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Friday, December 2, 2011

NCAA Basketball Power Rankings - Urban Meyer Coaching Staff Watch -

Mike Stoops reportedly offered OSU’s co-defensive coordinator job

A handful of days after officially being named as Ohio State’s new head coach, Urban Meyer‘s first coaching staff is slowly beginning to take shape.
It was reported earlier in the week that wide receivers coach Stan Drayton, who was with Meyer at Florida, is expected to be retained, although he will likely become the running backs coach. Now comes word that Mike Stoops, who has been mentioned as a possibility since it became clear Meyer would become the Buckeyes’ coach, could be on the verge of returning to his home state as well.
News9.com in Oklahoma City is reporting that Meyer has offered Stoops the co-defensive coordinator position at Ohio State. When asked about the report, a source close to the situation told CFT that there have been discussions between Meyer and Stoops, although the source refused to confirm that an offer is on the table.
In a subsequent interview with the Daily Oklahoman, Stoops acknowledged that he has spoken to Meyer but did not confirm he’s been offered a job.
“I don’t comment on that stuff,” Stoops told the paper. “But I can confirm that I have visited with coach Meyer.”
Stoops was born and raised in Youngstown and went to high school in the city, so the rumors have made sense on that level, although he’s never coached on the same staff as Meyer. Luke Fickell, who shares an agent with Stoops, has been retained by Meyer after serving as OSU’s head coach for the 2011 season. While his title has not been specified, it’s presumed Fickell will be Meyer’s defensive coordinator. Or co-coordinator as the case may be.
After seven-plus seasons at the school, Stoops was fired by Arizona in early October. It’s also been rumored that Stoops could rejoin his brother at Oklahoma, although it remains unclear how realistic an option that would be for either side. Mike Stoops served as Bob Stoops‘ coordinator from 1999-2003 before taking the job with the Wildcats.

Stoops Set to Join Star-Studded Staff in Columbus?
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Less than a week after the blockbuster hire of vc head coach Urban Meyer, Ohio State is on the verge of adding another big name to the staff in Columbus.
Since agreeing to a 6-year, $24 million deal with the Buckeyes on Monday, Meyer has been hard at work recruiting for his new university. His biggest commitment may be on the way in the form of a new defensive coordinator.
Sources have confirmed that former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops could be on the verge of signing a multi-year contract to coach the Silver Bullets under Meyer and alongside interim head coach Luke Fickell.
Stoops, who coached the defense under his brother Bob at the University of Oklahoma from 1999-2003, was in Columbus this week to meet with Meyer. He has not commented publically on whether he has been offered a job on the Buckeyes' staff, but it is clear this was more than just two Ohio guys getting together for a cup of coffee.
“I don't comment on that stuff,” Stoops told The Oklahoman on Thursday.
“But I can confirm that I have visited with coach Meyer.”
The nature of that visit was business, and Meyer has a proven track record of getting his man, or at least doing everything in his power to make it happen. When he took his first head-coaching job at Bowling Green back in 2001, Meyer called one potential assistant three times a day for three months.
That coach was Meyer’s friend, Mickey Marotti, who eventually became his Director of Strength and Conditioning at Florida. At the time Marotti was the strength coach at Notre Dame, where he had worked with Meyer, but he wasn’t ready to give up that kind of gig to work in the Mid-American Conference.
When Meyer came calling four years later, Marotti was ready to join him in Gainesville. Now he may be following Meyer back to Columbus, where the two worked together as graduate assistants in 1987.
“That would be a big loss for Florida,” a source said.
“He is one of the best at what he does.”
The same goes for Stoops, who coached a top-10 defense during each of his five seasons in Norman. That included Oklahoma’s perfect 13-0 season in 2000 when they won a seventh national championship.
The Sooners allowed just 14.9 points per game that season and held Florida State’s offense scoreless in a 13-2 Orange Bowl victory.
“Coaching defense has always been my passion,” Stoops told The Oklahoman.
“You get very close to the defense. If the right opportunity presents itself, and it's a good arrangement, I would certainly be excited about it.”
That opportunity appears to have presented itself in Columbus, where Stoops would work under Meyer and alongside Fickell, who will coach the Buckeyes in their bowl game.
Fickell was told he would have a major role on Meyer’s staff, but the fact he was not named the outright defensive coordinator leaves the door open for Ohio State to add a big name like Stoops, who was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio.
If and when the two sides can agree on a deal, Stoops would likely become the defensive coordinator at Ohio State with Fickell serving as the a co-defensive coordinator, a role he shared with Jim Heacock on Jim Tressel's coaching staff from 2005-10.
In this scenario it is also likely that Fickell would serve as Meyer’s assistant head coach, and probably a positional coach on defense, although there is serious talk about Meyer retaining linebackers coach Mike Vrabel.
Vrabel was on the short list of current assistants Meyer wanted to evaluate after taking the job. Sources confirmed that he already has plans to keep assistant Stan Drayton on the new coaching staff, along with possibly Taver Johnson, who has coached the cornerbacks at Ohio State since 2007.
Drayton will likely be moved back coaching running backs after one season working with the receivers, which would leave three or four more spots available on offense. Former Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster could be in line to fill one of those spots.
According to The Austin Statesman, Brewster has been offered a position on Meyer’s staff, as well as that of Rich Rodriguez at Arizona. Brewster was a bright recruiter for Mack Brown at both North Carolina (1989-97) and Texas (’98-2001), where he helped recruit Vince Young out of the Houston area.
A former tight end himself at the University of Illinois, Brewster would go on to coach the tight ends for five seasons in the NFL. He worked to develop Antonio Gates in San Diego before spending two years with the Denver Broncos under Mike Shanahan.
With his star on the rise, Brewster was tabbed by Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi to replace Glen Mason as the Gophers head coach in 2007. He was only 15-30 in Minneapolis, including 6-21 in the Big Ten, before his contract was terminated in October.

Urban eyeing Gator coaches for OSU staff

As expected, Urban Meyer is reportedly looking to his recent coaching past and old stomping grounds to fill his first Ohio State coaching staff.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, and as reported by other media outlets, Meyer wants to add at least a pair of current Florida assistants — strength & conditioning coach Mickey Marotti and wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill. It had previously been reported that Marotti has all but taken the job — which would likely include the title of director of football operations — but there’s also a report that Marotti, who has had a relationship with Meyer dating back to their time on Earle Bruce‘s OSU staff in the late 80s, has been hesitant to pull the trigger on a move from Gainesville to Columbus.
“It’s a big decision for him,” the source said. “He and Urban are pretty close, but he likes Gainesville.”
That said, OSU-centric websites such as Buckeye Sports Bulletin have reported Marotti is all but a done deal and is expected to join Meyer in Columbus.
Hill played at Florida in the early 90s and came back to UF as a member of Will Muschamp‘s first Gators staff. Hill, who served as Muschamp’s wide receivers coach this past season, was also mentioned in the Yahoo! exposé on the Miami football program and was named as one of three assistant coaches who had direct knowledge or participated in the violation of NCAA bylaws involving the infamous Nevin Shapiro. Muschamp said in August that he 100 percent supports Hill, who had spent the three previous seasons with the Hurricanes.
In addition to Hill and Marotti, former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops acknowledged Thursday that he had spoken to Meyer about a position on his OSU staff. Stan Drayton, OSU’s wide receivers coach, is expected to be retained by Meyer.

NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

1 Last Week: 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0)
For Tuesday's rout of Duke, an enterprising Ohio State student (shown at right, credit US Presswire) dressed up as an Aaron Craft/Kraft box, complete with a side panel of stats. The box did not appear to include the Turnometer, which is unfortunate, as it measures the most vital CraftStat: turnovers forced.
The Power Rankings' thorough film review has Craft with 20 standard, box-score steals* through seven games, but a total of 32 turnovers forced, which means he's forcing 8.84 turnovers per 100 possessions played. Against Duke, he had just one box-score steal -- his biggest impact was taking Seth Curry off the ball and out of the game, as he only attempted eight shots, making three -- but Craft forced a total of 4.5 turnovers. The updated Turnometer looks like this:
* Craft's official season stat line has him with 22 steals, but one should be William Buford's, and another should be Jared Sullinger's, if we're being fair. Which we are.
** Sometimes, you receive signs of which player to blurb. The newest album in my iTunes, the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul: The Nickel & Penny Labels, is a compilation of lost Chicago soul recordings from the '60s and '70s. Track five, the album's best instrumental, is titled The Matta Baby, Do the Pearl, Girl, Pt. 2. An obvious Thad Matta/Bruce Pearl reference in a song from 1967? Very weird. The only overlaps between those coaches are the 2007 and 2010 Sweet 16s ... and the recruitment of Aaron Craft. Put the track on, if you like:
Next three: 12/3 vs. UTPA, 12/10 at Kansas, 12/14 vs. S.C. Upstate

2 Last Week: 2 Kentucky Wildcats (6-0)
It's irresistible to compare Marquis Teague with his point guard predecessors at UCalipari, John Wall and Brandon Knight. And as many have pointed out, Teague's early struggles have mirrored the other two's -- each player had 18 turnovers through four games -- so it's wise to be patient when evaluating the kid's decision-making skills.
What's worth doing, in the meantime, is looking at his possession-usage habits, and seeing how those compare. During the 2011 NCAA tournament, I used Synergy Sports Technology data to create pie-chart breakdowns of how Wall and Knight used possessions, and have expanded that graphic to include Teague through six games:
Teague is getting 50 percent of his offense in transition, which is significantly more than Wall or Knight, and it's only partly because Kentucky is running more frequently. Synergy logs have 29.5 percent of the Wildcats' possessions in transition this season, compared to 14.8 last season, and 20.2 in the Wall year. Teague is taking advantage of fastbreak opportunities, but he's yet to make an impact in the halfcourt offense. Here's the full, numerical breakdown (note that the situation percentages don't total 100, because a certain chunk of possessions are logged as "miscellaneous" in Synergy, and I left those out of the pie-charting):
Point Guard Wall Knight TeagueUsage Rate 27.2 26.7 21.9ORating 108.8 107.8 102.4Situation%Transition 32.2 15.9 50.0Spot-Up 19.8 20.5 16.0Isolation 15.1 17.1 13.8Pick&Roll 9.7 14.4 8.5Hand-off 3.0 9.6 3.2Off Screen 0.4 6.2 0.0
Next three: 12/1 vs. St. John's, 12/3 vs. North Carolina, 12/10 at Indiana

3 Last Week: 4 Syracuse Orange (7-0)
Bernie Fine wasn't the only member of the Orange family dealing with the authorities this week: Sophomore center Fab Melo was in court for his criminal mischief case, which will be dismissed if he behaves for one year. Things are looking up for Fab! And he's finally playing well, too. The previous Power Rankings delved heavily into the blocking prowess of North Carolina's John Henson and Kentucky's Anthony Davis, but did you know that Fab's block percentage of 16.07 is almost as good as Davis' (16.33), and well ahead of Henson's (11.10)?
Among big men who play more than 50 percent of their team's minutes, Fab is third nationally in block percentage:
Rk. Player, School Blk% Min%1. Kendall Gray, Delaware St. 18.4 53.32. Anthony Davis, Kentucky 16.3 64.13. Fabricio Melo, Syracuse 16.1 53.54. Meyers Leonard, Illinois 14.8 65.05. Darrius Garrett, Richmond 14.5 57.5(source: Statsheet.com)
Next three: 12/2 vs. Florida, 12/6 vs. Marshall, 12/10 vs. George Washington

4 Last Week: 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (6-1)
I wish some stat-head with a ton of time on his hands (I have a lot, but not enough for this) would start a national assist-authentication service. The No. 1 plague on America's box scores is what I call assist inflation -- the awarding of assists that are not assists according to the very extensive language in the NCAA Statistician's Manual. The manual says: "An assist should be more than a routine pass that just happens to be followed by a field goal. It should be a conscious effort to find the open player or to help a player work free." It also states very clearly that if "a player is well-guarded and has to make a move to get free," then the pass that preceded the basket not an assist. Thus normal post entries that require significant maneuvering on behalf of the post player are not assists, nor are simple perimeter passes where the guy does not catch and shoot, but instead squares up and makes a significant move before scoring.
So much subjectivity is involved, with so little oversight, that assists are not consistently credited in the same way nationwide. Consider this case study which took me a few hours to compile, comparing play-by-play data with video: The two major-conference assist leaders are North Carolina's Kendall Marshall (10.3 per game) and Pitt's Tray Woodall (8.3), but after reviewing every assist of theirs that was available on film, one player has a much higher rate of inflation. Note that this is not that player's fault, but rather the fault of statistician who's distorting the definition of an assist -- in some cases to the point of absurdity -- in order to produce inflated box-score numbers.
* Of the 69 Marshall assists that were in Synergy, I deemed 62 (or 89.9 percent) to be by-the-book assists.
* Marshall's home scorekeeper in Chapel Hill was actually more honest than the road/neutral scorekeepers for UNC games. At home, 28 of 31 (90.3 percent) of Marshall assists were legit, and in road/neutral, 34 of 39 were legit (87.1 percent).
* As for Woodall, of his 56 assists available on film, 44 (or 78.6 percent) were authentic.
* What was interesting were Woodall's home-road splits. All 12 of his road/neutral assists were legit ... but just 32 of his 44 home assists (72.7 percent) were legit. This included some egregious inflation. A few examples: In the home opener against Albany, he gets a box-score assist for a simple pass that precedes a full pick-and-roll play by two teammates; and gets another one like that against Rider in Game 2. In Game 4 against La Salle, Woodall is credited with an assist on possession in which he last touches the ball 23 seconds before Nasir Robinson scores. In Game 6 against Robert Morris, Woodall is credited with one assist in which he last touched the ball eight seconds before Ashton Gibbs scores on a two-dribble pull-up -- which came on a pass from a different teammate. And the worst one, also in the Robert Morris game: Woodall gets another assist on a possession in which he never touches the ball.
* I point this out not to denigrate Woodall's passing skills; he's a very good point guard who does a great job of getting Gibbs the ball for open shots. It's just that this kind of scorekeeping -- literally giving someone 2-3 extra assists in every home game -- is unfair, because it throws the national assist leaderboard all out of whack. Please, Pitt statistician: Stop the madness.
Next three: 12/3 at Kentucky, 12/6 vs. Evansville, 12/10 vs. Long Beach State

5 Last Week: 6 Duke Blue Devils (7-1)
The Blue Devils stay in the top five because they've beaten Michigan State, Michigan and Kansas on neutral courts, and that's more than I can say for anyone below them. But they were so bad against Ohio State on Tuesday that I'm going to use their space for something tangential/hypothetical, instead of say, analyzing the Austin Rivers Crossover.
What if, on Nov. 14, 2009, the day after Harrison Barnes sat at a podium at his high school, directly behind placards bearing UNC and Duke logos, and committed to Roy Williams over Skype, the Blue Devils had "countered" by getting the Black Falcon's three-star teammate at Ames High, Doug McDermott, to decommit from Northern Iowa and switch to Duke?
I know what would have happened then: The Blue Devils would have been mocked incessantly for falling so far behind in recruiting that they were picking up scraps from Barnes' high school. I probably would have been one of the mockers.
But is the nation aware just how good McDermott has become in his sophomore season at Creighton, where he ended up after his father, Greg, took the Bluejays' head coaching job? Doug may very well be the best hybrid forward in the country. His (nonexistent) NBA Draft stock isn't on par with National Player of the Year candidates Barnes and Jared Sullinger, but McDermott's numbers put him squarely in the Wooden/Naismith conversation:
Player ORating Poss% FTRate OR% DR%Doug McDermott 128.7 28.4 16.3 10.8 24.2Harrison Barnes 105.4 27.9 51.1 8.7 7.5Jared Sullinger 130.5 25.2 69.2 10.4 29.9
McDermott matches Sullinger, the current frontrunner, in offensive efficiency, usage and rebounding ... and had the Bluejays' star been on Duke's recruiting radar, he would've been a statistical upgrade over the departed Kyle Singler at the four spot. (Not that we're blaming Duke for not recruiting the kid. Every single major conference team missed on him, too.)

Next three: 12/7 vs. Colorado State, 12/10 vs. Washington (NYC), 12/19 vs. UNC-Greensboro

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