Daily Dribble: Gaudio, Taylor, and the Celtics

August 8th, 2007

Give credit to Wake Forest for making the right decision in naming Dino Gaudio the successor to Skip Prosser. Perhaps the lack of time prevented them from even considering a "bigger name" coach, but regardless of why the decision was made, it was the right one. Gaudio's 68-124 career head coaching record doesn't look good.. but only a magician could have been able to win at Army or Loyola in the 90's.

I've long felt that with limited exceptions, success as a head coach is more about recruiting then x's & o's. Its hard to say with most recruits how much of a pull the head coach had on the player as opposed to any of the assistants. Gaudio is regarded as having been a major cog in Wake's recent recruiting success, particularly with the monster 2008 class. In Al-Faroug Amin, Ty Walker, and Tony Woods you're talking about 3 beasts. This year's pull of James Johnon, Jeff Teague, and Gary Clark was nice.. guys in the top 50-120ish range. But the 2008 trio is at the level that only Duke or Kansas can usually match.

People will talk about how Gaudio was Prosser's long-time right-hand man and how he will make the smoothest transition. Those things are nice, but the cold hard fact of the matter is that Gaudio makes sense because he gives the program the best chance of keeping the 2008 recruits happy. Happy, big time recruits equal wins.

The other coaching move of the day was Billy Taylor's hiring at Ball State. I'm not going to get into the circumstances by which Ronny Thompson left the program, allegations of racism and other wrongdoing. The facts are too murky to really know.. but I do know the hiring of Taylor is a steal.

Its been a foregone conclusion for at least two years now that Taylor would leave Lehigh in due time. His name came up in connection with many openings the past couple years. And why wouldn't it? In just a handful of seasons at Lehigh, he took the program to unprecedented success. They were 5-23 the year before he arrived, and then they made the Big Dance in 2004.

Last year was Taylor's most disappointing season as the Mountain Hawks only beat 10 D1 teams.. so he possibly got out just in the nick of time. But considering Ball State's recent troubles and the cloud under which the program currently sits, its hard to imagine finding a more capable coach than Taylor.

Finally, moving on to the NBA for a second. I missed out writing on the Kevin Garnett trade. But let me say this, the Celtics are overrated. The two most important positions in the NBA are point guard and center, and its been this way pretty much for the league's history. The only player to transcend that reality is Michael Jordan, which is why he is far and away the best player in the league's history.. and why Lebron's early success has been so striking.

Kevin Garnett is not such a talent, Allen has about a year left in the tank.. and both he and Pierce are coming off sub 60-game seasons. Those three guys along with Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo add up to a solid, but not finals-worthy team. In two years when this team hasn't won anything.. and the franchise has no young talent.. things will seem an awful lot like they did last year in Celtic-land. The fact that there were reports of Reggie Miller making a comeback with Boston (seriously, is today April Fools?) is not a good sign..