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Daily Bullets (March 4)

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Recruiting Philosophy

Buried in a tremendous piece on West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is a Gundy-ism:

From his father, Huggins not only inherited the three-hour practice, but he also found a deep respect for defense and an intolerance for laziness. The only players Huggins can’t coach, he says, are guys who don’t care. When his assistants go out recruiting, they concentrate on how a player interacts with his coaches and teammates and how he works in practice as much — maybe more — than how he performs in a game. [ESPN]

You can’t coach “guys who don’t care.” Has Gundy found another star that recruiting wizards can’t evaluate? Call it hunger to succeed or maybe even just to progress in team-specific systems for five years. How many of Mack Brown’s UT guys had that star? Kyle P. did a fantastic series evaluating Gundy’s tactics, take a peek at this excerpt:

“Do they like to play football? Do they have respect for themselves, which gives them a chance to be successful? Do they fit what we’re looking for? Do we believe in them? If so, we’re going to go for them.” [PFB]

We’re inundated with Gundy-isms but “loves/enjoys football” could be the most important one.

Coach of the Year Talks

TulsaWorld’s Guerin Emig stumping for a Bill Self/Brad Underwood shared award, this on Underwood’s candidacy:

Every five minutes the Cyclones were poised to break that thing open. Monte Morris controlled the game. Matt Thomas made every shot he threw up. The Hilton Coliseum crowd, charged up to send seniors Morris, Thomas, Deonte Burton and Naz Mitrou-Long out as winners, blew circuits.

It’s just the Cowboys could not be shaken. They kept making plays.

It wasn’t just Jawun Evans, marvelous as he was; it was Leyton Hammonds, Davon Dillard, Mitchell Solomon, Brandon Averette and Cameron McGriff. Former coach Travis Ford never could figure out how to blend spare parts like these with engine cogs, most noticeably when those cogs were Marcus Smart, Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown.

Underwood has figured it out. He knows how to mix role players with headliners Evans, Phil Forte and Jeffrey Carroll.

He knows the value of competing — go back and study his intensity on Hilton’s sideline — and he understands how to pass that down to his players. It explains how OSU, which went 0-5 to start January and 0-6 to start conference play, went 6-2 in February, and how one year after posting a 3-15 league record they could finish 10-8.

It explains how regardless of what happens Saturday against Kansas or next week at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, the Cowboys are headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Evans has exploded, Carroll has blossomed and Forte has steadied the ship, doing for OSU what Mason, Jackson and Graham have done for KU. Just don’t discount all of the buttons Underwood has pushed, all of the adjustments he has made. [TulsaWorld]

On the surface the 3-15 to a possible 10-8 transformation tells it all, but Underwood’s ability to “blend spare parts with engine cogs” and valuing competition with the ability “to pass that down to his players” are so impressive. It’s why K-State fans are putting up signs and Mike Holder will be shelling out for a pay raise.

An Exciting Newcomer

Our excitement about Tyron Johnson is being validated externally:

Most exciting for the Cowboys, Johnson joins a stacked group of receivers. There’s James Washington, a Biletnikoff Award favorite to enter 2017, dangerous Jalen McCleskey in the slot, Chris Lacy and Marcel Ateman, who missed last season because of injury.

Johnson, at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds with 4.5 speed, fits nicely among the group, which rates as the Big 12’s best without him. With him, it could be the best in the country, especially with Mason Rudolph as the trigger man. [ESPN]

The rich have are getting filthy rich adding Tyron to the President and Co. The comparisons to 2011 are rampant (QB/WR combo come back, preceded by 10-3 season, smoking a Pac 12 contender in the Alamo Bowl) and this is going to be the longest offseason ever.

OSU and NCAA Notes

Philwater! ….The Ringer took a deep dive into KU’s dominance….NCAA Selection Committee lifts the veil a bit after Cronin’s accusations….Big 12 got three coaches into the semifinals for Naismith coach of the year (no other league got more than one)….Cowboy baseball took down Nebraska 1-0 on Friday, plays no. 5 Arizona Saturday….Dana moving to CEO and gives up playcalling in Morgantown….March Madness research on your likely top three seeds in each region

OSU’s first opponent in KC is getting clearer after West Virginia beat Iowa State last night:

Recently signed stud receiver Tylan Wallace may have grown wings.

Mercy. Point that man towards the end zone and let him go.

Congrats to the Cowgirls winning round one, they’ll take on the no. 2-seeded Texas Longhorns tonight at 6 p.m.

 

O’Colly headline game is crushing it here. It’s unreal how KU doesn’t win in GIA.

What You Missed on PFB
Other Stuff I’m Reading

I live for Zach Lowe’s 10 things and deep dives into teams…. The Obamas got $60m for a book deal (four times what slick Bill got!)…. Dream draft scenarios for college basketball’s best prospects…. Losing all the manpoints but the most touching piece I’ve read: “You May Want to Marry My Husband”

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