Tag: Ernie Kent

Steve Wojciechowski

2014-2015 Season Preview: Which new coaching hires will succeed?

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source: AP
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Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Every spring the coaching carousel takes over college basketball, with moves being made for a variety of reasons. For some programs the goal is to “win the press conference,” hiring a name sure to create a buzz amongst the fan base while also ensuring that the on-court product receives a similar boost. For others the press conference matters little, with the goal of finding the right man for the job being the only things that influences the athletic director’s decision. Below are five head coaches in new spots who are positioned to experience success, and five who will struggle.

1. Bruce Pearl, Auburn: Hiring Pearl was a major coup for Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs. Given the recent lack of success he needed a guy who could both reinvigorate an apathetic fan base and improve the on-court product. Pearl’s accomplished the former, and while the latter will be tougher to do strides have been made there as well. Grad transfer Antoine Mason will team up with senior K.T. Harrell on the perimeter, and junior college transfer Cinmeon Bowers will help int he post. And he has four talented recruits lined up for next season as well.

2. Cuonzo Martin, California: The hiring of Martin was met with some skepticism due to the lack of connections on the west coast. However that situation was rectified in part by the hiring of assistant Yanni Hufnagel, and Martin’s efforts to establish and strengthen those bonds haven’t gone unnoticed either. And while interior depth is a concern due to the season-ending injury suffered by Kameron Rooks, the Golden Bears do return senior David Kravish, junior Tyrone Wallace and sophomores Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews. He’s got some good pieces to work with in a Pac-12 that’s wide-open after prohibitive favorite Arizona.

MORE: Best non-conference games | NBCSports.com’s Preseason Top 25 Countdown

3. Steve Wojciechowski, Marquette: The longtime Duke assistant has his first head coaching gig and it’s a good one, as he arrives in Milwaukee to take over a program that prior to last season made eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Wojciechowski has pieces to use for the future as well, with junior Steve Taylor Jr. and sophomore Deonte Burton among those with eligibility remaining beyond the 2014-15 campaign. And he’s done well on the recruiting trail, most notably reeling in elite 2015 forward Henry Ellenson.

4. Danny Manning, Wake Forest: Manning has a tougher task in front of him now than his last job (Tulsa), but he’s already off to a good start when it comes to recruiting.

5. Kim Anderson, Missouri: Anderson was highly successful at Central Missouri, and his ability to hang onto Tim Fuller and add Rob Fulford will undoubtedly help with recruiting.


1. Dan D’Antoni, Marshall: D’Antoni’s head coaching experience came at the high school level (from 1975-2005), and while the time spent in the NBA should be respected running a college program is an entirely different matter.

2. Ernie Kent, Washington State: Kent has plenty of experience coaching in the Pacific Northwest, as he spent more than a decade at Oregon. And he should be familiar with today’s Pac-12 given his recent work with the conference’s network. That being said it’s tough to win those major recruiting battles in Pullman, especially when going head-to-head with other Pac-12 programs. Add in the fact that his best player, DaVonte Lacy, is a senior and this is a far tougher job for Kent than the one he took over at Oregon.

MORE: Top 25 Potential Breakout StarsCoaches on the Hot Seat | Mid-Major All-Americans

3. Orlando Antigua, South Florida: Antigua was John Calipari’s right-hand man at Kentucky, helping to reel in some of the nation’s best recruiting classes on an annual basis. He won’t be picking from a similar pool of athletes in his new job, but the good news is that there’s a good amount of talent in Florida and there are New York connections to be tapped into as well. The concern: only three coaches who have spent multiple seasons at USF have left with a winning record, the last of which being Seth Greenberg (108-100 from 1996-2003). Maybe it’ll be easier to rebuild in the American than it would have been in the 16-team Big East, but you’re still competing against the likes of UConn, Cincinnati and Memphis.

4. Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State: Tinkle’s off to a good start in Corvallis from a recruiting standpoint, with family ties to the coaching staff netting him 2015 prospects Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr. That being said, he’s fighting against history here. Since Ralph Miller retired in 1989 no coach has left the program with a winning record, and only four coaches in the history of the program have managed to win 90 games or more with a winning percentage above .500 (Miller, Paul Valenti, Slats Gill and Bob Hager).

5. Jim Christian, Boston College: Christian was successful in two separate stints in the MAC, but things didn’t go too well when he took over a struggling TCU program. And with six seniors and a junior in Olivier Hanlan on this year’s roster at BC, rebuilding in the future could be difficult.

Ernie Kent will let flashy freshman point guard Trevor Dunbar play his game

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Washington State incoming freshman point guard Trevor Dunbar is certainly flashy. The 5-foot-8 lefty is a mixtape producer’s dream because he combines tremendous quickness with tight ball-handling and a flair for highlight-reel plays.

Just check out his senior year high school mixtape, it’s fun to watch.

But while mixtapes can build up hype and make a player look cool for the cameras, it doesn’t always equate to success at the next level.

New Cougars head coach Ernie Kent seems to be pleased with his new point guard, however, and the veteran coach will let the San Francisco-area native do his thing in the PAC-12.

In a recent story from Slam, Dunbar said that Kent compared him to some of his former small guards at Oregon that went on to have very successful PAC-12 careers, Tyquan Porter and Aaron Brooks.

“Coach Kent loved my game, and he didn’t want me to change anything about it,” Dunbar said in the Slam article. “He’s had a lot of success with smaller guards, and on a long phone call that we had, he brought up [Tajuan] Porter and Aaron Brooks (both of whom Kent coached at Oregon). I’ve watched Brooks on the [Houston] Rockets. It gives me hope for that next level.”

Dunbar had impressive numbers in his senior season, but small guards can sometimes have a tough time acclimating to the college game. Kent does have a track record of making successful guards, so it will be fun to see if Dunbar can have a productive and efficient career at Washington State. And if Dunbar can make some fun highlights while doing it? Even better.

Report: Washington State hires former Oregon coach Ernie Kent

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To follow along with the 2014 Coaching Carousel, click here.

Washington State hired of a former, successful Pac-12 coach on Monday afternoon as ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that the Cougars will hire former Oregon coach Ernie Kent to be their next men’s basketball coach.

The 59-year-old Kent has compiled a 325–254 overall record as a head coach including stops at St. Mary’s for six seasons and 13 years at Oregon. Kent was a coach for the Ducks until 2010 and made two Elite 8 appearances with the team.

Having already coached and recruited in the Pac-12 and the Pacific Northwest, Kent will see if he can get some wins at Washington State.