Now that everyone has had some time to digest the season and the great 2012 postseason run, many are already looking forward to 2013. Around these parts, KU basketball doesn’t exactly have an off-season. The late signing period started last week, and although Self has been known to pull some Spring magic on the recruiting front in past years, I wouldn’t expect too many surprises this time around.
The real questions rest on the Class of 2013. And who will be recruiting that class.
As we all know by now, Self brought Norm Roberts in to fill the Assistant Coaching vacancy created by Danny Manning’s move to Tulsa. A former assistant under Self, Roberts has proven himself as a valuable man to have in your program, both on the bench and in a recruit’s home.
That said, I personally hoped that Self would go a different direction and bring in a young, up-and-coming recruiting type. Someone who didn’t necessarily dominate the Xs and Os, but could navigate through the AAU circuits with ease. Someone who has some existing relationships and pipelines and a track record with promise to lure top 5 classes back to Lawrence.
Don’t get me wrong, I know Roberts was a part of many extremely impressive recruiting classes. And he would have been my second or third choice if we missed on the first.
But Self called on his friend. And his friend is quite good. But I still argue Jerrance Howard might have been better.
I should say that I have no insider information on the matter, but I get the sense from reading message boards and talking to friends and folks on twitter that many wanted Howard and Roberts to come to KU to fill the vacancies left by Manning and former Director of Basketball Operations, Barry Hinson.
I wanted to explore this a little further and share my own thoughts on it.
As most of you know, the Director position is a “non-recruiting” coaching job, which means that the person cannot recruit away from campus. This would not make any sense for either Howard or Roberts. Both men have too much to offer on the recruiting trail.
Which leaves only one of two options. Either current assistant coach Kurtis Townsend or Joe Dooley (1) find a new job or (2) take over the Director position, creating an assistant vacancy.
Interestingly, I have seen a rather large contingent of Kansas fans lobbying for Townsend to take the Director role, opening up a spot on the bench. Frankly, this just isn’t going to happen.
Townsend will probably be a lifelong assistant. And that’s not meant to be a knock on him. He is the kind of guy you want on your bench. I liken him to the guy in your group of friends that you definitely want to keep around because he’ll probably find a way to talk you out of trouble if you ever get pulled over by the cops or if you find yourself facing down a group of big dudes about to beat you up. He is smooth. He’s slick. He’s a guy you want out on the trail building relationships so you can get guys like Shabazz Muhammad to give you token visits. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
On the other hand, Dooley will definitely be a head coach again. It may not be this year. It may not be next. But he is too sharp of a basketball mind and too good of a recruiter not to get another shot. For whatever reason, he hasn’t got it yet, but it will happen eventually.*
*Perhaps I’ll share my thoughts on why he hasn’t got a job to this point in another blog on another day.
Howard is in a great position right now. He has no less than four or five schools interested in his services. Depaul, Kansas State, Memphis, Louisville, Kentucky, and Kansas have all been mentioned. By the time a spot opens on our bench, he will probably be making a nice paycheck for another program. But that doesn’t mean Self couldn’t try to get his former player on his staff at that point.
I want Coach Dooley to stick around as long as he has a better job here than the one offered to him. But when that day comes, and Self has an empty chair next to him on the bench, I hope Howard is his first call.
So as for the Director position, I still think it will be filled by a former player or a recently fired coach (similar to how Hinson originally took the position). There has been some local movement for either Simien or Pollard. I don’t really see either one getting the position, but I suppose it is possible. I personally like the idea of calling on Michael Lee.
As for a timetable on filling the position, I don’t expect it to be extremely quick. Since the Director job doesn’t require off-campus recruiting, there isn’t as much of a hurry to get it filled like the other assistant job. And I think it is wise to wait a while, just to make sure the last domino doesn’t fall that gives Dooley a head coaching opportunity this year instead of next.
Regardless of who is on the staff next year, I just hope it works as well as the one in the place the previous six years. It’s been a pretty good ride with those guys at the helm.
Rock Chalk!#kubball, Basketball, Bill Self, Jerrance Howard, Joe Dooley, Kansas, Kurtis Townsend, Recruiting