Bzdelik a big loss for the Buffs |

Bzdelik a big loss for the Buffs

Mike Vidakovich
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Mike Vidakovich

The University of Colorado lost a coaching gem recently when men’s basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik resigned to take what he called his “dream job” at Wake Forest.

In his three seasons at CU, Bzdelik lifted the Buffs from bottom-feeder status to respectability in the rough and tough Big 12 conference.

Bzdelik, who also coached the Denver Nuggets and at Air Force, now takes his disciplined, Princeton-style offense to the Atlantic Coast Conference, where he will try to match wits with North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, the two best in the business.

I was disappointed to hear that CU hired Northern Colorado’s Tad Boyle for the vacated head coaching position, passing over Bzdelik’s assistant coach, Steve McClain.

McClain is no stranger to being the man in charge, having guided the Wyoming Cowboys for nine seasons while compiling a 157-115 record at the Laramie school. McClain is a run-and-gun coach, and with Big 12 Freshman of the Year Alec Burks coming back alongside a host of talented other youngsters, the scoreboard lights would have been blinking at the CU Events Center next winter.

• I think the proposal to expand the NCAA basketball tournament to 96 teams from the current 65 teams is about as ridiculous as the 48-team setup in the larger classifications of the Colorado state high school basketball tournament.

I would love to see the NCAA actually reduce the number of teams and go back to having just 16 entries in the tournament. Instead of a one-game elimination, a best-of-three playoff series at four different regional sites (with two teams advancing from each region for another round of playoffs until a champion is crowned) would be ideal.

I have never liked the win-or-go-home tournament. It allows the Butlers and Northern Iowas of the world a pass key to places they don’t really belong. No offense to Duke fans – because I’m one of them – but with fewer teams in the tournament this year, and a best-of-three playoff series, you most likely would have watched Kansas play Kentucky in the finals – the two best teams.

• In a few short years, the Denver Nuggets have gone from being my favorite team to one of my least favorites. I’ve never seen a group of so-called professionals gripe and whine so much at the officials. It’s every play and it gets old watching them.

Most of my dislike of the Nuggets stems from the personalities on the current roster as opposed to the great players I grew up watching wear the Denver uniform.

Instead of seeing The Horse, Dan Issel, gallop down the lane, I’m stuck with Nene and his girly hairdo.

Rather than the poetry-in-motion silkiness of Bobby Jones and Alex English, I have to watch Kenyon Martin snarl, take cheap shots at opposing players and regularly miss 20 to 25 games per year. I shouldn’t bash poor Kenyon. His contract only pays him $92 million.

David Thompson is long gone and retired, but I can always watch Carmelo Anthony dominate the ball and make absolutely no one around him better off for his presence. I have never liked Anthony and I never will.

Then there’s Colorado’s own Chauncey Billups, the king of Park Hill. He’s done wonders for this team, but he helps to lead the nightly assault of unsportsmanlike conduct toward the referees. I’ll take Lafayette “Fat” Lever over Billups any day.

The soft-spoken Lever averaged nearly a triple-double during the 1989 season for the Nuggets, scoring 20 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out 8 assists per game. Lever was a gritty leader who rarely showed any negative emotion on the court. He was fun to watch.

I won’t even waste column space commenting on “Birdman” Andersen and J.R. Smith.

I guess no one is forcing me to watch the Nuggets. I could always tune into hockey, soccer or baseball. Uh, no thanks.

Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer for the Post Independent

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