A Wave of dilemma

By Ed Daniels, Clarion Herald Sports

One of the toughest jobs in college basketball is open again, for the fifth time since Perry Clark left Tulane for Miami in 2000.

If you don’t think the job is daunting, history tells you otherwise. Tulane’s last double-digit winning seasons in conference play were under Clark in 1996-97 and under Cliff Wells in 1953-54.

That’s a lot of history to overcome.

So, what should Tulane basketball do, regardless of who is the next head coach?

Well, for starters, I would go downtown to the Smoothie King Center and play more games.

Find a corporate sponsor to help you with the cost and schedule better opposition. Tulane needs to find a way to attract Power 5 schools to its schedule.

Playing fewer games at Fogelman Arena is also a plus. The millions spent recently to refurbish the arena have not changed the perception that it is an antiquated facility that screams “lack of commitment.”

Secondly, the new coach should place his recruiting emphasis on Louisiana, Texas  and Mississippi. High school basketball in this state is under-rated. When Tulane has produced outstanding players, most have come from this state.

Paul Thompson, from Alexandria, was a four-time, All-Metro Conference selection.

The late John “Hot Rod” Williams, the 1984 Metro player of the year, hailed from Sorrento. Anthony Reed from Monroe was a four-time All-Metro selection.

Melvin Frazier, drafted in the second round of the 2018 NBA draft, played his high school basketball at Higgins.

The new coach at Tulane must use graduate transfers as a key part of player procurement. Former UNO head coach Joe Pasternack has led Cal Santa-Barbara to 45 wins in two seasons. Two of his best players in that span were guard Ar’Mond Davis, a transfer from Alabama, and forward Leland King, a transfer from Nevada.

Basketball is a place where a mid-major school can create its biggest impact. Success in the NCAA Tournament made a name for Butler, George Mason and Loyola University-Chicago.

It can happen at a place like Tulane University. But it will take a coach who is a tireless worker, outstanding recruiter and one who can sell the program.

For some coach in America, a sizable olive, green and blue challenge awaits.

Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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