someone better. Not only a better coach, but a better recruiter, too. Former Golden State Warriors Head Coach, and current Stanford Cardinal Head Coach Mike Montgomery was interested in the possible coaching vacancy. We passed him up.
Mark Few, the head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and great friend of Oregon Athletic Director Pat Killkenny, was passed up as well.
This may be sacrilegious, but even though the Oregon State Basketball team finished dead last in the Pac-10, losing every single conference game, I will give the Beavers more credit in one area: former coach Jay John.
Jay John could out coach Kent any day, but he couldn't recruit half as well. Even though John couldn't bring in great players, he made them so much better after three or four years of coaching them.
This is the reason why in years past, Oregon has either lost to Oregon State in basketball, or beaten them by a very small margin.
Jay John outcoached Ernie Kent in every single game they faced each other.
So Duck Fans, what will it be?
Would you like to stay stagnant and let all this talent that Kent brings in go to waste, or will you finally come to your senses, donate to the Athletic Fund, and send Kent packing?
Until the Ducks can get rid of Kent, all the money that we have spent getting the great players we have, will be wasted.
Until we can actually tap into the full potential of the players, every season will pretty much be the same: no Pac-10 title, a spot in the big dance, with a first-round elimination sure to follow.
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