Blaine Taylor has always done things a certain way in his 11-year tenure with the Old Dominion Monarchs. He recruits hard workers that aren’t highly touted, molds them and eventually produces great all-around basketball players. This method is by any means necessary as most seasons Taylor’s team resembles a FBS football powerhouse with how many players he redshirts. A method that has produced 237 wins, three CAA titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances in the last eight years.
But recently, there has been a bit of philosophy change in acquiring talent. After finishing fourth in the CAA and missing the NCAA tournament last season, Taylor brought in North Carolina State big man DeShawn Painter for the upcoming season. Taylor also brought in another ACC talent to ODU last season in guard Donte Hill. Both Painter and Hill will be crucial pieces this season if the Monarchs want to regain CAA supremacy.
The old cliche is: “If it aint broke, don’t fix it.” But the cliche is old and we do live in a time where coaches are disposed at the moment their winning prowess falls. Sure, Taylor’s methodology might have been working, but the majority of college basketball has been transferring players in and out for years. For some coaches, it is how they make their money. For others, recruiting the highest ranked High School players in the Nation and sticking them in the starting lineup the second they step on campus, is the answer to success. The CAA is a growing mid-major conference that is more competitive than ever. Players know they can transfer from major conferences to the CAA and still gain exposure nationally.
With all that being said, I think some change is necessary. Nothing stays the same forever and Taylor seems to recognize that. He isn’t totally abandoning his ideology, rather, it’s more of a tweak. Monarch fans will most likely see the redshirted players this season that they are accustomed to. And those players will make their impact in the next few years. But if the trend of the last two seasons hold, fans will also see an infusion of transfer players that will bring instant talent to the team.
Whatever the case, I think Taylor has earned the right to be trusted in any coaching adjustments he wants to make.