Poll Names Fran Dunphy Most Underrated Coach in Country, Says Opposite for Jay Wright

Poll Names Fran Dunphy Most Underrated Coach in Country, Says Opposite for Jay Wright

Always good to work in a little college basketball in August.

CBSSports's college basketball bloggers spent "the July open recruiting period hobnobbing with nearly 100 coaches" and took some surveys about how those coaches view the current landscape.

Concerning two in our local Big 5, those polled produced wildly divergent opinions on the statures of Temple's Fran Dunphy and Villanova's Jay Wright.

Just wait until you read what one of the polled said about the latter.

Starting with Dunph, he was named the most underrated coach in the country by his peers, taking in 14 percent of the vote. Randy Bennett (Saint Mary's), Rick Byrd (Belmont), Bill Self (Kansas) and Buzz Williams (Marquette) round out the top five.

Each list had a subsection of quotes about the individuals in question and a few big picture takeaways from the voting:

On Fran Dunphy: "His teams always win. They are just like him. Quiet, unassuming. He's a good guy and just wins."

Takeaway: Dunphy is about as well-liked as anyone in the country, so that probably played into it a bit. However, his track record is also pretty impressive. He won more than 300 games and went to nine NCAA tournaments in his Ivy League stint at Penn -- and has done a phenomenal job since following John Chaney at Temple. The Owls have finished first or second in the A-10 for each of the past five seasons.

As for Wright, a separate list released Wednesday, also voted on by his coaching peers, named him the fifth most overrated head man in the nation. With six percent of the vote, he sits behind Roy Williams (North Carolina), Rick Barnes (Texas), Scott Drew (Baylor), Steve Lavin (st. John's) and ahead of Ben Howland (UCLA), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Tommy Amaker (Harvard).

On Jay Wright: "I'll tell you this about Villanova and Jay Wright. In all our prep over the years, he's the only coach we never prepared a scouting report for."

Yikes. But you know what? Take a look at that list again.

The criticisms most commonly hurled Williams' way -- especially after the Stilman White/Kansas-UNC/triangle-and-two debacle in last year's Elite Eight, which, by the way, also probably benefitted Self on the other list -- are ones not uncommonly ascribed to Wright -- a great recruiter who masks X's and O's deficiencies with talent. Two other guys on that list, Barnes and Boeheim, have noted histories of recruiting the nation's elite.

Wright's local cred also took something of a hit last season when his Wildcats took a harsh tumble down the Big East rankings after a prolonged period of success.

Then you have a guy like Dunphy, whom you won't hear a negative word about, but who struggles to win NCAA tournament games after his Owls put together consistently impressive regular seasons and routinely knock off Top 10 opponents. His recruits can be from a slightly different pool than Wright's, and yet he hits home runs more often than not with the kids he does get to commit.

These lists are all a matter of perspective and how you look at college coaches. Is their job to maximize what talent they can recruit, or simply to acquire as much of it as they can? Of course, the answer is both, but different coaches have different skill sets, resources and backgrounds. It's worth a reminder, though, that both are just a year away from sharing a conference, which will obviously eliminate some of the differences.

Bottom line, always great to see the national love for Fran. As for Jay, it's easy to beat on a guy while his program is down. And as Roy Williams and Jim Boehiem will tell you, they'll even beat on you when you're (mostly) up.

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.