The Fat Man Cometh
According to ESPN's Andy Katz, USC and Rick Majerus have come to terms on a five-year deal. USC fans should be jumping for joy.
Rick Majerus is without question, one of the best coaches in all of college basketball. He's in the same league as Coach K, Roy Williams, Lute Olson, Jim Calhoun, or Rick Pitino. UCLA probably should have hired him two years ago. Majerus was amazing at Utah, turning a nothing program into about the best a mid-major could be on a regular basis. He nearly won a national championship with the Utes.
Majerus is an excellent teacher, and has a shrewd basketball mind. He's unconventional. After all, he lived in a hotel, ate his heart out, and rejected dozens of overtures to major conferences schools. But he gets the job done.
The obvious question with Majerus is his health. He's taking the rest of this season off, to supposedly rest up and get healthy. He'll need the time, considering he left Utah due to health reasons. But this is USC basketball. It can afford to take a chance. In this case, the risk is moderate, but the reward is extremely high.
Now, I'd be very worried if I was a UCLA fan. USC has always been regarded as a sleeping giant in college basketball. Now, in addition to building a new on-campus arena, the Trojans have a truly great coach. With Ben Howland's Bruins playing a style that doesn't really fit his players or this city, in an outdated arena that badly needs renovation, in suddenly inadequate practice facilities, USC is poised to pass UCLA as the center of the LA college hoops world. It may or may not happen, but if UCLA wants John Wooden basketball to be more than just a memory, it should start making improvements of its own.