One of my favorite things to do during the boring offseason months is to track the Coaching Carousel and figure out how one job change set off a chain reaction that created a notable hiring.
Today, we’ll look at Steve Forbes, the former Tennessee assistant under Bruce Pearl who spent the last two years as the head coach at Northwest Florida State JC, and how he landed an assistant position at Wichita State.
It all started with Florida-Gulf Coast, who rode the #DunkCity wave to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed with upsets of Georgetown and San Diego State. The attention that the program derived from that postseason run and the enthralling style that head coach Andy Enfield had his team play resulted in him getting hired by USC to take over the program when Kevin O’Neill was fired.
With quite a bit of talent returning and a palpable buzz around a program at a school on the beach in Florida, FGCU was an enticing job. Kansas assistant coach Joe Dooley won the #DunkCity sweepstakes and was hired to take over the program. Bill Self needed to fill the void that Dooley left on his staff, so he hired Jerrance Howard, then an assistant at SMU and a former player under Self at Illinois.
With an opening on his staff, Larry Brown tapped into the coaching staff of a team that reached the Final Four, hiring away KT Turner from Wichita State. That hiring opened up a spot for Forbes to be hired by Gregg Marshall.
If Forbes is going to send anyone a thank you note for his hiring, it should probably be Brett Comer, Sherwood Brown and the rest of FGCU’s roster.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.