Bill Self

Fun with lists: the ‘most feared recruiters’ in the country


When it comes to building a program, head coaches are, generally speaking, the people that get all the credit.

You hear about the success their career coaching record and you see infographics with how many NCAA tournaments they’ve reached. Their careers are valued on the merits of conference championships and how far they’ve gotten in the NCAA tournament. They are the face of their program.

But their role as CEO can only be done effectively if they have the right players in their program, which is why you see so many programs use one of their three assistant coaching positions on someone labeled as a ‘recruiter’.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman went published a list of the most feared recruiters in the country, based on a poll of more than 200 coaches.

No. 1 on that list? Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, who was joined by his Jayhawk counterpart Jerrance Howard, who checked in at No. 12. Duke, with Jeff Capel and Steve Wojciechowski making an appearance, was one of two other programs that managed to sneak two assistants onto the list.

The third?

San Diego State, as both Brian Dutcher and Jerome Hutson were ranked in the top 20.

And it makes some sense. The Aztecs have landed their fair share of talented recruits and transfers (Josh Davis) in recent years. Kawhi Leonard and Jamaal Franklin immediately come to mind, but Malcolm Thomas has been in and out of the NBA as well, and Dakarai Allen and Winston Shepard were both highly regarded recruits in their own right.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this list is that only one Kentucky assistant coach — Orlando Antigua — is listed, and he’s fifth despite the fact that the Wildcats are head and shoulders above the rest of the country when it comes to bringing in elite level talent. That should tell you a thing or two about just how good Coach Cal is as a recruiter; he doesn’t even need to lean on his assistants to do the heavy lifting.

His program sells itself.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?