So it’s August and this is somewhat the dead time in hoops. We’re a little bit away from the start of preseason in the NBA, we’re past the July recruiting period, so really all we have are some international trips and any surprise trades. So with that in mind I decided August will be the time to reflect on the past and get yelled at by putting out different blogs involving the best/worst/rankings/whatever. So if you have something in mind, let me know. I started this with the 10 best programs in college hoops from the last 10 seasons.
Going to go a bit different again today in terms of getting away from the last 10 seasons. I was in this debate this morning, so we’ll take it to the blog. The premise here is simple. Take away all current players and coaches, what are the best jobs in college basketball?
There are a couple of different ways to look at the programs. Do you take recent success, NBA players, history, recruiting base, something else or some combo of all? For me, it’s about the recruiting base and success of a program. You also have to worry to a degree about the academics side and how tough it is to get into a school. Since we’re getting rid of coaching staffs, you’re not as worried about NBA players since you can’t say, well look at what Beilein does for wings, etc.
So with that in mind, here’s what I have as the best jobs in the country. Some that just missed the cut include Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois and Arizona. let me know yours:
I know people may look at this in a weird way, but you have to remember the type of players that come out of Seattle. It’s one of the best areas to recruit and Washington should be the dominant program in the Northwest there. They’ve had some success with being a No. 1 seed and making NCAA Tournaments, the question is just can you set up the perimeter around Seattle to keep everyone home.
You have the two titles within the last 15 years. You have a trip to the Final Four and you’ve seen them have success after Billy Donovan, so you know it’s not just a Donovan program. Throw in the recruiting base you have in Florida and there’s a ton there. You know you’ll have job security and a pretty big budget as well. Florida continues to be one of the more underrated basketball schools because of the football success.
You’re giving me the ability to recruit in the DMV? Yes, please. Now we know Turg hasn’t had a ton of success but that’s been more on his inability to develop guys as the season goes on This program has had success with multiple coaches and a title in the 2000s. Throw in being the flagship school for Under Armour, it’s a no-brainer to see the Terps in the top-10.
The brand name still matters here since that carries weight and UCLA is a major brand. Throw in the fact you have the ability to recruit LA and UCLA is a big enough name to recruit elsewhere, it makes sense. The one downside to UCLA? There is pressure. We’ve seen them move on from coaches because they feel stuck despite making Final Fours.
Duke just falls outside of the top-5 because we don’t know what to expect with Duke after K leaves. The name will still be big enough to recruit anywhere they want and the history is still there, but does it turn into a UConn/Jim Calhoun situation or is there a smooth transition? I’ll roll the dice here with Duke still being a lock for this list and the history of the program here.
When you talk to coaches around the country they all talk about Texas being a top-10 coaching job. It makes a bunch of sense, especially when they break it down for you. You hear about the money and the budget within the athletic department. You hear about the state of the art facilities. You hear about the recruiting base in Texas. You hear about job security – look at how long Rick Barnes lasted. Texas is an absolute destination job without having a ton of success like some of the other names on this list. Remember, this is just about coaching.
We’re now into strictly blueblood programs with Texas separating the top-7. The Tar Heels check in at No. 4 as we’ve seen Roy and Dean Smith have a ton of success. The name holds weight here as UNC can recruit anywhere they want and we’ve seen them up their recruiting lately. Not to mention you have Jordan tossing money if you want and the North Carolina area being a strong recruiting base as well.
The Hoosiers are trying to get back on the map because quite frankly, there’s no reason for Indiana not to be. Indianapolis has become one of the best recruiting areas in the country as they’ve had some major D1 players come from there. They have the banners. They have Assembly Hall. This is name that people know, but the real selling point here is being able to recruit Indiana. It’s one of those states where kids want to stay home and play and Indiana has the biggest name in the state.
From Larry Brown to Roy to Self, the Jayhawks can sustain success no matter the coach. We already know that they can recruit anywhere they want as they consistently bring in guys from all over the country. They have one of the two best homecourts in the country (Duke being the other one). They have the facilities, they have the money. It’s a no-brainer. You are consistently competing if you take over Kansas.
The Wildcats check in at No. 1 for me. They have had success through multiple coaches (sans Billy G) and we know their ability to recruit from anywhere in the country. Even if you look at coaches not named John Calipari, Kentucky has recruited from New York well and California, so there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. They are arguably the biggest name in the sport and you know that you have every game on TV. Throw in the new facilities and all the money that goes with being a Kentucky head coach, it has to be No. 1.