Hi guys. Sorry I took some time off. Basketball season is tough. If you want to help out, feel free to write FanPosts about pretty much whatever you want and over the summer we'll talk about adding more folks into the fold.
But that's not the point. In my time away from daily writing, the big UB story has been Bobby Hurley, who of course is a coach in hot demand. Unlike this time last year, when new accounts we had never seen before swore up and down the UB coach was going to Virginia Tech, there's been real, documented connections between Hurley and bigger, richer schools.
For the most part, you all know this: DePaul (confirmed) and St. John's (reportedly) have both made their choices, and it's not Hurley. You also know that Texas, Alabama and Tennessee all have openings. You also know that UB has a contract with Hurley's agent that would make him the highest-paid coach in the MAC.
And really, that's all there is to know. But depending on who you read, there's a lot more supposed information out there. Here's something we all need to keep in mind: Bobby Hurley is intensely private, and almost no one knows what he's thinking.
The biggest piece of Hurley news this week was that "he wants the DePaul job 'badly.'" But look more closely at that Chicago Tribune story: The writer acknowledges that he couldn't get in touch with Hurley's camp. Who do you think leaked the word "badly," then? Presumably someone on DePaul's side. Fast forward a day or two, and Hurley's spent barely two hours in Chicago and DePaul's moving to a retread coach.
With the exception of Turner Gill, we haven't at UB had a story like this ever - and I'd argue that even six and seven years ago the social media landscape was different enough that the current Hurley story is unlike anything UB fans have ever had to navigate.
My point here is there are people you should trust for their info and people you shouldn't. I haven't been posting things on the blog, but I've still been manning the Twitter. Here's what I think:
People you should trust
Mark Gaughan, The Buffalo News
Gaughan's a solid reporter who has actually been covering the basketball teams all season, and rarely says anything out of line. He just reports what he knows and he's spent more time talking to Hurley and others at UB than anyone else in the media. He was the first to report the agreement in principle of the new contract with UB, which has seen been corroborated by other sources. He reports what he knows and doesn't present suppositions.
Adam Zagoria, SNY and ZagsBlog.com
Simply put, no one in media seems to have a stronger connection to the Hurleys than Zagoria. As soon as UB hired Bobby, Zagoria was breaking our basketball commits, he's a NYC media presence reporting on the Bulls, and he's never wrong. I won't link any examples from his blog right now, but here's a relevant tweet.
@jasonrmcintyre Bobby Hurley is not in the mix at St. John's. Move along, please.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 29, 2015
Now granted, Zagoria's not fighting against widespread reports or anything, but everyone and their mother had to figure the Hurley brothers would be on the Johnnies' radar
People you should not trust
Anyone else at The Buffalo News
We're happy to talk about what we like and don't like from TBN, but in this case it comes back to what I said above: Only Gaughan has seen Hurley enough to know anything. With due respect, the rest of the TBN guys only showed up at UB periodically and when the stakes grew higher.
UB's gotten enough attention now that Bucky Gleason is weighing in. I won't go through this piece detail by detail, but anyone who knows how he's treated the Sabres for so long shouldn't be surprised by the tack he's taken. Let's just pull out a few quotes here:
Hurley would have been foolish for ignoring DePaul, especially after someone in the UB athletics department leaked that he had agreed to the parameters of the deal when he had not. It made UB look sleazy, as if he would cave to public pressure while still trying to negotiate an extension.
No deal was completed, which was why there was no announcement. The silence told me that Hurley wanted more money, likely for his assistant coaches. It also suggested that UB Athletic Director Danny White and other officials were trying to squeeze him out of money while praying Hurley didn't get another offer.
At best, it's risky business. At worst, it's bad form.
The only, actual fact in there: "No deal was completed." The reports didn't suggest that one was, just that there was an "agreement in principle."
UB would be wise not to alienate him, assuming it hasn't already, or underestimate him. If it comes down to principle, the school has no chance.
This type of doomsdayish language is par for the course, but if you read the full article, it's based on terribly few facts.
Trust Gaughan, who knows the facts and doesn't say anything more. Sure, there's a difference between columnists and reporters, as some pointed out to us recently, but there's also a different between inserting mild opinions and building straw men so big that Texas A&M has to shut it down.
Any media member who covers DePaul, St. John's, Texas, et al
Sure, DePaul and St. John's are off the table now, but as we saw with the Tribune, where do you think these guys have their sources? They're going to have a better relationship with the schools than with a midmajor coaching candidate, even one as famous as Hurley. Nobody is calling up Bobby Hurley or his agent and just getting the info. That should be clear by now.
So if someone reports something on a Hurley connection to a job that goes beyond "is a candidate" or "is set to interview," take it with a grain of salt until you see who the reporter is.
As for Bull Run's role in this? We have a duty to tell you what people are saying. We are not TBN or a similar outlet; we're more flexible; acknowledge our biases up front rather than pretending to be journalistically neutral; and more clearly separate opinion and supposition from fact. We don't frequently break news, but we will talk about whatever come across our radar.