Tonight Pres. Bush will deliver his State of the Union Address. In it, I'm pretty sure he'll discuss the state of America -- as he sees it. There will be mention of Iraq, bin Laden, terrorism, the economy and it will undoubtedly end with "God Bless America", as he smirks to the camera, waves and exits the capitol before things get too ugly. So in honor of this event, I have decided to give my own address, but instead of it being directed to the nation, I will direct it to Utah basketball.
I think you can see Ray Giacoletti somewhere in there getting mobbed by Utah fans.
This season has offered Utah fans some of its most troubling times. Without a doubt, Utah basketball has suffered through its worst season in decades and even though at the present time things have improved, questions still remain. Will this Utah team regain its luster that pushed it to elite status in the 1990s? Will Ray Giacoletti prove to be an asset to Utah basketball, rather than a liability? At this time, these two questions seem to be the most vital to Utah basketball, but they are also questions without answers at this time.
I am sad to say that the state of Utah basketball is not good. The program is struggling and even though there might be a glimmer of light ahead, the long trek back to respectability will be a struggle. The path Utah takes in the coming months has yet to be paved, but it will unquestionably revolve around Ray Giacoletti and his ability to succeed with Utah. If he can't and it's made apparently clear as this season concludes, the Utes will take a new path. If however the current triumphs prove to be a trend, rather than an anomaly, it is a good possibility Utah will continue on its current path.
Either path will prove to be a historical point in Utah basketball. It will either lead us down the road to victory, or to a losing journey never before felt at the University of Utah. To say the next couple of months are some of the most important in Utah history would be an understatement. If this program is going to stay relevant on the national stage and contend once again in the conference, the best path is needed. Right now however, no one knows exactly what path is correct, as we can only speculate. And that is exactly what I have done over the past couple months and it's something that I will continue to do. It is my belief that the status quo has failed Utah hoops and if there is any hope of this ship being righted, then change is probably the best solution for this program.
With that said, I do believe that it is appropriate we wait until the season ends before evaluating the situation and whether an action should be taken. If Utah basketball can improve and get things turned around, then maybe the current path will be warranted. However if the inconsistent play continues and Utah fails to finish above .500 in conference play, I would endorse the idea of change. We cannot stay the course if it's obvious the course leads us down a disastrous path.
Though this season has offered little enjoyment, I do believe there are some positives we can build on. The Utes are a very young team and it does look as if talent is there. If the talent isn't damaged by the wrong choices made once March rolls around, the future of this program should be strong. Whether Giacoletti can coach is still unanswered, yet I don't think one can doubt his recruiting ability. Though his recruits have struggled at times during this season, most have shown flashes of talent and that has me optimistic about the future.
Don't let anyone tell you the best days of Utah basketball are behind us. With some hard work and strong direction, the future of this team should be bright. It just will take a visionary to rebuild them into the power they once were.