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The Boylen Point

The news that Jim Boylen is staying at Utah told us two things about the men's basketball coach.

First, he's going to be in demand. Get used to it. His name will come up every time the Utes have a good season. Utah seems to be a preferred place for elite level programs to go shopping.

Second, he's a smart guy. He told Arizona and Memphis he wasn't interested.

That's not to say taking either job -- had it been offered -- would have been dumb. In fact, each would be a good career move - at least in the short term. It surely would have meant a salary jump.

But Boylen also knows he's not ready for a step like that. He's only been a head coach two seasons. Remember Ray Giacoletti? He took the Utah job after coaching four years at Eastern Washington and three at North Dakota State -- yet and still got in over his head.

It might seem a no-brainer to take a job like Arizona, but coaches nowadays seem to be rethinking their plans. Mark Few at Gonzaga and Dana Altman at Creighton are two who stayed at smaller schools and established national respect. At such schools, the pressure to win national championships is considerably lower, but the pay is still great. Not as great as at bigger schools, but not many people would scoff at Boylen's $600,000 deal at Utah (that contract is being renegotiated.)

I'm not convinced Boylen is a lifer at Utah, but he made the right choice. His decision will help recruiting, foster goodwill among fans, increase credibility and give him needed experience - whether he stays at Utah long-term or not.

'Tis better to build a program gradually than to flame out in one quick ball of fire.