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Key Assistant Coaching Hires


Beginning in September and running up until November 10th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2017-2018 college hoops preview package.

Every offseason sees a lot of movement among college basketball’s assistant coaching ranks. But now that an FBI investigation has slammed college basketball with a huge offseason scandal, it has put even more eyes on the position that often helps so much in recruiting.

While it’s tough to gauge what the eventual fallout will be from the FBI’s findings, here are 10 programs who made solid additions to their coaching staffs this offseason.

Some of these coaches are former head guys who have taken assistant jobs while others are up-and-coming assistants with strong track records of landing players and developing talent.

There were notable hires made all over college basketball, but these are 10 to keep an eye on.

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Michael Porter Jr., Missouri Athletics

MICHAEL PORTER Sr., Missouri: Porter gets this spot mostly for being the recruiter that brought Missouri two of its best players in Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay Porter. But Porter is also the only member of this new Tigers staff under Cuonzo Martin who has worked at the school before. Yes, Porter Sr. was with the women’s basketball team before jumping to the men’s side to coach his sons, but he knows the school’s facilities and selling points, and as a parent, he’s had children already attend the school.

The irony of Porter’s inclusion on this list is that he was an assistant at Washington – where both Michael Jr. and Jontay were committed – until April, when he was fired along with Lorenzo Romar, as …

LORENZO ROMAR, Arizona: … the former Washington head coach now joins Sean Miller’s staff at Arizona after facing every team in the league for the past 15 years. As the new associate head coach of the Wildcats, Romar has recruited and scouted this league for as long as anyone. He gives Arizona a fresh perspective in what could be a huge year for them. Romar is accustomed to recruiting elite talent. He’s had six NBA first-round picks over his last six years at Washington, including top-ten picks in back-to-back years. He landed both Markelle Fultz and the Porters. He could get players, and he still should be able to get those players, who will now be coached by Miller.

TRENT JOHNSON, Louisville: With all of the turmoil and turnover at Louisville, first-time head coach David Padgett made a solid move in bringing in Johnson, a former veteran head coach. Having spent time at TCU, LSU, Stanford and Nevada, Johnson has been involved in a lot of different programs and helps give Padgett some experience on the bench. It also helps that Padgett can trust Johnson because he’s known him for more than 20 years. In high school Padgett was teammates with Johnson’s son, Terry, as the deep family connection helps form immediate trust for a coaching staff that was put together on the eve of a tough season.

DONNIE JONES, Wichita State: Since the Shockers are joining the American this season, hiring a former head coach in that league isn’t a bad move. Formerly the head coach at UCF, Jones knows some of the coaches and personnel in the league since he was only coaching there two seasons ago. Besides the familiarity factor, Jones is a solid recruiter and he’s been a winner as an assistant coach, having helped Billy Donovan and Florida to two national titles while working as an assistant with the Gators.

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CAMERON DOLLAR and DAVE RICE, Washington: New head coach Mike Hopkins gets some head-coaching help on the sidelines with former head coaches Dollar and Rice. The addition of Dollar, in particular, is intriguing since he was the head coach at Seattle and knows a lot of the region’s talent. Also a former assistant at Washington from 2002 through 2009, Dollar should hit the ground running. Rice has also recruited at a high level during his time at UNLV and should be an asset thanks to his extended time on the West Coast.

GREG HAIER, TONY BENFORD and BRAD ARMSTRONG, LSU: Will Wade hired a staff that has already recruited at a high level this year thanks to the late signing of point guard Tremont Waters and the verbal pledge from five-star big man Nazreon Reid. Armstrong is familiar with the SEC thanks to his stint at Ole Miss while Benford and Haier are veteran recruiters who bring a wealth of experience.

BRUISER FLINT, ED SCHILLING and TOM OSTROM, Indiana: The move from Dayton to Indiana meant that new head coach Archie Miller had some tough decisions as he’s put together a strong staff for the Hoosiers. Ostrom comes with Miller from Dayton as a noted recruiter of several very good players. Schilling is a former Indiana high school coach who has done a nice job in an assistant position with UCLA the past few seasons. Flint, with 16 years of head-coaching as a background, is the veteran of the staff who has seen it all.

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Billy Donlon (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

BILLY DONLON, Northwestern: The Wildcats lost former assistant coach Pat Baldwin in June when he took the head-coaching job at Milwaukee as Donlon steps in from Michigan. A unique fit for the Northwestern job, Donlon follows in the footsteps of his father, Bill, who was a Wildcat assistant for seven seasons in the ’80s and early ’90s. Northwestern assistant Brian James is also Donlon’s former high school coach at Glenbrook North, where Collins also formerly starred. It should make for a comfortable fit in Evanston, as Collins continues to build a tight-knit staff with a lot of local ties.

RAPHAEL CHILLIOUS, UConn: After stumbling in recent years, the Huskies could use a shot in the arm as they’re hoping a healthy roster and some staff changes can help. Spending seven of the past eight seasons at Washington and one season at Villanova, Chillious has been one of the premier recruiting assistants in the country for the better part of the past decade. A national recruiter who has coached a handful of lottery picks, Chillious should get the Huskies involved for some quality players.

STEVE LUTZ, Purdue: Head coach Matt Painter made a solid hire with the addition of Lutz from Creighton after former assistant Jack Owens took the head job at Miami (Ohio). Lutz helped deliver big man Justin Patton and prized guard transfer Marcus Foster to the Bluejays as he’s been a good recruiter who has delivered results. Lutz brings some fresh blood to a Purdue staff that hadn’t seen a change since 2013.


VIDEOS: Villanova team bus stuck on icy roads trying to leave campus

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Villanova’s road to the Sweet 16 hit its roughest patch yet on Wednesday as the team attempted to leave campus for the team’s flight to Boston.

Since the Philadelphia area has been slammed with a snowstorm, the Wildcat team bus had issues leaving to get to the team’s chartered flight.

A struggle between team bus and ice ensued. The bus was delayed by 30 minutes before finally being able to leave.

Villanova continues its NCAA tournament journey on Friday when the No. 1 seed Wildcats play No. 5 seed West Virginia in Boston.

Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods to transfer or go pro after graduation

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Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.

The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.

Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”

The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.

David Padgett not retained as Louisville coach

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Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.

Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.

“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”

Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.

In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.

Kansas State’s injured star hoping to play Thursday

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One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.

Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.

“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”

Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.

“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”

Arizona’s Sean Miller: ‘I am not a candidate’ at Pitt

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With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.

“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.

Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.

Maybe he wasn’t.

Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.

And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.

As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.

But that’s neither here nor there.

What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.