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01-29-2009, 08:36 AM
A couple of items...

In the race to issue the first denial in an attempt to ease speculation, Minnesota coach Tubby Smith wins! After practice in Minneapolis earlier today, the former Kentucky coach was asked about being discussed as a candidate for the Alabama job left vacant by Mark Gottfried's resignation.
Here is exactly what Smith said:

"I'm happy here in Minnesota, I'm not looking for any jobs. We've got a great recruiting class coming here next year, so I'm excited about where the Gopher program is, and I'm not a candidate for any other jobs. So I don't want any more questions about it.''

You can read the local accounts here and here.

So, cross one candidate off the list, right? Well... We all remember the last Alabama coach search, right? We all have learned to parse words, right? Smith never said he will definitely return to UM next season. He merely said he's happy and not a candidate elsewhere. For the record, coach Nick Saban denied interest in the UA job four times and said "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach" a fifth time.

So we'll see what happens here...

A little bit of basketball news for you this morning, and it's probably not something that'll make big-time Alabama hoops fans smile. So, we know now that the search to replace Alabama basketball coach Mark Gottfried is on, right? But who will fill his shoes?
We've mentioned a bunch of candidates being discussed by UA power brokers, but Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky uses his space this morning to slam down one big one: Say goodbye to Anthony Grant, he writes in this article. His column includes these lines:

Anthony Grant is not coming to Tuscaloosa.

That conclusion, in clear violation of the never-say-never rule, comes after talking to college basketball insiders familiar with Grant and his thinking.

They say there's no guarantee that the hottest young mid-major coach in the country will leave VCU after this, his third straight successful season there. Those insiders also say, if Grant does decide to leave VCU for the SEC, it will be to replace Dennis Felton at Georgia, not Mark Gottfried at Alabama.

By the way, read all about Athletics Director Mal Moore's plans for a search in my article from this morning. And watch Moore right here.

Anyway, not to be a complete naysayer, Scarbo does end his column with this discussion of Memphis' John Calipari:

Approached in the right way, one basketball insider said, Cal would listen, despite the fat new five-year deal he signed in April that starts at $2.35 million a year and includes a $5 million longevity bonus. If you wanted Grant, stop crying. But don't stop dreaming.

One more basketball note too late to make the newspaper ...

Missouri coach Mike Anderson was asked about Alabama's job opening after tonight's 88-72 upset loss at Kansas State. Unlike Tubby Smith's emphatic denial earlier today, Anderson was cagey in his response.

Could mean nothing, but count uses of the phrase "right now."

"Right now, this is the most important right now," Anderson told reporters. "I'm the head coach at the University of Missouri. I'm focused on having a great season. We're in a battle right now, so that's where my focus and that's where my energy is right now."

Anderson (view the bio here) is a Birmingham native and previously coached at UAB. He made his way as an assistant with the running, pressing Arkansas teams of the 1990s and has adopted that style as a head coach.

01-29-2009, 08:38 AM
I still think at the end of the year, Bama makes a big offer to Tubby. If he says no, we'll likely move to Grant and then Anderson. I think Anderson would love to come back to Bama. I'd like him over Grant, but any of the three would be pretty exciting.

01-29-2009, 08:46 AM
Anderson seems by far the most likely candidate at this point.

01-29-2009, 11:13 AM
again, i caution those in favor of Anderson. a step up, yes. but someone to win SEC/NCAA championships? i'm not convinced. their performance last nite is further evidence.

01-29-2009, 11:34 AM
again, i caution those in favor of Anderson. a step up, yes. but someone to win SEC/NCAA championships? i'm not convinced. their performance last nite is further evidence.

He'll be a hit at Bama. We get the type of athletes that excel in his system. J. Green, Kemp, Hillman, Rico, A. Steele, Torrance, etc would all do well in Anderson's system. He might not take us to the championhsip level that we want to be, but he's definitely a step in the right direction. Teams wouldnt be excited about playing us. With the right combo of players, he can win big at Bama.