After the loss to Kentucky, I heard a number of national sports radio hosts discuss how John Calipari could be the national Coach of the Year. Calipari is an excellent recruiter and damn good motivator (components of a good coach), but he should not be national coach of the year. But, I quickly realized the velocity that this message began to circulate throughout sports circles. So, I thought I would use a test sample of SEC East programs to determine who would be the best coach in the division. The winner is Kevin Stallings.
In the SEC East, there are (as of February 22nd) four teams with a winning league record. The starting five players on each of these teams were assigned a recruiting rank by our friends at Rivals.com. The rank was given as a comparative number to peers within that same graduation year. In (), you will see the average rank of the Rivals.com starting five per team. Here is the breakdown for the SEC East starting lineups on February 20th:
|Kentucky (17)||Class||Rivals Rank|
My calculation uses this ranking as a foundation for the player effectiveness. For example, John Wall was the #1 player in 2009, so he receives a value of 150. Demarcus Cousins was the #2 player in 2009, so he receives a value of 149. For a player that was not ranked by Rivals.com, they are assigned a value of 1. In measuring this calculation, one must factor in the productivity of a player. For example, a Freshman should not be as effective as a Senior due to the level of experience. So, I calculated an experience coefficient to measure the ability of a recruit at any point in their career. Senior's are assigned the highest productivity marks within the coefficient which helps weight experience with JUCO transfers. Save boring you with the details, the (+/-) of 2009-2010 season outcomes to date based on recruit rankings are:
From this outcome, you could assess that Kevin Stallings has done more with his players than any other coach in the SEC East. Since the SEC West sucks (with all due respect, you too Mrs. Stansberry), I didn't waste my time.
In summary, Calipari can obviously recruit and should deserve bonus points for his ability to get recruits. But a storied basketball tradition does as much to draw recruits as a coach (ie. Notre Dame football). To me, the Coach of the Year is someone who gets the most out of his recruits to perform. So far this year in the SEC, it is Kevin Stallings.
As a disclaimer, I currently pay student loans every month that paid for a degree from Vanderbilt University. This either makes me a "homer", or a stereotypical nerd that can efficiently use analytics to accurately predict the outcome of a qualitative assessment by voters.