By Richard Kent BASN Writer
Updated: March 20, 2012
CONNECTICUT (BASN)—It is time for a long and distinguished career as a Hall of Fame coach to come to an end. This is not just the opinion of this writer, but many in the basketball community.
Stringer’s Rutgers team had another typical NCAA flame out, falling as a 6 seed to no. 11 Gonzaga. Yes the Stringer loyalists will tell you that the game was player on the Gonzaga home court, but who cares. This is a veteran Rutgers team with high school All-Americans like Nikki Speed,April Sykes and Briyona Canty.
Let’s take a look at Canty, a frosh. She was an explosive scorer in high school and averaged 2.8 ppg for the Scarlet Knights, shooting .337 from the field and an amazingly low .143 from 3. Her offensive game was ruined this season. Either she spent most of the season practicing defense or her confidence, like many Stringer players was broken. Will she transfer? Who knows, but based on history at least one of Stringer’s heralded frosh will leave the Banks for greener pastures. Others have and have found much happiness in their playing careers.
Sykes was a prolific scorer in high school and by her senior season had lost her offense almost entirely.
Stringer is the highest paid coach at Rutgers and the fourth highest paid coaches in women’s basketball. She is behind Geno Auriemma, Pat Summitt and Kim Mulkey. They have a combined 16 National Championships and Stringer has none. That 16 number will move to 17 as either Baylor or UConn should win it all this year.
One Big East coach said in the middle of the season that if Auriemma had the Rutgers talent, he would take them to the Final Four.
No kidding.The difference in talent between Rutgers and UConn is minimal. The difference in coach acumen,gaping.
Stringer has had success at Rutgers almost in spite of her self. She has had strong willed players like Cappie Pondexter,Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson who were able to refine their offense, despite the lack of emphasis put on offense by Stringer and her staff of former players.
Stringer has 3 years remaining on her contract.
Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti did not negotiate the contract and is a shrewd businessman. It might make some sense for Pernetti and Stringer to have a long talk in April and for Pernetti to put some serious goals on the table. At a minimum, Stringer needs to make it to the Sweet 16 next year with some strong talent coming in. She also needs to play a role in helping to increase the plummeting attendance for the Rutgers women at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Some former Rutgers Athletic employees have indicated that Stringer does little to market Rutgers women’s basketball. That needs to change.
No one will ever compare Stringer to Auriemma or Mulkey, but it is sad to see a distinguished career come to an end amid criticism and head scratching defeats. Rutgers finished 6th in the Big East this season. That is at least 3 places too low with her level of talent.