With assistant coach Mark Madsen leaving the program to take over as head coach of the Los Angeles D-fenders of the NBA D-League, Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins had a vacancy to fill on his coaching staff.
Dawkins has found a replacement and an experienced one at that, as Stanford announced on Wednesday that Tim O’Toole will join the coaching staff. O’Toole, who spent last season as the director of basketball operations at Syracuse, has two decades of experience as both an assistant and head coach at the college level.
Prior to rejoining Jim Boeheim at Syracuse (O’Toole served as an assistant at Syracuse from 1991-95), O’Toole spent six seasons as a television analyst at both ESPN and SNY and a color commentator on St. John’s radio broadcasts.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join Johnny’s staff and work for such a tremendous institution,” O’Toole said in the release announcing the move. “I have been blessed in my career to have the fortune of working at elite academic institutions while coaching under Hall of Fame mentors.
“I have known Johnny for 20 years, respect him greatly and believe in him whole-heartedly. Johnny has always been committed to excellence and Stanford is an incredible institution that represents excellence. I am grateful to be a part of the program and equally excited about the direction we are headed.”
O’Toole joins a program that won’t lack for talent in 2013-14, with forwards Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell and guards Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle all returning. There’s also the return of key reserve Anthony Brown, who missed all of last season due to a hip injury.
The Cardinal finished last season with a 19-15 record (9-9 Pac-12), losing to Alabama in the second round of the Postseason NIT.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.