Turning around a program is a difficult chore for any coach in any sport, and it is even more difficult for a journalist to provide a critical and fair assessment of the coach's performance in such a situation.
UH basketball coach Alvin Brooks is a fine gentleman and a great recruiter. With the "2K Dynasty" (my nickname for the next year's Cougars with the highly touted recruits they will have and Moses Malone Jr.) taking shape, the Cougar basketball team looks like it is prepared to take its place in history. Coach Brooks will be given credit for one of the most remarkable recruiting jobs in history. And if recruiting ever becomes the only responsibility for the coach to handle, Brooks will be one of the best. Unfortunately, the multifaceted responsibilities of a Division I college basketball coach require more than just aplomb at recruiting. When the other responsibilities of the coach are not taken care of, a fundamental breakdown takes place - similar to the streak of consecutive losses suffered by the Cougars.
Brooks was given a difficult task with what he deems "two years without recruiting."
Contract disputes have become an integral part of sports at every level, and Brooks likely suffered because of it. When watching the Houston Cougars in action, you can see frustration, lack of confidence and a sense of misguidance.
One of the fundamental aspects of leadership is to overcome youth and inexperience to put forth a respectable product. The product UH is advertising is abhorrent. Every time I see our opposition apply a full court press, I change the batteries in my calculator to tally the impending turnover-fest.
Houston is not working for good shots and is not growing together as a team. The Cougars are severely lacking in fundamental execution. The "X's and O's" are being utilized inefficiently, if at all.
I am not a coach, but I recognize certain flaws in the leadership of the basketball program. UH is dead last in turnover margin, last in assist to turnover ratio and next to last in assists. The system is not working.
Even with Galen Robinson, a player who could start for any team in the country, UH is still second to last in scoring offense. To see the look of frustration on Robinson's face when the opposing team quadruples him is almost unbearable. For the Cougars to do such a poor job of giving Robinson opportunities to make our team better is unfair to the NBA hopeful (at least he was at the beginning of the season).
Houston is wasting Robinson's talents with its losing ways. This makes me wonder if UH will waste the talents of the young men committed to play basketball here next year. For the 2K Dynasty to become a reality, the regime must do a better job with the X's and O's.
It will take a miracle for the Cougars to get more than 10 wins this season. They have not made the proper mid-season adjustments for a dramatic turn-around and have not gelled enough to handle a press. The leadership has not prepared UH for these challenges.
I am not saying Brooks should be fired. He should be rewarded for what he does best: recruiting. The X's and O's, however, should be handled by someone else. The 2K Dynasty depends on it.
Sloppy play is the result of sloppy practice time. When the team has more turnovers per game than any other team in Conference USA, it is not focusing on the right drills in practice. The fine young men on our basketball team are working hard, trying to turn around a difficult season.