In a move that should surprise no one, Georgia fired Dennis Felton today, joining Alabama on the trail to hire a new basketball coach. This is a situation that Gamecocks hoops fans should keep an eye on, as Bama and especially UGA are teams that we have to contend with for glory on the hardcourt. A home run hire by either team is a bad thing for us, although, as the two schools are competing for some of the same names, a good hire by Bama might make it less likely that UGA gets their man. Therefore, if only one school gets a great coach, let's hope it's Western Division Bama that does it.
Here is what you need to know from the national and blogging news.
Mark Schlabach on UGA. Schlabach lists Oklahoma's Jeff Capel, Xavier's Sean Miller, UNLV's Lon Kruger, Baylor's Scott Drew, and Virginia Commonwealth's Anthony Grant as UGA's choice candidates.
Georgia Sports Blog on UGA. Paul Westerdawg takes a look at Schlabach's list. As Westerdawg notes, the fact that Oklahoma, Xavier, and UNLV are all better jobs in terms of winning tradition than UGA shouldn't get in UGA's way; if UGA is willing to man up and pony up some cash, they have a chance at Capel, Miller, or Kruger. Westerdawg is right, although I'm thinking they're going to have to shell out a lot of money to get those coaches, especially Capel. UGA has very little winning tradition in basketball, although it's worth noting that Atlanta is one of the hotbeds of basketball talent, so a coach with a knack for recruiting could probably start up a winning program in Athens.
Al.com on Bama's wish list. Some of the same names, such as Anthony Grant and Sean Miller, pop up here. Also listed are Mizzou's Mike Anderson, UAB's Mike Davis (formerly at Indiana), Tubby Smith, and John Calipari. Grant, Anderson, and Tubby have all denied interest, although that could just mean "stay away from me until the season is over." I have no idea why Calipari would want to leave the program he's built into a perrenial power, although Bama could definitely up his paycheck. Tubby, I would imagine, may also get a call from UGA, where he coached before taking the Kentucky job.
There's been a lot of talk out of Auburn that the Tigers may can Jeff Lebo, although Lebo appears to have a decent team this year and may escape firing if he can get enough wins. I'm not sure how many games Lebo needs to win to keep his job. Lebo appears to be a good xs and os coach that can do well with a relatively thin roster, but at the same time he hasn't proven that he can recruit well, so the question of how far Auburn can go without bringing some bigtime talent to the Plains has to be in the back of AD Jay Jacob's mind as he monitors the situation.