Vlad Belo: I openly advocated for Travis DeCuire on this site. I wanted to continue what Monty started. Why wouldn't I? I enjoyed these last six years of generally competent basketball.
Nonetheless, I have to say that this feels like a good hire. I don't know if I'd say "home run," but I'll give it a triple. Martin's teams improved in win total each year at Missouri State and Tennessee. He appears to be a high character guy and he helped to improve Tennessee's APR, so we have some track record of him being good with academics. His recruiting classes at Tennessee showed he has recruiting chops, I have no doubt that he will get up to speed quickly recruiting the fertile California recruiting ground. And he comes from the Gene Keady coaching tree. Say what you want about Keady's personality, demeanor, or infamous combover, but Keady could coach. Keady calling Martin the "best leader" he ever had in his career is high praise.
We will see how it plays out in reality but I have a good feeling about this one.
Vincent S: Nervous, but excited. Nervous, because our players and incoming recruits have built strong relationships with Travis. Excited, because if it wasn't Travis, Cuonzo seems like the type of coach I would be proud playing for if I were a player. He seems to come with high character recommendations and from the (little) tape I've seen of his teams, they play good, solid defense and efficient offense in spades - a conclusion supported by various efficiency metrics. In addition, the fact that Tennessee's players are being reported as publicly supporting his move, to me, speaks volumes about their respect for him. I want someone who can represent Cal in the future with class, dignity and respect. I think we got him.
boomtho: I am very excited about Counzo Martin coming to Cal to replace Mike Montgomery. In fact, as I’ve been thinking about the hire today, I’ve been getting progressively more excited. Frankly, I was shocked when this started to hit Twitter because I hadn’t heard his name at all through the search process (like most of you, I’d mostly heard Turner, Pasternack, and DeCuire).
In no particular order, the reasons I’m happy about the Martin hire:
1. Academics: I think we had improved in this area since Braun, but given the struggles on the football side, it’s great that Martin made academics such a large talking point in his introductory presser. The fact that Tennessee just had its highest APR ever is also a great sign.
2. Defense: Montgomery was a good defensive coach, but this year’s team was prone to frustrating bouts of poor defensive play. Everything I’ve read about Martin makes me think that we’ll really get this tightened up. It’s not going to be easy (Bird and Matthews particularly struggled at times last year), but natural growth plus Martin should be a great foundation for defensive excellence.
3. Recruiting: I don’t expect him to hit home runs here, but (again from what I’ve read) he should be pretty solid. Hopefully he brings or hires quality assistants to help with recruiting as well. The fact that his 7’ commit flipped from UT to us immediately is encouraging, to say the least.
Now, the two factors that make me a little worried (I’ll reiterate that I’m very excited so the positives definitely outweigh the negatives in my mind!):
1. West coast ties: Doug Gottlieb expressed worry here on Twitter, and while he’s clearly biased given his brother’s role on Monty’s staff, I think this is a natural worry.
2. The Tennessee reaction: I can’t honestly tell if it was sour grapes, but I’m a little surprised there wasn’t more angst from the Vols fanbase at Martin leaving. Part of the fanbase is clearly delusional (30K+ signatures to rehire Pearl)… so I could be way off base here, but I’m just not sure.