The news that many expected to hear just last week became a reality as Tim Jankovich will join Larry Brown’s staff at SMU as head coach in waiting, according to CBSSports.com writer Jeff Goodman.
In five seasons at Illinois State Jankovich posted a record of 104-64, winning 21 or more games in four of his five seasons at the helm.
The question for Illinois State is where they look for a successor, and whoever athletic director Gary Friedman approaches can be sold on the fact that the Redbirds have the pieces in place to contend in the Missouri Valley.
There wasn’t one senior on the 2011-12 team that lost to Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final, and Illinois State won a postseason game (at Ole Miss) before falling to eventual Postseason NIT champion Stanford.
Rising seniors Tyler Brown (13.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Jackie Carmichael (13.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg) lead the way for a team that can be a threat to both the Bluejays and Wichita State in 2012-13.
Point guard Nic Moore, who finished fifth in the MVC with an average of 3.9 assists per game, was an MVC All-Freshman selection and should be even better as a sophomore.
The question now is who takes over for Jankovich, and in assistant Rob Judson there’s the option of handing over the reins to a member of the current staff with head coaching experience.
Judson went 74-101 in six seasons at Northern Illinois before joining Jankovich’s staff, and while that record won’t jump off the page staying in-house could help matters from a continuity standpoint.
The second open recruiting weekend of the month begins tomorrow, and this is also the spring signing period (which ends on May 16th).
This will be an enticing opening for many coaches due to the amount of talent due back at Illinois State, but Friedman may be best served to simply walk down the hallway when looking for Jankovich’s replacement.