First, St. John’s ran a messy, chaotic and, at times, embarrassing search for their next head coach. Second, St. John’s hired a highly qualified and competent head coach in Mike Anderson.
The way I see it, both statements are accurate.
You can be the biggest St. John’s apologist on the planet, but the manner in which their coaching search was handled was unorganized and bizarre to say the least.
Just think about where St. John’s has been over the last month.
Three weeks ago, St. John’s tried to sell everyone on the fact that Chris Mullin was still going to be their head coach, despite the fact that it was the worst-kept secret on the planet that the school’s new athletic director, Mike Cragg, was ready to move in a different direction.
Following the hollow vote of confidence, Mullin and St. John’s went their separate ways.
It was the right call by Cragg; it is time for a new vision for St. John’s basketball.
Over the past few weeks, however, the search process was chaotic.
First, the school failed to lure Bobby Hurley out of Arizona State. Then they failed - and quite frankly dodged a bullet - to land Porter Moser out of Loyola Chicago.
The school was 0-for-2 and seemed to hit rock bottom when Iona head coach Tim Cluess pulled his name out of consideration for the position.
And then there were the questions about who was making the hire. Is the school’s administration getting in the way of Mike Cragg hiring his guy?
To make matters worse, the administration and athletic department was completely destroyed by booster Mike Repole on Mike Francesa’s show on WFAN.
Last Thursday at 5 pm., St John’s was still the butt of all jokes.
It seemed unlikely to me they would end up with a quality coach considering all the dysfunction.
But everything changed Thursday night when the school announced that former Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson would be the next person to lead the Red Storm.
It’s a terrific hire. Anderson has won every stop of his coaching career. He won at UAB, he won at Missouri, and he won at Arkansas.
St. John’s landed a coach with a reputation and knack for leading teams to the NCAA Tournament. Not bad for a program that hasn’t won a tournament game in 19 years.
Anderson will bring a style to Queens that will give the program a much-needed identity.
He is a disciple of former Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson, and will have this team playing a fast-paced, aggressive, pressing style.
It’s a style that should be fun to play in, fun to watch and, hopefully, make recruiting talented players that much easier.
The process to get to Mike Anderson was peculiar, but none of that will matter if the results are there in the years to come.
Win games, recruit players, and restore NCAA Tournament pride to a program that is dying for a winner.
Let the journey begin.
You can listen to me on Friday, Sunday & Monday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM. You can also watch me Wednesday and Thursday on “The Thread” at 5 p.m. & Saturday at 11 p.m. on Geico Sportsnight on SNY.