Basketball coach Jeff Van Gundy has expressed his disappointment with the recent firing of Mike Anderson, the former head coach of St. John’s basketball team. Van Gundy has called the decision “trumped-up” and believes that it was unjust.
Van Gundy, who previously worked as an assistant coach for St. John’s, is not alone in his criticism of the university’s decision to let go of Anderson. The move came as a surprise to many fans and analysts alike, especially given that Anderson had led the team to a 16-11 record during his first season at St. John’s.
Adding fuel to this controversy is Rick Pitino's appointment as head coach at St.John's; he was previously Van Gundy's boss when they were both working for the New York Knicks in 1997.
In an interview with ESPN Radio on Wednesday, Van Gundy spoke out against what he sees as an injustice surrounding Anderson's termination:
"This thing with Mike (Anderson) being fired...I don't know how else you could put it other than it was completely trumped up," said Van Gundy.
He went on to say that he felt bad for Anderson and questioned why he wasn't given more time to build up the program:
"I feel bad for Mike...he did nothing but work hard there and try to do things right."
Van Gundy also expressed skepticism about Pitino stepping into this situation:
"It'll be interesting because I don't know how much juice Rick really has left."
It remains unclear whether or not any action will be taken regarding these comments from Jeff Van Gundy or if any further information will come out regarding Mike Anderson's departure from St.Johns' coaching staff.
For now, all eyes are on Pitino and his ability to lead a program that already faces scrutiny from some members of the basketball community.