The Horn Era Must End Now

I, and we, have tiptoed around the subject on this blog for the better part of the season.  We’ve pointed out the failures and deficiencies during the course of the season.  We’ve expressed our frustration with the program here and on social media platforms.  But I’m not sure any of us have come right out and said it, so now that the season is mercifully over, here it is:

Darrin Horn must go.

Following up a 15-16 season with a 14-16 season with a 10-21 season is not acceptable.  Not at South Carolina, and I dare say not at any power conference school.

We have below average basketball tradition here at USC.  I get that.  Heck, what little basketball tradition we do have is dying off with each passing season.  The last time we won an NCAA tournament game was 1973 for crying out loud.

But that is no excuse to hang on to a guy who not only has not had a winning season in three of his four years here, but has driven the program into a ditch at a dizzying speed.  And the worst part – where is the hope if he stays?  South Carolina fans are supposedly famous for saying “wait ’til next year”.  Think any rational Carolina fan is saying “wait til next year” if Eric Hyman announces in the next couple of weeks that Horn will be back in 2012-2013?

We have a moderate amount of talent, but Horn has either wasted scholarships or failed to develop several players currently on the roster.  Whatever the reason, that’s on him.  We couldn’t shoot, were sloppy with the basketball, fouled at inopportune times, didn’t foul when we needed to, and were downright undisciplined more often than not.  That’s not all coaching, but much of it is.

I watched today as Brenton Williams came off the bench to score 13 points in 13 minutes and hit back-to-back three pointers to fuel a second-half rally.  Then, in the final minutes of the game, he had a nice comfortable seat on the bench. Why?  My guess is Bruce Ellington took his spot on the floor, and Williams couldn’t be in there for match-up reasons.  But if you can have Eric Smith and Williams on the floor at the same time, then you can most certainly have Ellington and Williams on the floor at the same time.

Speaking of Ellington, why did he sit with four fouls until the four-minute timeout?  Jimmy Dyches, one of the best color guys in the business and a basketball man through and through, was calling for Ellington to come back in at the 10-minute mark.  What have you got to lose at that point?  Your seeding in the NIT?  (You are welcome to point out that we made our run with Ellington on the bench, but I would respond that maybe our run would’ve been even bigger and better with him on the floor.)

That was how it was all season.  A Saturday afternoon point guard like me pointing out glaring coaching errors by our million-dollar coach.  I don’t claim to know as much about basketball as Darrin Horn, but it sure felt like it at times.

If Hyman announces Horn will be back next year, I hope he gives me a reasoned explanation as to why.  Don’t tell me he “deserves more time” without telling me why.  Don’t tell me about how hard it is to win here without telling me how Clemson has done just fine in a much tougher conference.  Don’t tell me it’s a “process” without telling me how long I’m going to have to endure it.

You know what he can tell me?  We’re cheap.  We don’t want to pay Horn’s buyout because we’re cheap and we don’t really mind that we’re not good at basketball and we want to focus our resources elsewhere.

That will be much better than telling me Darrin Horn is the man for the job, because it is quite obvious he is not.

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