Starting Five: Who's got next after Roy Williams and best facial hair in college basketball

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Hall of Fame college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy answers five critical (and sometimes irrelevant) questions in the sport each week. This week, he breaks down the best facial hair in the game while trying to overcome a serious case of goatee envy.

1. What changes should schools make to better control autograph hounds and avoid situations like Johnny Manziel / Todd Gurley?

DeCourcy: I’m not as appalled by the autograph rules as some of my colleagues in the media business. If it’s OK to sign autographs for money, why not just allow players to take that messenger bag full of cash from the wealthy booster? If that’s where you want this to go, OK, but at least be consistent.

Remember the outrage from the media over Cam Newton being allowed to finish his season at Auburn?

The allegations in that case didn’t even directly involve the player, and yet so many loud voices wanted him off the field. What Manziel and Gurley did — they did it themselves, and did so knowing they were flouting the rules.

Autograph hounds aren’t the issue here. Unscrupulous businessmen who traffic in autographs and memorabilia are the issue.

Players know what the rules are in regards to those people. Both Manziel and Gurley not only engaged in behavior that was counter to NCAA rules, they engaged in behavior that was easily detected. They were both selfish and foolish.

Sorry, there are so many people in college sports who deserve sympathy more than those two.

2. Do you buy into the idea that the UNC academic scandal would make more headlines if it involved another university? Why or why not?

DeCourcy: I’m not sure what news sources others are reading that are ignoring the North Carolina scandal. It even made Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.

Perhaps it’s not a big deal in American Banker, but it was a huge story in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and on CNN.com.

There’ve been follow-up pieces featuring the reaction of NCAA president Mark Emmert, who two years ago told me, “We certainly will wait on that—or any case similar to that—until all the facts unfold. And there still is information to be developed on that case, both by the institution and others.”

Well, it was a long wait, but now Emmert is saying this is “a case that potentially strikes at the heart of what higher education is about.”

There also was the development that the accreditation board that covers UNC-Chapel Hill is examining its status as a result of these reports.

Now, if this were another coach – I don’t even need to mention his name, do I? – would that person be granted the latitude to defend himself in the way Roy Williams has? Hey, if that’s what you want to say, say it.

3. The ACC said it will experiment with a 30-second shot clock in exhibition games this year. How much of an impact will that have on the game and how will it help or hurt players in adjusting to the game at the NBA level?

DeCourcy: There is zero value to this, other than taking a bit of a stand.

One ACC coach said during a meeting I attended that he thinks it’s inevitable the clock be cut to 30 seconds. I’m not sure if that’s correct, and I’m fairly convinced it will not have the intended effect of speeding up the game.

But I’m 100 percent certain that we’ll learn nothing from exhibition games played with a shorter clock.

For Division I teams, exhibition games can only be played against opponents from a lower Division. Only in rare circumstances are those opponents not overmatched.

Clemson won its exhibition game last season 98-44. Georgia Tech won an exhibition 90-53. Neither of those teams even made the NCAAs.

What are we supposed to learn from games such as this?

Anyway, a shorter clock is not the solution to making the game more exciting, more “offensive.” If it ever were adopted, it would lead to shorter possessions even more profoundly impacted by the physical defense coaches refuse to abandon because it’s an easier method of influencing the game than to help make their players better at shooting, dribbling and passing.

4. The Utah State players hold the crown for best hair in college hoops, but who's got the best facial hair in college basketball?

DeCourcy: Having seen what pitcher Brian Wilson has done to his face in order to some level of individual recognition, I hesitate even to answer this question. Don’t want to encourage anyone.

What’s interesting is that even if I choose to make this about legitimate stylistic choices – which, if anyone knows me, is certainly the direction I’d take this question – it’s a tough call for one simple reason.

Most people in the game shave clean. OK, there’s the occasional columnist with a goatee. But coaches?

Even Fran Dunphy excised that glorious moustache of yesteryear. But there is Frank Haith, now head coach at Tulsa. Haith brings it with that goatee.

I envy it. I’ve never been good at trimming mine, and I’ve been trying to master it for 15 years. Frank combines that perfect chin music with a sweet sense of style. Not many college coaches do cuffs better.

Yep, Frank Haith. That’s your answer.

5. Who would be a good fit to be Roy Williams' successor?

DeCourcy: I’m even more hesitant to answer this because, for all I know, it could be years before Roy chooses to retire. And I do firmly believe his career will end at the time of his choosing.

People have been trying to anoint Mike Krzyzewski’s successor for how long now?

It’s a natural game, but seriously, who in 2009 thought Kevin Ollie would replace Jim Calhoun – and win a national title in his second season?

The one thing I would say about any of these schools when it is time to move on to a new coach: For heaven’s sake, do not worry about where the candidates went to college. Do not concern one’s self with whether or not they are part of the “family.”

Does having a graduate of your school work?

Well, yes: Gary Williams, Roy Williams, Ollie, Jim Boeheim, Mick Cronin, Fred Hoiberg. And, for a wide variety of reasons, no: Sidney Lowe, Matt Doherty, Clyde Drexler.

And, obviously, it doesn’t matter: Krzyzewski (went to Army), Bill Self (went to Oklahoma State), Tony Bennett (went to Green Bay), John Calipari (went to Clarion), Jamie Dixon (went to TCU), Sean Miller (went to Pitt).

The smart thing to do is hire the best coach available to you. Given that the school in question is North Carolina, whenever the job opens virtually every coach in the game will be willing to listen to an approach. The odds that the most qualified among them would own a UNC degree seem fairly remote.