Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has become a bit of a cult hero among basketball circles for his use of analytics when it comes to making his team’s personnel decisions.
The eight-year general manager of the Rockets went on Mad Radio on Friday night before attending the Sweet 16 games in the South Regional and made some remarks on the current state of college basketball. Among the topics of discussion included Morey’s distaste for athletic directors and college basketball coaches that run unimaginative offense.
Morey had plenty to say on why he believes college basketball can be unwatchable and he believes a lot of it has to do with the hiring practices and coaching styles of certain programs:
“I think it starts with the athletic directors. They hire safe. They’re not more sophisticated. They’re generally going to hire for defense so they don’t know how to adjust for pace. So they just look, at like, a schedule of who has the fewest points per game given up. So they end up hiring these coaches that just try and milk the shot clock, waste 30 seconds of the 35, then throw up a horrible shot just to keep the pace low; keep the sense of points-per-game down.
Honestly, it’s self-defeating, especially if they’ve got more talent than the other team.
Now if you’re a terrible team, like if you’re a team that’s going to be at the back-end of your conference in your ability to recruit, slowing the game down and things like that makes some sense. But if you’re a top team, playing slow-it-down ball with more talent, wasting the shot clock, not running anything imaginative on offense, it’s torture, honestly.
It’s absolute torture watching some of these games.
Honestly, it’s self-defeating for the ADs and the coaches that run those styles. You’d be surprised. The culture among the athletic directors is so strong in terms of hiring safe hires so the finger can’t get pointed at them if they hire someone who is out-of-the-box and it doesn’t work. It’s pretty pathetic, honestly.”
You can listen to Morey’s full rant starting around the 2:04 mark. Morey also talks a little bit about Kentucky right before his rant and then talks about the NBA from there.
Much has been made about college basketball becoming increasingly difficult to watch and Morey makes some fantastic points. While much of the “watchability” discussion with college hoops has centered around reducing the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30 seconds — like the NCAA is testing in the postseason NIT — there would still be plenty of coaches who run little-to-no offense and try to slow the game down to maximize possessions.
I can certainly understand Morey’s frustrations with certain programs who like to slow it down for the sake of slowing it down. His point about athletic directors not having the courage to make outside-the-box hires is another interesting topic of discussion that doesn’t get brought up nearly enough.