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Monday, April 29, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Note to Self: Hire Mitchell Wiggins

McDonald's East All-American's Andrew Wiggins looks up during the first half of the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game in Chicago, Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

McDonald's East All-American's Andrew Wiggins looks up during the first half of the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game in Chicago, Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

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I have no idea whether former NBA guard Mitchell Wiggins has any coaching experience, but I sure would ask him if he has any interest in trying out the profession if I were one of the four schools recruiting his son, Andrew Wiggins.

Does Mitchell Wiggins have a personality that lends itself to recruiting elite high school basketball players, which involves communicating with parents, high school coaches and AAU coaches? Beats me.

Does he have any recruiting contacts? He has had regular contact with the most coveted high school basketball recruit since Greg Oden, and that would be good enough for me to pull the trigger on hiring him.

Package deals, even though nobody can admit they are package deals, have a tendency to work. Just look at the last two of Kansas University’s three NCAA basketball tournament titles.

Ed Manning, Danny’s late father, joined Larry Brown’s staff at Kansas, and it worked splendidly for all parties involved. With Ed’s son, Danny, leading the way, Kansas won a national title. Brown remains the only coach to win both an NBA and NCAA championship, so it worked for him. Danny won a national title at Kansas, was one of the greatest college basketball players of all time and was the No. 1 selection in the NBA Draft, so the arrangement clearly worked for him. Ed launched a coaching career that took him back to the NBA, where he had played for the Baltimore Bullets, Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers. Ed Manning was an assistant for Brown with the San Antonio Spurs and then became a scout for the organization. He made the most of the opportunity to coach at Kansas.

Twenty years later, Kansas won another national title, and Ronnie Chalmers was KU’s director of basketball operations. The title restricts how much a DOP can do, so the elder Chalmers didn’t get in the way too much. The arrangement worked for him. He drew a nice salary and had a great seat to all of his son’s college games, including the one in which he made the three-pointer that sent the game into overtime dominated by Kansas in a national-title-game victory against Memphis. The arrangement worked for Kansas, which won a national title, and it worked for Mario Chalmers as well. He learned how to play with talented teammates at Kansas. That became useful for Chalmers, who started all 23 playoff games for the 2012 NBA champions, the Miami Heat, led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Know two things about most people who make a living in sports: 1. They’re superstitious; 2. They either claim they’re not superstitious or they keep their superstitions to themselves and downplay the importance of them.

How could any Kansas fan with a superstitious bone in his or her body not want Mitchell Wiggins to land a coaching job on Bill Self’s staff, although the option of hiring him as a director of basketball operations no longer is an option because of an NCAA rule change. It’s full-blown assistant or bust now. NCAA bylaw 11.4.2 doesn’t word it exactly that way, but it amounts to that.

It’s not as if Mitchell Wiggins doesn’t know anything about basketball. In two seasons at Florida State, he averaged 23.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He played six NBA seasons.

Mitchell Wiggins, along with Houston Rockets teammate Lewis Loyd, served a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine. Is that alone reason not to consider hiring him? That happened more than 26 years ago, so the answer is no.

Does Mitchell Wiggins have a gift for teaching basketball? Well, since his son is the No. 1 recruit in the nation, my guess would be yes.

I can’t think of a single reason not to see at least if Mitchell Wiggins has any interest in not just watching his son play one year of college basketball but get paid to do so and have full access to him as a member of his college of choice’s coaching staff.

Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 11 months, 3 weeks ago

This whole STUPID idea needs to be blown out of the water, simply on the premise of it: You would go thru the utterly transparent and desperate step of trying to hire a true OAD type player's father, just to get the 5mos of basketball out of his kid??? ??? ??? What an absolute joke. How about trusting your coach? Wiggins may or may not choose any given school. Stop losing sleep about Wiggins!!! The LJW writer and many of KU nation apparently enjoy acting and pontificating as if they are associated with some mid-major program. How about "speculating" on how deep some school could go in the Dance once you actually see Wiggins play at the Div1 level for 10-12weeks? This is exactly why the NBA demands 1yr of play, so they can separate the hype from the true contenders and ultra-rare capable of being drafted at age 19 or 20. Double-entendre, but have some Self-respect. (for your coach and your own program).

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Sam Constance 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I can't really speak to the circumstances surrounding Manning's hire, but I don't think comparing the potential hiring of Wiggins' dad is really the same as the hiring of Chalmers' dad was, and for several reasons:

1) Ronnie Chalmers was hired for a position for which he was absolutely qualified. A five-year HS basketball coach being hired as a position that doesn't even actually do direct player coaching, but is responsible for the logistics for running the team, is entirely appropriate. By contrast, I don't think you can make the case that Mitchell Wiggins is qualified to be a major Division I program's assistant coach. His only experience is as a short-lived (6 seasons and 389 games over 9 years) NBA player. That hardly seems to give him the necessary knowledge base.

2) Mario Chalmers was from Anchorage, AK, and at a distance of 2200 miles from Lawrence, it was inferred that the Chalmers family was going to move to Lawrence regardless, to be able to see their son play basketball. Families--especially ones from really far away, do this all the time. By contrast, Wiggins is from Toronto, which is still quite far from Lawrence, but still less than half (1000 miles). And KU isn't even the furthest school from home.

3) Building on my second point, the Chalmers hire never seemed like a package deal, partly because of the plans to move, but also because Mario committed in May of 2004 and his dad wasn't hired until June. I know the conspiracy theorists might suggest that the hire was made and then simply not announced until later to avoid any appearance of impropriety, but the fact is that we're talking about hiring Wiggins' dad preemptively. I suppose if Andrew comes to KU, then Mitchell is mysteriously hired a month later, then the situations become more similar.

For all those reasons, the hire of Ronnie Chalmers seems much more organic and based on a coincidental fit compared to the contrived scenario of hiring the elder Wiggins to get the younger. Plus, the most compelling reason is that, were the sons not in the picture, no one would have been stunned at Ronnie Chalmers being hired for DBO, whereas I think quite a few people would be aghast at hiring Mitchell Wiggins for an Assistant Coach.

This is a terrible idea.

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Joan Kalivoda 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Might a well hire old man Wiggins, tha',s the KU way to recruit players, as history has shown..

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jhawk1998 11 months, 3 weeks ago

A little late to the game Keegs. This topic has been discussed by loyal Phoggies since Dooley left. Get some fresh perspective please.

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Larry Smith 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Hey Keegs, Maybe you should ask Bedore how the Chalmers deal really went down.

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Randy Bombardier 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Sure would like to see us do this more in football to get a five-star QB maybe.

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chriz 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Anyone else notice the neck on this dude? Was it just a weird headshot or something? Is this kid's neck really wider than his head?

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Joseph Bullock 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't care what anyone thinks. I want Wiggins. Hire his dad. Next! lmao

0

Bryce Landon 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I thought such hires were now against the rules...?

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dann415 11 months, 4 weeks ago

this is no different than auburn paying cam newtons father for a commitment

1

Steve Jacob 11 months, 4 weeks ago

FYI Jason King on ESPN has KU at preseason #21 (WSU #12), saying "Kansas will jump up a few spots in these rankings if it's able to land Tarik Black, a bruising forward who would be favored to start. And the Jayhawks will move up significantly if Wiggins picks KU."

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Travis Clementsmith 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Here's the thing with all the "integrity" chimers out there. Other top schools are using AAU coaches, Shoe Companies, and who knows what else to get these elite athletes to come and play for a year at their school. We've lost recruits we thought were in the bag due to these influences. I have no idea what Mitch's intentions are, I don't even know if he wants a coaching job. But if he does, and he wants to break into that business, and KU has a legitimate opening, and its completely WITHIN the rules, why on earth would you be against it?! It makes absolutely no sense. Other schools are making these behind the scenes deals so as to "appear" the kid's choice is based solely on where he wants to go and play, and that's OK. KU says, we'll offer a legitimate job, completely within the rules, that obviously, is connected to your son attending here, and that's sleazy. Does anyonenot see the dichotomy in that? In order to not "appear" sleazy, one has to engage in sleazy tactics. But, if you do something that is completely allowed, even if it is overt, then its sleazy and bears an "image" problem! The truth may set you free, it just may not help with your reputation! Good God!

1

Stephan123 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Bad idea. KU needs a long term recruiter/coach not a questionable hire just to lure a talented but overly hyped OAD. Our program's image would take a negative hit.

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Randy Maxwell 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Not no, but hell no. For a one and doner? That's ridiculous. Manning stayed four years so the comparison is a joke. OK if Wiggins stays 4 years I'll hire his dad, otherwise hell no

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William Blake 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I believe this link helps shed some light on this subject:

And the last paragraph of the article offers some insight as well.

Fun reading the comments, too.

Ultimate Jayhawk question:

Just how bad do we want to be National Champions again?

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miajhwk 11 months, 4 weeks ago

ma & pa wiggins are fsu alums and pushing hard for their son to be a seminole legacy. if hiring dad is an option, it should be on the table everywhere. hard for me to think that dad would go anywhere but his alma mater, based on what i've read.

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trustyourSelf 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Opinion: Note to Keegan: This is stupid

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Travis Clementsmith 11 months, 4 weeks ago

If its allowed within the rules and you don't do it, you're not trying very hard in my opinion. If you go beyond the rules, then you're sleazy. Otherwise, you're simply taking full advantage of the framework you're allowed to work within. If Wiggins wants such a job and his son is coming with him (and we certainly have a position open), then you do it. I'd rather be thought slightly sleazy while fully operating within the confines of the rules, that have this pristine "reputation" that basically made us a fool.

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Steve Gantz 11 months, 4 weeks ago

If coach Self has to rely on Keegan for advice we're all in trouble!

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Alex Peekeaton 11 months, 4 weeks ago

How funny is it that 2 of the 3 NCs Kansas has won is directly related to giving the recruit's father a job!!! I'm guessing the 1952 team didn't do the same. Can you imagine what the college basketball world would say if Calipari did this???

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lv_jhwk 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I bet a majority of the people in favor of such a move would be the same ones complaining when another coach does the same thing. Think about it... no one would raise an eyebrow to Calipari or even Williams doing this?!

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milehighhawk 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Man, don't you wish we would have done this with Carl Henry a few years ago?

I don't begrudge Keegan for writing what many have been thinking, but it's pretty lame to not even place a phone call or two to add a little "journalism" to the idle speculation.

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rickydick 11 months, 4 weeks ago

He will come to Wichita State and join his brother Nick!

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FearlessJayhawk 11 months, 4 weeks ago

If Wiggins has to be coaxed into coming to KU forget it. KU is the best basketball program in the country. KU speaks for itself. If he chooses Kensucky that his problem.

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BPSkelly 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I cant envision Self is going to do this. Unless of course he's already talked with Mitchell Wiggins about it. And my guess is, he hasnt.

Parents with their kids in sports are the worst. I coached a select high school age baseball team for 10+ years and the joke always was a team of 13 orphans would have been perfect.

My guess is we arent getting Wiggins. And while id love to have him, hiring Mitchell Wiggins to get him for one season isnt worth it.

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Robert Brock 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Dumb idea. This is an OAD kid. Recruit him straight up or back off.

1

Tony Bandle 11 months, 4 weeks ago

ATTENTION PLEASE!!!

I think that this is just further proof he is going to Kentucky. If Calsleazy had any misgivings whatsoever that he was going to lose Andrew, he would have already hired his Dad AND his Mom!!

Let's move onto the next topic.

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Steve Jacob 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Kind of hard to complain about Calipari and do stuff like hiring dads.

1

jaybate 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Also, don't forget that Self hired Danny to get Evan.

Norm was hired to keep his son from transferring.

And Self has stayed at KU to land Tyler.

D1: it's CONSPIRATASTIC!

15

jaybate 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Self had face time with Tarik The Physique on the last day; that is very good.

Perry Ellis, meet the guy who is going to ensure you can average 25 ppg next season without a trip to the hospital.

Tarik, meet Perry, the guy who is going to shoot so much inside on offense and get out on the break in transition that your rebound and stick back numbers in showcase games will get you drafted in the L.

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jaybate 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Ed Manning knew more basketball than most of the head coaches in the Big 8 at that time. KU's bigs were the best coached bigs in the conference. Ed Manning made a basketball player out of Chris flipping Piper. Ed Manning had a long scouting career in the NBA.

Next.

3

KEITHMILES05 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Self can't hire the relative of any player for Director Basketball Operations. He can hire for assistant coach though. This rule was instituted by NCAA after the Chalmers hire.

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jaybate 11 months, 4 weeks ago

$250k?

I will take the job and contribute my salary to a Mitchell Wiggins Trust.

And I will do so and guaranty everyone plausible deniability.

No, wait, that won't work now that I've posted this. :-)

3

Dyrk Dugan 11 months, 4 weeks ago

i will assume this is tongue, planted firmly in cheek, column....this shouldn't even be considered. it will land us on probation down the road for sure. and i don't care if it's legal...you hire him now, it will be perceived as cheating.

Larry Brown was a new coach....and he knew Ed Manning. Yes, he had a gifted son basketball player....but until Ed and Larry were employed by the university, Danny wasn't on KU's orbit, let alone radar.

it won't pass the smell test...and eventually, they'd find something. there is no way in the world Bill Self hires Mitchell Wiggins as an assistant....and there is no way it SHOULD happen either.

1

Joel Hood 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Hiring Wiggin's dad just to land a OAD is such an awful idea that I know Self will not consider it. What if Athletics hired Josh Selby's mom to land him, how would that hire look today?

1

jaybate 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Mitchell Wiggins could also be hired by the LJW, as sports editor for a year. Wiggins has had a lot of experience managing the media in college, the pros and for his son. :-)

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Mike Barnhart 11 months, 4 weeks ago

If these types of hiring shenanigans happen elsewhere, I'm not aware of it. I just don't want KU to get the stigma of NEEDING to hire dads to land big time recruits.

It has the same feel as Kentucky loading up on OAD "student athletes" who can technically play a whole season with 12 hours of D in the fall semester and 12 hours of F in the spring semester.

1

bradynsdad 11 months, 4 weeks ago

We need a long term hire not just a one year players father. We need to hire a recruiter for years to come. If he can't coach or recruit then Self would have to let him go immediately.

1

chriz 11 months, 4 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jhox 11 months, 4 weeks ago

"...so the elder Chalmers didn't get in the way too much." That comment is in really poor taste, Tom. A quick check shows Ronnie had been a high school coach for at least 5 years before coming to Kansas. He's highly educated, He has a masters degree. There are a lot of very good high school coaches out there. I'm sure there are many who are better teachers of the game than a lot of college coaches. For example, there is a certain coach at Baylor who wouldn't be able to keep a high school coaching job. Who is to say Ronnie wasn't a contributer to the success of the program over those years?

While these hires may help to land a kid, these parents usually have strong basketball backgrounds, or the NCAA would never allow the hire. I've never met an NBA player (at least a one who spent a number of years in the league) who didn't have a very strong understanding of the game. I would take an ex NBA player over a AAU coach any day. While there are good AAU coaches out there, some of those guy has made the jump to college coaching simply because of their contacts.

3

Brett McCabe 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Larry Brown took so much heat for the Ed Manning hiring. But the program was so down at the time, everyone just accepted it. He actually hired Ed for Danny's senior year, which is how Danny ended up playing at LHS with Chris Piper.

Frankly, I don't see much difference between hiring Wiggins and either Ed or Ronnie. You've got a guy with League experience, you give him a one-year contract - and maybe it helps him launch a career.

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Matt Gauntt 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Pretty much the same article was on Jayhawk Talk 4 days ago. Plagerize much?

http://jayhawk-talk.com/tag/mitchell-wiggins/

1

Robert Brown 11 months, 4 weeks ago

If that were to happen then the program would have a sleazy reputation on par with Kentucky. At least Chalmers and Manning had some coaching experience.

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Max Ledom 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't think people realize that recruiting Mitchell is the same as recruiting his son. Mitchell is only going where his son is going. So if he goes to KU sure he will take the spot. If he goes elsewhere Mitchell will have no problem watching his son from the stands. No effect on Wiggins recruitment process.

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ameraidi 11 months, 4 weeks ago

With the amount of money that Wiggins is going to be making in two years....I don't think that his father or entire family have to worry about getting jobs ever again :-s

Just sayin..

1

Robert Rauktis 11 months, 4 weeks ago

"How could any Kansas fan with a superstitious bone in his or her body not want Mitchell Wiggins to land a coaching job on Bill Self’s staff, "

Nope.

But if I was advising this man, I'd have him get a contract somewhere with a buy out clause in six figures and then send his son to a DIFFERENT school. If this worked for Cal, he'd have a new coaching staff every year. Joseph, the father of the next best thing.

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KEITHMILES05 11 months, 4 weeks ago

It has to be hired as a coach and not a director of operations.

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David Leathers 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Maybe if Doc leaves you could offer Mitch the DoOP and still hire a quality assistant that will give the team good leads in a different recruiting region. Other than that, I don't know...

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I suggested the same thing many days ago. Nice to know your a on board with the idea.

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