Must be a slow news day in Birmingham

  • 06/09/2008 2:02 pm in

mike23.jpgFor reasons unbeknown to yours truly, Birmingham News scribe Kevin Scarbinsky felt compelled to write a column today about IU fans and their unwillingness to let go of our feelings towards Mike Davis.

Funny thing is, a significant portion of the Indiana fan base couldn’t wait for Davis to hit the road. Two years later, some Hoosiers can’t let him go. They’re like some LSU football fans still obsessed with Nick Saban, except LSU football fans didn’t hate Saban when he worked there and didn’t want him to leave.

Like Alabama football fans, Indiana basketball fans love their history, and with good reason, except for the chapters that include, say, folding chairs as flying objects. As their program prepares to face the music and the Infractions Committee, whose decision will shape their future for years to come, it seems fitting to revisit and revise some recent history.

At least for those Hoosiers who like to keep those cards and letters coming, who still believe Davis was the worst thing to happen to IU basketball since John Feinstein. News flash: He wasn’t.

Scarbo: As a co-editor of one of the more widely read Indiana basketball Web sites out there, I have a news flash for you: We don’t care about our old friend Mike anymore. In fact, I’m not even sure of the last time he was mentioned around these parts. The reality is, a lot of fans appreciate Davis’ magical 2002 run to the NCAA championship game, but they also realize he was over matched as the head man in Bloomington. His record in Birmingham over the last two seasons only confirms the truth about Davis: As a head coach, he’s not worthy of a big time job. Here’s to hoping the sports news heats up in Birmingham soon, Scarbo.

Filed to:

  • BobbyDigital

    …*yawn*

  • terryiu

    First of all, it wasn't a folding chair. It was hard plastic with rigid chrome legs which helped it sail better. The color escapes me at the moment and it didn't fly but was more of a skid once it touched down on the hardwood.

  • jdaddy

    Mike Davis was and still is a good recruiter. No doubt about it. Head Coach, not so much…

  • DougHoosier

    I believe it was red.

  • Who cares what he is doing as long as he isn't doing it at IU. Good luck Mike.

  • myrddin

    Big A, I don't think you could be more wrong on this one. Take a major IU basketball message board like Peegs–there are a lot of IU fans who cannot simply let Mike Davis go and wish him well in his present and future endeavors. Any big recruit Mike gets naturally someone posts about it, and it's always followed by at least a dozen quips about “help is on the way” or “he can't develop talent”, rather than something a little more mature like “Good for Mike and good for UAB”. Heaven forbid that he some day actually develops into a good coach! A coach who knows how to recruit to need and knows how to coach his team on the floor. Why would anyone hope for less for him?

    And Scarbo is right on the money about one thing–I would gladly, GLADLY trade away our time with Sampson for another 4th place B10 finish, because one thing about Mike is that we never had any reason to doubt that he ran a clean ship. I would have happily suffered seeing EJ light it up against us and get beat twice by Illinois last year had I known that the alternative was to give up IU's good name for the sake of wins.

    Give me a clean underachiever any day of the week if my alternative is a cheater.

    I think Scarbo was right on, on both points.

  • 619453

    First of all it was Dane Fife that lead the 2002 team not Davis.
    Second, he was a great recruiter for Ohio. Davis helped Oden and Conley get OH to the finals.

  • The answer is March 19th, 2008, in this post about Mike and Mike advocating the hiring of Dan Dakich.

  • JerryCT

    Davis was a good man, decent judge of talent and tried hard as a head coach. I doubt any fan hates him at this point or even cares about him.

    BUT as the new coach put it ,”its Indiana”. Some folks in AL probably don't understand that average results are good enough for folks in Birmingham or Alabama but its sure not good enough around IU.

    I really don't care what might be worrying Birmingham about IU fans. Is Crawford showing up tomorrow ? That's what I want to know

  • RobertSchell

    What is KS (Kevin Scarbinsky, that is) talking about?
    I LOVED the chapter where a folding chair was used as a flying object!

  • I don't disagree with your points on Sampson vs. Davis. But I didn't write anything about that.

    As far as your point on what people post on various message boards, I don't think a columnist at a respectable news outlet should characterize the opinions of an entire fanbase over a couple of emails or message board posts. From where I sit doing this site for almost a year now, we've had well over 8,000 comments and I don't remember one bashing Mike Davis. Even though we control the pulse of the conversation, you'd think if IU fans were really “hung up” on Davis, people would at least comment about him, but I don't ever remember seeing it here.

  • Just read your post on this over @ CF John. Keep up the good work over there.

  • Coach Davis is a good recruiter he should hire Dakich as defensive Associate Head Coach and search for an Offensive Associate Head Coach. Could be a mean three-headed beastt. maybe not.

  • 05hoosier

    Finally, someone else recognizes who really coached that team.

  • casey137

    I know we're all bored and don't have much to talk about right now. with that being said, Mike Davis did not run a “clean ship” the Davis teams were receiving MASS amounts of help with their grades. Who do you think was paying/allowing the payments to be made for Robert Vaden's mothers place in Bloomington?? Davis was just another another coach fortunate enough to not get caught.

  • southsidehitmen

    You gotta give Davis credit as a recruit. I came to IU in Samsponites first year, and they finished 21-11 with Davis's talent. (I mean, Stemler and Mike White were all Sampson, but they probably did more harm than good.)

    Maybe it would be different if I was at IU when Davis was there, but I have nothing against him, and actually wish him well against Calipari and the Memphis Tigers. He's probably the second most competent coach in that conference.

  • JerryCT

    So , is Crawford back at school tomorrow ?

  • Supposed to be. I'm sure we'll know soon enough if he isn't.

  • JerryCT

    It may be a slow news day in Birmingham but JC returning to Btown would make my day and perhaps my year

  • JerryCT

    Just read the “full moon ” thing on Cannot Falter. I have been glued to this site for the past year and I remember nothing that would indicate a fetish concerning MDavis as stated in Big A earlier comments

    I follow this site becasue I feel ITH has the most informed and thoughtful fans. Thus no surprise that ITH fans have moved on from MDavis. We have more current and relevant fish to fry

  • Thanks, I appreciate the feedback.

  • MikeinNC

    How boring. And at UAB of all places they should understand why the situation turned out the way it did at IU for Davis…does Gene Bartow ring a bell Scarbinsky? Let it go and move on.

  • deedubbadoo

    I am half tempted to send Mr. Scarbinsky an e-mail because thanks to him and that picture, I just rehashed a sad time in my life. A time in which we had no set offense aside from standing around the three point line and then hoisting up a shot with the clock winding down. It made me remember how little he did as a coach. As a recruiter, I would say so-so, not being able to land in-state talent has always been a pet peeve of mine. He was a nice guy, tried hard, but was in over his head. I wish him luck but come on Scarbinsky! I let go of that guy the day they let him go, I felt relieved just like when Sampson walked, just like when Crean was announced. Stick to writing about UAB and don't worry about Hoosier Nation!

  • SB_Hoosier

    Couldn't agree more with the Mike Davis comments. No offense, sporadic defense, couldn't land (or attempt to land in some cases) the instate talent, and in way over his head at IU. But I will give credit where it's due…he did bring us DJ White.

  • best post on the thread.

    couldn't have said it better myself.

  • b_side

    Gimme a break! You were sad when JJ, Fife and Cov led our Hoosiers to the title game in 2002? We upset Duke's most formidable team (Jay Williams, Boozer, Dunleavy, Duhon, etc) since the days of Laettner, Hurley and Grant Hill. Cry me a river!

    It's a shame everyone associates Davis with Bracey Wright — the “help is on the way” comment hurt his reputation badly. His coaching skills were average at best after the run, but you gotta give credit where credit is due.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I think most IU fans really liked Mike Davis, but it was just a bad situation for him. To be honest, I root for him and try to follow UAB's season now. Is there anything wrong with that? I don't think so. To say that most fans can't “get over Davis” is ludicrous. We've got bigger issues than that by far. He's barely a blip on the radar that is IU basketball.

  • deedubbadoo

    You were sad when JJ, Fife and Cov led our Hoosiers to the title game in 2002?

    Your sentence summed it up right there, they led, not him. You mean to tell me that if RMK was still the coach that that team wouldn't have beat Maryland in championship game? I don't associate him with Bracey Wright, I associate him with chasing Josh Smith around when everyone knew that kid was going pro. I associate him with letting arguably two of the best prospects Indiana has ever seen in Oden and Conley go to Ohio State. I associate him with running an offense that provided us with frequent 5+ minute scoring droughts.

    To say that his coaching skills were “average at best after the run” is ridiculous! What changed after “the run” that changed his skill set as a coach? Oh yeah it was the players you mentioned above that led the team to the championship. To say that he is anything but a mediocre coach with above average recruiting skill is crazy.

  • b_side

    Have you ever heard of the phrase, “players play and coaches coach”? If RMK is such a genius, why was Texas Tech mediocre in his tenure? His players ran a beautiful offense, but they couldn't put the ball in the bucket! His players rotated like hell on defense, but they didn't have the athleticism to get a stop. So yes, I mean to tell you that RMK may not have beaten Lonnie Baxter, Chris Wilcox, Steve Blake and Juan Dixon in the that title game. That team was simply physically overpowering in contrast to the stick figures of JJ and Newton.

    I love RMK like everyone else, but you gotta keep it in perspective. His IU teams got murdered in the NCAA's in the mid-90's.

    And you need a history lesson about Josh Smith — his talent wasn't on the NBA radar until those AAU tournaments after his senior year. Hindsight is 20/20 and every other coach was chasing McDonald's All-Americans, so you can't fault him as the only foregone conclusion was Dwight Howard. Al Jefferson, Telfair, JR Smith and Robert Swift were all heading to school before announcing their draft intentions. It's just an unfortunate downfall of chasing talent prior to the rule change.

  • deedubbadoo

    Okay I will agree with you on the Josh Smith thing but for you to say that Texas Tech was mediocre while RMK was there is out of line. He took over a team that had not had a winning season or even sniffed a tournament bid since 1996. He then only went on to 3 tourney appearances and 1 NIT in his first four seasons with the team. 2005-2006 season was his only losing season there, and the only season in which they did not win at least 21 games. He ended up 138-82 at TT. I would say that 4 tourney appearances and 1 NIT in 6 1/2 season does not qualify as mediocre.

    Maybe we wouldn't have beat Maryland but I would have much rather had the “mediocre” RMK than Mike Davis.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    Whats the latest on Emmanuel Negedu?

  • He's at Tennessee today and Memphis on Thursday. I would expect a decision shortly after his last visit.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    Thanks

  • b_side

    I'll concede that Knight's teams making it to the NCAA tourny were not “mediocre.” But you also have to remember that those teams had legitimate talent (Andre Emmett and Jarius Jackson). If Davis had 2 more years of Jeffries to play alongside Bracey Wright, you think his reputation would be so tainted?

    Your argument about Knight's success at Tech only validated what I was trying to point out initially: “Players play and coaches coach.”

  • deedubbadoo

    I agree with you that with more talent Davis' reputation would not be so tainted. I think a lot of people (unfortunately) had it out for him from the get go because of the color of his skin. The blue-haired alumni couldn't fathom life without RMK and that also put more pressure on him. I do not hate the man, I just think that his coaching was a little suspect. I really appreciate the conversation though, made my work day go by a lot faster!

  • b_side

    Absolutely — blogs like this would be so dull if we didn't debate.

  • b_side

    Gimme a break! You were sad when JJ, Fife and Cov led our Hoosiers to the title game in 2002? We upset Duke's most formidable team (Jay Williams, Boozer, Dunleavy, Duhon, etc) since the days of Laettner, Hurley and Grant Hill. Cry me a river!

    It's a shame everyone associates Davis with Bracey Wright — the “help is on the way” comment hurt his reputation badly. His coaching skills were average at best after the run, but you gotta give credit where credit is due.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I think most IU fans really liked Mike Davis, but it was just a bad situation for him. To be honest, I root for him and try to follow UAB's season now. Is there anything wrong with that? I don't think so. To say that most fans can't “get over Davis” is ludicrous. We've got bigger issues than that by far. He's barely a blip on the radar that is IU basketball.

  • deedubbadoo

    You were sad when JJ, Fife and Cov led our Hoosiers to the title game in 2002?

    Your sentence summed it up right there, they led, not him. You mean to tell me that if RMK was still the coach that that team wouldn't have beat Maryland in championship game? I don't associate him with Bracey Wright, I associate him with chasing Josh Smith around when everyone knew that kid was going pro. I associate him with letting arguably two of the best prospects Indiana has ever seen in Oden and Conley go to Ohio State. I associate him with running an offense that provided us with frequent 5+ minute scoring droughts.

    To say that his coaching skills were “average at best after the run” is ridiculous! What changed after “the run” that changed his skill set as a coach? Oh yeah it was the players you mentioned above that led the team to the championship. To say that he is anything but a mediocre coach with above average recruiting skill is crazy.

  • b_side

    Have you ever heard of the phrase, “players play and coaches coach”? If RMK is such a genius, why was Texas Tech mediocre in his tenure? His players ran a beautiful offense, but they couldn't put the ball in the bucket! His players rotated like hell on defense, but they didn't have the athleticism to get a stop. So yes, I mean to tell you that RMK may not have beaten Lonnie Baxter, Chris Wilcox, Steve Blake and Juan Dixon in the that title game. That team was simply physically overpowering in contrast to the stick figures of JJ and Newton.

    I love RMK like everyone else, but you gotta keep it in perspective. His IU teams got murdered in the NCAA's in the mid-90's.

    And you need a history lesson about Josh Smith — his talent wasn't on the NBA radar until those AAU tournaments after his senior year. Hindsight is 20/20 and every other coach was chasing McDonald's All-Americans, so you can't fault him as the only foregone conclusion was Dwight Howard. Al Jefferson, Telfair, JR Smith and Robert Swift were all heading to school before announcing their draft intentions. It's just an unfortunate downfall of chasing talent prior to the rule change.

  • deedubbadoo

    Okay I will agree with you on the Josh Smith thing but for you to say that Texas Tech was mediocre while RMK was there is out of line. He took over a team that had not had a winning season or even sniffed a tournament bid since 1996. He then only went on to 3 tourney appearances and 1 NIT in his first four seasons with the team. 2005-2006 season was his only losing season there, and the only season in which they did not win at least 21 games. He ended up 138-82 at TT. I would say that 4 tourney appearances and 1 NIT in 6 1/2 season does not qualify as mediocre.

    Maybe we wouldn't have beat Maryland but I would have much rather had the “mediocre” RMK than Mike Davis.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    Whats the latest on Emmanuel Negedu?

  • He's at Tennessee today and Memphis on Thursday. I would expect a decision shortly after his last visit.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    Thanks

  • b_side

    I'll concede that Knight's teams making it to the NCAA tourny were not “mediocre.” But you also have to remember that those teams had legitimate talent (Andre Emmett and Jarius Jackson). If Davis had 2 more years of Jeffries to play alongside Bracey Wright, you think his reputation would be so tainted?

    Your argument about Knight's success at Tech only validated what I was trying to point out initially: “Players play and coaches coach.”

  • deedubbadoo

    I agree with you that with more talent Davis' reputation would not be so tainted. I think a lot of people (unfortunately) had it out for him from the get go because of the color of his skin. The blue-haired alumni couldn't fathom life without RMK and that also put more pressure on him. I do not hate the man, I just think that his coaching was a little suspect. I really appreciate the conversation though, made my work day go by a lot faster!

  • b_side

    Absolutely — blogs like this would be so dull if we didn't debate.