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House of Cards: Who’s got Next?

Note: I know the cover photo is not the most professional. Duh, obviously. Work with me here. Short staffed. Entire photography department, such as it might be, called in to take the day off. Too cold. Car trouble. Yada, yada, yada. Thus I’m left to my own devices. I’m offering no apologies, merely an explanation. My iPhone camera skills are limited.

The reason for the weird soon-to-be explained photo are: 1) Today’s topic is the House of Cards, and 2) Coach Kenny Payne’s statement preseason about his second team passing the eye test.

(What’s on the t-shirt eye chart is more than likely indiscernible to most. But your scribing hoopaholic loves it, because his favorite city other than hometown is New Orleans, which he visits yearly for JazzFest. The chart is a mash up of your basic weird Crescent City street names.

From top to bottom: Tchoupitoulis (chop-uh-too- lus), Calliope (in New Orleans, cal-ee-ope), Burgundy (down there, burr-GUN-dee), Terpisichore (never figured that one out), Dorgenois (no clue), Carondolet (which becomes Bourbon on the Quarter side of Canal), Melpomene, Leonidas, etc, etc.)

Which quagmire is about as dense and confusing as what college basketball coach will be sitting first chair next year for the Louisville Cardinals?

Given the entirety of circumstances — the basketball being played and results, the ability to recruit, season ticket sales, fan disenchantment — it appears, even to those of us who believed KP deserved a second year, incomprehensible that there won’t be a change after the season.

Sigh.

I’m advised there will be donor money available to buy out Payne’s contract, but it will only be made available after the season. When, no minor concern, that number drops by $2 mill.

Conjecture abounds.

I am questioned every day about the situation. As if I know what’s in Josh Heird’s mind. Other than the day after the aberration that was a W in Coral Gables, the chats are always about the replacement.

The first name to surface was Mick Cronin.

Uh, no thanks.

His Bruins finally got on the winning track Sunday, after losing 8 of their previous 9. We know his mentors. Bob Huggins. Rick Pitino. Cronin is neither.

One guy’s opinion: He. Is. Not. The. Answer.

Four “dirty” names are out there.

A fan engaged me walking out of the gym after a recent game. Chris Beard.

Good coach. Bad person. I do not want a woman beater coaching my favorite team.

Just this day, a national scribe threw out Will Wade. Who also can coach. The defrocked LSU mentor and his “strong ass offer” are now at McNeese State. And doing well. His transgressions seem sort of minor these days, given the changed landscape of college sports. I dunno.

The most intriguing name mentioned in a conversation is that of Bruce Pearl. He is a truly excellent basketball coach. He is only 63. Young to me. And, I am advised would like the job. His transgression for which he’s served his time is even more innocent in retrospect than Wade’s. He had a recruit to his home for a BBQ.

Bring him.

Someone also suggested Kelvin Sampson. Another top shelf coach, whose violations were insignificant.

Bring him.

Then there are the guys only basketball junkies are aware of. You know the next Pitino, Self, Izzo, Crum. They are out there. It’s about choosing the right one from the up and comers.

Dusty May is for obvious reasons the Flavor of the Month of March.

But there are others who could be, might be The Guy.

Like Niko Medved, now at Colorado State. Which program he has turned around as he did before at Furman.

Josh, the Red & Black Nation awaits.

— c d kaplan