Dan Hurley Signs Extension With URI And I Can’t Be Happier

Dan Hurley Signs

ProJo: The University of Rhode Island and head coach Dan Hurley have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him at the school through the 2019-20 season, the school announced Friday.

The new deal adds two additional years to Hurley’s original contract, but primarily focuses on what URI is calling “programmatic changes and enhancements.” The financial terms of the contract Hurley signed last March when he came to Kingston remain unchanged.

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I know this is old news at this point, but fuck it, I’m not looking to break news; just comment on the news.

Dan Hurley signing an extension, by itself, means nothing. Keeping him under contract longer doesn’t guarantee he stays at URI (it is not an indictment of Hurley but of the sports world in general). Instead, the signing is largely symbolic. He did reject Rutgers offer that would pay him $1M per season but signing the extension really symbolizes his character and loyalty. He knows that he won’t be able to build a championship team by job hopping between schools. He also knows that if he left, he’d be abandoning the kids who transferred and sat out last year just to play for him.

Got to give Hurely credit though. Even though contracts these days aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, Hurley was in a position of power and could have strong-armed URI into a nice raise but, instead, chose to only demand a commitment from URI to make much needed improvements to the athletics facilities and programs (beyond men’s basketball). Very altruistic of Hurley; using his position of power at the negotiating table to benefit all of URI athletics.

Hurley has proven with his actions that he is truly committed to winning and knowing what it really takes to win. URI, and their fans (like myself), can rejoice knowing that Hurley, at least at this moment, is saying he wants to stay and build up the URI program. The only thing that worries me about Hurley succeeding here is the other jobs that will be offered to him that he would be dumb to turn down. An example being Syracuse. Jim Boeheim has hinted that he is really close to retiring. If the basketball gods look unfavorable at URI, it could be bad timing where Hurley turns the URI program around and gets them to the NCAA Tournament just in time for Boeheim to retire and Syracuse may want a younger, high energy, good recruiting coach. Syracuse may come calling for Hurley and I think Hurley would be foolish not to accept the job if they offer it to him. Of course, that’s just speculation. For now, Hurley is committed to being a Ram.

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People Still Think Dan Hurley Is Going To Coach At Rutgers

c'mon man

NYDN: For more than 35 years, Rutgers has been the wasteland of college basketball. The university hired one nondescript or ill-fitting coach after another. The only hire never made was the only one that made sense — a New Jersey native with college head coaching experience, a coach whose name was universally known and respected throughout the state. It’s shocking it never happened because the best thing Rutgers has going for it is this: It is the State University of New Jersey. New Jersey, at its core, is a state populated by loyal, passionate, proud people, people who trust their own, people who know a Jersey guy speaks their language, people who know there are values dating back to the state’s roots in farming and factories. Pernetti may be the next Rutgers employee fired, but whomever sits in the AD chair can begin restoring the school’s image with one hire and only one hire — Danny Hurley. But wins and losses — important for certain in the million-dollar world of college basketball — shouldn’t be the primary focus of this hire. Character should be. Commitment should be. Community should be. Now more than ever, with the nation sure the inmates are running the asylum at Rutgers, Danny Hurley is exactly what the State University of New Jersey needs.
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I know a lot of people will think this author is saying that Rutgers needs to do whatever it takes to lure Coach Hurley out of URI. I took it another way. Granted, the author certainly doesn’t seem like he’d complain if Rutgers went after Hurley, but I think his greater point is that Rutgers needs a certain type of coach and that Hurley is the poster child for that “type.” To me, the author says that Rutgers fucked up by not hiring Hurley when they had the chance (before hiring Mike Rice) and now they need to find a coach who is exactly like Hurley. He is inferring that in order for Rutgers to dig themselves out of this shithole they have dug themselves into they need to find a coach like Hurley who commands respect without having to be over the top to the point of abuse. In the end, I think the author is trying to say that Rutgers needs who and what Hurley embodies not necessarily Hurley himself. Of course, I’ve been wrong before; so what the fuck do I know, right? I will reiterate my sentiments from before. Coach Hurley isn’t leaving URI for Rutgers. It just doesn’t make any sense at this point. As the article said, he is building a foundation at URI and won’t just abandon the team to join a floundering bottom feeder just because they are in a BCS conference. Hurley is smart enough to know that if he turns URI around, he will have opportunities to join BCS schools that are actually good. Rutgers can hope and wish all they want, Hurley is not taking that job.

Catching Up On A-10 News

paperwork2

I know it’s been a while since my last post. Been swamped at work and couldn’t find time to sneak in a blog post like I have been able to. A lot has happened. NCAA second round, Bobby Hurley leaves URI, and George Mason.

Anyway, on to what I’ve missed:

NCAA Tournament
After starting 5-0 during the first round (if you call the play-ins the first round, you’re a huge asshole), the A-10 goes 1-4 in the next round with only La Salle advancing to the Sweet 16.

Temple certainly played a good game and could very well have beaten Indiana if it weren’t for Oladipo:


Skip to 0:26.

Khalif Wyatt’s first half performance showed why he was the A-10 player of the year. Unfortunately, the 15 minute break for halftime was just enough time for Wyatt’s hot hand to go cold and he had a very pedestrian second half. Temple should hang their heads high. they took the #1 seed (and at certain points during the season – the #1 team in the country) to the very brink of defeat.

Not much to say about VCU. They were just completely overmatched by Michigan. Like I’ve said before, the best way to beat the Havoc defense is to have smart, instinctive guards. That is exactly what Michigan has in Burke (possibly the best guard in all of college basketball) and Hardaway Jr. Just a bad game for VCU. Missed a lot of open jump shots and missed a bunch of easy lay-ups. Too bad. Still a great season overall for the Rams and they will be a top team in the A-10 for a long while (unless Shaka Smart goes to UCLA).

St. Louis, whose foundation was built on tough defense, really didn’t look very competitive against Oregon (who may be the best 12 seed in tournament history – hyperbole, saying they were shafted by the Selection Committee). The usually stout defense of SLU gave up 76 to Oregon and couldn’t really seem to stop them.

Butler now, they looked like they had the game won for a while, but Marquette showed a lot of grit and balls in coming back and taking the lead with about 7 or 8 minutes left. Then it was truly a back and forth game; a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, Butler couldn’t pull out the victory in the end.

On to La Salle. Great win over Ole Miss. What makes it a great win? The win means that fucking menace Marshall Henderson is finally out of the tournament. Good riddance. La Salle played great and hit a lot of key shots. not only did their star player (Ramon Galloway) have a good game, but so did VA Tech transfer Tyrone Garland. Garland hit the game winning lay up with only a second left. Southwest Philly Floater for the win (literally)!!!

Next up for La Salle is Arizona. Zona is a very talented team (coached by former Xavier coach Sean Miller) who was one of the last unbeaten teams in the country. I hope La Salle can keep it rolling and become the next VCU (from 2011) in that they go from Play-in to Final Four.

George Mason
So George Mason announced that they are joining the A-10 on July 1 of this year. Good pick up by the A-10 to replace one of the many departing teams. I think the A-10 only needs to add one more school to get back up to 14 teams for this year and 12 the year after that (assuming the rumors about Dayton and St. Louis to the Big East are true). I’m still hoping that the A-10 can pull off a miracle and convince Wichita St. to leave the MVC too (Creighton is leaving for the Big East). I know it is unlikely but who knows, they did convince Butler and VCU to join. It could happen. Anyway, I like George Mason. GM would fit in with the rest of the A-10 with the play of their top 2 guys (both guards): Bryon Allen and Sherrod Wright. The A-10 is well known for their guard play and GM will step right in.

Bobby Hurley
Bobby Hurley to Buffalo

So word has it that Bobby Hurley is leaving URI for Buffalo. This is a curious move to say the least. I mean, Bobby must have had other offers in the past (I think Wagner offered him the job when Dan left for URI) and he turned them down to stay with Dan and spend time with Dan and their families. If he turned down offers in the past, why leave now? Why University of Buffalo? No offense to University of Buffalo fans, but I can’t wrap my head around why Bobby would take that job. Is he finally ready to step out from Dan’s shadow and build his own legacy? Is he thinking that turning around a Buffalo program will allow him to land a head coaching gig with a high-major school (like using Buffalo as a stepping stone)? Baffling; but Dan is doing a great job recruiting and coaching up these players and while it would have been nice to keep Bobby around to help mentor EC Matthews and help transition him into an elite PG, I wish Bobby all the luck in the world and I hope he achieves all the success he needs to get to where he wants to in life.

URI Attendance Compared To Other Schools

Empty Ryan Center

NCAA

    School                                              Average Attendance

Rhode Island                                                         3,829

Providence                                                            7,883

Wisconsin-Milwaukee                                       5,770

Old Dominion                                                       7,142

North Texas                                                          4,006

Montana                                                                 4,005

Do we get the point here? How the hell do Old Dominion, Montana, and North Texas draw bigger crowds than URI?!?! When was the last time any of those teams were relevant?! Are there even 4,000 people in the entire state of Montana?! Jim Donaldson is right; he’s an asshole, but he’s right. Generally speaking, URI fans are shitty fans. If those embarrassments of programs can draw bigger crowds, then URI fans don’t deserve a good program. URI fans don’t deserve a coach like Hurley or an AD like Bjorn. Personally, I wouldn’t blame them one bit if the rumors were true. If I were Hurley, I’d jump ship to Rutgers too. If I were Bjorn, I’d accept the Xavier job before they even offered it to me.

We need to be better fans. The team deserves better, the coaches deserve better, and the athletics department heads deserve better.

Dan Hurley Leaving For Rutgers? Don’t Be Stupid

Dan Hurley Confused

Go Local Prov: But despite all of that enthusiasm, there is also concern by many that Hurley may not be long for URI and that his tenure could be a ot shorter than anyone had anticipated.

As mostly everyone knows, URI is generally a stepping-stone program for coaches who excel in Kingston. Do well at URI and the chances are good that you will land a job in a major conference. Just ask Al Skinner and Jim Harrick who left for the Big East and SEC respectively in recent years. Before that, it was Tom Penders who left for the University of Texas.

For Hurley, many believed when he took the URI job last spring that it wasn’t a matter of “if” but rather “when” he would be on to bigger and better things.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is quite possible that Hurley could be one-and-done in Kingston.

You see, down in central New Jersey, there are two programs that may be looking for head coaches just about a month from now.

If Rutgers or Seton Hall are looking for a new men’s basketball coach, many believe that Dan Hurley would be at the very top of their wish list.

Would Hurley leave URI after only one season? In a New York, or should we say a New Jersey minute!

While some might argue that he would be turning his back on the transfers and recruits that he has brought into the URI program and not coming anywhere near to fulfilling his commitment to the school, such is life in the big business that is division one college basketball.

Coaches know that they are hired to be fired and, because of that, often take advantage of a great opportunity when one presents itself.
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This article started off alright. It’s accurate to state that URI is a stepping-stone job in the men’s college basketball world. I am not naïve enough to think that if Hurley experiences early success here at URI, that once a big time program has an opening they won’t look to Hurley. Hell, there may be a school, who like URI did, that will oust their current coach to hire Hurley out of URI.

The author completely jumped the shark here later in the article talking about leaving the program after this year. Thinking that Seton Hall and Rutgers are attractive places to want to coach at is preposterous. Just because Hurley is from NJ, doesn’t mean his end game is to stay there forever. If the region meant that much to him, he wouldn’t have left Wagner to come to URI; instead staying and waiting for the Rutgers or Seton Hall jobs to open. I seriously doubt Hurley wants to leave URI to go to a program that is just as mediocre simply because it’s in his home state. Hurley has already established roots here at URI and will only look to leave once a prominent program comes calling. Hurley will be better served to rebuild URI and take them to the tournament within 3 years of coming here. That is the way to maximize the value of his coaching stock in the eyes of those great programs.

The most interesting part of the story is in the comments section of this article. Anybody who is frequents the URI message board “keaneyblue.com,” is undoubtedly familiar with Rod from Cranston. This fucking yahoo is quite the character. If you dare post anything negative about URI basketball or his binky, Dan Hurley, he unleashes an absolute tirade against you that makes you fear for your life. The guy is an absolute lunatic, just a straight-up whackadoo. Here is how he responded to an article talking about Hurley maybe leaving URI early…

Rod Carri
10:23pm on Monday, February 25, 2013

All bullshit empty speculation, which I RESENT!
I’m sure Rutgers fans will jump for joy at getting an 8 win coach.
Funny, Dan told me Tuesday, “Who wants to watch Seton Hall and Depaul play?”
His memories of Rutgers, where he was an asisitant, and Seton Hall, where he played, are not very positive.
Keep stirring the shit, though.

Rod Carri
1:09pm on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cut the baloney, PC fan. Who leaves after an 8 win season to coach at a BCS school?
A baseless story, founded on a conversation with someone who knows nothing.
If Rutgers goes after anyone, it will be for an established high profile coach.They already went “the hot young coach” route, and failed.
Gee, funny this pap comes out after PC gets back from Rutgers. I wonder who the “source” is on this crap? I have a good idea. He also writes for this group.
Good story? You probably think The Johnston Landfill smell good, too.

Harold Stassen
2:37pm on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

@Rod C.:
Correction; I’m a college basketball fan! Having a competitive team at URI, (like PC, Brown, RIC & now Bryant) raises every college basketball fans interest, except possibly yours. Finally, based upon the vitriol in your posts, you have some real anger issues!

Rod Carri
2:52pm on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yes, I hate mindless garbage, like this article.

Holy shit, man. You need to settle the fuck down. Are you a fucking sociopath??? Just because you disagree with what the author says doesn’t mean you can act like a goddamned savage. If Scott Cordeschi goes missing, guess who Suspect #1 is going to be? Seriously, though, what the fuck is your deal? Are you off your meds? Are your meds out of balance? If you’re not on meds, maybe you should talk to your doctor about getting some.

BREAKING NEWS: College Basketball Just Realized Defense Wins Championships

Defense Wins

D-fence

ESPN: The site was KenPom.com.

At the time, I had never heard of it. But Salmons told me he respected the site so much that if he knew a gambler was using it, he’d be more inclined to move a line. The guy who had just bet was a KenPom user. Back then, KenPom was a little-known website run by Salt Lake City-based meteorologist Ken Pomeroy, who was obsessively compiling college basketball stats and spitting them back out in increasingly different ways. He ranked teams based on efficiency and tempo, not just performance. They were college basketball advanced metrics and they were revelatory — especially for gamblers.

Before the Super Bowl, I wrote that Vegas is the leading indicator when it comes to economic recovery. Well, the same holds true for advanced data. That is where the edge is and, if someone is doing it right, they figure it out quickly. KenPom was doing it right. And it signified the beginning of analytics getting its due in the college basketball space. (The irony: After I learned about Pomeroy, I had him on a couple of my podcasts until he told me he was going to pass because he didn’t want to be too closely connected to gambling.)

What you see now is Florida coach Billy Donovan remaking his team into a defensive flytrap. He realized that the teams advancing to the Final Four consistently ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency rating (DER), but not necessarily top 10 in plain-old defense. (I am stealing this stat from a story about Florida that will appear in ESPN The Magazine’s Analytics Issue, written by Eddie Matz, out next week. Too bad, Matz.) This season, Donovan’s Gators surprised the masses with their run into the top 10, which was earned with a DER of 82.5, No. 1 in the country.

Do you know which team ranks No. 2 in DER? The other Florida-based team that people are freaking out about, the Miami Hurricanes. It’s no surprise that Miami, led by former George Mason coach Jim Larranaga, is dominating in a stat that just a few years ago only mattered to stat-heads and gamblers. Last season, in The Mag’s first analytics issue, Peter Keating wrote a great piece about how Larranaga was remaking Miami through metrics.

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This is exactly why Dan Hurley is a great hire for URI. I willingly admit that I was a fan of Jim Baron. I know he had a couple of teams that really underachieved but I always felt as though he was only a good recruit away from getting over the hump. But, that window closed after 2010-2011 season. After that season, Baron had to completely retool the team and was forced to play a lot of raw, but talented, freshmen. I knew, deep down, that if he had to start over, that he wouldn’t survive. URI’s AD, Thorr Bjorn, was hired after Baron was hired and was waiting for that widow to close so that he could let Baron go and bring in “his guy.”

That was actually the best thing that could have happened to URI as Baron was the Mike D’Antoni of college basketball. Baron’s philosophy was “we’re going to win by simply scoring more points than you.” It was all offense and zero focus on defense. Baron thought his teams could just out-run the opponents all the time. Unfortunately for Baron, that philosophy is why URI always seemed to collapse at the end of the season. The players were gassed from an entire season of being the “Runnin’ Rams.”

Looking at what this article is pointing out, the new trend for success in college basketball is to start with defense then work in an offensive system. Jim Baron is now about to learn if he’s dinosaur or a mouse. Dinosaurs couldn’t adapt to external, environmental changes and went extinct. Mice (and other small mammals) adapted and survived and evolved. Thorr must have believed that Baron (and the whole Runnin’ Rams – birthplace of the fast break) is a dinosaur who will refuse to adapt and take down the program he is with along with him.

Thorr parted ways with Baron and brought in Dan Hurley who immediately brought with him a focus on being a defense-first team. There was a line that Theo Epstein once used when justifying a free agent signing who was a great fielder but suspect in the batter’s box; that line is “defense is slump-proof.” What he meant by that is while batters can get hot and get cold and seem streaky. A great defensive player, however, will always be a good defensive player and won’t go into slumps where the player just “forgets” how to field a ground ball or a fly ball.

The same philosophy can be laid here at URI. Munford, Malone, Malesevic, Powell, everyone will have nights where their shots just aren’t falling. If they play solid, fundamental defense then that should keep them in most, if not all, games and their offense, when on-point, will be able to secure the win for URI. This is the current trend that seems to be catching fire in college basketball and I am glad that Thorr was able to see that trend before the rest of us and brought in the right coach to help URI get better. This defense may be good enough for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, probably sooner rather than later too.

Top College Players In NCAA Tournament History

Bobby Hurley

ESPN: 16. Bobby Hurley, Duke
Hurley might have been the third-most celebrated player on his own team — Grant Hill and Christian Laettner were the stars of Duke’s back-to-back national championship teams in 1991 and ’92 — but perhaps no one was more valuable. A year after UNLV routed the Blue Devils 103-73 in the 1990 national championship game, Hurley never left the floor in Duke’s 72-65 victory over Kansas in the ’91 final. Hurley scored 12 points with nine assists in 40 minutes against the Jayhawks. A year later, Hurley scored nine points with seven assists in 37 minutes of a 71-51 victory over Michigan’s famed “Fab Five” squad in the 1992 championship game. Hurley averaged 12 points and 7.3 assists in 20 NCAA tournament games, leading the Blue Devils to victories in all but two. — Mark Schlabach

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Well look at that! Bobby Hurley almost cracked the top 20 NCAA Tournament players OF ALL TIME. Duke in the early 90’s were some incredibly talented teams and Hurley was one of those very talented players. In addition to his back-to-back national titles, Bobby was also selected to be on a college “all-star” type of team that went and played an exhibition game against the ’92 Dream Team in Puerto Rico. The college players ended up beating the Dream Team which is quite the feat to pull off*.

Bobby was an exceptionally gifted player and had a bright future in the NBA until his terrible car accident made it so he could not play anymore. He is such a key person on this coaching staff as the A-10 is such a guard-centric conference. I know Dan was also a guard at Seton Hall and he is a great X’s and O’s coach, but Bobby can really work with URI’s guards and take them to the next level from talented but raw to extremely valuable A-10 players. I think Bobby has the past experience which can help him relate and get on the same level as the players now and can tell them stories that will help hammer points home on these players (especially Mike Powell – who has grown by leaps and bounds this season compared to last season).

*There was some speculation that Coach Chuck Daly purposely lost the game to try and reign in all of the ego’s on the Dream Team. I guess in that game Michael Jordan barely played any minutes and all of the players now think Daly lost on purpose. The NBA TV station played a special a while back (before this past summer Olympics – for the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team) on the Dream Team and I suggest that if anyone hasn’t seen it that they find it somewhere and watch it.