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USC choices to replace Tim Floyd are slim pickin's

Theus withdraws as Dixon declines a second overture...

Yesterday saw the Jamie Dixon watch go up and down with the word yesterday that Dixon turned SC down a second time in almost as many days.

Then last night it was reported that Reggie Theus withdrew his name from consideration.

Former Sacramento Kings coach Reggie Theus has removed his name from consideration for the USC job, a source close to Theus said.

Theus interviewed for the job Thursday but was apparently left in limbo when USC representatives approached Pittsburgh Coach Jamie Dixon for a second time, according to a source familiar with the Trojans' program. Dixon reiterated that he was not interested, the source said.

This comes on the heels of it being reported that Theus' interview with Mike Garrett went "OK" (read not a home run). I am fine with that. There were some concerns that I had with Theus so to me it is not a big loss.

Another name in the mix was UNLV's Lon Kruger. But he too turned USC down...

But sources said he informed USC he would not be interested in replacing Tim Floyd, who resigned two weeks ago. USC's already interviewed former Sacramento Kings coach Reggie Theus and Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons.

Anybody beginning to see a pattern here?

USC fans need to come to the realization of one thing...

USC is not an elite basketball program and it will not attract top tier coaches. That may not be the popular opinion and it will probably earn me some scorn but with the mess we have to deal with, regardless of whose fault it is, USC doesn't have the brand name in college hoops for some silver bullet savior to come in and resurrect the program. This is not Indiana, Even with the mess Kelvin Sampson left behind they were able to land Tom that is solely because IU has a basketball tradition, if you are into that sort of thing (tradition). Arizona has some issue of its own but they landed a good coach in Sean Miller and he proceeded to to build a pretty good recruiting class in a very short time.

SC is a football school, IU and UA are not, that doesn't have that basketball pedigree and until they do it will be difficult for USC to grab a top tier coach.

Of course some will say that we had a top tier coach in Tim Floyd but that he was run off under a cloud of unsubstantiated allegations. That is partially true, but you will have a hard time getting anyone to admit that SC was on the "right track" with the players Floyd recruited and the way he ran players off. That he was willing to take a chance with Mayo with all the warning signs there shows that he was willing to cut corners and that is not how build a basket ball program in today's game, especially if the program has little no brand name in the sport.

I am not sure why Kruger declined but he has had opportunities with higher profile jobs in the past so why walk into the mess?

On the other hand Dixon rebuffing of USC requires a little more scrutiny.

Jamie Dixon is a rising star, no question there, and he has done a great job in maintaining what Ben Howland built at Pitt. But as good as Dixon is and as good as he probably will be- he doesn't deserve to make 2.5 to 3 million a season. You have to have a few banners under your belt before someone will take you seriously with that request. His track record while impressive is still not as good as Howland's and Howland is nowhere near making that.

That Dixon requested an out clause is also intrguing.

I am kind of on the first reaction was if he wanted an out clause then he wasn't committed to the program.I mean Crean didn't get one, Miller didn't get one and neither did the new coach at Memphis who escapes my name as I write this.It it simply unprecented and no AD, no matter how bad some of us dislike him, is going to be the first one to go down that road. There is no benfit to the school to plut an out clause in the contract.

So, why is Dixon so special to demand that?

If he did get it then he wouldn't be around long enough to have a cup of coffee and SC would be right back at square one.

Look at it another way...nobody really knows what the NCAA is going to do so lets say the worst case scenario is a three year hit (dream up whatever you want) If Dixon leaves when the ruling is announced there is no gurantee that he would be able to build the program he leaves for in the time frame. Sure, its speculation on my part but as good as Dixon is he hasn't been to the FInal Four yet and he has been in charge at Pitt since what, 2002/2003? (I don't feel like digging that up). The out clause really doesn't give him a better chance to build elsewhere it just gets him out. Is that the type of character we want? I realize SC may not warrant those top tier coaches but that doesn't mean we have to be a door mat either.

Some seem to think that Dixon really doesn't want to coach or recruit against Ben Howland. I can understand that. Others think that Dixon would be a natural succesor to Howland at ucla but I think that is flawed thinking. Does anybody really think that DIxon would want to replace Howland again? At some point DIxon has to look himself in the mirror and say to himself "I need to build my own gig not follow in the footsteps of my mentor". By the way, does anybody think Howland got on the phone with Dixon to try and convince him not to take the SC job just like Pete Carroll did to DeWayne Walker? I do, and if that ever gets out it will be a fun war of words between the two schools.

So, SC's choices are slim. I didn't want Eustacy or VanGundy for the obvious reasons (Eustacy's drinking and VanGundy's long absense from the college game not to mention their close ties to Tim Floyd). P.J. has seen his better days in the rear view mirror. There was something about Theus that just didn't fell right. So that leaves the cupboard pretty bare. SC has talked to Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons and there is a rumor that SC may want to talk to former UA coach Kevin O'Neill. How funny is that?

I am still surprised that SC didn't make an overt run at Billy Gillespie. Not that I thought he would come but he is an intriguing choice. He is solid enough to weather the impending NCAA storm. Expectaions at SC are low enough where he wouldn't be pressured for results like he was at Kentucky and he has built a solid basketball program at a football school.

Of course the wildacard in all of this Mike Garrett.

His overt lack of support for Floyd and his insistance that the next coach have strong pro game ties show many of us that he is either unwilling or incapable of thinking outside of the box. He wants to try and replicate the Pete Carroll hiring...that is not going to happen because lightning never strikes the same place twice. Garrett has blood on his hands in regards to Mayo as well. He is as guilty as Floyd for bringing Mayo in especially with what he already knew about Guillory. Also consider his mistreatment of other former USC coaches in the past. Potential coaches see that and then get second thoughts.

I don't have the answers here but it is clear that USC is going to have a hard time building anything until the NCAA hands down their judgement. Once we know where they are headed it will give USC a better chance to formulate a plan as to whom to target. I am not averse to hiring an interim coach while we wade through this and then jump back into the market for a coach who will be commited. Jamie Dixon may still be that person but until this mess blows over it is too hard to filter what is availble out there.

Nobody wants to put a millstone around their neck...

And I don't blame them.