The 2020’s, hypothetically. Hard to find an argument against.
I do wonder how the transfer portal would affect Big Rick. My own deeply biased opinion is that he would find a way to make it work for him.
I don’t know about dominate, but he’d do better than Coach K. I think that Big Rick would consistently have the team in the top 3 of the PAC12. He knew how to scheme, and get the most out of his talent.
My unpopular opinion is that no he wouldn’t. He was an average coach before and after his time at Utah. He had one good year in St Louis in what could be argued was a weaker league. I think he figured out how to win in the WAC/MWC I’m not sure how that would translate to a much tougher league top to bottom.
YES. No question. He was anything but a mediocre coach. He was elite.
His brand of basketball would dominate the PAC12.
Majerus would be a mixed bag in today’s PAC12, IMO:
On the plus side:
He would love the ability to recruit at the U, being part of a better league.
He would be as good or better an X and O coach than any other PAC-12 coaches.
He would finish in the top 3 in the PAC-12 every year, occasionally winning it.
He would have his team in the NCAA tournament virtually every year.
He would regularly go to the sweet-16 and sometimes further.
He would have a winning record against Altman.
The minus side:
He would have a difficult time relating to today’s high school players, and would lose some big recruits as a result.
His personality would drive off a lot of players, remember, transfers were a problem some years with Majerus 20 years ago,
His quirky character and his bizarre personal behavior, would create bigger problems than they created 20 years ago.
All things considered, I’d kill to have him back. If for no other reason than to be able to listen to his “stream of consciousness” post game interviews - those were basketball poetry.
(Oh, and Monson and Kinihan would probably pack up and leave town )
I think he would be fine in the PAC. He was consistent which outside of Altman and the cheater at UA, nobody else comes close to what he had.
If he had the right assistants, they could relate to the high school kids.
I would love to see what he could have done at the U in the PAC.
I don’t think so. Today’s players are a bit quicker to jump ship. Utah isn’t an anomaly with transfers, every school has bitter kids who think the coach is purposely destroying their NBA dreams, not sure how Rick would’ve avoided that conflict.
He didn’t do great at St Louis and with the microscope so much greater today who knows what allegations would’ve come up. I knew a couple of players who played for Rick, each one said he was a filthy disgusting man who lived and breathed basketball but at the end of the day he cared about you like his own son.
I just believe kids today don’t care about that as much, it’s all about stepping stones and me first. I know I’m generalizing and Rick had a knack of finding the right kind of player so I assume he could still do it today.
Remember in 1998 there were only 2 freshmen drafted in total for both rounds. 1 high school kid. Last year a total of 11 seniors were picked in all. It’s just a different game today.
Yeah I think he would have a tough time in the transfer portal era. His habit of berating players in practice would lead a few more to leave once it became easier to transfer. He was an elite coach for the WAC/MWC. Like I said before I am not sure he would be able to match that record in a much tougher league and with the ability for players to bolt much more easily.
I think he would do very well, yes.
He had already begun adapting to the younger player mentality in Saint Louis. His assistants would be critical, for sure.
I guess it depends on how you define dominate. I think with Majerus at his prime, with a little prep time could have coached the top high school team in Utah to be competitive with any PAC-12 team in the nation.
That being said, with the transfer portal and his personal issues we’d be seeing a mass exodus each year (because really we always did with Maj) the core difference is we wouldn’t stink as bad as we do now.
Also, personality flaws aside, Majerus won but he did not play an exciting brand of basketball nor a brand that most kids are coached to play today - they’d have a hard time under his discipline and focus.
I’m not a big fan of time travel hypotheticals mainly because the time travel aspect can’t account for how the change in cultural norms and practices within the profession would impact behavior, not to mention structural changes that modify incentives.
For example, I think a good bit of media hostility to Maj at the time was result of Utah/BYU in conference rivalry. As we all know, that dynamic is totally different. As a result, I suspect that some of Maj’s behavior towards the media and visa versa would be different. Also social media might be something that a 2020 Majerus might actually embrace to bypass the media, but who knows.
To me, the bottom line is that he was a great tactician and teacher of the game, so I think he would do very well in PAC. I don’t think that any team will really dominate the league, unless you consider what AZ and UO are doing ‘domination’. If so, then yeah, I believe he’s be in the same tier as them year over year.
I don’t know why his success needs to be qualified as WAC/MWC coach. There were good teams in those leagues and Rick made tournament runs after winning those leagues.
I believe it was Drew Hansen who said on Senior Day “We’ve owned this league” (referring to domination of the WAC).
Rick would do well in the PAC12, but while we’d be among the leaders and win some conference titles, we wouldn’t dominate like we did back in the old WAC. PAC is too good for that.
In my opinion, no he would not. I think his X’s and O’s would be at least as good as our current coach, probably better, but this is Rick Majerus we are talking about here. I get that he has passed away, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do some pretty crazy bad things while he was alive. He had some good qualities as a person some of the time, but he did some plain old disgusting things while at the U. The man would interview people in his office while half naked (nope, not the top half). He urinated in trash cans, and potted plants in his office and in the halls near his office. Aside from that he was just incredibly mean to a lot of people. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but get a disgruntled parent/player and you have a major PR problem in an instant.
His actions were too much of a PR nightmare when he left, there is NO WAY the University of Utah, in it’s current situation would ever hire Rick Majerus again.
He was such a student of the game that I think he would do well winning games for us, but the University would not take on the risk of allowing someone like that to coach the team.
I do wonder if the good players would leave under RM. Generally, he ran off only the guys who weren’t good. (If I recall correctly.)
That was mostly true I think, but if you follow Keith Van Horn’s twitter account (and if you don’t, you should - when he goes off on Majerus quotes it’s the best thing on Twitter) you’ll get a picture of how hard he was even on his star players.
My observation is we’ve created a culture on athletics where many of the ‘stars’ get lauded from a very young age and nobody crosses them ever, not even their parents. That is also coupled with parents who mow down anything in their path all the way into adulthood.
Recently I’ve gotten a small glimpse into the politics of high school basketball as imposed by the parents. Wow, it is astounding and a big change from what I used to know about high school sports. You couldn’t pay me enough money to be a high school coach these days.
Long way to say, I’m not sure how Majerus would thrive today. After thinking about this thread though I think the more interesting comparison is could Majerus and the Utes in their prime compete today in the PAC-12 and I think the easy answer would be it would be a bloodbath. Can you imagine lock down defenses, great shot selection, solid rebounding, etc that were the hallmarks of Majerus Prime ™️ in this league? Total domination.
If all that is true, then I’d love Rick 2.0 just to see ■■■■■ slapping of prima donnas. I can’t stand entitled attitudes. Maybe I just discovered a new appreciation for Larry.
I like to think of them less as Prima Donnas and more as young adults with a skill that is worth money, but since they aren’t allowed to earn that money, they at least expect a modicum of deference from the people and institutions that profit mightily off their talents.
Just kidding, a little… it is worth always appreciating the fact that armature ‘student’ athletes are by definition exploited. And that the coaches they play for make millions.