Loyalty Isn't Only for the Folks You Like

Oliver Purnell, formerly of Clemson and now at DePaul, isn't being greeted with open arms in Chicago:

"Me, personally, I would have kept the whole staff," said Irvin, whose family owns the influential Mac Irvin Fire AAU program. "Billy and David know the city a bit, but they can't attack it by themselves. Maybe they want to be well-rounded and go to different cities and states to find the pieces to the puzzle they are building.

"Everybody wants to come to Chicago to see basketball. College coaches call me every day and want to talk about the talent in Chicago. It is the mecca of basketball, and it's going to be that way for at least the next 10, 12 years. By doing that, I don't know if DePaul knows that. Maybe they are scared of us?"

Note that this is after Purnell retained two DePaul staffers and brought three assistants with him from Clemson. The local Chicago crowd wanted him to keep all of the DePaul assistants. The same guys whose recruiting led DePaul to a mighty 8-23 record the previous season.

I've never understood the entitlement fans and folks who deal with programs have towards assistant coaches. It's the same as when Matt Doherty arrived at Carolina and fans expected him to keep on the assistants from Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge. Yes, they were loyal to the program, but Doherty also had to be loyal to his assistants from Notre Dame. Assistant coaching is a cruel world of being underpaid and overworked, while relying mostly on the protection of head coaches. You can't expect a coach to just cut loose the people he's been working with for the guys who worked under the last coach. (You'll notice when Roy Williams replaced Doherty, he brought his own assistants. No one seemed to mind.) So the Chicago high school coaches really need to readjust their expectations. After all, if Irvin was suddenly offered the DePaul job, he probably would have brought his assistants along, no matter what he might say.

Also, "the mecca of college basketball?" There are some decent players, but I'd look at it as more like the Disneyworld of college basketball. You feel obligated to visit every couple of years, but always come back with something Goofy-looking.

(As an aside, what the hell is this? The guy is 22 and his own foundation. As opposed to his sister, who has her own company running charitable foundations for athletes. A fortuitous coincidence.)

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