Thursday, March 22, 2007

Minnesota's Tubby; USC gets another OJ 

Well, anything bad I said about Joel Maturi is going to look silly for a year now. They got Tubby. He was known in Kentucky as ten-loss-Tubby; that'd be a blessing here.

Heard also as I was driving home this story about how O.J. Mayo, a high school star from West Virginia and probably the top senior recruited this year, decided to go to USC without ever being recruited by USC. Head coach Tim Floyd got a visit from an intermediary:
�O. J. wanted me to come here today,� the man told Floyd. �He wanted me to figure out who you are.�

Floyd was desperate enough to play along. His starting point guard, Ryan Francis, had been murdered two months earlier. The backup, Gabe Pruitt, was in academic trouble. The third-stringer, a walk-on, was leaving college.

�Why aren�t you at Arizona or Connecticut?� Floyd recalled asking.

The man explained that Mayo wanted to market himself before going to the N.B.A., and that Los Angeles would give him the best possible platform.

�Then why aren�t you at U.C.L.A.?� Floyd asked.

The man shook his head. U.C.L.A. had already won 11 national championships. It had already produced many N.B.A. stars. Mayo wanted to be a pioneer for a new era.
Can Tubby provide that to the Gophers? I don't know, but he's the biggest hiring that program has had in a very, very long time.