UConn is Back!

Today on the show, Brad and Kevin discuss several key stories from the week that was in college basketball. First, they talk about UConn’s return to the Big East. Then, they discuss their surprises and strong opinions from the NBA Draft. They also analyze Ryan Woolridge’s commitment to Gonzaga and what it means for the Zags this season before breaking down Brad’s small forward rankings.

FIBA U19 World Cup– D1 Roster Notes and Primer

By Kevin Sweeney

In the weeks post-NBA Draft, there isn’t that much pressing news in the college basketball landscape .There are a few names to watch still in the transfer portal, and soon enough we’ll hit International Trip Season. For now though, those of us wanting to get our hoops fix have to look for other options, and luckily the FIBA U19 World Cup provides us with a great way to spend 10 days. With over 50 current, incoming, and future D1 players including several elite prospects all playing, the event will provide perhaps the best look at players of all levels that we’ll get this summer.

After all, two years ago we got our first look at RJ Barrett, Lindell Wigginton, and the rest of a bright young crop of Canadians that stunned Team USA in the Gold Medal Game in Cairo. That tournament also saw the emergence of Rui Hachimura for Japan among its top performances.

I’ve done my best to compile the rosters of every guy of interest to college basketball fans playing in this year’s event. First, the active players and 2019 signees playing in the event:

Francisco CáffaroArgentinaVirginia2018
Francisco FarabelloArgentinaTCU2019
Kody StattmannAustraliaVirginia2018
Kyle BowenAustraliaSaint Mary’s2019
Alex DucasAustraliaSaint Mary’s2019
Tyler RobertsonAustraliaEastern Wash2019
Isaiah LeeAustraliaUC Irvine2019
Josh KunenAustraliaSan Francisco2019
AJ LawsonCanadaSouth Carolina2018
Damion SquireCanadaUC Davis2018
Joel BrownCanadaCalifornia2019
Tyrese SamuelCanadaSeton Hall2019
Jahcobi NeathCanadaWake Forest2019
Jaden BediakoCanadaSanta Clara2019
Michael WangChinaPenn2018
Joel AyayiFranceGonzaga2017
Nicholas EvtimovFranceWestern Carolina2019
Rainer HermanovskisLatviaWilliam & Mary2019
Martynas ArlauskasLithuaniaGonzaga2019
Arnas AdomaviciusLithuaniaUNC-Greensboro2019
Oumar BalloMaliGonzaga2019
Karim CoulibalyMaliPittsburgh2019
Fousseyni DrameMaliSaint Peter’s2019
Hassan DrameMaliSaint Peter’s2019
Flynn CameronNew ZealandDePaul2018
Kruz Perrott-HuntNew ZealandSouth Dakota2019
Max De GeestNew ZealandLong Beach St2019
James MoorsNew ZealandColorado State2019
AJ EduPhilippinesToledo2018
Giovanni SantiagoPuerto RicoKent State2019
Jose PlacerPuerto RicoNorth Florida2018
Filip PetrusevSerbiaGonzaga2018
Tyrese HaliburtonUnited StatesIowa State2018
Isaac LikeleleUnited StatesOklahoma State2018
Reggie PerryUnited StatesMississippi State2018
Kira LewisUnited StatesAlabama2018
Trevion WilliamsUnited StatesPurdue2018
Jeremiah Robinson-EarlUnited StatesVillanova2019

A huge list, loaded with high-major players who will make a significant impact on the college basketball world this season. Seeing the four-man Gonzaga contingent of Petrusev, Arlauskas, Ayayi, and Ballo is exciting, especially given the amount of minutes the Bulldogs have to replace. A pair of potential breakout candidates from the defending national champions in Stattmann and Caffaro are also guys to be excited about. However, a pair of mid-major names from small countries I can’t wait to watch are Michael Wang (China, Penn) and AJ Edu (Toledo, Philippines). Both showed significant promise as freshmen, and now will be thrust into high-usage roles in this event.

I also compiled the 2020 recruits playing in the event from the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Others will likely emerge as college-track options during this event, but as of now, these are the names to know:

Jalen GreenUnited States22020
Cade CunninghamUnited States32020
Scottie BarnesUnited States52020
Evan MobleyUnited States12020
Jalen SuggsUnited States122020
Ziaire WilliamsUnited States82020
Josh PrimoCanada542021
Karim ManeCanada1242020
Charles BediakoCanada902021
Keon Ambrose-HyltonCanada802020
Matthew Alexander-MoncrieffeCanada1142020
Andre CurbeloPuerto Rico592020
Victor RosaPuerto Rico1872020
Dyondre DominguezPuerto Rico3242020
Julian StrawtherPuerto Rico512020Gonzaga

As if Gonzaga fans didn’t have enough reasons to tune into this one, 2020 commit Julian Strawther will suit up for Puerto Rico, moving the total of current and future Zags in Greece to 5. Major stock-riser Karim Mane of Canada will have my full attention after a strong spring, and should have the chance for big minutes on a team with questions at lead guard. Speaking of point guards, Andre Curbelo of Puerto Rico is one of the better ones in the 2020 class and will run the team for a young PR squad.

I’ll have plenty of notes from this entire event both on this site and on Twitter. Play gets underway on June 29 and runs through July 7, with all games streamed live on YouTube.com/FIBA.

This page will be updated with any late changes in roster information.

Ranking the Mid-Major Coaching Hires, 1-40

By Kevin Sweeney

First, we ranked all 14 high-major coaching hires. Now, we get down to business with the mid-major hires, ranking all 40. This was much more difficult than the high-major landscape, mostly due to more internal hires, less concrete information on who else was considered, and variance in level of program from good Mountain West jobs paying over a million dollars a year to MEAC jobs with little to no financial resources.

As I mentioned before the high-majors segment, the methodology here is based on how good a hire the school realistically could have made rather than simply how good the coach is. This is why a guy like Steve Alford can be behind a guy like Scott Cross– it’s based on the circumstances around the hire. I tend to look at hires based on regional and school fit, recruiting prowess, coaching acumen, and experience. I also cooked in a bit of what the coach has already done so far: retaining players, recruiting wins, staff hires.

That said, let’s get down to business.

#1. Belmont (Casey Alexander)– This hire was always expected, but kudos to Belmont for getting it done after Rick Byrd retired. Alexander checks every possible box– regional fit, history of success, alum, and an excellent recruiter. He inherits an excellent young core despite graduating Dylan Windler and should crush it while staying in Nashville.

#2. Northern Kentucky (Darrin Horn)– Another perfect hire. Horn has the ideal pedigree for a one-bid-league hire: prior D1 success, regional connections, high-major experience, and an appealing style of play. Horn won big at Western Kentucky before floundering at South Carolina, but working on Shaka Smart’s staff at Texas has rebuilt his stock and his recent work recruiting and developing Jaxson Hayes should not be overlooked. NKU is a job with high potential and they got the perfect man for the job.

#3. George Washington (Jamion Christian)– Christian is a rising star in this business. After a pair of NCAA Tournament bids at Mount St. Mary’s, Christian took on the Siena rebuild and in one year doubled their win total, made the Saints a MAAC contender, and landed an NBA prospect in Jalen Pickett. He’s an engaging guy and a smart offensive mind, and a move back to the DMV should only help him on the recruiting trail. I don’t know what the ceiling for the GW job is, but they did about as well as they could have in landing Christian.

#4. BYU (Mark Pope)– The year-over-year improvement brought on by Pope at UVU was extremely impressive, making Pope the clear favorite at BYU when Dave Rose stepped down. Pope is an excellent recruiter, using the transfer market in particular to great success in Orem. After retaining Yoeli Childs and bringing Jake Toolson with him, Pope has a chance to win big early in Provo.

#5. Troy (Scott Cross)– Some mid-major was going to get a steal this cycle in Cross, whose firing at UT-Arlington despite winning 72 games in his final three seasons remains a travesty. After a year on the TCU staff, Cross makes his return to the head seat at Troy, a job without much history of success. Cross’s teams have always played fast and been tough, and those qualities should allow him to get things rolling quickly for the Trojans.

#6. Nevada (Steve Alford)– Landing a coach who has dominated your league in the past always seems like a win, and Nevada did just that in hiring Alford, whose time in the Cherry and Silver at New Mexico went very, very well. His tenure at UCLA was less convincing, but Alford and sidekick Craig “Noodles” Neal have had plenty of success in the past landing under-the-radar gems in the Mountain West. The biggest concern I have is the contract– a backloaded 10-year deal that could be tough for Nevada to get out of if things go south.

#7. Mercer (Greg Gary)– Mercer went the high-major assistant route in replacing Bob Hoffman and absolutely crushed it by hiring Gary. Matt Painter’s right-hand-man in West Lafayette is a great offensive mind and player developer, and Gary has hit the ground running on the recruiting trail thus far. The SoCon had its best season in recent memory last season, and hiring coaches like Gary will only continue that momentum.

#8. Appalachian State (Dustin Kerns)– Dustin Kerns just won 20 games at Presbyterian. Presbyterian. One of the hardest jobs in the country. He won 20 games in year 2! It’s hard to explain how impressive that is, and App State was smart to snatch him up before someone else did.

#9. Kennesaw State (Amir Abdur-Rahim)– Some around the college basketball world have mentioned Kennesaw State to me as a sleeping giant, and they took the first step towards reaching some of that potential in hiring an excellent recruiter with high-major pedigree in Abdur-Rahim. He’s incredibly well-respected in the talent-rich state of Georgia, and if he can convince some solid in-state kids to stay home he’ll have a ton of success quickly.

#10. UNLV (TJ Otzelberger)– A tough job to evaluate given how many differing opinions are out there on how good a job this is. UNLV paid Otzelberger handsomely, and he should bring a style of play that is welcomed in Vegas. He has a good reputation as a recruiter and met expectations at South Dakota State after inheriting Mike Daum. Still, I just want to see a bit more from Otzelberger before I’m all in despite some early recruiting wins.

#11. Georgia State (Rob Lanier)– 14 years since his last D1 head job, Rob Lanier gets a second shot at things after years of being one of the better recruiters in the country. He’ll do so at a very good mid-major job in Georgia State where he should be able to recruit plenty of talent both from the transfer market and the prep circuit. We’ll see how much he has learned from working under Rick Barnes after struggling on the X & O side of things at Siena back in the day.

#12. Elon (Mike Schrage)– I had heard nothing but good things about Schrage during his time at Ohio State and Stanford as an assistant, and those reviews have been proven right thus far based on his strong recruiting start at Elon. Three freshmen and two transfers later, Schrage has found a way to inject some much-needed talent into this Elon roster for the short and long terms, and with a new arena to sell to recruits more wins on the trail should be on the way.

#13. Ohio (Jeff Boals)– Boals was always the favorite to replace Saul Phillips at Ohio given his history with the program, but a strong year at Stony Brook this past season secured that. Boals did a nice job picking up where Steve Pikiell left off at Stony Brook, and getting back to a place where he has significant recruiting connections should bode well for the future of the Ohio program.

#14. UMKC (Billy Donlon)– This is a tough job, make no mistakes. UMKC’s conference affiliation and lack of recent success makes it very difficult to lure recruits. They made a strong hire though in Donlon, a defensive whiz who was fired unfairly at Wright State before making an impact on the staffs of both John Beilein and Chris Collins at Michigan and Northwestern, respectively. This is a complete rebuild, but Donlon was as good a name as UMKC could have pulled.

#15. Siena (Carmen Maciariello)– The highest-rated of the internal hires, Siena didn’t have to do much thinking when it came to naming Maciariello the job when Jamion Christian left suddenly. An alum of the program with deep ties to the region and to the Albany City Rocks AAU program, Maciariello is a hard-working recruiter who fittingly gets his first head gig at his alma mater. Early returns have been strong, retaining Siena’s entire talented young core headlined by Jalen Pickett and winning a recruiting battle with multiple high-majors for California wing Gary Harris.

#16. Southern Illinois (Bryan Mullins)– Being around the Loyola program the last two years, all I’ve ever heard is how important Bryan Mullins was to that entire operation. Mullins understands where SIU fans want this program to be, and now he’ll be tasked with turning things around at a program starved to get back to the NCAA Tournament after a 12-year absence.

#17. Fairfield (Jay Young)– Young deserved the Stony Brook job several years ago when Steve Pikiell left for Rutgers, and now he finally gets the chance to run his own program after being key in the Rutgers rebuild. Young is virtually the opposite of Sydney Johnson, a hard-nosed, disciplined defensive mind who will look to grind his way to wins compared to Johnson’s 3-point heavy, defense-often-optional style.

#18. Stetson (Donnie Jones)– Jones fell off after a strong start at UCF, but after three years as an assistant he’s back in the head coaching ranks at Stetson. For a difficult A-Sun job like this, pulling a name like Jones is a big win, and he has answered the bell early with some nice recruiting wins.

#19. Morgan State (Kevin Broaddus)– Broaddus is a better recruiter with a far better resume than most incoming MEAC coaches in this day and age, most recently serving as the primary player-getter for Mark Turgeon at Maryland. A black cloud still hangs over him from his time at Binghamton, but his recruiting prowess in the DMV should get him plenty of talent from day 1.

#20. Mississippi Valley State (Lindsey Hunter)– Hunter was an amazing hire for MVSU and no one is talking about it (shocking, I know). I have no idea if Hunter will win at MVSU, but landing a guy from Mississippi who understands the SWAC and has played and coached in the NBA seems like a home run. Hire a JUCO head coach who can get players in the region and you’re cooking.

#21. Idaho State (Ryan Looney)– Looney has won big at the D2 and NAIA levels, coached an NBA prospect in Daulton Hommes, and is from the Pacific Northwest. He’s a winner who understands how to get it done at a difficult job, which will be necessary given Jeff Goodman’s Chain of Command series rated ISU as by far the worst job in the Big Sky.

#22. Stony Brook (Geno Ford)– Despite a disastrous run at Bradley, Ford definitely deserved another crack at a head coaching gig given his success at Kent State and at the non-D1 level. Hiring from within with Ford gave Stony Brook the best chance to retain Elijah Olaniyi, Miles Latimer, and the rest of their young core.

#23. North Dakota (Paul Sather)– UND went to the non-D1 well to replace Brian Jones and made an incredibly logical hire in Sather, who has won over 75% of his games in the last 5 years at Northern State in South Dakota. Understanding how to recruit in the region will be key, and Sather certainly has that knowledge. He should do well for the Fighting Hawks.

#24. Howard (Kenneth Blakeney)– This hire makes a lot of sense. Blakeney is from DC, went to Dematha Catholic (one of the best HS programs in the country), played at Duke, and has coached at multiple Ivy League spots. Those experiences should prepare him well for Howard, which has higher academic standards than the rest of the conference but has name recognition that allows them to recruit against mid-major programs.

#25. Utah Valley (Mark Madsen)– Hiring “Mad Dog” Madsen is an interesting choice for a UVU program that could have elected to hire from within or potentially hired Dave Rice, who was reported to be in the mix. In the end, Madsen’s LDS connections and NBA pedigree won out. We’ll see how he recruits to Orem.

#26. Presbyterian (Quinton Ferrell)– After nailing the Dustin Kerns hire, Presbyterian went for a similar mold in Ferrell, an established top assistant at a regional mid-major. Being an alum sealed the deal here. As I mentioned with Kerns’ hire at Appalachian State, this is an absolutely brutal job, and losing Adam Flagler to Baylor really hurts.

#27. San Francisco (Todd Golden)– USF moved quick to promote Golden after Kyle Smith took the Washington State job, making the 33-year-old one of the nation’s youngest head coaches. Look for him to continue the “nerdball” theme from Smith at USF, though having to replace Frankie Ferrari will be a difficult first task.

#28. Wofford (Jay McAuley)– McAuley’s extensive experience in the SoCon and ability to maintain the culture from last season’s historic run made him an attractive candidate for Wofford. McAuley kept the roster together for the most part despite losing Keve Aluma to the transfer portal. Personally, I’d have shot higher given how high the stock the job has now compared to in the past, but there’s no reason McAuley can’t succeed in Spartanburg.

#29. Tennessee Tech (John Pelphrey)– The pedigree Pelphrey has, between being a star at Kentucky, working under Eddie Sutton and Billy Donovan, and having been a high-major HC, is impressive for a job of Tennessee Tech’s stature. However, I always worry about the adjustment of recruiting on private planes with official visits during football weekends to selling kids on coming to Cookeville, TN to bus around the OVC.

#30. South Dakota State (Eric Henderson)– Unlike last time, when SDSU went with a high-major assistant in TJ Otzelberger to replace Scott Nagy, the Jackrabbits elected to hire from within with Henderson. He’s excellent in developing talent and has experience in the prep ranks, but I would have chased the same mold as Otzelberger– a young, high-level recruiter. Failing to retain David Jenkins wasn’t the best first step, either.

#31. Cal Poly (John Smith)– A highly successful JUCO head coach, Smith gets a crack at the D1 ranks from being the associate head coach at Cal State Fullerton. Knowledge of the JUCO ranks should serve him well at perhaps the most difficult Big West job.

#32. Buffalo (Jim Whitesell)– This hire felt uninspiring coming off the best run in program history, especially given Whitesell’s history at Loyola-Chicago. If internal was the route Mark Alnutt wanted to go, I would have hired Bryan Hodgson, an elite recruiter who was responsible for landing the vast majority of the young Buffalo core. I will say I have been impressed with the talent Whitesell has been able to land so far in his first few months at UB, but I remain skeptical in the long-term.

#33. Montana State (Danny Sprinkle)– MSU took the “bring back the native son” approach with Sprinkle, who most recently worked with Smith under Dedrique Taylor at Cal State Fullerton. He has been well-regarded for his recruiting ability, but we’ll see if he is ready to run his own program.

#34. Lipscomb (Lennie Acuff)– This hire came mostly out of left field, as the 54-year-old Acuff left his long-tenured post at Alabama-Huntsville for his first-ever D1 coaching job. People have raved about his basketball mind, but it’s a hard sell for me to go with a guy who has never recruited at the Division 1 level.

#35. St. Joe’s (Billy Lange)– I understood firing Phil Martelli more than most did–St. Joe’s expects consistent A10 relevance and Martelli had fallen off– but you have to have a clear plan for a strong replacement if you are going to move on from a legend. Lange, who was 92-115 at Navy in his only D1 head coaching stint. His familiarity with Philadelphia basketball, ties to Jay Wright, and NBA background made him a “sexy” hire for St. Joe’s, but he wouldn’t have been my choice.

#36. Southeastern Louisiana (David Kiefer)– Kiefer was the internal hire made late in the game after Jay Ladner left for Southern Miss. This one isn’t sexy, but if he can continue to develop talent the way he did with guards like Marlain Veal, Kiefer could keep SLU in the mix in the Southland.

#37. William & Mary (Dane Fischer)– This is as much about the firing as it is the hire. Samantha Huge wanted to shoot higher than Tony Shaver as W&M looks for its elusive first NCAA Tournament appearance, but if you are going to move on from a tenured head coach with a strong returning core, you better have a name lined up to replace him. W&M didn’t, and the long delay caused several transfers out of the program, including Justin Pierce (North Carolina), Chase Audige (Northwestern), and Matt Milon (UCF). Fischer is a grinder who was deserving of an opportunity somewhere soon, but he doesn’t represent the slam dunk hire that would have been needed to justify throwing away this elite core’s final year together.

#38. SIU-Edwardsville (Brian Barone)– Promoting from within without a full search from a program that has lost 20 games or more in each of the past four seasons seems like a less-than-ideal endeavor. Barone is a good young coach, but he’ll have his hands full at a very, very tough job.

#39. Southern Miss (Jay Ladner)– Having to replace Doc Sadler after he helped rebuild the program was a brutal blow for USM. Ladner is an alum of the program, but was under .500 in five years at SLU. Given the other finalist was Texas Tech assistant and defensive genius Mark Adams, Ladner feels like a slightly underwhelming choice.

#40. Maryland-Eastern Shore (Jason Crafton)– Didn’t really get this one. Hiring a guy with no MEAC experience and little D1 experience as a whole seems like a mistake at a tough job like UMES. JUCO ties would have been a smart angle.

Ranking the High-Major Coaching Hires

By Kevin Sweeney

First off, thank you all for bearing with me as I took a bit of a break from writing about hoops this offseason– quite frankly, I was busy and devoid of ideas. But I’m back, and this week I’ll bring you my thoughts on every coaching change from this year’s carousel.

I’ll first explain my methodology in an attempt to prevent confusion. Basically, I am ranking these hires based on my perception of how good the coach is in comparison to the job they are accepting. For example, I’m not saying Mick Cronin is a worse coach than Ron Hunter by having UCLA’s hire of Cronin below Hunter’s at Tulane, but given who each school could reasonably have expected to land, Hunter’s hire is a better one than Cronin’s. I have included some consideration of what the coach has done so far in terms of building a staff and early recruiting wins. Generally, I evaluate a hire based on experience, regional fit, recruiting prowess, and coaching acumen.

We’ll get things started today with the high-major ranks, which featured some great hires and some weird ones.

#1. Texas A&M (Buzz Williams)– The Aggies’ long-term pursuit of Williams was one of the worst-kept secrets of the college basketball season, but they were able to lure the native Texan back to his home state from Blacksburg. An elite rebuilder who has been to the Sweet 16 at two different programs, Williams was a grand slam hire in College Station, and his recruiting could take a step forward from his Virginia Tech days by being closer to the area in which he has the most connections.

#2. Nebraska (Fred Hoiberg)– It was no secret the Cornhuskers would pursue the Lincoln native after he was fired by the Bulls, but the idea he’d actually accept the job was met with skepticism. But Hoiberg chose to return to Lincoln, potentially over better jobs in both college and the NBA. The Nebraska job is a polarizing one– amazing facilities and fan support and the ability to sell football, but no real tradition and a tough area to recruit in. Hoiberg had to build a roster from scratch after taking over and did so with a hodge-podge of transfers, JUCO players, and freshmen, and we’ll see if he can rekindle some of the magic he had rolling at Iowa State in Lincoln.

#3. Arkansas (Eric Musselman)– Another home run hire, as one of the hottest names in college coaching landed in Fayetteville after a remarkable stint at Nevada. Things soured down the stretch of a 2018-19 season that was so hyped up, but Musselman did unbelievable things in building up the Nevada program from 9-22 to a top-15 team nationally in the span of 4 years. He has already put together a terrific transfer recruiting class that should have the Razorbacks in top-25 contention in year one.

#4. Alabama (Nate Oats)– This one was a bit odd regionally, but in terms of coaching acumen Oats is a grand slam for Alabama. He’ll bring a toughness and accountability to the program that was lacking under Avery Johnson, and both Oats and right-hand-man Bryan Hodgson have shown the ability to go into crowds to land recruits. The cupboard Oats inherits is far from bare, and if he can quickly instill his culture into the program, this team should have lots of year 1 success.

#5. Michigan (Juwan Howard)– Definitely the hardest hire to evaluate at this point, given Howard’s complete lack of college coaching experience and the massive shoes he has to fill in John Beilein. While the recent wave of NBA hires have been largely hit-and-miss, I believe in Howard’s ability to grind on the recruiting trail and those familiar with him have raved about his knowledge of the game. Early returns on the hire look good given how strong a staff he assembled (Phil Martelli, Saddi Washington, Howard Eisley).

#6. Cincinnati (John Brannen)– Not enough was said about the job Brannen did in four-year run at Northern Kentucky, earning a pair of NCAA Tournament berths and averaging 24 wins per year in the last three seasons at a program in its Division 1 infancy. That’s why it was no surprise when Brannen earned the Cincinnati job after Mick Cronin departed for UCLA. He was able to retain star wing Jarron Cumberland and from there was able to mix and match with transfers and freshmen to fill out the roster and put the Bearcats right back into the thick of things in the AAC.

#7. Tulane (Ron Hunter)– This one was pretty impossible to evaluate given how much different a level Tulane is on in the college hoops hierarchy despite being in the AAC. Hunter is a very solid coach, a grinder on the recruiting trail with NCAA Tournament success. It’s going to take awhile, but Hunter seems like the right guy to hand this job to at this juncture.

#8. Virginia Tech (Mike Young)– Young wasn’t the flashy hire for Virginia Tech, but has proven to be an excellent coach during a long tenure at Wofford. He’s coming off leading Wofford to a remarkable season in which the Terriers spent time in the top 25, and now finally gets a crack at a bigger job after 17 years and almost 300 wins in Spartanburg. The main question with Young was not his coaching ability but rather his ability to land top talent in the ACC, but he has done a nice job of answering that so far by landing top-100 freshman Jalen Cone among others in the early period.

#9. St John’s (Mike Anderson)– The search process as a whole was somewhat laughable for the Red Storm, with too many leaks and an apparent disconnect throughout the nation as to how good (or bad) the St John’s job actually is right now. Anderson’s name came in out of left field after a whole host of mid-major names were tossed around, and the former Arkansas man quickly accepted it. I think most in college basketball think Anderson is a good coach (desptie not quite living up to expectations in Fayetteville) but the regional fit was as weird as they come. I was skeptical, but Anderson has done just about everything right so far, hiring a pair of assistants with strong ties to the region in Van Macon and Steve DeMeo, retaining LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron, and gaining some quick commitments. I’m in wait-and-see mode on this one, but it could turn out a lot better than the disaster many originally believed it to be.

#10. Vanderbilt (Jerry Stackhouse)– Vanderbilt moving on from Bryce Drew despite a brutal year three was a surprise, and the Stackhouse hire was definitely a bit outside the box. The concern for me is recruiting in the SEC given the elite coaching around the conference and Stackhouse’s lack of college coaching experience. Hiring elite recruiting assistant David Grace certainly should help, though.

#11. Temple (Aaron McKie)– This one has been done for over a year now, but McKie now has officially taken over for Fran Dunphy after the long-time head man officially ended his tenure after the 2018-19 season. McKie is a Philly guy and a Temple guy, both positives, but for Temple not to do a full search and see what’s out there when McKie is far from the clear-cut guy seems short-sighted, in my opinion.

#12. UCLA (Mick Cronin)– I’m not anti-Cronin generally– I think he’s a pretty solid coach who has won as much as he has at Cincinnati for a reason. But for a job that tries to act like a top-5 program in the country, landing a guy with Cronin’s resume and lack of NCAA Tournament success is underwhelming. He has no ties to California and has a reputation for not wanting to play games on the recruiting trail or with boosters– two things he’ll have to do in Westwood.

#13. Washington State (Kyle Smith)– Smith is a smart, smart guy whose “nerdball” worked well at San Francisco and brings the type of outside-the-box thinking that is imperative at a difficult job like Wazzu. I just question how he’ll consistently recruit enough talent to Pullman to make the Cougars relevant, even with Smith’s ability to maximize what he has.

#14. California (Mark Fox)– About as uninspiring a hire as could have been made. Fox is a good guy and he won at Nevada, but showed himself to be a middling Power 5 coach at a better job in Georgia. A major reason for his struggles in Athens was on the recruiting trail, and given the mass influx of talent necessary at Cal I am not overly optimistic. I think he’ll win enough to get Cal out of the basement, but I find it hard to believe Fox is the guy to get the Bears back to regular NCAA Tournament contention.