|Marquette moves on from Crean to Buzz|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 November 2008 08:30|
The 16th-ranked Golden Eagles lost their media-conscious coach, Tom Crean, to the allure of Indiana after he'd built Marquette back to heights only Al McGuire had reached.
Now Marquette has Brent ``Buzz'' Williams, a fiery Texan with an ``every day is the same'' work ethic leading a veteran team that includes three senior guards trying to go 4-for-4 in NCAA tournament appearances.
``We were always worried about what the media was saying, where everybody had us predicted,'' said Dominic James, who averaged 12.9 points per game last season. ``Not that that was a bad thing, but it is a different approach for us. It's just great that everybody's really buying into that, taking it a day at a time.''
That's all this group could do after a tumultuous spring.
First, Marquette lost to Stanford in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Brook Lopez's overtime basket.
at I think none of us want to get back,'' junior Lazar Hayward said.
Then shortly after the season, Crean loaded his team into vans and brought them to his home to say he was leaving the security he'd built over nine years and 190 wins at Marquette for scandal-rocked Indiana.
Crean, who took Marquette to the Final Four in 2003 with Dwyane Wade, said he agreed to take over the Hoosiers because, ``It's Indiana, and that's the bottom line.''
Attention to brand name isn't the only way the two coaches differ.
No player called Crean by his first name. They all call Williams ``Coach Buzz.''
Crean would constantly game plan, drawing up new plays and defensive schemes between games. Williams, Crean's assistant for a year, hasn't changed anything yet.
``With Coach Crean, you never knew what you were going to get. Every time he came to the gym with something different,'' said senior Jerel McNeal, who led the team with 14.9 points and 2.2 steals. ``With Coach Buzz, you're coming to the gym and getting the same thing every day.''
Crean learned his craft at big-time programs like Michigan State, and Pittsburgh, and midmajor Western Kentucky. Williams' path took him to places like Navarro College, Northwestern State, Colorado State and a one-year head coaching stop at New Orleans.
And Williams is forthright about everything.
as you can and getting better are the things you know are going to help you win games,'' McNeal said. ``It's a lot more simplified than what we were used to with Coach Crean.''
Williams said he did nothing to ease the coaching transition.
``I don't think it was hard for them, (not) necessarily because it has anything to do with me. I think it all has to do with them,'' Williams said. ``I think those guys have won at a high level throughout their career.''
Wesley Matthews, the third senior guard, says Crean and Williams are similar in their love of teaching - and winning.
``Buzz has another demeanor about him, another level of intensity and passion for the right thing, to get it done right, the right way, to win as a team,'' Matthews said. ``He's an intense coach and a very humble person. He tells the truth 100 percent of the time. We know what we're getting into all the time.''
Williams managed to keep half the recruiting class, but acknowledged Marquette is woefully short of big, bruising bodies.
``We're little, we're short. ... When you come to our first game, that's not going to change,'' Williams said. ``Our guards are going to have be extraordinary, good rebounders, because we don't have the size, a 6-11 guy, to get all the rebounds.''
orry about appearances.
``It's kind of crazy, we really haven't set a lot of season goals or anything like that,'' James said. ``I can't tell you who we play after Houston Baptist just because right now, we're worried about today, and we'll worry about tomorrow when it comes.''