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Coaches are the most important leaders of a basketball team in that players will follow their example. A coach who is determined to achieve success will have players who are determined to achieve success. If a team quits on a coach before the end of the season, it is because the coach quit on the team first.
At the end of January, I wrote that CU needs to find a basketball coach who can be a leader and motivator. The new basketball coach has to be someone who can engage the students and faculty at CU. He has to be someone who the university can rally behind.
As February went on, some top candidates for the basketball coach emerged. Mike Dunlap, an assistant for the Denver Nuggets and Alvin Gentry, an assistant for the Phoenix Suns, were near the top of the list. Some others come to mind, but there is no other candidate that is more intriguing than the head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Jeff Bzdelik.
Bzdelik is the perfect coach for the job. He is the type of coach that students, faculty and community members of Boulder can be proud of. He has both NBA and college experience. Bzdelik is the type of coach I was talking about in January.
Right now the basketball team is a nightmare. With a dreadful record and a sour team attitude, Buffs’ fans are eagerly awaiting the end of the season and the hiring of the new basketball coach. They are also hoping that the new coach can turn the program around in his first year.
Bzdelik knows a few things about turnarounds.
When he was with the Denver Nuggets, Bzdelik helped the team to a 26-game improvement from the previous year during the 2003-2004 season. The 2003-2004 season was Carmelo Anthony’s first year in the NBA, which is a major reason why the team had the turnaround, but Bzdelik’s achievement should not be overlooked for that reason.
In Bzdelik’s first year with the Nuggets, the team set a new record in scoring defense and gave up only 92.4 points per game.
The CU basketball team seems to be unfamiliar with the word defense. The team gives up about 80 points per game, which is last in the Big 12 Conference. The Buffs had a major defensive break-down against Kansas State last week, giving up 58 points in the second half.
Good teams are born on the defensive front, and Bzdelik is a coach focused on defense.
As if that’s not enough, in Bzdelik’s first year at the U.S. Air Force Academy, he led the team to a phenomenal 24-7 record.
The let-down in the CU basketball program this season cannot be blamed entirely on the team’s youth and inexperience, which a lot have people have done. It’s a combination of the team’s lack of chemistry, youth and coaching.
There are a dozen reasons why Bzdelik is the right coach for CU. But above anything else, it just seems like the right fit. His coaching style and the way he handles his team are refreshing, and it would be nice to see these things at CU.
The rumors going around about why CU has yet to cut a deal with Bzdelik don’t matter. Bzdelik is the best match for the Buffs.
Bzdelik coaches one of the best teams in college basketball right now, but the opportunity to coach in the Big 12 Conference is something that doesn’t come around often. The basketball team is a difficult situation, but Buffs’ fans can rest assured that Bzdelik will bring some stability to the program.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Kyle McDaniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.