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May 05, 2013

Sampson, McLemore? Not so different

    I’ve never met Kelvin Sampson. Couldn’t care less personally whether he’s the next Charlotte Bobcats coach.

            I’ve never met Ben McLemore. Couldn’t care less personally whether he’s the Bobcats’ lottery pick in June.

            I bring that up because some of you have a big problem if Sampson even interviews with the Bobcats. Yet I suspect no one would have a problem with McLemore being the Bobcats’ lottery pick.

            I get frequent tweets and emails saying the Bobcats have no business even interviewing Sampson for their open head-coaching job. I ask why and I get a diatribe about how he wrecked Indiana with his cheating ways.

            Let’s say that’s true. So I ask you, is that really relevant to being an NBA coach?

    Dwane Casey became a punch line in college basketball, and now he’s coach of the Toronto Raptors. A pretty good coach, I’d say. If Casey doesn’t make it, it will have nothing to do with his improprieties at Kentucky. In a dignified, patient way, he outgrew all that.

            Here’s the way I look at it: I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for Sampson to go from being a Native American in North Carolina to be Oklahoma’s and Indiana’s coach. I’ve no doubt he cut corners to advance in college basketball. Certainly not saying that’s OK.

            However he’s done really good work in Milwaukee and Houston as an NBA assistant. To dismiss that to the extent that he shouldn’t even get an interview for a pro coaching job seems creepy.

            Now, let’s get back to McLemore. USA Today reports that his AAU coach took thousands of dollars in trips, perks, whatever from people who ultimately wanted to direct him toward certain NBA representation. Does that surprise me?  Of course not. The AAU flesh market used to turn high school seniors into money. Now the flesh market turns college freshmen into dollars.

But to suggest McLemore and Sampson are so dissimilar that it doesn’t say the same thing about the scummy atmosphere of high-end college basketball is just plain vapid.

Posted by Observer Sports on May 5, 2013 at 02:19 AM | Permalink


I'm confused Rick. I just read the USA Today article and it doesn't appear as though McLemore did anything wrong, just his AAU coach. Was this just an attempt to work the word vapid into an article or to besmirch (I can use big words too) Ben McLemore?

Posted by: Felton for Pres | May 5, 2013 7:49:19 AM

Why is it you doubt that people will not be opposed to Mclemote being the pick.? He's terrible. Can't shoot. Has zero half ct offense . No dribble drive. No left hand . Low bb iq. Doesn't take over big games . If he's the pick w the logjam at the wing , it would be beyond crazy. And some disagree w Sampson bc he's not a seasoned nba head coach w a solid body of work on his résumé. Why goof around anymore w anything less. The Nets got players and a coach as soon as the new owner came aboard. This organization still struggles to make good choices all across the board.

Posted by: Iron man | May 5, 2013 7:52:28 AM

1. No one should be happy with McLemore as the pick and I don't think most would be. He's one dimensional, not BPA even at the 4-5 pick, and isn't a position of need. Bad assumption Rick that everyone wants him.

2. Fans shouldn't want Sampson because he's yet another unproven ASSISTANT coach. He's a terrible choice for that reason alone. Been there done that.

3. Rick don't assume you know everything about fan opinion and stereotype an entire fan base due to what you receive on twitter. That's a pretty lame method of determining blog topics.

I opened this up thinking ''Not so different" meant these two guys are no different from the lame coach and one year wonder (Henderson) that we've been stuck with here. Instead it's Rick lecturing us on morals and 2nd chances. Next...

Posted by: Fred | May 5, 2013 8:24:07 AM

i don't want either of them but there's a big difference between a kid with no money cheating to get some money to survive and a university salaried employee cheating to get ahead and make himself look better to get more.

1 looks like greed and 1 looks like survival. fine line to some, clear distinction to me.

but i don't want mclemore because of how complacent he was in the tourney. thats assuming we're picking 1. if we're picking 3-5, he's prob our best bet.

Posted by: charlottean | May 5, 2013 3:51:14 PM

how the eff is henderson a 'one year wonder' ?????

you guys amaze me with baseless opinions.

Posted by: charlottean | May 5, 2013 3:54:01 PM

Sorry you are right, he's not even that. And wouldn't start on just about any other team in the league. My bad I gave him way too much credit for this (contract) year.

Posted by: Fred | May 5, 2013 5:12:10 PM

bobcats are a freaking joke and i blame jordan for destryong this team, just look at our former players now in the playoffs or the miss draft players as well

Posted by: charlottelife | May 5, 2013 6:21:21 PM

Bobcats need to set up a draft board and take the guy they have slotted going 3 picks behind our pick! that guy kicks ass!

Posted by: joe cool | May 5, 2013 6:24:35 PM

Rick, I agree that Kelvin Sampson's recruiting violations have no direct relevance to becoming a head coach in the NBA. Different leagues, very different regulations.

I can understand that some fans see an ethical issue here, which would be somewhat, indirectly, relevant to hiring him. Still, I just don't think that this ethical issue is of any serious relevance, or that it is nearly as important as his professional credentials.

As for the latter, I definitely don't make too much of "recommendations for a good job" as an NBA assistant in the past five years (as Rick did). We got burnt twice by counting on such recommendations, plus interview impressions. Not again, certainly not so soon.

As I said in my previous post, Kelvin Sampson proved himself a very capable head coach in a successful twenty years NCAA career. Those recruiting violations costed him his job at an elite program like Indiana, but they can't ever take away what he has proven professionally. He paid a price for his wrongdoing, let's move on.
Those five years of NBA assistantship have their importance too (secondary, though), as a learning and adaptation process, enabling him to take his head coaching skills and knowledge to the next level.

I still think, of course, that Sam Mitchell would be the best choice for this job... experienced head coaches).

Posted by: Sandy | May 5, 2013 9:40:24 PM

That "experienced head coaches)" fragment at the end of my post was supposed to be erased ... sorry.

Posted by: Sandy | May 5, 2013 9:45:20 PM

I don't want a retread. I don't want an assistant with no head coaching experience. Is there anything else?

Posted by: Symbiotic | May 6, 2013 4:01:28 AM

Fred.. If Henderson is a one yr wonder or less , then so is every shooting guard in the nba other than Kobe , .Wade or Harden. And when it comes to defense , only Bradley and Allen are better. You sound like a total idiot .

Posted by: Iron man | May 6, 2013 10:14:32 AM

1 year wonder who put up the same solid numbers for 2.5 years consistently?

wouldn't start for......boston? toronto? orlando? indiana? atlanta? sacramento? dallas? memphis? detroit? utah? minnesota? phoenix?

there are 30 starting 2 guard spots in the league. is henderson top 5? no effing way. Is he a surefire starter in this league? absolutely. is he a go-to guy? an all-star? a franchise player? NO. But he is a leader, a solid player, and the kind of guy (like his dad) that can contribute to title contenders.

the baseless hate is incredible.

as for the coaching.......dunlap was an experienced head coach.
the thing with sampson is just the idea of a guy who isn't respected being the leader. there are so many more qualified and better more deserving options than him. can he coach a basketball team? absolutely. o.j. simpson was a great running back you don't see teams lining up to get him on their coaching staff. You want to talk about branding a franchise, hiring a guy with multiple ethics violations on his record is not going to earn you brownie points in that department.

this isn't just about sampson either. it applies to snyder too. it applied to tim floyd and definitely applies to callipari.

it doesn't matter that we all understand the plight of the college coach. rules are rules. respect is super important in a head coach. from a fans perspective, from a league perspective, from a player perspective.

there are better options. lawrence frank had plenty of success when he was given good teams. byron scott too.

Posted by: charlottean | May 6, 2013 11:48:43 AM

I love that a guy named "iron man" is comparing Henderson to Kobe and Harden and calling people idiots. Uh, ok...

Stepping into the Henderson conversation w/ charlottean, don't entirely agree with you. His ceiling is likely 'good complimentary player'. I don't put much stock in 2 years of stats of a guy that is 1 of 2 shooters on the worst team in the league. Remember Kelly Tripucka? Same deal.

Guess we'll find out...you're right and I'm wrong if Henderson can price himself out of this market and goes elsewhere, which if he's as good as you say and can start on all the teams you mentioned he should be able to accomplish. But my guess is the NBA doesn't hold the same opinion of him that you do and he'll be back here on a mid-level contract next season. Just my unbiased opinion.

Posted by: Steve | May 6, 2013 2:04:33 PM

I get your point charlottean, I just can't agree with you.

Kelvin Sampson has a winner's, a fierce competitor's, mind set, and he pushed it too far. As far I can see, that's what happened; it wasn't about money in the first place. I'm not gonna say that "he meant well!", and that's a good enough excuse. NO.

But I also don't buy that he won't have the players' respect due to that issue. I think that professionally he has what it takes to win the players over. It's all about how you work with them, and about seeing results too; that's how you get the players' respect.
I see that some fans may be against him. If he's hired, for most fans this will go away, IF they'll see an improvement in the team's work.
Also, there is a very big difference between what his resume has to show, versus Dunlap's.

I'm not saying he's the savior, the ONE available who can take us out of our mess. But to say that there are MANY options available out there above him, that's a huge exaggeration. It's an incredibly tough job, many came with great expectations to do it (not just in Charlotte!) and broke their teeth in the process.
So, yeah, there are some preferable options over Sampson, but not a whole darn lot.
I watched a bit Byron Scott's head coaching career, and I was always very unimpressed.

Between Sampson and L. Frank, it's debatable, I have no clear cut favorite. Frank had a few winning NBA seasons, then he started losing (with weak rosters, it's true).
Sampson was recognized as one of the top NCAA head coaches, with a twenty years successful career, before he got himself in trouble. I'll say this again: the man paid the price, it's time to move on.

You can say Jeff Van Gundy and Sam Mitchell should come before Sampson. I expect Jeff Van Gundy to look for a better job opportunity.

Stan Van Gundy is a very good head coach, I appreciate Nate McMillan too, but they just don't have good people skills, they are too abrasive and tend to alienate some players. This is a strong reason not to want them.

Posted by: Sandy | May 6, 2013 3:20:01 PM

Appears we are headed for another "One Year Wonder" coach. Why the heck is Phil Jackson consulting Joe Dumars on the coaching search in Detroit. And not his boy MJ here in Charlotte? Oh, that's right, none of Michael's lackies would consider mentioning that for fear that they might have to go find a real job after Michael spends some time around someone who knows something about running a basketball Team.

Posted by: Broken Hearted | May 6, 2013 4:15:48 PM


not sure what part you're arguing. I'm saying he's starting caliber, not star or go-to-guy caliber. that's basically what you're saying.

he's a better version of his dad. he's a heck of an athlete, a solid not great shooter/scorer, and an above average defender. he's a smart basketball player and a good leader. he's a guy you want around. he's the 3rd or 4th option on a contender.

he's not going to "price himself out" of charlotte. anything 6 and under we should match and I'd be surprised if someone offers him 6 or more a year for more than 3 years. Not because teams wouldn't want him but because teams weren't prepared for the CBA. Some of the teams that have major cap space aren't the teams that want him. it's a bad summer for him. good summer for us to retain him on the cheap. we have plenty of cap room.

letting a guy of his caliber go sets us back another big move. keeping him hurts us in NO WAY because as long as he's healthy, he's tradeable. at any price.

Posted by: charlottean | May 6, 2013 4:26:17 PM

I still say Avery Johnson should be added to the Interview list. Stan Van Gundy may not have people skills but his teams play well.

Posted by: mettaworldquise | May 6, 2013 9:43:10 PM

Some of you guys .. Smh.. Name five better defenders at sg than Henderson . .. You can't . He's in the top 5 . You can stop there as Memphis does w Tony Allen who's not close on offense .. Btw.. It's Kobe , Wade , Allen , Bradley and Henderson on defense .

Posted by: Iron man | May 7, 2013 8:02:47 AM

Kelvin Sampson is a very good coach and would be an upgrade in comparison to Mike Dunlap, no disrespect intended. However, I thought Jerry Sloan was the best fit last year given what the Bobcats needed to improve on and I still feel that way. He is on up there in years but that doesn't matter, he can give three good years, perhaps more depending on how he's feeling. The Bobcats need an experienced NBA guy to take over, whoever that may be, the Dunlap hiring proved as much.

I know Phil Jackson would never come here but since he's all about challenges, what would be more of a challenge than coaching this team up? This team has talent, they just need a few more pieces and a coach who knows what he's doing and since he loves MJ so much, why not give it a shot? He's done everything there is to do in the game, except this!

Posted by: Shane P | May 7, 2013 2:17:19 PM

Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson are great coaches, towering above all the other available ones.
I also thought last year that they should've felt honored that Sloan showed interest in the Bobcats. Instead, they made him "one of the three finalists", together with two assistants. Looks like Sloan took this as being slighted (well, how else should he have taken it ?!), and withdrew his candidacy.
So, can you mend bridges with him?
And also, is this what this team needs now, or rather, a long term solution, after so much instability? Again, we're talking about a GREAT coach, but he's 71 years old.

As for Phil, don't hold your breath. He's in the business of running for the championship, not into the exciting challenge of bringing up a lowly team.

Posted by: Sandy | May 7, 2013 5:13:26 PM

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