Smile Politely

Manhattan paper carries water for Weber

Illini blogger Robert on A Lion Eye posted an insightful article yesterday, taking Bruce Weber (and his apologists in the coaching and media community) to task for comments in an article in the Manhattan Mercury. The Mercury article is pretty standard let’s-welcome-the-new-coach-to-town stuff, but Weber’s analysis of the tail end of last season is pretty self-serving:

It was the morning of Feb. 11 when things took an ugly turn for Weber and the Illinois men’s basketball team. Mike Thomas, in his first year as the Illini athletics director, went on radio to answer questions from Illinois fans, and when Weber’s job security came into question, Thomas didn’t give his coach a vote of confidence.

“I think it’s so important to have support,” Weber said in an interview on Wednesday evening. “When you don’t have support I think you coach defensive, you coach not with the confidence you need to. It was hard. It was really hard on our kids more than anything.

“When the situation occurred I think we lost our spirit — the heart of our team. We kept battling. We battled every game. But it hurt the team — especially a young team that was very fragile. It just created a tough situation.”

The whole post on A Lion Eye is well worth your time, but here’s the nut graph:

Just because Gene Keady and Tom Izzo keep saying that it was the AD’s fault, we’re all supposed to believe them and just nod our heads when it gets repeated? It’s patently false. But now even our former coach is saying it. And it’s so disingenuous that I can’t stay silent. Please, everyone, stop saying Mike Thomas sank the season. He didn’t. It’s just not true.

H/T to Matt for passing along the link. 

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