Posted by Adam Butler on March 14, 2011
The internets are aTwitter with speculation about who will replace John Pelphrey as the Arkansas basketball coach.
One of the names that (undoubtedly not coincidentally) has been mentioned for the Arkansas opening as much as anyone else across Message Board America is Marquette coach Buzz Williams. While I would prefer the logical, slam dunk choice– Arkansas’ prodigal son, Mike Anderson–my guess is there will be too many behind-the-scenes “clipboard measuring” contests for that to happen.
So, as a service to BlogHawg nation, lemme tell you a little bit about Buzz Williams. Buzz has been the head coach at Marquette for the last 3 years. In each of those seasons, he has won 20+ games and has led his team into the NCAAT. He was previously an assistant to Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M.
A self-made man who worked his way from the bottom rung of the coaching ladder to near the top, Williams is known as a young, energetic worker, a charismatic recruiter and unique personality. He’s also widely known as a coach’s coach (ie highly regarded by his peers). The one bad thing about him is he’s from Texas. (I kid. I kid.)
Detractors (READ: Whiners) would argue that he looks kinda goofy, acts crazy on the sideline, is hard on his players at times, has been a head coach for a relatively short period of time and has seen his win total go down each of his 3 seasons at Marquette.
I would argue that those win totals in the brutal Big East Conference (it is to college basketball what the SEC is to college football) are the equivalent of 25-28 wins in the down SEC. I would also add that Buzz recruited 3 of the members of Arkansas’ highly-acclaimed incoming recruiting class and is from the same area as a 4th.)
That, combined with his recruiting prowess and the fact his assistants have ties to the South and Arkansas’ traditional recruiting areas, would suggest he would have a good chance to keep the class intact. Lastly, unlike his would-be predecessor, Buzz knows how to market a program and generate genuine excited, as evidenced by the videos below. (Each of these are really worth watching, if you have the time.)
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