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Gene Smith’s answer for new direction of OSU basketball…Greg McDermott?

Reports surface that Creighton head coach Greg McDermott is being offered the Ohio State job.



Damned if you do, damned if you don’t is supposed to be about a really difficult decision forced upon you. It isn’t supposed to be about a choice you voluntarily made and then went and backed yourself in to a corner over.

Rather, that is the definition of stupidity. Yet, it is exactly what seems to have gone down in the quick search for Thad Matta’s replacement.

According to’s Jeff Goodman, Creighton head coach Greg McDermott has been offered the job.

No, this is not fake news at all. Instead, sources are telling respected newsman Jeff Goodman of ESPN that Creighton head coach Greg McDermott has met with the Buckeyes on Wednesday night and was offered the job.

Earlier reports indicated that interest from the Buckeyes was surfacing with two ex-Iowa State coaches — McDermott and now Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg.

Ok, so, as someone who experienced the worst of Greg McDermott at Iowa State, let me just get this out of the way:

There’s seriously no way the Buckeyes are going from Thad Matt to Greg McDermott. If so, and if for some strange reason Gene Smith finds our little corner of the internet…I implore you to stop, take in tape of McDermott’s Iowa State squad from the 2007-08 season and beyond and tell me he’s really a step up.

Sure, McDermott went to Creighton, got it to a powerhouse in the Missouri Valley and kept his program competitive in its switch to the Big East. That is impressive, but we’ve seen this about McDermott in the past.

After all, it was his 90-63 record and three-straight 20-win seasons at Northern Iowa that landed him the Iowa State job in 2006-07. He also has a knack for being able to recruit really well. That was always his calling card, and it happened while he was at Iowa State. He just couldn’t get all the talent he recruited to play together on the court at the same time.

Injuries played a part, off-court issues played a part and flat-out being unable to gel as a team played a part. But, that should be the indictment of all indictments on getting to jump to Ohio State here.

For his part, McDermott has had plenty of time to prove he deserves a second bite of the apple at a bigger program. He also has reflected on what went wrong in Ames, and readily admitted to the biggest issue on that team — culture — before this past season in Omaha.

“We ended up getting some good players, but we never got the chemistry right or the culture we wanted. You live and learn,” McDermott told Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald.

But there’s more to the story, even at his time at Creighton.

Did I also mention McDermott took all the talent he has had at Creighton and never got the team out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament? This in an age when plenty of other “mid-major” talent (in the days of the MVC version of Creighton) were getting to the second weekend and beyond.

History has a strange way of repeating itself, and Ohio State would be wise to remember that in its apparent love-affair with McDermott.

On a side note, McDermott is a really good human being and one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the fortune to meet. The time he took to meet with my fraternity and speak with us over the course of a few hours was impressive. He certainly didn’t have to do it, but he took it seriously and I came away knowing more about him as a man than as a figurehead of Iowa State’s marquee program.

It was also part of what bought him at least an extra season in Ames, and likely part of the package that sold him to Gene Smith as well.

But, this seemingly ready-to-happen move begs the question of…is the grass really greener with McDermott at the helm? Or was it better to stick with Matta for one more season and get yourself lined up for the real big targets you wanted all along?

Smith appears to be gambling that McDermott is somehow better than Matta, and as we’ve seen that is a huge gamble with a likely $4 million per year paycheck.

Should this offer be accepted, we’ll hear Smith talk about getting “their guy to lead the Ohio State program forward.” Don’t buy it for one second, because he surely isn’t serious. Otherwise I’ll have what he’s having at the bar, because he’s drunk.

(Now watch McDermott prove us all wrong and take full advantage of his second chances.)

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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