There are all sorts of ways to rationalize why more than a dozen Arizona State basketball players have left the program during Herb Sendek’s tenure. Some of them are definitely for the right reasons, some of them involve circumstances that make perfect sense.
But in the final analysis, you look for signs of progress. You look for strides in the right direction. Right now in Tempe, they just aren’t there. Even in a Pac- 12 Conference that was universally panned for its incompetence, the Sun Devils struggled, and often failed, to be competitive.
We are told good things about the incoming class, assured good things are coming. Patience is preached. Yet another March Madness rolls through town, with ASU fans watching others dance.
You look at the Sweet 16 teams in the tournament and the coaches are the constants, the enduring programs are always there. They are the engines that drive the machine, and results are the measuring stick. The numbers are 98-96 overall and 22-40 over the last two years — and the search for the next James Harden continues.
Hey ... yo ... Teee-Boh!
When the New York Giants won the Super Bowl four years ago, the New York Jets went out and did something stark, raving crazy and brought in Brett Favre to play quarterback for Gang Green.
Fast forward to 2012 and here we are again. The Giants are again in possession of the Lombardi Trophy and the Jets still haven’t found a replacement for Joe Namath. But I don’t put the Tim Tebow acquisition in the same lunacy category. In fact, I see the method to the madness.
First, Tebow isn’t coming to New York to play quarterback. Oh, he’ll stand behind the center and call out signals and all that, but it will be in the Wildcat formation specifically designed to his skill set and painfully aware that he can’t throw the football across the street.
As far as fans are concerned — if Tebow has been looking for a true test of faith — his prayers have been answered. New York fans know he’s not a quarterback. They know he’s not better than Mark Sanchez and if the great experiment fails, they will treat him just like any other athlete, and boo him right out of town.
The Jets had the best red zone offense in the NFL last year. They have Tony Sporano — godfather of the Wildcat he ran as Miami’s former coach — on their staff. If Tebow can deal with Rex Ryan’s blue language and foot fetishes, this could be a match made in heaven.
I never said Tebow couldn’t play in the NFL. He just can’t play quarterback. Now, he doesn’t necessarily have to.
Zen is enough, enough?
The hot rumor has Phil Jackson boarding up his Deer Lodge ranch in Montana, loading up his comfy, overstuffed coaching chair and heading to New York to complete his perfect circle by leading the Knicks to their first championship since he was a player nearly 40 years ago.
He’d be crazy if he did. Phil is a lot of things, but he’s not crazy.
He’ll be 67 in December. The Heat have LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh. I’ve checked the Knicks roster and they don’t have a Michael Jordan or a Kobe Bryant. They don’t even have Jeannie Buss.
Phil has his 11 championship rings as a coach and two more as a player. He has more money than Simon Cowell. There is nothing left to win, nothing left to prove. Wet-nursing Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire doesn’t sound like a great way to enjoy your golden years in Zen-like bliss.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.