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Impactful High Major Assistant Coaches in Division 1 Men's Basketball

By Jake Stanbrough, Jack Pollon, Matt Pennie, Sully Carter, 04/28/20, 9:45AM PDT

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This list is compiled of current High Major Assistant Coaches in Division I Men’s Basketball who have made an impact on the game. This is not a ranking and the coaches are listed by their last name in alphabetical order. Please note that those who have been head coaches previously were not considered for this list. After months of research and consulting with AD's, Presidents, search firms and numerous influencers in the basketball space: We present the Silver Waves Media 50 Impactful High Major Assistant Coaches List. 

Matt Abdelmassih - Nebraska

Known as one of the best transfer recruiters in the country, Abdelmassiah may become even more valuable with the new transfer rules that have been implemented by the NCAA. Before coming to Nebraska, Abdelmassiah spent five years at St. John’s under Chris Mullin where he was able to haul in Mustapha Heron (Auburn), Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark Jr. (Michigan State) along with junior college transfer LJ Figueroa in a span of five years that brought the program from 8 wins in the first season to 21 wins in the fifth season and a NCAA Tournament appearance. Prior to his time with the Johnnies, Abdelmassiah spent five seasons at Iowa State under Fred Hoiberg where was instrumental in Iowa State amassing a 99-40 (.712) record, winning back-to-back Big 12 Tournament titles (2014, 2015), making four-straight trips to the “Big Dance” (2012-15) and reaching one NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 (2014).  Abdelmassiah recruited two big time transfers that helped the Cyclones do this in DeAndre Kane and Royce White.

 

Chris Acker - San Diego State 

Acker has quickly made an impression on numerous basketball figures out west and throughout the country with his quick rise, charisma, recruiting ability, ability to cultivate relationships, and the success he's been able to have. Acker got his start at Citrus College as an assistant coach winning the CCCAA state championship in 2008 and making it to the final four two years later. His success there gave him his first head coaching opportunity at West LA where he turned around a program to 18 wins in year two after coaching 11 freshmen in year one. His work ethic and success didn't go unnoticed from there as he earned a spot with Hawaii the year after. While there, he helped guide the Rainbow Warriors to a program-record 28 victories and the Big West championship in 2016. The team advanced to the NCAA tournament as a No. 13-seed and defeated California, the fourth seed, to earn the school's first postseason victory. From 2016-2018, Acker traveled to Boise State where he played key roles in the development of many players including Justinian Jessup, Derrick Alston, and Chandler Hutchinson, a 2018 NBA first round pick. As the team's offensive coordinator at San Diego State, the program has been able to flourish the past two years. In 2020 SDSU ranked number 3 in scoring margin, number 34 in field goal percentage, and number 38 in total assists, while ending with a program record ranking at number 6 in the country. 

 

Rod Balanis - Notre Dame 

Balanis has helped bring a consistent level of success to the Notre Dame basketball program over the last 20 years. Since his first year, Irish teams have earned NCAA Tournament berths in 12 seasons, including the 2014-15 squad that finished the season with a 32-6 record (second-most wins in school history) and advaned to the program’s first NCAA Elite Eight appearance since 1979.  Additionally, Balanis has played a key role in the development of some great Irish players, including Luke Harangody (All-American), Jack Cooley (1st Team All-Big East), Jerian Grant (All-American/NBA), and Pat Connaughton (NBA). He was the point man of both Grant and Connaughton's recruitment. Balanis played at Georgia Tech for the legendary Bobby Cremins and enjoyed two Sweet 16s and Final Four appearances as a player.

 

Alvin Brooks III - Baylor 

Brooks had quite the resume before joining the division I coaching ranks. In two years at Arkansas-Fort Smith, from 2004-2006, he helped lead the Lions to an NJCAA Division I Championship. A year later, as an assistant at Midland College, he again helped lead another team to the NJCAA Division I Championship. Brooks moved on to Bradley for three seasons where they had two postseason appearances in three years, Sam Houston State for two seasons, and then to Kansas State for four seasons where the Wildcats enjoyed one of the best stretches in program history. The team put together 79 wins in four years, reached the NCAA Tournament twice, secured the program's first-ever Big 12 regular-season title, brought home the second-most wins during a season in school history, and tied for the most conference wins in school history. Since arriving at Baylor, Brooks has helped the team to three NCAA Tournaments and one NIT berth. The program has also tied a school-record for Big 12 victories and earned the program's first-ever No. 1 national ranking while he's been in Waco. Brooks' dad was a longtime division one college coach for 30 plus years.

 

Duane Broussard - TCU 

Broussard has earned the respect of many since he first arrived on the scene 25 years ago at Bradley. In nine seasons with the program, they reached the postseason six times. From there, he was hired on at New Mexico where he spent 10 seasons. While at New Mexico, Broussard helped recruit and develop NBA Draft picks Tony Snell, Darington Hobson, JR Giddens, and Danny Granger. In his last two seasons at New Mexico, Broussard helped lead the program to its second-highest win total in program history and New Mexico became the first school in Mountain West history to secure back-to-back regular season and tournament titles. Much of that same success continued at UCLA in 2013-2014, where in his first season the Bruins won the Pac 12 Tournament Championship and earned the program's first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008. They advanced again to the Sweet 16 in Broussard's second season. They would again advance to the Sweet 16 in the 2016-2017 season. Broussard helped coach and recruit 13 players that went on to the NBA at UCLA.

 

Rashon Burno - Arizona State  

Burno has had much success at all of his stops as an assistant coach.  Prior to arriving in Tempe, Burno served under Billy Donovan at Florida from 2012-2015. In the 2013-2014 season, the Gators posted a 30-game winning streak that included the SEC’s first 18-0 regular season, capped with the fourth SEC Tournament title in school history. The year before Florida's Final Four trip in 2013-2014, the team made it to the Elite 8. Burno carried over his success from Manhattan in one season under Steve Masiello to Gainesville. While at Manhattan, he was able to help turn in a 21-13 record in the program's first season under Masiello and it was just the 11th 20-win season in the program's 106-year history. Now, he has helped turn Arizona State into a 20-win team in the past three seasons as an assistant and has helped secure numerous high level recruits, including most recently a consensus top ten ranked talent in Josh Christopher.

 

Chris Caputo - Miami 

The longtime Jim Larrañaga assistant is heralded for his recruiting and opponent scouting work. While at Miami, the Hurricanes have made four NCAA tournament appearances and reached the sweet 16 twice. On the player development side, Caputo worked closely with numerous NBA draft picks, including Bruce Brown, Shane Larkin, Dewan Hernandez, and Lonnie Walker IV. Caputo was also an assistant on the 2006 George Mason team that reached the Final Four. 

 

Adam Cohen - Stanford 

Cohen has become one of the nation's brightest young stars in the college basketball game. He has been recognized on multiple occasions through various outlets and events as being a rising coach. Just this past year, Stanford turned in their first 20 win season during the Haase era, secured a commitment from a consensus top 5 nationally ranked recruit in Ziaire Williams, have the top ranked Pac-12 recruiting class coming in, and have 13th ranked recruiting class in the country. Cohen has played a large part in getting this program rolling like he has in his stints at Vanderbilt and Harvard. The Buffalo, New York native saw a NCAA Tournament appearance once in his two years at Vanderbilt and once in his four years at Harvard that also included winning the Ivy league title four years in a row.

 

Tommy Connor - Utah 

A Utah alumni and four-year starter for the Runnin' Utes, Connor is in his second stint with the program after spending the 1994-1997 seasons under legendary head coach Rick Majerus. His first stint in Salt Lake City was highlighted by a trip to both the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8. Connor then took over the NAIA program of Westminster where he led the program to a 264-114 (.698) overall record, while also accumulating a 126-40 (.759) record during conference play. Connor was a five-time Frontier Conference Coach of the Year and his teams qualified for nine NAIA National Championship appearances. He coached an astounding total of 17 NAIA All-Americans during his twelve seasons.

 

Chris Crutchfield - Arkansas 

Crutchfield has become a hot name over the past 5-10 years. Known as one of the "good guys" in college basketball, Crutchfield has been instrumental in both recruiting and the creation of a winning culture at his different stops throughout his career. Before helping turn in a 20-12 season as a part of a brand new staff at Arkansas, Crutchfield spent eight seasons at Oklahoma. While there, the Sooners compiled a 160-105 (.604) overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in six of the past seven seasons, including a Final Four berth in 2016. That year, the Sooners racked up 29 victories, which tied for sixth-most in program history. He was a fixture in the recruitment of two All-Americans and current NBA players, Buddy Hield and Trae Young. Crutchfield also spent four seasons at Oral Roberts placing first in the league once, second in the league twice, and third in the once with two postseason appearances. 

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Kim English - Tennessee 

Recognized as one of the rising stars in college basketball by many, English has made a quick transition through the college coaching ranks.  After playing in the NBA and overseas for a handful of years, English joined forces with his former college coach, Frank Haith, at the University of Tulsa during the 2015-2016 season. During that year, the Golden Hurricanes earned a bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament.  His work made an impression on Haith as he promoted English to an assistant coaching role in year 2 before moving on to the University of Colorado from 2017-2019. During that time, the Buffaloes posted back-to-back winning seasons, going 40-28. Colorado reached the quarterfinals of the 2019 NIT and finished with the third-most wins in program history (23). The Baltimore, MD native was recognized on the NABC's list of 30-under-30, which honored up-and-coming young college coaches.

 

Adam Fisher - Miami 

Fisher has worked his way into the upper echelon of college coaching through hard work - beginning as a head manager and now serving as an assistant at Miami. With the Hurricanes, Fisher serves as the offensive coordinator, where the team has won 20 or more games in three of the last four seasons. Since joining the Canes, the program has experienced some of the best stretches and seasons in school history due in part to the talent that they have been able to bring to campus. In back-to-back seasons Miami brought in the best recruiting classes in program history from 2016-2018. Fisher also had stops at Boston University, Penn State, and Villanova, which included a 2009 Final Four appearance with the Wildcats.

 

Chester Frazier - Virginia Tech 

Frazier just completed his first season at Virginia Tech after spending the last seven seasons at Kansas State and playing a role in one of the best stretches in program history. That stretch included 150 wins, two Big 12 regular-season championships (2013 and 2019) and five NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019) in the past seven seasons. The Wildcats’ two conference titles are the second-most by a Big 12 school in that span with the 2012-13 championship the first-ever in the Big 12 era and the first conference title by the school in more than 36 seasons. Frazier earned praise during his time at Kansas State for developing Wesley Iwundu, a NBA Draft draft selection in 2017, the school's first selection in almost 10 years. Frazier was named to NABC's 30-under-30 assistant coaches list in 2016.

 

David Grace - Vanderbilt 

A feared recruiter, Grace is widely considered one of the best recruiters in the country. In 2016, he was ranked the best recruiter in the West and the 7th-best recruiter nationally based on an ESPN coaching peer survey. He helped the Bruins establish the No. 2 recruiting class for 2018, including nine top 100 prospects across back-to-back recruiting classes.  Prior to a great run at UCLA, the Air Force veteran served under Craig Robinson from 2009-2013.  During that time, he helped the Beavers to the highest five-year win total (78) since 1988-92. In addition, Grace played a key role in landing two nationally ranked recruits and lured Jared Cunningham to Oregon State who would later be selected in the first-round of the NBA Draft. He got his start in collegiate coaching at Sacramento State in 2006, recruiting 2006-07 Big Sky Freshman of the Year Vinnie McGhee before moving on to become the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at USF. Lastly, he is also known for turning around a South Mountain High School team that won just four games in the year before he arrived to take them to a state championship.

 

George Halcovage - Villanova 

Halcovage has quickly risen in the college coaching ranks. Learning under the tutelage of Jay Wright for the past twelve years, he has gone from a graduate assistant with the Wildcats to assistant coach in a matter of twelve years at a program that has been to three NCAA Final Fours during his time. Over the past six seasons, Villanova has captured 191 victories, five BIG EAST regular season titles, four BIG EAST Tournament championships and a pair of NCAA national championships (2016 and 2018). Jay Wright, head coach at Villanova, calls Halcovage, "a gifted young coach with a bright future in our business." Villanova basketball staff has been under a close microscope for schools looking to hire head coaches recently and it's only a matter of time until Halcovage gets his shot.

 

Jason Hart - USC 

Hart's rise in the college coaching ranks has been quick, much like his help in reenergizing the USC basketball program. A standout high school basketball player at Inglewood High School, Hart earned a scholarship from Syracuse University where he played for four years under legendary head coach Jim Boeheim. He was later drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and spent 10 seasons in the NBA before retiring and returning to Los Angeles. In just one spectacular season as head coach at Taft High School, Hart went 29-4, earning the Los Angeles City Section Division I title and LA City Coach of the Year. Following this he accepted a job at Pepperdine as an assistant coach for one season. From there, he joined Andy Enfield's staff at USC. After an initial year or two rebuilding the program, USC has won nearly 20 games in every season since and has turned multiple top 20 ranked recruiting classes thanks in part to the work of Hart.

 

Carlin Hartman - Oklahoma 

Since Hartman joined the Oklahoma staff, the Sooners have reached the NCAA tournament in two of the last three seasons, while playing a crucial role in securing top 20 recruiting classes. Under his tenure the Sooner post players have blossomed, including 2019 Big 12 Most Improved Player Kristian Doolittle and Khadeem Lattin – the school’s all-time leader in career blocks. Known as one of the "good guys" in college basketball, he has played a big part in the recruiting success of other programs as well. At Columbia, he helped recruit Maodo Lo, the second highest scorer in Columbia program history. Additionally, in his three seasons at Richmond he was the lead recruiter for three of the top scorers in program history, including Kevin Anderson (second; 2,165 points), David Gonzalez (fourth; 1,727) and Justin Harper (11th; 1,457). Hartman was named to the Tulane all decade team of the 1990s, and left the school ranked 10th all time in scoring and rebounds. 

 

Greg Heiar - LSU 

Success has followed Heiar everywhere he has been. After one season as an assistant with Chipola Junior College, Heiar earned the reigns of the program as head coach. In five years, his teams won an astounding 164 games (average of 32.8 wins a season), a third place finish in his last year, and he was named Region VIII Coach of the Year four times.  It earned him a spot with Southern Miss where he spent two years and had a pair of twenty win seasons before moving on to Wichita State under Gregg Marshall. In Heiar’s six years at Wichita State, the Shockers posted 179 wins (average of 29.8 wins a season) and five Missouri Valley Conference regular season championships and six consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a run to the 2013 NCAA Final Four. Now at LSU, the Tigers have brought in 20 win seasons in the three years Heiar has been with the program and secured multiple top 10 recruiting classes. With Heiar's track record as a head coach, the success he's had at different programs, his development of All-Americans and NBA players, and his recruiting abilities, he should be a head coach in no time.

 

Andy Hill - Utah 

Hill has played a major role in the consistent success of the Utah program over the last 10 seasons.  He helped recruit and develop three-consecutive first-round NBA Draft picks in Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, and Kyle Kuzma.  The Utes also appeared in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2015 and 2016. Hill came to Utah from Montana where the Grizzlies appeared in three NCAA Tournaments during his seven years as an assistant. He also helped win a Big Sky conference championship in 2004 as a graduate assistant and helped Lewis-Clark State College earn a NAIA National Tournament during his two years at the school.

 

Bryan Hodgson - Alabama

Known as a tireless worker and recruiter, Hodgson has quickly made his mark in the college basketball world after entering in 2010. After helping turn two junior college programs around in the span of five years, he got his first shot at the division one level under Nate Oates at Buffalo. While there, he helped haul in the highest ranked recruiting class in school history, set the program record for wins, earned the first national ranking in school history, set the conference record for wins, and established the highest ranking by a MAC team in the last forty years. The Buffalo program reached the NCAA Tournament in each of Hodgson's last two seasons before arriving at Alabama.  His efforts earned him a spot on the NABC's 30-Under-30 list of rising assistant coaches. With his work ethic, it's only a matter of time before he gets his shot.

 

Stan Jones - Florida State 

Highly regarded as a fantastic strategist, developer, and recruiter, Jones has one of the most complete packages of any college assistant in the country. As the longest tenured coach in the ACC, his veteran leadership has made an impression on the Seminole basketball program the past 18 seasons. During that time, the Seminoles have an long list of accomplishments highlighted by the 2012 ACC Championship, a school-record four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2009-12), a school-record nine consecutive postseason appearances (2006-14), the first three appearances in the ACC Championship game in school history (2009, 2012 and 2019), 144 ACC victories and the first appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament (in 2018) for the Seminoles in a quarter of a century.  Florida State has statistically become one of the best and most consistent programs in the ACC and throughout the country with Jones in the fold. It has earned recognition as an assistant on numerous lists and played a huge role in his College Basketball Assistant Coach Hall of Fame induction in 2019.

 

Joel Justus - Kentucky

Justus, who has been at Kentucky for six years, is widely known for his contributions as an analytics guru who has helped Kentucky tremendously in how they go about their strategy with opponents.  Due to his work and the success Kentucky saw from it, Justus was elevated to an assistant coaching role after just two seasons.  Additionally, Justus has also proved himself on the recruiting trail.  Many believe that Kentucky has put together some of the best recruiting classes ever in the past six years. Justus was a very successful high school coach on the east coast for a number of years and an assistant at Elon before coming to Kentucky.

 

Dwayne Killings - Marquette 

Noted as one of the top communicators and connectors in the industry, Killings has been an integral part of Marquette basketball over the last two seasons. His reach spans throughout the country, and is respected at the collegiate and professional levels of basketball. A member of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Ethics Coalition, Killings is a rising star and was recently elevated to associate head coach. Killings has also had success at his other stops.  In the 2010-2011 season, he was an assistant with Boston University and helped the terriers capture the American East title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.  From 2011-2016, Killings took on a role as an assistant coach at Temple helping earn 3 NCAA Tournament appearances, 1 NIT appearance, and winning regular season conference titles in two of the five years.  Killings also has experience in the NBA as her served three years with the Charlotte Hornets as a video coordinator.

 

Robert Kirby - Georgetown 

One of the seasoned veterans in the college coaching ranks, Kirby has been highly regarded and respected throughout his career.  With 35 years of experience, he has been a recipient of the NABC Distinguished Years of Service Award, recognized by Rivals as one of the top recruiters, and has been recognized by Hoop Scoop as one of the top assistants in college basketball. He is in his second stint at Georgetown after spending the 2010-2012 season under John Thompson III, earning NCAA Tournament bids in both seasons and two seasons of top 15 recruiting classes. His longest stint as an assistant came at Mississippi State under Rick Stansbury. He helped guide the Bulldogs to an average of nearly 21 wins per year, including a school-record 27 victories during the 2001-02 campaign. Kirby brought in several nationally-ranked recruiting classes to Mississippi State, was part of teams that had 10 postseason appearances, including six NCAA Tournaments, and he coached five All-Americans and 11 all-conference performers. 

 

Tommy Lloyd - Gonzaga 

Largely considered as arguably the best international recruiter in college basketball, Lloyd has more than made his mark on a Gonzaga program that has risen to prominence in the 19 seasons he has been a part of the program.  The international talent and talent in general that Gonzaga has brought to Spokane has helped propel the program to 17 West Coast Conference regular season titles and 13 WCC Tournament Championships.  Gonzaga has reached the NCAA Tournament in every season he has been with the staff, including an appearance in the national championship game in the program's first-ever Final Four. Three Elite Eights and Sweet 16 appearances in 2006, 2009, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.  Three of the many international players he has brought in have gone on to the play in the NBA among many others from the United States.

 

Omar Lowery - Butler 

Lowery has been a presence on the college basketball sidelines since 2006 when he served as an assistant coach with Texas State. During his three years there, he helped increase the programs win total each season. From there, he moved on to Cal Poly for four seasons where the program had one of the best stretches in their history, which included a record setting number of wins in the Big West, a record number of home wins, and the programs first win over a ranked opponent. His success has continued at Sam Houston State, Milwaukee, and now at Butler. With two postseason appearances at Sam Houston State, a miraculous run to the conference championship game in his first season at Milwaukee, and a number of successful seasons at Butler winning 20+ plus games and being ranked in the top 25, Lowery is well on his way to a bright future in the college basketball coaching ranks.

 

Steve Lutz - Purdue 

Lutz has been hailed as the defensive mastermind at Purdue, where a season ago the Boilermakers were ranked 11th nationally in defensive efficiency. In addition to overseeing the defense, Lutz has been instrumental in the development of Purdue's guards, including Ryan Cline and NBA draft pick Carsen Edwards. Lutz's first two years at Purdue included a sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA tournament, and a Big Ten championship en route to an elite 8 appearance. Prior to Purdue Lutz was an assistant at Creighton, where the Bluejays underwent their most successful stretch in school history. They reached as high as 7th in the Associated Press poll, and Lutz coached NBA draft picks in Doug McDermott, Khyri Thomas, and Justin Patton.

 

Ulric Maligi - Texas Tech 

Maligi has deep recruiting ties in the south and throughout the country from his time as a coach with the Dallas Mustangs and a national scouting director with John Lucas Enterprises.  A well respected coach, Maligi came to Texas Tech having 12 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience, six 20-win seasons, five NCAA and NIT postseason appearances and 15 players who he’s coached and/or recruited that have reached the NBA.  Before joining Texas Tech, Maligi spent three seasons at Texas A&M, going to the Sweet 16 in his second season and signing a top 25 recruiting class before his third season.  Much of the same was done during his three years at Southern Methodist under legendary coach Larry Brown, Houston for two seasons, and Stephen F. Austin for three seasons.  Maligi helped bring in a top 15 ranked recruiting class at SMU while also traveling to the NIT championship, helped bring in a top 20 ranked recruiting class at Houston, and contributed to 76% win percentage at Stephen F. Austin, earning the program their first trip to the NCAA Tournament.

 

Korey McCray - Mississippi State 

McCray has won an average of 20.3 games in the last six seasons under Ben Howland at Mississippi State.  The Decatur, Georgia native is no stranger to life on the sidelines with the likely future hall of famer though. He also spent one season at UCLA under Howland helping secure the nation's number one ranked recruiting class in 2012 that included Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, and Shabazz Muhammad, all of whom were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Bruins compiled a 25-10 record during that season en route to the Pac 12 regular season championship. McCray also had a one year stop at LSU going 20-14 and earning a NIT berth, a one year stop at Chipola earning a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament, and served as a graduate assistant at Florida State under long time Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. McCray has deep recruiting connections in the southeast and throughout the country and should benefit a program greatly someday if given the opportunity to lead.

 

Mike Miller - Memphis 

The 17 year NBA veteran and back-to-back champion has seamlessly integrated himself within the college coaching world. Already noted as an elite recruiter, Miller is also an underrated in-game tactician. A prolific 3PT shooter at the NBA level, he has been sought after as the jump-shot whisperer in the development world. With his background and deep connections, Miller should be a head coach in the near future.

 

Ryan Miller - TCU 

Older brother of NBA Champion Mike Miller, Ryan has been a high level recruiter with stops at Memphis, New Mexico, Auburn, UNLV, and TCU during his coaching career. On the court, Miller has developed a handful of NBA players including Tony Snell, Christian Wood, Derrick Jones Jr, and Rashad Vaughn. Miller will have no lack of talent when his time comes to lead a program. At TCU, the Horned Frogs have played in the postseason each of Miller's years on staff including the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid in 20 seasons in 2018. TCU went 21-12 overall and 9-9 in the Big 12 Conference, its most wins ever in the conference.  Much of this has been due to Miller's ability as a recruiter and his eye for talent.  He managed to haul in TCU's highest ranked recruit in history as well as other highly ranked recruits much like he has done at plenty of his other stops.

 

Tim Morris - Cincinnati 

The Stanford graduate continues to ascend the ranks of college coaching. With stops at Kennesaw State, Alabama, Nevada, and NKU, winning has seemed to follow Morris. He served in a player development role on a Nevada team that captured a CBI championship, and as an assistant coach at NKU where the Norse reached the NCAA tournament in two of his three seasons there. This past year at Cincinnati, the Bearcats finished the season 20-10 which included a 13-2 record at home and a share of the regular season AAC championship. Persistent in preparation and recruiting, Morris will be a name to watch in the coming years. 

 

Luke Murray - Louisville 

Murray continues to build on his reputation as a high energy coach and developer of talent. Louisville head coach Chris Mack credits Murray for being a big reason for the Cardinals success, including a number 1 national ranking this past season and regularly ranking in the top 10 nationally for their recruiting classes. With prior stops at Xavier, Rhode Island, Towson, and Arizona, he has a wide range of connections across the United States. 

 

Kyle Neptune - Villanova 

Neptune, who has been at Villanova for a total of eight seasons, has risen in the college coaching ranks quite quickly since his playing days at Lehigh. The 2004 Patriot League Champion, and former team captain, joined the staff as a video coordinator from 2008-2010. Here he experienced a Final Four in 2009 before moving on to be an assistant coach at Niagara. While at Niagara, the Purple Eagles improved their win total each year and earned a NIT bid in Neptune's third and final year. He was called back to Villanova in 2013 as an assistant coach and has been a part of one of the most successful stretches in college basketball in the last six years. During this period, Villanova has won 191 games (an average of 31.8 per season), five BIG EAST regular season championships, four BIG EAST Tournament championships, and a pair of NCAA national championships (2016 and 2018).

 

Darris Nichols - Florida 

Nichols has been in Gainesville for the past four seasons and has made quite an impact since his arrival.  The Gators have completed four straight 20-win seasons and three consecutive NCAA Tournament bids. Florida is one of 10 teams to win an NCAA Tournament each of the past three seasons, and three straight bids marks the third-longest NCAA Tournament streak in program history.  Additionally, he has played a key role in landing high level talent that has included three ESPN 100 players, including McDonald’s All-Americans Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann in the 2019 class.  Prior to Florida, Nichols spent two seasons at Louisiana Tech earning the Conference USA Championship in 2015. In one season at Wofford, he had similar success.  Nichols helped guide the Terriors, who were picked to finish sixth in the league by the coaches, to a 20-win season and a Southern Conference Tournament championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Nichols played at West Virginia under legendary head coaches John Beilein and Bob Huggins.

 

Tom Ostrom - Indiana 

After spending six storied seasons at Dayton with Archie Miller, Ostrom is starting to make his presence felt at Indiana.  He's been instrumental in helping secure top talent from around the state including McDonald's All-Americans and Indiana Mr. Basketball winners Romeo Langford (2018) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (2019).  Additionally, the Indiana team has shown steady progress in win totals each year. He was responsible for similar success at Dayton where the Flyers went to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four years, advancing to the Elite 8 in Sweet 16. Ostrom also had one NCAA Tournament appearance in four years at Arkansas and one NCAA Tournament appearance at South Alabama in three years, both under John Pelphrey. Ostrom got his start at Florida under Billy Donovan where he spent five years in a support staff role and two years as an assistant.  While he was at Florida, the Gators played in the NCAA Tournament the last six years, advanced to the Sweet 16 twice and reached the NCAA championship game in 2000. 

 

Rod Palmer - UCLA 

Rod Palmer has been a fixture in the Los Angeles basketball community for a number of years. A more than successful high school coach at Compton Centennial and Compton High for over a decade, Palmer guided his teams to eight CIF section title games (including six consecutive), three Southern Regional championship games, two Southern Regional championships, two state final games and one Division III state title. He sent 25 players to division one schools before earning a spot on staff with Long Beach State where his success with developing players continued. He recruited and coached Justin Bibbins (a later All-Pac 12 player at Utah), James Ennis (Big West POY/NBA), Casper Ware (Big West POY/NBA), and Larry Anderson (Big West Defensive POY). After one successful year at San Diego State, Palmer joined Mick Cronin's staff at UCLA and has already exceeded the Los Angeles community's expectations in year one finishing second in the Pac-12. The Bruins have made a splash in recruiting thanks to Palmer and will look to build on their success in the coming years.

 

Kenny Payne -  Kentucky 

Widely considered as one of the best recruiters in the country, Payne has helped assemble some of the best recruiting classes college basketball has ever seen during his time in Lexington.  Six of Kentucky's recruiting classes in the last 10 years have been ranked number one and all of them have fallen within the top three.  Kentucky has also advanced to the NCAA Final Four four times in the past 10 years and has had at least one NBA player in each year he has been there.  Prior to UK, Payne served at the University of Oregon where they advanced to two NCAA Tournaments in 2007 and 2008.  Oregon also claimed one Pacific-10 Tournament title and three Ducks were selected in the first and second rounds of the NBA Draft under Payne. Payne is A STEP UP Assistant Coach Hall of Famer.

 

Mike Rohn - Colorado 

During Rohn's time in Boulder, Colorado has gathered 188 victories, the most wins in a nine-year span throughout the program's 116 year history. The Buffaloes have earned postseason appearances in eight of nine seasons, including seven in a row between 2010-2017, a program first. Colorado also had three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament from 2012-2014 that also marked program firsts. Rohn also played a major role in the recruitment and development of five former Buffalo players that have gone on to be selected in the NBA Draft (Alec Burks, Andre Robinson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Derrick White, and George King). Prior to Colorado, Rohn spent three seasons at Texas A&M going to the NCAA Tournament in each season. The Kansas native also spent seven seasons at Wichita State under current Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon. The Shockers earned three straight NIT berths from 2003-2005 and earned a NCAA Tournament berth and a Sweet 16 appearance in his second to last year on staff.

 

Kellen Sampson - Houston

Sampson, who has worked at Houston for the past six seasons, has helped contribute to the quick rise of the program. While he has been there, the Cougars have recorded five straight twenty win seasons (first time in school history), finished in the top 25 for three straight seasons (first time in school history), recorded a 33 win season (school record), captured an outright league title (first time in school history), and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1984. Sampson joined the Cougars after three seasons at Appalachian State and one season at Stephen F. Austin where the program finished with 18 wins and the best scoring defense in the country. 

 

Darren Savino - UCLA 

Savino has been a huge part of the success of both UCLA and Cincinnati over the past 10 years. After going to the NCAA Tournament at Cincinnati from 2011 to 2019, Secino helped UCLA exceed the expectations of the Los Angeles community during his first year. Savino has a track record that shows he can help create and sustain a winning culture. Prior to Cincinnati, the New Jersey native served as an assistant coach at Rutgers, Murray State, Quinnipiac, New Mexico, East Carolina, St. John's, & Seton Hall.  Some of the other highlights of his career are recruiting a McDonald's All-American at Rutgers and two Ohio Valley Conference titles with one NCAA appearance at Murray State under Mick Cronin as well.

 

Jon Scheyer - Duke 

One of the figure heads of Duke basketball as a player, Scheyer is also starting to make his mark as a coach.  After joining the staff seven years ago as a special assistant, Scheyer has now moved up the ranks and is the associate head coach with the Blue Devils. Scheyer has helped Duke compile a 149-38 (.797) record, a national championship (2015) and two ACC Tournament crowns during his time as a coach.  He has been widely considered to have played an integral role in developing multiple Blue Devils like Tyus Jones (Final Four Most Outstanding Player), Luke Kennard (All-American), and Grayson Allen (12th-leading scorer in Duke history).  All of them, among many others, have gone on to play in the NBA.  It's only a matter of time until Scheyer is selected to lead his own program much like he led as a player during Duke's NCAA Title run in 2010.

 

Dwayne Stephens - Michigan State 

Stephens has spent the last 16 years at Michigan State learning under the legendary Tom Izzo.  He’s earned a reputation for developing front court players having worked with eight Spartans selected in the last seven NBA Drafts, including six front court players (Draymond Green, Adreian Payne, Branden Dawson, Deyonta Davis, Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr.).  Stephens has coached in 17 straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 2003 Final Four with Marquette and the 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2015 Final Fours with MSU. He has helped guide MSU to four Big Ten Championships and three Big Ten Tournament titles. He has played a role in many highly ranked recruiting classes both at Michigan State and at Marquette.

 

Tony Stubblefield - Oregon 

Stubblefield is someone that you don't want to face on the recruiting trail.  The Colorado native has an impressive track record of recruiting during his 20 years of coaching at the college level.  In his 11 seasons with Oregon, four of their recruiting classes have been ranked among the top 12 nationally.  Oregon and other programs that Stubblefield has been a part of have benefited tremendously as a result.  Cincinnati, New Mexico State, UT Arlington, and Nebraska Omaha.  As an assistant for New Mexico State, Stubblefield secured three top-100 rated players, including one McDonald's All-American, a junior college all-American and first-team all-state high school players from six different states.  Additionally, at UT Arlington he successfully recruited two top 10 prospects from the state of Texas along with first-team all-region junior college players from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.

 

Michael SCHWARTZ - Tennessee 

Schwartz has become a defensive guru at Tennessee under Rick Barnes. The Vols own a 74-29 since the 2017-2018 season, ranked sixth nationally in the Pomeroy defensive efficiency ratings and had the highest ranked scoring defense in the SEC during the 2017-2018 season, lead the SEC in field-goal percentage defense during the 2018-2019 season, and ranked second in scoring defense in the SEC during league play. Three Tennessee players have been selected in the NBA draft in just four years and Schwartz and recently helped bring in Josiah-Jordan James and Jaden Springer, both McDonald's All-Americans. Schwartz also helped recruit and develop Tyler Johnson into a NBA player during his successful years at Fresno State and at Texas where he coached TJ Ford and Royal Ivey.

 

Jerome Tang - Baylor 

Tang has played a major role in the rise to prominence of the Baylor basketball program the past 17 years.  Tang has helped lead the Bears to 20-win seasons in seven of the last eight years, posting a 191-93 record, six NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT title since 2011-12. Baylor has also appeared in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 four times since 2010, twice advancing to the Elite Eight. Additionally, nine players from those seasons have gone on to play in the NBA, including Quincy Acy, Pierre Jackson, Cory Jefferson, Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller, Johnathan Motley, Royce O’Neale, Taurean Prince and Ekpe Udoh.  Highly regarded for his recruiting abilities, Tang has helped put together seven consensus top-25 recruiting classes.

 

Kurtis Townsend - Kansas 

Known as one of the most feared recruiters in America, Kurtis Townsend has both the sales skills and track record of success to thrive at the helm of his own program. At Kansas, he has won a national championship, reached two NCAA Tournament title games, three Final Fours, seven NCAA Tournament Elite Eights and nine NCAA Sweet 16s.  KU has won an NCAA record 14-consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles and eight conference tournament crowns with him on the sidelines. In addition, he has coached 10 NBA Draft Lottery selections, 22 overall NBA draftees and 51 All-Big 12 players.  He played a major role in recruiting 10 of the Kansas' 22 NBA draftees.  Townsend has also served as an assistant at Miami, USC, Michigan, Cal Berkeley, and Eastern Kentucky.

 

Keith Urgo - Penn State 

Urgo has been a part of the grind the past eight seasons to revitalize the Penn State program. This past year, the Nittany Lions tied the program's highest ranking at the No. 9 spot in the Associated Press' top 25 poll, which last was done in 1996. The program also had their second-highest win total in program history during the 2017-2018 season.  A big culprit of these numbers came as a result of Urgo's efforts on the recruiting trail as the program brought in back-to-back top 30 recruiting classes starting in 2015. A top 30 recruiting class had never been done before at Penn State. Urgo came to Penn State after serving in a support staff role for three seasons and an assistant coaching role for two seasons at Villanova under the tutelage of Jay Wright. During that time, Villanova earned trips to the Sweet 16 in 2008 and the Final Four in 2009.

 

Dave Velasquez - San Diego State 

Velasquez, who started off with San Diego State as a student manager in 2002, has spent a total of 19 seasons with the program.  The program has risen as he has risen through the ranks from manager to director of player development to assistant coach for the last six years.  As an assistant, the program has averaged 29.6 wins per season, has inked a top 15 recruiting class and multiple four star players, has won four Mountain West regular season crowns, has produced multiple high level players that have earned high accolades/been drafted by the NBA, and has gone to the NCAA tournament four times, including one Sweet 16.  

 

Jason Williford - Virginia 

Williford, who has been at Virginia for 12 years, has helped the Cavaliers capture three ACC regular-season championships, two ACC Tournament titles and six NCAA Tournament appearances in his nine seasons as an assistant.  UVA has won 30 or more games in three of the past five seasons and reached No. 1 in the AP rankings this season for the first time since 1982.  His success doesn't stop there though.  Williford also experienced success in his four years at American University and Boston University for five years.  American won the Patriot League Championship and participated in the NCAA Tournament in each of his last two seasons with the program.  During Williford's final four years at Boston University, the Terriers earned an NCAA Tournament berth in 2002 and then participated in the NIT for three consecutive seasons. 

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