A few hours ago, I watched the LSU men's basketball team play against a far superior Kentucky team.
If they hadn't made a couple boneheaded mistakes at the end of the game I may have even watched the LSU men's basketball team WIN against a far superior Kentucky team.
Last week, the Tigers beat Florida and hung tough with the third-ranked Tennessee Volunteers.
Not bad for a team with a 2-8 conference record.
So what's the deal? Why have the Basketball Bengals suddenly started playing like they've seen a basketball before?
Well, John Brady was fired—and apparently the team likes his replacement a hell of a lot more than they liked him, because they have played their tails off ever since his departure.
All of this makes Brady look like a bad coach, but really he isn't. When he took over the job in the 90s, a 2-8 conference record was to be expected. Now, after his era, we all expect to be competing for a fourth or fifth seed in that Tournament in March.
Brady built up a program from nothing, and produced fout players that have gotten or are currently getting significant playing time in the "Association" (at least that I can think of, right off hand): Tyrus Thomas (Bulls), Brandon Bass (Mavs), Stromile Swift (Grizzlies), and Glen Davis (Celtics). At the very least, the guy isn't a "bad" coach.
But what has had me worried for a while now was the amount of players that wanted to tranfer away from LSU. You could say that academics played its role for a few of the guys, but not all of them. I believe Ross Neltner, former Mr. Basketball of one of those Midwestern basketball-crazy states, transferred away to Vanderbilt after his freshman season. Clearly he wasn't having trouble with the intricacies of college algebra if his second choice was VANDERBILT.
The answer kind of becomes clear now, doesn't it? Its not that ole Johnny boy doesn't know the game, or doesn't recognize talent when he sees it. It's not even that he doesn't have the ability to develop that talent into next-level quality.
No, the problem is more likely something to the affect that he doesn't know how to "rally the troops" as they say. He ain't a "players coach" and he ain't even a Nick Saban type of guy who can strike fear, and respect, into his players.
I'm glad Brady was the Tigers coach for the time that he was, but honestly—I think LSU's future just got a heck of a lot brighter now that he left.