The timing for Frank Haith’s national coach of the year award couldn’t have been worse.
Just three days after Missouri became the rare No. 2 seed to lose its opening NCAA tournament game, Haith was named national coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. The award helps ease the sting of that loss a little bit, but not much.
“It was a hard weekend, there’s no doubt about it,” Haith said. “When you sit back and really look at big picture, you have to say this team had a heck of a year. You can’t disregard the 34 games prior.
“Hats off to Norfolk State, they played a whale of a game. They banked 3’s in, they made contested shots, they played incredible.”
Missouri was 30-4, won the Big 12 tournament and was a Top 10 team all season when it entered the year unranked. Haith’s first season with the Tigers impressed the writers enough to give him top honors.
But perhaps Missouri’s early exit is reason enough to make the award one that covers the entire season, not just the regular season. As Rick Bozich notes, it’s an odd honor given how Missouri’s season ended.
It’s not a new thing, either. Would Jimmer Fredette have swept every award last season if voting had included the NCAA tournament? No way.
For now, as the awards stipulate, it’s a regular-season thing. But perhaps we’ll eventually morph into a 21st century voting style that allows for voting and results in a day, not with weeks of notice.
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