Good evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) fans. Hope you all are catching the NCAA hoops tonight.
Lots of news these days on the college basketball coaching carousel – lots of moves have been made in this short offseason for some teams. LSU hired VCU’s Will Wade (as you know, we thought he might have been a good candidate for Clemson), Illinois hired Oklahoma State’s Brad Underwood, North Carolina State hired UNC-Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts, and Missouri hired Cuonzo Martin. Indiana, Washington, and California all still need to hire head men’s basketball coaches. For more on the coaching carousel, please check out CBS Sports here (h/t @MattNorlander). You gotta think that Indiana is going to go hard for Steve Alford of UCLA, but might also consider Chris Holtmann at Butler University (Indianapolis, IN).
Also, late this afternoon, Georgetown University announced that John Thompson, III would not be returning next year as the Hoyas Men’s Basketball Coach. (h/t @CasualHoya) The guys at @CasualHoya have an article up that say that Tommy Amaker is a strong possibility at Georgetown (I think Georgetown can do better, but that’s a whole separate post):
Multiple sources have told Casual Hoya and Ben Standig that Harvard coach Tommy Amaker is under strong consideration for the opening. Amaker, 51, is a Northern Virginia native, former star point guard for Duke and sports a resume that includes stops at Seton Hall and Michigan. His overall record during his 20 years as a head coach — the last 10 with the Ivy League program — is 369-244 with five NCAA Tournament appearances. Your mileage may vary about plucking a candidate from the Mike Krzyzewski coaching tree or whether Amaker represents a wow move for a program in need of a jolt after back-to-back losing seasons, but there’s plenty of appeal including recruiting ties to the area.
The guys at @CasualHoya also mentioned that Shaka Smart might be a possibility at Georgetown, too, but I disagree with that. Here’s what they said:
According to another source, Texas coach Shaka Smart may have interest in the Big East program. Smart is coming off an 11-22 season with the Longhorns, but he was a major hire for Texas in 2015 after leading VCU to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances. VCU upset Georgetown en route to the 2011 Final Four.
I doubt very seriously that Shaka Smart would leave Texas after one bad season. He was 20-13 in his first year – and in his 2nd season, he was 11-22. So, yes, he is 31-35 overall – but he’s going to have at least another year at Texas before the Longhorn faithful will pay that buyout.
And this is good timing for Clemson (who is likely going to be bottom quartile of the ACC next season) because Indiana, Washington, California, and even Georgetown will all have hired coaches – and Clemson should be in good position to make a pitch to Smart. Smart is still a very good coach, has 5 NCAA bids (including a Final Four) while at VCU and a 2o win season at Texas, and would do much better in an environment that isn’t pressure cooker for hoops (and Clemson is not). Opportunity might be in the waiting for Clemson.