There's been a lot of speculation on what went wrong in Vegas. Now that we've had a chance to reflect on what happened, I wanted to give my opinion, and if I'm right, what that means for the program and the search.
The popular version seems to be that Miller was just using us for a better deal, but that just doesn't make sense. There's also talk that KA blew the meeting. Looking at the timeline, this makes more sense, but if so, just how did he blow it? I don't think SA went into that meeting needing to be "sold" on MD. There's nothing about the job, team or university that, if he didn't know already, couldn't be found out in 10 minutes on the web or in a phone call to a friend in the coaching community. Therefore it would have been something specific from KA that turned him off. What could that have been? Money? Not likely. How about something that suddenly made the job much less attractive? What if KA simply relayed the expectations surrounding recruiting, admissions and APR rate? What if SA suddenly realized that MD's untapped potential would have to remain largely untapped because he'd be limited as to how many 5 stars he'd be allowed to bring in since they invariably pull down the APR when they go pro early. Not to mention the limited (at least compared to most) availability for admission exemptions. That would certainly explain the sudden about face and attempt to use the situation to his advantage and get a better deal at AZ. If I'm right, I don't blame KA for what happened, since he was just telling truth and it is what it is. But the problem is where does that put us moving forward?
Even the most ardent Gary supporter would agree that while he was a great coach and talent evaluator, he wasn't a great recruiter. But how much of his percieved weakness in that area was due to his hands being tied? While I think a younger coach who's willing to put in the time building contacts on the local AAU circuit could produce better classes than we've seen, I'm afraid there's a recruiting ceiling put in place by the administration that will make it tough to get a top flight recruiter to take the job unless he's taking a big step up from his current job. So, that would lead us to either a current head coach who is, well. just like Gary, someone who can spot talent and coach it up (which seems like the direction we're headed), or a good recruiting assistant who would be willing to put up with the restrictions in order to land a high profile head job. So...
Head coaches that would fit the bill:
Turgeon, Few, Mack (maybe)
Phil Cunningham, Miss St - Good recruiter, assistant under Lefty for 5 years
A bunch of guys that have already taken jobs
A bunch of guys I've never heard of.
Given that KA seems determined to go the first route, it looks like the pickings are slim (Few's a longshot, but worth pursuing, we don't know the interest with the other 2). I would lean towards option 2 in concept, but quite frankly don't know enough about who's out there to really get excited about anybody.