While the college basketball landscape is ever changing and is populated with people of many different backgrounds that oversee a variety of different things, a number of individuals serve as the pillars of the sport. In talking with multiple people within the space at various different levels and occupations, a collective group seemed to represent the top. After months of research and consultation, here is a list of names at the peak of their professions that win at a high level, produce top flight talent, effect movement in the college coaching carousel, and have their fingerprints all over the sport. To be considered for this list, you must’ve met at least one of these criteria very well. Without further ado, after months of consulting with ADs, Presidents, Agents, the prestigious 2022 Silver Waves Media 100 Most Impactful People in College Basketball list in alphabetical order by Organization.
A pioneer in the grassroots movement, David Geaslen has controlled an element of the grassroots space in some capacity at different points of his career. Three Step Sports was founded in 2016 and already has acquired some of the nation's largest basketball event operators including West Coast Elite Basketball, Zero Gravity, USA Youth Hoops, Big Foot, Prime Time, as well as some of the nation’s most respected teams including Rivals, Indiana Elite, New York Lightning, and Swarm Basketball. His initiative has led to a premier sport experience for 400+ different basketball events in 37 different states annually, 700,000 different players, and 1,100 different club teams in addition to providing content for media companies like ESPN, USA Today, and Skill Show. The movement has stemmed from Geaslen’s background as the VP of High School Sports and Recruiting for ESPN among other companies where he was able to build vast relationships throughout sports. Geaslen and 3 Step now operate both the Under Armour Association and Adidas 3SSB circuits. His influence in the basketball space is as impressive as anyone in the country.
Greg Kristof has created an empire. One of the smartest and most renowned figures in the youth basketball event space, Kristof has built up a juggernaut since 2010 with a staggering 250+ grassroots events in 23 different states annually. Now the Director of Global Basketball for 3Step, Kristof operates the largest youth basketball business in the country. With that being said, if you’re a grassroots program, especially on the east coast, you have likely come through his events at least once. The culmination of his work has allowed athletes to have a platform to be seen and heard on the next level as college coaches regularly attend the different events he has. Kristof’s ZG Prep Classic for example has 44 teams annually from Canada on down to Florida and consistently attracts 100 different NCAA Division I schools while his All-Academic Basketball Camps provide predominately high academic student-athletes with a way to be magnified in front of hundreds of different high academic Division II, III, and NAIA schools around the country. He has found his niche and he tailors it to different groups around the country very well. In addition, Kristof also helped found 3Step Sports, a youth sports initiative that delivers the premier sport experience for all involved. He oversees the basketball side of the company that has 400+ events annually in 37 different states with over 700,000 athletes participating. 1,100 club basketball teams are under their banner.
One of the original Godfathers of grassroots basketball, Boo Williams is still going strong. Williams has exemplified where serving your community can get you as his 64,000 square foot Boo Williams Sportsplex serves as a reminder for all the hard work he has put into the coastal Virginia communities for nearly the last 40 years. The facility now plays home to numerous events, including his infamous league that has roughly 200 teams with 2,000 different players, that the former St. Joseph Hawk puts on for his community year round and his AAU teams that have been with him all along. Williams currently has more players in the NBA than any other Nike EYBL program (12) and has upwards of 25 NBA players that have come through his programs including Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning, Kent Bazemore, Ed Davis, JJ Redick, Jarrett Jack, and Kendall Marshall. The talent bed has led his teams to be one of eight programs to win multiple EYBL Championships over the years. Williams currently serves as the chairman of AAU basketball and has helped produce Ivan Thomas (Providence), Anthony Brammer (USF), Austin Shaver (Longwood), David Grace, Willie Bell (The Citadel), Kyle Church (Florida), and John Richardson (Old Dominion) are some coaches that have all spent time working under the grassroots legend.
Paul Brazeau and Jim Phillips- Associate Commissioner for Basketball & Commissioner
Paul Brazeau has been the Senior Associate Commissioner for Men’s Basketball since 2014, and has ran one of college basketball's toughest conferences. In 2021, Jim Phillips joined the ACC as the commissioner and together they had watched their programs complete a remarkable 2022 season as of late. These two will continue to be industry leaders.
Mike Barnett has been in sports marketing with Adidas since 2003. Prominent programs like Compton Magic, Indiana Elite, Atlanta Celtics, Team Loaded, and numerous others are under their watch in the Adidas Gauntlet. The league has produced numerous NBA players over the years including Zion Williamson, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, Romeo Langford, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Dennis Smith Jr., Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Derrick Favors, and Brandon Rush. The league also has an exciting future with players like Mikey Williams, Evan Mobley, Day’Ron Sharpe, Jabari Smith, Michael Foster, Harrison Ingram, Dariq Whitehead, MJ Rice, and others representing the top 15 in the respective classes.
Karl McCray & Hulio Smith - Directors
One of the original founding fathers of AAU basketball not only in Atlanta, but the southeast in general, McCray & Smith have been on the grind since 1990 with as many as 20 teams over the years. It has come with much success as the Adidas based program has had a plethora of NBA & McDonald’s All-American talent over the years thanks to the likes of Dwight Howard, Kobi Simmons, Jordan McRae, Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Derrick Favors, Brandon Rush, Travis Outlaw, Josh Smith, Randolph Morris, Dion Glover, Tim Quarterman, Jordan Adams, among others that have helped them win countless notable championships. Six AAU National Championships, two Junior Pro National Championships, three BCI National Championships, two Adidas Big Time Championships, and three Adidas Super 64 Championships have all been won. Jarvis Hayes (Georgia State), Jonas Hayes (Xavier), BJ Elder (Georgia Tech), Roshown McLeod, Darryl LaBarrie, and McCray’s son, Korey McCray (Mississippi State), have all helped with these championships while producing over 500 NCAA Division I players.
Pearl’s ability to dig in and get the job done no matter the circumstances at his different stops throughout his career have been nothing short of remarkable. He is one of just three head coaches to take four programs (with three at the DI level) to the Sweet 16, joining Lon Kruger and Eddie Sutton. In five years as head coach at Auburn, he has catapulted the Tigers to 100 wins, two SEC championships, what would’ve more than likely been a third NCAA Tournament if not for the pandemic, and the program’s first ever appearance in the Final Four. With an average RPI of 191.8 before Pearl took over the program, Pearl’s 16th and 13th place finishes in the final RPI the past two seasons makes Pearl’s success that much more impressive. Records for attendance have been shattered to see the Tigers and Pearl. The owner of a 628-243 (.721) overall record, Pearl also had great success at Tennessee where his teams consistently ranked amongst the best in college basketball. The high energy coach has recruited some of the sport’s best classes over the years, which has cultivated into the development of NBA Draft picks like Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers), Jordan McRae (Detroit Pistons), Chuma Okeke (Orlando Magic), and Jarnell Stokes. Additionally, his success has helped former assistants like Steve Forbes, Jason Shay, Todd Golden make up his coaching tree.
Bob Bowlsby has been the Big 12 Commissioner since 2012 and has helped navigate his conference to remain one of the most impressive. Over his long and storied career, Bowlsby has been pivaotal in the advancement of college sports. Bowlsby is a member of the NCAA Presidential Task Force of Federal and State Legislative Issues and frequents meetings in Washington D.C. Most recently, he guided the Big 12’s addition of four future members. BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston will join the Conference no later than the 2024-25 athletic year.
Stu Jackson & Val Ackerman - Associate Commissioner for Basketball & Commissioner
Jackson and Ackerman have been the team that has been left with the task of enhancing Big East Basketball the past eight years. Both of them have vast experience within the sport that spans from being a player to a NBA general manager or even a WNBA commissioner. Jackson has left fingerprints on many different roles including as an assistant coach under Rick Pitino at Providence, as the second-youngest head coach in NBA history with the New York Knicks, as head coach at Wisconsin, as the GM of the Vancouver Grizzlies, and as the EVP of the NBA. Ackerman, on the other hand, has served as a special assistant to the commissioner of the NBA, as the commissioner of the WNBA, and as the President of USA Basketball. With all the experience between the two, it’s safe to say that the Big East is in good hands. In fact, the Big East is coming off some of their best seasons in history of late. All 10 teams earned postseason invitations for the first time in the history of the conference in 2018-19. Over the first six years of the 10-team BIG EAST, the league has won two National Championships (Villanova in 2016, 2018) and earned 32 NCAA Tournament invitations, averaging more than five NCAA bids per season.
Rick Boyages & Kevin Warren - Associate Commissioner for Basketball & Commissioner
Boyages has been working under recently retired college sports titan Jim Delaney and the Big Ten Conference for the past ten years. His duties with the conference include men’s basketball operations, game management, and officiating while serving as a liaison to head coaches, event managers, game ops staff & NCAA committees. He has worked to integrate Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers, aided in activating many East Coast initiatives & developed strategies to dramatically improve strength of schedule, leading to unparalleled network television ratings & NCAA tournament success. This year, the Big Ten experienced arguably one of their most historic years. Consistently ranked the No. 1-rated conference in America, bracketologists predicted 10 NCAA bids for the Big Ten, who won the Gavitt Games and the Big Ten-ACC Challenge in the same year for the 1st time and consistently placed 12 teams in the top 55 NET rankings (most of any conference). As one of the best conferences in America with a decorated NCAA Tournament history, the Big Ten has one of the most robust network packages with 4 broadcast partners & 7 networks. Boyages was a long time college basketball coach before joining the conference and also oversees Collegiate Officiating Consortium, a multi-regional LLC that identifies, trains, develops & assesses performance of 240+ MBK referees. Collegiate Officiating Consortium, a multi-regional LLC that identifies, trains, develops & assesses performance of 240+ MBK referees. Kevin Warren comes to the league via the Minnesota Vikings where he served as the COO. He will look to continue the same trend that Boyages and Delaney put together.
A pillar in grassroots basketball since 1988, Gary Charles has had his hands on different areas within the space the last 34 years. After starting his career as the director of a powerhouse in the New York Panthers that featured NBA players like Lamar Odom, Rafer Alston, Khalid El-Amin, Speedy Claxton, Wally Szerzbiak, Charlie Villanueva, Danny Green, and Lance Thomas, Charles ventured out to help run events like the ABCD Camp where he worked alongside legendary grassroots icons like Sonny Vaccaro. His experiences and early on success led him to invaluable relationships throughout the sport at all levels as his time as a prominent AAU director morphed into his rise as an event operator. While he still has a few other events in places like Kentucky and New York, Charles’ bread and butter remains his ever popular Big Time Las Vegas event that is one of the most historically well attended events in grassroots basketball. Players like Jabari Parker, Kyle Anderson, Emmanuel Mudiay, Maurice Harkless, Stanley Johnson, Tyler Dorsey, and Thon Maker make up a list of players that have attended the event. The New York native has mentored roughly 250 NCAA Division I players during his career.
In 21 seasons in the Las Vegas, NV desert, Grant Rice has put together one of the greatest runs of any high school coach as he has compiled 13 state championships with over 500 wins. Even more impressive perhaps is that the Gaels have won the last eight straight state titles in Nevada, which exemplifies Rice’s dominance. Players like Stephen Zimmerman (Orlando Magic), Zach Collins (Portland Trail Blazers), Shabazz Muhammad (Milwaukee Bucks), CJ Watson (Orlando Magic), and over 60 NCAA Division I players have helped him accomplish such feats along the way. Rice also oversees other things within the sport though. He currently serves as a McDonald’s All-American voter and has played a big role in the famous FAB 48 tournament that runs every year in Las Vegas along with plenty of others like the Las Vegas Big Time and the Tarkanian Classic. He also coached in the Jordan Brand Classic in 2012 and 2019. Rice played at nearby UNLV under Bill Bayno, who is now a coach with the Indiana Pacers, and grew up in a basketball family. His father was a longtime coach and his brother, Dave Rice, is a former head coach at UNLV (now at Washington).
Coach Smith recently completed his 22nd season as head coach of the Brewster Academy boys' prep basketball team. Since 2010, Brewster Academy has captured 7 National Prep Championships (2020, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2010). The Bobcats are coming off a 2021-22 season, which saw them capture their 7th NEPSAC Class AAA Tournament Championship (2022, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010 and 2008). The Bobcats have captured 10 NEPSAC Class AAA Regular Season Titles (2022, 2020, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, & 2008) over the last 14 years. Coach Smith has received NEPSAC Coach of the Year Honors 6 times during his tenure.
Less than two years ago Evan Daniels left a successful career in the basketball media and evaluation space to represent basketball coaches at CAA Sports alongside Jimmy Sexton and Spencer Breecker. In a short span, Daniels already represents some of the nation’s top coaches, including Sean Miller, Kevin Willard, Jon Scheyer, Matt McMahon, Archie Miller, Kim English, Jason Hart, Lindsey Harding and a number of other head and assistant coaches. Prior to landing at CAA in July of 2020, Daniels was an on-air talent at FS1, the Director of Basketball Recruiting at 247Sports, hosted a weekly interview-based podcast, which featured the likes of Mike Krzyzewski, Aaron Rodgers, Rick Pitino, operated three consulting/scouting services and served on the USA Basketball Junior National Team committee.
Seth Davis - CBS
Seth Davis is one of the top analysts in college basketball and is a veteran in the sports media world. He joined CBS Sports in 2003 as a contributor to the Network’s coverage of The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. He serves as a studio analyst on the college basketball halftime show, AT THE HALF® and also as an analyst for CBS Sports Network’ s round table college basketball show, INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL. In addition, Davis serves as host of MEN OF MARCH, the Network’s popular interview program featuring college basketball coaches from prominent Division I programs. Davis also is currently Managing Editor of "The Fieldhouse," the national college basketball platform published by The Athletic. In 2004 he was a reporter for CBS Sports’ THE NFL TODAY.
Gary Parrish - College Basketball Analyst
If you dive deep and look at all the things that Parrish has been able to do during his career, it doesn’t take you long to realize that he is one of the backbones on that side of the ball. With nearly 200,000 followers on Twitter, Parrish’s feed is constantly being refreshed and checked on a daily basis to be in the know on all the latest happenings in the sport. Since joining the network in 2006, Parrish has been the recipient of awards for his work, has commonly been seen on television, and very often shows on the radio if you’re tuned in to 92.9 FM in Memphis where he has his own radio show. Additionally, Parrish’s Eye on College Basketball podcast that he does with Matt Norlander is rated as the 28th best basketball podcast on Apple and is the #1 college basketball podcast. His hot takes, breaking news stories, etc. are followed by thousands and definitely influence college basketball.
Jon Rothstein - College Basketball Analyst
Arguably one of the best analysts in the sport, Jon Rothstein is known for dropping the latest and hottest news stories. Rothstein has served as an insider with the CBS Sports Network since 2010 and CBS Television Network since 2012. He regularly appears on Inside College Basketball, CBS Sports Network’s pre-game and post-game highlight show and is also a familiar face as a sideline reporter. Self labeled as college basketball’s hungriest insider, Rothstein spends countless hours on the phone lines each day exploring rumor mills with different sources before he’s shooting out information to his 214,000 followers on Twitter or to his loyal fans on his College Hoops Today podcast that has recently featured the likes of Shake Smart (Texas), Steve Forbes (Wake Forest), Rick Pitino (Iona), and Danny Hurley (UCONN).
One of the most influential figures in grassroots basketball, Udo-Ema has been building up his profile and developing players on the west coast since 1993. 34 NBA names have been called on draft night that have been associated with Compton Magic. The figure means that Udo-Ema has produced more NBA players than many prominent college coaches during the 29-year span. 5 NBA Draft picks have come in the last four years with the selections of TJ Leaf (Indiana Pacers), Jordan Bell (Golden State Warriors), Ike Anigbogu (Indiana Pacers), Jaylen Hands (Los Angeles Clippers), Onyeka Okongwu (projected lottery pick). The high level of talent including 4 McDonald’s All-Americans in the last 5 years has led to many recent successes as a team at different prominent events. Udo-Ema has led his programs to roughly ten championship victories in the last five years including what many believe was the game of the summer when Compton Magic (Adidas Gauntlet Champs) knocked off Team Takeover (Nike EYBL Champs) at the FAB 48 in Las Vegas. Eric Mobley (USC), David Grace, Jeff Theiler, and Rod Palmer (UCLA) are just some of the coaches that have earned a Division I coaching job at some point during their careers.
Jeff Kaufman is one of the top high school coaches in the country as head coach at Coronado High School in Nevada. The founder of “The Border League,” Kaufman was able to keep elite high school basketball thriving even in the face of the pandemic. Along with partner Grant Rice, the pair joined with Paragon marketing and Rashid Ghazi to broadcast 12 games on national television when most basketball was shut down. From the Border League came the creation of the AirNado brand which featured elite players, five of which made it to this years NCAA sweet 16 and one to the G League. Kaufman and his partner Grant Rice have also developed an NIL strategy through RK Community Events which allows college players to appear at basketball camps and events for financial gain. Kaufman has made a significant impact on the basketball community in Las Vegas by bringing high profile events and exposure to the city. Currently he serves as the Executive Director of the Nevada Basketball Coaches Association.
In his over 16 years as a Senior Partner, Glenn has led searches for some of DHR’s largest clients around the world. At age 27, he became one of the youngest directors of a major U.S. pro sports team when he joined board of the Chicago Bulls. Prior to that, he was a Division I college basketball coach. Before joining DHR, Glenn was Vice President and Account Director for Leo Burnett USA, and a former Director of North American Business Development at Leo Burnett’s Marketing Services Group currently known as ARC Worldwide.
Pat Richter - International Search Firm
Pat is credited with totally transforming the Wisconsin athletic program, leading the Badgers to win 3 national championships and 51 Big Ten team titles, go to 9 football bowl games and appear in the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament earning a men’s Final Four berth in 2000. Pat earned All-America and Academic All-America honors in football. He was recognized for his college gridiron exploits in 1997 with his induction into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. He was a first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins and played professionally from 1963–71. Upon retirement from the NFL, he returned to the UW-Madison to earn his law degree, and after working at a Madison law firm, he joined Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation where he was V.P. of personnel.
Arguably the biggest and most successful legend of the sport, Krzyzewski has built one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports during his time at Duke. The Naismith Hall of Famer and all-time winningest coach in college basketball history at any level, has coached his teams to five NCAA National Championships. Krzyzewkski’s 15 ACC Tournament Championships are the most in league history. Additionally, Coach K has coached some of the best players in college basketball and the NBA. He has coached the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, & Dwyane Wade to six gold medals at the Olympics as the head coach of USA Basketball and has also coached the most lottery picks in NBA Draft history (28). The 64 total draft picks have accumulated $1.5 billion in NBA salaries. Lastly, nine of Coach K’s former players or staff are currently Division I head coaches and five hold prominent NBA jobs with Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz head coach), Grant Hill (part-owner Atlanta Hawks), Elton Brand (GM Philadelphia 76ers), Trajan Langdon (GM New Orleans Pelicans), and Shane Battier (VP Analytics & Development Miami Heat). He has transformed the school, the athletic program, and college basketball.
Paul Biancardi and Adam Finkelstein - Recruiting Analysts
A staple at the biggest grassroots events around the country, Biancardi and Finkelstein have both served as ESPN’s national basketball recruiting analysts for over ten years. Their duties include profiling many of the country’s best players through film breakdown, background checks, and traveling to watch players in person at different events around the country. In doing so, they develop rankings for different high school graduating classes periodically throughout the course of players’ development and talk to numerous college coaches, grassroots directors, and players to synergize the college basketball recruiting process. Their expertise stems from previously being college basketball coaches at the NCAA Division I level. Biancardi previously served as the head coach at Wright State University and as an assistant under Rick Majerus at Saint Louis and Jim O’Brien at both Ohio State and Boston College where he was a part of Elite Eight and Final Four teams. He is a McDonalds All American voter, on the Naismith basketball board of selectors, and serves on the Gatorade National POY board. Finkelstein previously served as an assistant coach at Hartford and was the youngest Division I coach in the country at one time.
Dick Vitale - ESPN College Basketball Analyst
There may be no one person that has put energy and life into the college basketball game more than Dick Vitale has from the sidelines for television. Known for his catchphrases such as "This is awesome, baby!”, "diaper dandy", and “He’s a PTPer!”, Vitale has been one of the most familiar faces in the sport since 1979 when he joined the network and called ESPN’s first-ever college basketball game between DePaul and Wisconsin. Perhaps the first biggest game of his career came when he called the St. Vincent-St. Mary’s vs. Oak Hill Academy game featuring LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony with Brad Nessler and Bill Walton. Now, Vitale is doing approximately 40 games a year and has thousands of college basketball fans visit him at First Watch each year, a restaurant he dines at near his home in Florida on almost a daily basis. His voice resonates throughout the sport as he often is outspoken on issues that arise within the sport. Additionally, the Naismith Hall of Famer serves as a voter for the AP Top 25, the annual Naismith Award, and the John Wooden Award. He has history as a NBA & college coach, wrote nine different books, has appeared in different movies, and is a large advocate of different charities like the Jimmy V Foundation.
Jay Bilas - College Basketball Analyst
Since his playing and coaching days under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, Jay Bilas has built himself into a global figure in the college basketball world during his time with ESPN as a college basketball analyst. Since joining the network in 1995, he has worked alongside some of the biggest faces in the sport to bring viewers closer to the game. With roughly 2 million Twitter followers and five Emmy nominations recognizing his work during his broadcasting career, his brand has grown tremendously during that time. Bilas’ words have often resonated throughout the sport as he has been outspoken about athlete rights, the NCAA rules, money in college sports, among other topics. His statements have often sparked discussions on various platforms and in some cases may have been part of a cause for change.
Jeff Borzello - College Basketball Insider
If there’s news or rumors about your college basketball team you can be sure that it may have come from Borzello. For nearly fifteen years, Borzello has had his fingerprints on numerous info regarding college basketball for a number of different platforms. He has worked with Rivals, East Coast Scout, NBE Basketball Report, Fox Sports, D1 Hoops Report, Busting the Bracket, CBS Sports, and now ESPN. In that time he has reported on such things as players transferring, college coaches being hired, team analysis, etc. Some of his recent articles have included ranking college basketball’s transfers, ranking the best recruiting classes of all-time, the best college coaches under 40, among others. With nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter and millions viewing his articles every day on ESPN, Borzello has much influence in the way people think and talk about college basketball.
Joe Lunardi is the resident Bracketologist for ESPN. He invented Bracketology and has been projecting the NCAA Tournament field for ESPN.com since its inception. Each year, Lunardi breaks down the Tournament hopefuls, provides year-round team analysis, and offers real-time, in-season bracket updates of potential seedings and pairings. His frequent appearances from the “Bracket Bunker” have become a staple of college basketball telecasts across ESPN networks.
Seth Greenberg - College Basketball Analyst
Serving as one of the familiar faces of college basketball with ESPN since 2012, Greenberg has built up his stock even more over the years as far as his influence is concerned on the game of basketball. He is a regular on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio while he also serves as one of the lead analysts for ESPN’s College GameDay show that covers different top matchups throughout the college basketball season and on a podcast called Courtside with Dan Dakich. Of the main analysts on, he is one of four former head coaches that work for ESPN. The platform has made his expertise and voice resonate throughout the sport. His 22 seasons as a head coach included stops at Long Beach State, South Florida, and Virginia Tech with 11 postseason appearances. He is second all-time in total wins at Virginia Tech and was named ACC Coach of the Year three times. Greenberg also coached in a Final Four as an assistant at Virginia in 1984.
Former Purdue standout and NBA and oversees pro Robbie Hummel has remained as a top basketball personality after his playing career ended. Now with ESPN and the Big Ten Network, Hummel is one of the top basketball analysts in the country. His extensive knowledge of the game and relatability to the players has helped him move up quickly and his future is very bright as a sports media analyst.
Rob Dauster is one of the top college basketball insiders in the country and an award winning writer. Dauster has spent time as a sideline reporter, writer, analyst, and has launched one of the highest rated college basketball podcasts available. His versatility in the business has made him a huge presence and his experience creating content is unique. Dauster started the Field of 68 media company.
Ross continues to build on a stellar resume and is one of the most influential and respected people in basketball. Ross is a sports technology pioneer who founded FastModel Sports in 2004 with a thousand dollars to his name. A cloud-based platform used in over 90 countries can aggregate data sources and synthesize information into automated experiences. Ross has built one of the most extensive worldwide networks of relationships. He is a confidant to many of the most influential people in the sports ecosystem.
Hamilton has been as consistent as they come in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He is the winningest coach in Florida State history, currently sits as the fifth winningest coach in conference history, and just led the Seminole program to their first-ever ACC Regular Season Championship in school history. In what is considered arguably the best conference in America, Hamilton’s Seminoles are currently the fourth winningest program amongst all conference participants since the 2005-06 season. The success the program has had under Hamilton coupled with his experience in the NBA as a head coach has drawn talent to Tallahassee in a large way. With 14 NBA Draft selections under Hamilton since 2004, the Seminoles are fourth in the ACC for the most draft picks since Hamilton was named the Seminoles’ Head Coach in 2002. Florida State has had at least one player selected in the NBA Draft in 11 of the last 15 seasons. He has secured two top ten recruiting classes since he was hired at Florida State. Hamilton’s legacy extends across the nation in the coaching ranks too. 8 of his former assistant coaches have moved on to become head coaches at the Division I level. Included on the list are Dennis Gates (Cleveland State), Corey Williams (Stetson), Tim Carter (South Carolina State), Andy Enfield (Southern California), Dwight Freeman (Norfolk State), Dickey Nutt (Southeast Missouri), John Phillips (Tulsa) and Bill Self (Kansas).
As a former coach himself, Eddie Folger is as experienced in the college coach hiring process as anyone in the country. Folger is well respected by ADs across all conferences for his ability to fill vacant positions with top coaches. As a coach, Folger spent time at Wichita State, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina. During these stints he went a combined 265-197.
John Fanta Is a play by play broadcaster for College Basketball on Fox and has positioned himself as one of the top media personalities in the business. Fanta Also works as a sideline reporter, in game announcer, and runs the Big East Shootaround podcast, where he talks basketball weekly. Fanta is among the most respected in the media world and has provided great insight to viewers for years.
What Few has been able to do at Gonzaga over the last 20 seasons has been nothing short of amazing. The winningest active coach by percentage at .836 (658-129) and third fastest ever to 500 wins, Few has been able to turn what many believe was a mid-major program into one of the most elite machines in the country. The Zags have won or shared 18 regular season league titles in his 20 seasons (all but the 1999-2000 and 2011-12 season) and taken home the conference tournament championship 15 times. Their streak of 11 straight West Coast Conference regular-season titles from 2000-11 currently ranks as the third longest streak of all-time in the NCAA Division I ranks. The Zags have completed one run to the national championship game, two to the Elite Eight, and six to the Sweet Sixteen while Few has been in the driver's seat in Spokane. His development of overseas players has been a big pay off for the program as well as the attraction of some of the top domestic talent. Domantas Sabonis, Kelly Olynyk, Zach Collins, Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke are all current NBA Players. He also helped recruit and develop Dan Dickau, Richie Frahm, Adam Morrison, Jeremy Pargo, Elias Harris, Austin Daye, Rob Sacre and Ronny Turiaf, all NBA players. Ray Giacoletti, Bill Grier, Leon Rice make up the branches of his coaching tree as all three of them have served under Few and have been a head coach at some point in their careers.
When you combine one of the best basketball coaches with one of the best academic institutions in the world like Harvard, you’re going to have some pull. Amaker has led the way in the renaissance of the Harvard program since 2009-10. A coach deriving from the Krzyzewski pedigree, Amaker has proven that the Ivy League can get high level players, can produce high level players, and can win at a high level. Players like Jeremy Lin (NBA), Chris Ledlum (Top 100), Bryce Aiken (Top 100), Zena Edosomwan (Top 100) and other four stars like Seth Towns, Chris Lewis, and Noah Kirkwood have been some of the players that have served as a backbone for Harvard’s resurgence under Amaker. The Crimson have won seven league championships, appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, and were ranked in the program’s first-ever AP Poll during his 13-year tenure. He has coached a total of six NBA players, appeared in one Sweet Sixteen and has also begun to establish an impressive coaching tree. Kenny Blakeney, Will Wade, Dave Pilipovich, Tim O’toole, and Chris Collins are all past or present head coaches that have been cut from Amaker’s cloth.
With nearly 40 years of experience and deep connections within the sport between the three at various levels of basketball, the trio make a perfect match in ultimately what goes into the UA Association experience and brand. Pat Coombs, the president of High Major Sports, got his start in 2003 for Reebok grassroots. Ever since, Coombs has been establishing himself within the industry working alongside prominent figures like Sonny Vaccaro at different events like the ABCD Camp, the Reebok Big Time Tournament, and the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Matt Pennie got his start in the college basketball world in 2008 as a student-manager at UMass. After one season working with the coaching staff, he walked on for his final three years on campus and was named captain for a team that reached the NIT Championship Game at Madison Square Garden. Upon graduation he took a job as an assistant coach with John Carroll at Northfield Mount Hermon, while spending his summers coaching for the New England Playaz on the adidas circuit and starting as a consultant for Reebok Grassroots Basketball. Pennie was assistant director of the Reebok Breakout Challenge summer All American Camp until 2014, when he transitioned to operations management with High Major Sports for the Under Armour Association (UAA). In addition to working on the UAA, Pennie produces the ATO Hoop Report scouting service and is a regular guest on the Game Theory NBA Draft podcast with Sam Vecenie.
Adam DeMong Walked on and played 3 years at Boston College before coaching in the college ranks for eight years. DeMing spent time at Ohio University (NCAA Tournament in 2005 lost to Florida) and Loyola IL, where he recruited and coached Max Strus. He is a graduate of the Ohio Sports Administration Program and is currently a High School coach in the Chicago Catholic League, where he won the first Regional Title for Montini Catholic HS in 39 years. DeMong works with the UA Grassroots to build UA Rise league.
One of the original and major event operators serving primarily the New England area and on down the east coast, Kennedy’s organization has evolved into a complete monster. The company hosts upwards of 80 events year round that have featured some of the nation’s best talent since its inception in 1963. More specifically, the Hoop Group events have produced 148 NBA/WNBA Players, 240 McDonald’s All-Americans, and 73 Hall of Fame coaches and players. The organization’s tentacles run through the sport with connections everywhere you turn. From Bob Knight to Pat Summitt or from Kevin Durant to Larry Bird, Hoop Group has been involved. The past coaches of the program’s different camps and events have combined to win 7 NBA Championships, 6 Olympic Gold Medals, 27 NCAA Championships, and over 100 HIgh School State Championships. Today, coaches like Jesse Agel (Columbia), Lamar Barrett (Hofstra), Sasha Brown (Vanderbilt), Zak Boisvert (Army), Rob Senderoff (Kent State), Kevin Driscoll (Marist), Mike Farrelly (Hofstra), Andy Toole (Robert Morris), Joey Gallo (Merrimack), Kyle Griffin (LaSalle), Ashley Howard (LaSalle), Brian Kennedy (NJIT), Joe Kennedy (Holy Cross) and Chuck Martin (South Carolina) make up a list of 51 people with Hoop Group ties that currently hold prominent positions within basketball.
Winning has been Kelvin Sampson’s shadow throughout his career. The veteran of 15 NCAA Tournaments, Sampson is part of an elite class of fourteen coaches that have coached 4+ schools to the NCAA Tournament. The DNA of his 699-339 (.659) overall record in 33 seasons as a head coach contains two Sweet Sixteens (Houston & Oklahoma), one Elite Eight (Oklahoma), and one Final Four (Oklahoma). Known for his abilities as a recruiter that have only gotten more potent with his recent time in the NBA as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets, Sampson has been able to secure top flight talent throughout his career. Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets), Damyean Dotson (New York Knicks), Danuel House (Houston Rockets), Joe Young, DJ White, Eduardo Najera, Corey Brewer, Nate Erdmann, and Ryan Minor make up the roster of his NBA Draft picks. Sampson. They are just a few of the highly rated recruits that Sampson has been able to lure.
A veteran in the grassroots space that has seen it all and done it all. Mullins has been able to put his teams on the highest pedestal over the years with the combination of his expertise, the UA Association, and authentic relationships within the grassroots world. Since its inception in 1999, the Wolves have had almost 300 players that have received in excess of $60 million in scholarships. Built on the foundation of good kids that care about education, those 300 former Wolves, highlighted by two NBA Draft picks in Evan Turner (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Frank Kaminsky (Phoenix Suns), have gone on to play at many different programs around the country and while executing a 97% graduation rate. The development hasn’t stopped there. Mullins has also provided a platform for his former coaches/players like Luke Yaklich (UIC), Willie Veasley (UIC), Brendan Mullins (Southern Illinois), and Bryan Mullins (Southern Illinois).
Brian Nash, an NCAA Division I head and assistant coach for more than 20 years, joined IMG Academy as Director of Basketball in 2016. Brian Nash came to IMG Academy from Duquesne University where he was the Associate Head Coach, overseeing student-athlete recruitment and backcourt player development, as well as playing a significant role in mentoring student-athletes. Prior to Duquesne, Nash held coaching roles at Fairfield, St. Francis, Seton Hall, Siena, St. Bonaventure and Sacred Heart, leading teams to multiple NCAA and NIT postseason appearances. Brian was a basketball student-athlete and team captain at Keene State, where he graduated with a degree in economics. In his role, Nash oversees the basketball program for its youth and high school student-athletes, as well as its camps and training programs for post-graduate and professional players.
Criss Beyers and Mike Fox - Directors
While it has been under a different name (Bloomington Red) once before, the Indiana Elite organization has been around for over 30 years and has become a pinnacle program in the Hoosier state thanks to efforts of Criss Beyers and Mike Fox. From a historical standpoint, they are arguably the best program on the Adidas Gauntlet Circuit let alone the country’s grassroots landscape. In 30 years since its inception, they have accumulated some of the best talent in Indiana and the surrounding areas with the likes of Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets), Yogi Ferrell (Sacramento Kings), Kyle Guy (Sacramento Kings), Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets), Tyler Zeller (Denver Nuggets), Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), and Dylan Windler (Cleveland Cavaliers). Many of the program’s former players and coaches have now entered the college coaching ranks as well. Walter Offuttt (Toledo), Drew Adams (Bradley), Kristof Kendrick (Bradley), Andrew Dakich (Ohio State), Alan Huss (Creighton), Travis Steele (Xavier), Bil Duany (Nevada), DJ Byrd (Mercer) and Kory Barnett (Nevada) are just some of the coaches that have paved that path for the program. Indiana Elite operates upwards of 120 teams, has 15-20 events a year, and has a fall league that many teams and players participate in.
Debbie Spander is founder and CEO of Insight Sports Advisors, a boutique agency focused on coaching, executives and sports media. Debbie’s clients include NCAA and NBA coaches, front office executives, sports media personalities and NIL athletes. Debbie’s experience and deep connections throughout the sports world provide an unparalleled platform to help clients build their personal brands and maximize their careers. Debbie also consults with athletic departments on NIL and provides seminars and workshops to college athletes on NIL-related topics, including marketing and business. Debbie was previously an agent at Wasserman Media Group, where she rose to Senior Vice President of its Broadcasting and Coaching Division. She was a founding member of Wasserman’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. Debbie began her career at Fox Sports Net as Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, where she structured, negotiated, and administered telecast licenses, talent deals, and marketing agreements, including the ground-breaking $1.2 billion NASCAR telecast rights agreement.
An undisputed legend, Rick Pitino’s best contribution to the game could quite possibly be his coaching tree, which ranks as one of the biggest and best in college basketball history. Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith, Mick Cronin, Herb Sendek, Kevin Willard, Marvin Menzies, Kevin Keatts, Steve Masiello, Reggie Theus, Richard Pitino Jr, Jim O’Brien, Wyking Jones, Walter McCarty, Kareem Richardson, amongst others that have branched out as “grandchildren” make up the impressive tree that accounts for roughly five percent of college basketball. On the flip side, Pitino has taken four different programs to the NCAA Tournament, is the only coach to lead three different schools to the Final Four, and is the only coach to win a national championship at two different schools, an astounding three feats. During his 32 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Pitino has a 807-285 (.739) overall record and a 54-19 (.740) record in the NCAA Tournament. The .740 percentage in the tournament is the third highest among active Division I coaches while the overall winning percentage is good for fifth. The success and his time as a head coach in the NBA has helped him draw 28 NBA Draft picks to his teams over the years. Those draft picks include Montrezl Harrell, Terry Rozier, Gorgui Dieng, Antoine Walker, Jamal Mashburn, & Ron Mercer. The Naismith Hall of Famer is one of six active coaches with NBA head coaching experience.
With over 150 different current NBA players developed, you can trace 35-40% of today’s players back to Lucas and his organization. A good player in his own right, JLE started in 1990 upon completion of Lucas’ 14-year NBA career that started with him being the No. 1 overall pick. The initiative was aimed to help athletes that struggled with drugs and alcohol, the same struggles he had during his career, but quickly morphed to also give players the opportunity to train. Lucas would go on to be a prominent coach in the NBA while JLE continued to move throughout the years, but it hasn’t taken away from Lucas’ connection with many different players, coaches, and basketball figures throughout the country at the grassroots level. The organization has run multiple events throughout the years and Lucas continues to train the next best in basketball as much as he can. He serves as McDonald’s All-American voter, the top scout for the NBPA Top 100 camp, he has developed many different coaches. Bilal Batley (Houston), Dawn Staley (South Carolina), Ed Conroy (Minnesota), Rod Strickland (NBA G League), Chris Buchanan (Portland), Joey Brooks (Nicholls State), Ulric Maligi (Texas Tech), Brian Merritt (Morgan State), Lucas’ son, Jai Lucas (Texas), make up some of the coaches that have developed out of the program.
The second-youngest coach to claim 700 NCAA Division I victories, Self has been at the forefront of unprecedented success throughout the course of his career. In that time, he has dominated the Big 12 Conference winning NCAA-record 14-straight regular season (15 overall) league titles and eight Big 12 Tournament Championships. More than amazing is that the Jayhawks have more Big 12 regular season league championships under Self (15) than they do losses at home (14) in Self’s tenure. The Oklahoma native is 552-126 (.814) in 19 seasons at Kansas and an astonishing 293-16 (.948) at Allen Fieldhouse. The success has been highlighted by 17 stars that have suited up in the Jayhawk uniform that have gone on to be NBA Draft lottery selections. The Naismith Hall of Famer has brought great NCAA Tournament success to Lawrence, KS too. The Jayhawks have advanced and finished in one NCAA Championship, one Final Fours, five Elite Eights, two Sweet Sixteens and he is one of ten active Division I coaches that have won a NCAA Championship (Kansas 2008). He is one of six coaches in NCAA Division I history to have led three different teams – Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas – to the NCAA Elite Eight. Decision makers have been gravitating towards his assistant coaches over time in the wake of the success. Coaches like Danny Manning, Joe Dooley, Tim Jankovich, Kyle Keller, Barry Hinson, Billy Gillispie, and Norm Roberts have all been hired to be head coaches at some points during their careers. Self has also worked with USA Basketball winning a gold medal twice and has served on the NCAA rules committee.
Not many can easily have the effect on multiple college programs like Calipari has been able to do in his career. Widely considered a marketing genius by many different college basketball experts, Calipari’s creative techniques and smooth talking ways have always made it easy for him to keep talent in his back pocket year after year. His incorporation of Kentucky Media Day, the way he has transformed Big Blue Madness, and his swaying presence in the media via different platforms has helped lure an amazing 49 NBA Draft picks to his teams during his 30-year head coaching career. He has set records for most players drafted in the first round, most players selected in a draft, longest streak with at least one top-10 pick, and most No. 1 overall picks. Another way to look at Calipari’s influence is that an astounding 38 of the 60 who finished their college careers at Kentucky under Calipari were selected in the NBA Draft, a staggering 63.3% success rate. The influx of talent available at his disposal each year has led to six Final Fours. He is one of only two coaches (Rick Pitino) to lead three different schools to a Final Four (UMass-1996; Memphis-2008; Kentucky-2011, 2012, 2014, 2015). The Naismith HOF has seen Orlando Antigua, Tony Barbee, Derek Kellogg, Ed Schilling, John Robic, Bruiser Flint, Josh Pastner, and Chuck Martin as some of the coaches that continue to grow his coaching tree.
No one can argue that the NCAA Selection committee doesn’t hold many programs' fates and many coaches’ job statuses in the palm of their hand each and every year. Mitch Barnhart, the Athletic Director at Kentucky for the last 18 years, is the man at the forefront of that responsibility. He currently serves as the chair of the selection committee for the 2020-21 season where he will oversee the process of selecting a field of 64 teams with a number of different commissioners and athletic directors from different conferences and schools. The ten committee members spend countless hours evaluating teams throughout the regular season. While each committee member is given a couple handfuls of conferences they are supposed to be familiar with, the committee chair or in this case, Barnhart, is ultimately in charge of deciphering all the information in order to come to a 68 team field. The SportsBusiness Journal named Barnhart the Athletic Director of the Year in 2019 as he has been a huge part of the brand build of UK Athletics as a whole and the Kentucky Men’s Basketball program as many know it today. $300 million has been brought in to improve facilities since 2007 including the men’s basketball locker room and the programs have achieved much success.
You can’t think of high school basketball without thinking about Gary McKnight and Mater Dei. The living legend has accounted for a staggering 1,161-117 (.908) overall record in 38 seasons on the sidelines at Mater Dei High School and ranks fourth all-time in total wins amongst high school coaches nationwide. The Monarchs have won 37 of 38 Trinity League titles under the Naismith Hall of Fame nominee’s watch and have appeared in an unbelievable 16 state championship games in McKnight’s 38 years at the helm. The Monarchs have brought back 11 of those CIF State Championships and 1 National Championship to Orange County, CA in McKnight’s tenure. He has coached 24 CIF Player of the Years, over 75 NCAA Division I student-athletes, and a total of nine former players have competed in the NBA. Additionally, three of his former players are coaching in the NBA (Miles Simon - Los Angeles Lakers, Mike Gerrity - Cleveland Cavaliers, Kamran Sufi - Washington Wizards) and plenty associated with Mater Dei have coached at the college level. For his achievements, McKnight has earned the NABC’s Guardian of the Game Leadership Award and the Morgan Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The son of the late great and legendary Morgan Wooten, Joe Wooten has been blazing his own trail. After winning just six games the year before he was announced as a head coach in 1999, Wooten has led Bishop O’Connell High School to unmounted success averaging close to 25 wins per season during his tenure. 5 Virginia State Independent Titles, 3 WCAC Regular Season Titles, 4 Alhambra Catholic Invitational Titles, and 2 WCAC Tournament Titles have come out of it. Many prominent coaches have sung their praises for Wooten’s knowledge of the game and his successes. The attention has led many players wanting to be a part of the action. Wooten has coached nearly 50 players that have gone to play college basketball, 5 that have played overseas, and one NBA Draft pick in Marcus Thornton. Additionally, coaches like Mike Pegues (Louisville), Jackson (Virginia Tech), and Joey Cantafio make up five NCAA Division I assistants and one head coach that he has worked with. Wooten also serves on the McDonald’s All-American Selection Committee and is a member of many different prominent camp coaching staffs.
You can never count the Spartans out under Tom Izzo. The Naismith Hall of Famer has a winning clip of .706 in the month of March, which ranks fourth among all active coaches with at least ten tournament games coached. His 52 NCAA Tournament wins are the most ever for a Big Ten coach, and rank sixth all-time. The winningest coach in Michigan State history has led his Spartans to seven Final Four appearances between 1999 and 2015, making the program just one of four to ever accomplish such a feat in a 17-year span. His seven Final Four appearances rank fifth all-time, third among active coaches and first all-time among Big Ten coaches. He has always been atop the Big Ten with his teams too. His .685 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service. With 322 conference victories, Izzo ranks second all-time, trailing just Indiana’s Bob Knight (353 wins), while also ranking first for most wins at a Big Ten institution (663), passing Knight (662). The legendary success has kept multiple eyes of decision makers on the program. Former assistants Jim Boylen, Tom Crean, Tim Buckley, Darrin Horn, Tod Kowalczyk, Buzz Williams, Brian Gregory, Stan Heath, Stan Joplin, Doug Wojcik, Mark Montgomery have all been picked by athletic directors at some point during their career to be a head coach and make up his coaching tree. Additionally, 20 Michigan State players like Jaren Jackson, Miles Bridges, Gary Harris, and Zach Randolph have all been selected by NBA general managers.
Jeff Jackson had worked in two Division I conference offices in the seven years prior to his hiring at Missouri Valley and brings extensive basketball experience from a three-decade collegiate coaching career prior to his entry into athletics administration in 2014. Jackson has also served as a member of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee and NCAA Basketball Oversight Committee. His impact on the Conference has been immediate. During Jackson’s first 100 days, the Conference extended TV partnerships with LTN Global Communications and Tupelo Honey; The Valley established conference guidance on NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) and also entered into a partnership with industry-leading content and compliance software company INFLCR. With Jackson’s guidance, the MVC also established a Sports Medicine Committee. On Sept. 28, the Conference announced it had expanded to 11 full-time members with the addition of Belmont University, effective July 1, 2022.
A juggernaut of a program in the Kansas City area since 2004, Suther has constructed an impressive product of basketball with nearly 250 kids and 20 different teams. The platform he has been able to provide his MoKan teams with has resulted in over 125 student-athletes receiving an estimated $28.3 million in scholarships, a pedestal that many programs can not say they have reached. Players like Willie Cauley-Stein (Dallas Mavericks), Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Michael Porter (Denver Nuggets), Alec Burks (Golden State Warriors), Semi Ojeleye (Boston Celtics), and Shake Milton (Philadelphia 76ers) have all been cut from the MoKan cloth while a total of almost 70 NCAA Division I players have propelled them to two Nike EYBL Championships, two Nike EYBL Final Fours, and 71 major tournament championships from 2013-2019. The success and the attention that is highlighted by three national television appearances has led to a backing from Kevin Durant. Additionally, former coaches and workers at MoKan’s five different events year round have allowed the likes of Rodney Perry (Oral Roberts), Max Lefevre (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Buzzy Caruthers (Nebraska)to take the next steps in their careers from working under Suther.
Drew Molitoris has been with Mokan Elite for 12 years and has helped Mokan send over 40 kids to the Division I level. Molitoris has experience coaching from 3rd grade to high major D1 and spent time at the University of Georgia and Florida State University, where he helped develop six NBA players combined. Molitoris has extensive camp and grassroots knowledge and has been pivotal in the success of Mokan.
The 6-man team that makes up the NBPA Camp Board collectively brings an unmatched level of knowledge and experience to the game. Frank Burlison, Clark Francis, Van Coleman, Darnell Johnson, Horace Neysmith, and Mike Rice all reside in different areas of the country and have been a centerpiece in their different basketball communities while also have a knowledge of the state of the grassroots game around the country. Together they bring almost 200 years of combined experience while selecting players to attend the prestigious NBPA Camp and also have a college coaching network that spans the entire Division I level. Many serve on other committees, have their own scouting service, coach, and/or run their own events.
Clark Francis - Respected scout for 40 years, McDonald’s All-American voter
Darnell Johnson - John Lucas Enterprises scout
Frank Burlison- One of the most respected scouts in basketball, website is burlisononbasketball.com.
Mike Rice - Former college coach at Rutgers and current coach at the grassroots level
Van Coleman - Respected scout for 45 years, McDonald’s All-American voter, Naismith Player of the Year selection committee
Horace Neysmith - A nationally respected scout across all areas of basketball.
Kevin Boyle is widely recognized nationally as one of the premier High School Basketball Coaches in the United States. For over two decades, Coach Boyle has coached elite high school programs at St. Patrick, NJ and Montverde Academy. His teams have been ranked in the nation’s top 25 in various national polls such as MaxPreps.com, ESPN Rise, and USA Today in each season over the last 20 years. Boyle led St. Pats to four TOC Championships in 1998, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, eight Parochial North Championships, and 15 Union County Championships. St. Patrick was ranked No.1, six times during his tenure by The Newark Star Ledger.
Dan Gavitt and Mark Emmert - SVP of Basketball & President
There is not one person more involved in the overall organization and structure of college basketball than Dan Gavitt and Mark Emmert are today. Together they oversee NCAA March Madness that is viewed by roughly 100 million people each year, broadcast deals with different networks like Turner and CBS Sports that are worth upwards of $20 billion, event scheduling at the different major facilities around the country, and being an ear for college coaches on the changes they’d like to see in today’s game. Gavitt is the point person for all of the NCAA’s committees, administrators, officials, and coaches as it pertains to basketball as well as a line of communication for the Naismith Hall of Fame, FIBA, and USA Basketball. Prior to his time with the NCAA, Gavitt served as the associate commissioner for basketball for the Big East Conference. The stop provided the conference with a bit of lineage as Dan’s father, Dave Gavitt, helped create the conference in 1979 as well as serving as a head coach at Dartmouth, head coach at Providence, and a president of USA Basketball forming the Olympic Dream Team. The younger Gavitt has also served as an athletic director at Bryant and as an assistant coach for Rick Barnes at Providence.
JD Collins - NCAA Head of Officials
A member of the NCAA since 2015, Collins brings more than 25 years of expertise to the position. He previously served as the coordinator of officials for the Mid-American Conference and Summit League, as a consultant for the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball officiating program, and as the commissioner of the NAIA’s Crossroads League. He served as a NCAA Division I official during many of the big matchups throughout college basketball’s recent history including two Final Fours, one regional final, and five regional semifinal games. Before retiring for medical reasons, Collins officiated games in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Horizon, Missouri Valley, Mid-American, and Summit Leagues. In the five years since, Collins has reinvented a system that organizes officials, almost 900 of them, that was long overdue for a change and has instructed officials about the games tweaked rules that were seen as needed by many different coaches and administrators. More specifically, Collins has synergized the network of college officials by making them less independent contractors like they had previously been so that they have more direct people that they are reporting to and that there’s more of a schedule in place for a more even work load. Collins is also in charge of evaluating who gets to officiate NCAA Tournament games. After he receives 350 nominations from numerous people in the sport, he rates them on film in six different categories, ranging from their fitness to their communication skills with players and coaches to call accuracy and game management. That number is whittled down to just 9 officials and 1 alternate for the Final Four.
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Committee is responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field for the NCAA Tournament. The committee is represented by: Barry Collier, Bernadette McGlade, Bubba Cunningham, Charles McClelland, Chris Reynolds, Greg Byrne, Jamie Pollard, Keith Gill, Mark Coyle , Martin Jarmond, Mike O'Brien, and Tom Burnett.
Chad Babel - MADE Hoops
Chad Babel has quickly become one of the industry leaders of grassroots basketball as the director for MADE Hoops, a Nike basketball circuit for youth teams. MADE Hoops houses some of the top middle school teams in the country and has showcased some of the best up and coming players in each region. As the CEO of MADE Hoops, Babel has been instrumental in the circuit’s expansion. Babel is someone to keep your eye on over the next decade as his influence on grassroots basketball continues to grow.
Eric Lautenbach - Director of College basketball Marketing
When you see the Nike swoosh anywhere in the college basketball game today, Lautenbach had something to do with it. He has spent the last three decades working for Nike to oversee the company’s relationship with different teams they sponsor and events that they run within the space. Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Oregon, Syracuse, Michigan State, UCONN, Gonzaga, Texas, and Ohio State are just some of the teams that are under Lautenbach’s watch. Additionally, events like the Phil Knight Invitational are seen with Lautenbach’s fingerprints. All the teams in the event have had a business relationship with Nike. In 2017, the sixteen team event included 10 of the previous 14 National Champions and three of the Final Four participants. Lautenbach also is heavily involved with Nike’s relationship with USA Basketball and the NBA dating back to when Coach K took over the national team back in 2005.
John Stovall - Manager Grassroots Basketball Scouting
Stovall is the man behind Nike’s identification of tomorrow’s biggest and brightest stars. A former scout for ESPN, he spends his time traveling the country to the most talent rich events where he helps serve as Nike’s eyes and liaison while attempting to hand pick talent for the 40 different Nike EYBL teams across the country. Ben Simmons, D’Angelo Russell, Jayson Tatum, RJ Barrett, Trae Young, Marvin Bagley, DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson make up a list of 8 players that have been selected in the top 5 of the NBA Draft in the past five years under his watch that he has been able to cultivate relationships with. He has helped sell some of these players on the truths of the EYBL that make the league so prominent like the 26 EYBL alums that played in the 2018 Final Four or 22 of 30 players the league had selected in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. The Michigan native got his start for prep spotlight scouting service, a platform he helped found. Stovall is widely respected throughout grassroots basketball.
Carlton Debose and Jamal James - EYBL Directors
If you’re looking for an early replica of what the future NBA will look like you just might get a glimpse at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Debose and James have done a spectacular job putting on the events, making them look professional, and drawing some of the sport’s best college coaches and media outlets to give some of the nation's best talent a platform to shine. In fact, 86 Nike EYBL alumni were rostered on the 16 different Sweet Sixteen teams in 2019. The stat is a testament to just how good the platform Debose & James put on and how plentiful the talent is. High level talent like Ben Simmons, D’Angelo Russell, Jayson Tatum, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Davis, RJ Barrett, Jabari Parker, Trae Young, Aaron Gordon, Marvin Bagley, DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson make up the list of 12 different players that have been selected in the top 5 of the NBA Draft in the past six years. Both NBA and NCAA Division I level is littered with players that Debose and James have had their fingers on.
Tony Dorado - High School Basketball Director
Tony has worked at Nike, Inc in Beaverton, OR for the past 25 years as the National Manager of High School Basketball overseeing all the sponsorships and relationships of the country’s top high school basketball programs and tournaments. Prior to joining Nike, he was a head basketball coach for 11 years at high schools in California and Oregon. As a coach, Tony left Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, California as the winningest boys’ basketball coach in the school’s history and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2015. Tony has been a featured speaker at basketball camps in the U.S. as well as camps in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Japan and Mozambique. In addition to his day job, in 2003 he founded Lay-Ups, a non-competitive, introductory basketball league for K-2nd graders. For the past 17 years, Lay-Ups has provided an opportunity for over 15,000 kids to learn the game while exercising and having fun.
Considered one of the godfathers of AAU basketball, Trigonis has spent nearly the last three decades dedicating his life to the game of basketball since his Fullcourt Press scouting service and Belmont Shore program started in 1994. The experience and Trigonis’ never stop attitude led to the foundation of many different authentic relationships that he still uses today. With a scouting service that was in full swing and an AAU program that was quickly on the rise, he began starting events like the Pangos Dream Classic, Eddie Jones All-Star Classic, and Pangos All-American camp, which eventually culminated into a year’s worth calendar crowded events under the Pangos banner. Today, his voice continues to resonate throughout the sport as 150 schools take his scouting service. While he may be best known for drawing LeBron James to Los Angeles to play Gary McKnight’s Mater Dei powerhouse in a nationally televised game on ESPN in front of a sold out crowd of 12,500 fans, Trigonis’ events have also been highlighted by top flight talent like Dwight Howard, Sebastian Telfair, Paul Pierce, Derrick Favors, Baron Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyson Chandler, Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson, among countless others. Dinos’ Belmont Shore teams have produced 217 NCAA Division I players, upwards of 20 prominent tournament championships, and a long list of 33 NBA players including household names like Brandon Jennings, DeMar Derozan, James Harden, DeMar Derozan, and Jrue Holiday.
The winningest coach in program history at one of the most renowned academic institutions in the world, Mike Brey has built up a level of respect that can’t be ignored. He is 472-259 (.646) in 21 seasons as a head coach at Notre Dame with an ACC Championship, 2 Elite Eights, 3 Sweet Sixteens, and 14 NCAA Tournament appearances. The highlights are in large part due to the culture he has established and the talent he has been able to attract to play under the Golden Dome in South Bend, Indiana. He has developed six NBA Draft picks, six All-Americans, three conference Players of the Year, and 21 all-conference selections during his time with the Irish. He is the 11th active Division I coach to earn 400 or more victories at his current institution and he is 23rd on the active career wins list with 516 overall. Additionally, Brey ranked fourth in the Big East in career conference wins upon Notre Dame’s departure from the conference in 2013. He has won numerous awards throughout his career and served as the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches just this past year. Brey got his coaching start for two Naismith Hall of Fame coaches in Morgan Wooten and Mike Krzyzewski and one of his former assistants, Martin Ingelsby, is the current head coach at the University of Delaware, a program that Brey got his head coaching start at.
Mark Olivier - Director & Lo Leath
There are many highlights that come from an Oakland Soldiers program that has been around for over 25 years. Mark Olivier has spearheaded the growth of the program into one of the most premier programs in the country. The Bay Area powerhouse has produced over 200 NCAA Division I players and their alumni list is filled with notables like Chauncey Billups, Kendrick Perkins, Matt Barnes, Drew Gooden, Eddie House, LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons), and Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic). 28 players have transitioned to the NBA level while another 50+ have had long careers overseas. The consistent talent over the years have led the Soldiers to two EYBL Championships making them among a select group of programs that can say they’ve won the prominent tournament twice. Johnnie Bryant (Utah Jazz), Mark Madsen (Utah Valley), Justin Joyner (St. Mary’s), Senque Carey (Long Beach State), and Damany Hendrix (Vanderbilt) are just some of the coaches that have played for or coached for the program that now hold more prominent jobs within basketball. The Soldiers also host some events and operate a four court facility in the Bay Area year round.
Shun williams and On the Radar Hoops hosts nearly 30 events year-round that have featured some of the nation’s best talent since its inception in 2010. Their platform has helped thousands of student athletes obtain scholarships from colleges and universities around the country. Their OTR platform has showcased Anthony Edwards, Ja Morant, Jaylen Brown, Collin Sexton, Tyrese Haliburton, OG Anunoby, Bam Adebayo, Zion Williamson, and many more.
Now the CEO and Founder of On3, Shannon Terry has controlled much of the world of sports recruiting media since June of 2000. He co-founded Rivals.com, the leading Internet site in college sports, high school sports and college recruiting, and later sold the company to Yahoo for an estimated $98 million in July 2007. In fact, company’s Founded/Co-founded by Terry have generated more than $250 million in online revenue over the past decade. The staggering accomplishments led him to be named to the Forty under 40 in 2006 and 2007, and the SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame in 2008. He was the first-ever digital media Hall of Fame recipient for the publication. In addition, Terry was named to the trade publication’s 20 Most Influential People in Online Sports (ranked No. 11 & No. 14, respectively) list in 2007 and 2008. Since then, he has launched and served as 247 Sports’ CEO since 2010. The company is one of the most followed and state of the art college sports recruiting media platforms in the world. Terry graduated from Lipscomb University where he was a 4-year letterwinner and co-captain on the basketball team under legendary head coach Don Meyer.
Altman is part of an exclusive fraternity of five active coaches in NCAA Division I with 23 consecutive winning seasons. He is the 34th head coach to record 600 career wins at the Division I level and has done so with a .659 winning percentage (710-368). In 2019, he became the winningest coach in Pac-12 Tournament history, reaching 19 victories and in 2017 he led the Ducks to their first Final Four in 78 years. His success doesn’t just stop and end with Oregon though. He is also the winningest coach in Creighton men’s basketball history and third all-time in the Missouri Valley Conference. He led the Blue Jays to 13 consecutive postseason appearances, a stretch of 11 straight seasons with 20-plus wins, all while producing 10 or more league victories in each of the last 14 seasons. Those three feats were unmatched in the 103 years of the Missouri Valley Conference. Altman got his start at the junior college level where he had two third place finishes with two different schools at the NJCAA National Tournament early in his career. He has had multiple NBA players during his tenure as a head coach including Kyle Korver, Jordan Brooks, and Tyler Dorsey. Coaches like Brian Fish, Kevin McKenna, Darian Devries, and Robert McCullum, who have all worked under him, have gotten head coaching jobs at the Division I level at some point during their careers.
Rashid Ghazi is now the president of Paragon marketing group, which is considered one of the top sports marketing companies in the world. After spending the past 23 years with the company, Ghazi assumed the role of president in 2021.. A thirty-three year industry veteran and entrepreneur, Rashid started his career in the Media Department at Leo Burnett and then worked at Intersport Television before ultimately joining Paragon as a founding partner.
One of the titans in the search firm industry, Daniel Parker has aimed athletic directors’ attention towards some of college basketball’s best candidates over the years and has been responsible for some of the biggest hires. Upon hiring the firm, schools get access to a database of hundreds of college coaches with all sorts of info attached while Parker Search handles the interviews, communicates with candidates, negotiates the contracts, among other things. Those same routines have been used in the hires that Parker Search has been at the forefront of over the years, including: Archie Miller to Indiana, John Groce to Illinois, Dave Leitao to DePaul, Chris Collins to Northwestern, Cuonzo Martin to Missouri, and Jeff Capel to Oklahoma. While universities don’t necessarily have to hire a search firm like Parker, they are inclined to as Parker represents many schools during searches for athletic directors and other administrators as well. Coaches go to great lengths to stay in Parker's good graces.
For the last 25 years the name Kamal Yard has been synonymous with Philadelphia Basketball and widely respected nationally. Nationally in mid to late 90s Kamal introduced/spearheaded the rise of future NBA star Cuttino "Cat" Mobley and world wide street ball Arron "AO" Owens. Kamal founded the Cuttino Mobley/Philly Pride in 2000 while again introducing national pundits to a little known kid but future NBA Champion and Future Hall of Famer Kyle Lowry. Philly Pride has most recent NBA Alums DeAndre Hunter(Atl hawks), Charlie Brown(Phila 76ers) and hundreds of Div 1 players during last 25 years. His Phily Pride teams are annually among nations best representing the Under Armour Circuit. Over 90 million in scholarship money earned for kids. Kamal Yard has been on speed dial of college coaches and NBA personnel for a long time and it doesn't look like it will change.
John Ortega is a staple of Arizona Basketball. Ortega works tirelessly for his payers and has built an amazing program in AZ Select. He also runs and is the director of the PHHacility, which hosts events throughout the year. Ortega has sent hundreds of kids to play college basketball and several players to the NBA. He has a heart of gold and is widely respected throughout the western United States.
PSA Cardinals has grown from one team of a handful of afterschool students started at a recreation center to one of the top grassroots programs in the country under Williams. Coaches and scouts from all over the country have flocked to gyms where his teams compete to recruit some of the next best in not only college basketball, but the NBA. In fact, when PSA Cardinals put on their last combine to showcase their players to college coaches during a live period, approximately 90 different NCAA Division I coaches from every league in the country showed up in New York to take in the talent on display. Williams, who is commonly referred to as “Munch,” has made the identification and development of such players one of his specialties. The program has produced 77 NCAA Division I athletes with 3 NCAA Tournament champions and 8 NBA Draft selections including Mo Bamba (Orlando Magic), Thomas Bryant (Washington Wizards), Omari Spellan (Minnesota Timberwolves), Chieck Diallo (Phoenix Suns), Ty Jerome (Phoenix Suns). Additionally, the program has been a focal point of the McDonald’s All-American game having had 5 selections to the prestigious game in the past six years.
Painter has the total package when you look at a basketball coach. Whether its NCAA Tournament runs, league titles, or NBA players, if you name it, Painters got it. He is ever so surely climbing the ranks as Purdue’s winningest coach and his five Sweet Sixteens, one Elite Eight, and 409-196 (.676) overall record highlight the incredible job he has done in Lafayette, IN. He ranks eighth in total Big Ten Conference wins, his 11.1 conference wins per year ranks fifth, and his four Big Ten Coach of the Year awards are tied for third most behind Gene Keady and Bob Knight. Furthermore, in terms of NCAA Tournaments, his 11 berths in the last 14 seasons ranks eighth most, his five Sweet Sixteens in the past 12 years rank ninth most, and his 12 total NCAA Tournament appearances are the most for a coach nationally under the age of 55. NBA Draft picks like Carsen Edwards, Vincent Edwards, Caleb Swanigan, AJ Hammons, E’Twaun Moore, Carl Landry, Robbie Hummel, and JaJuan Johnson make up some of the six winningest classes in school history that have come from the Painter era. Cuonzo Martin (Missouri), Greg Gary (Mercer), Brad Korn (SEMO), Jack Owens (Miami OH), Rick Ray, and Paul Lusk are all Painter proteges that have earned head coaching jobs at some point during their careers.
At Putnam Science Academy, Thomas Espinosa, a noted recruiter and evaluator of talent, has developed into one of the most highly recognized coaches on the prep school level. He’s a tremendous game coach, noted for preparing his teams for every opponent they face. In 2022, Espinosa finished the season with a national championship.
If a college coach is wanting to know who to check out or do some digging on as far as the recruiting trail is concerned, they just might go to Eric Bossi. Bossi got his start in 2003 when he founded a scouting service called EBoss Hoops that informed college coaches about different recruitable athletes at the high school level. In his seven years talking with players, traveling to different gyms, and reporting on kids on social media, he built up a profile that Yahoo Sports/Rivals took notice of. Since joining the network, he has developed rankings of high school players in different graduating classes that ultimately play a part in the way coaches identify players. Bossi also serves on the selection committee of the McDonald’s All-American game.
A legendary coach in his own right throughout the country, but especially on the west coast, Randy Bennett owns a 480-200 (.706) in 21 seasons as a head coach at Saint Mary’s. Not only has he completely built a basketball program, but he has helped change the outlook of the school and it’s athletic department with the national attention he has garnered throughout his time in Moraga. After going 34-85 in four seasons before his arrival and only having three 20-win seasons in the program’s 110+ year history, Bennett has been able to collect 20 wins in fourteen different seasons and has made the Gaels a fixture both nationally and in the West Coast Conference. He has guided SMC to 14 postseason appearances (8 NCAA and 6 NIT), led the Gaels to their first postseason wins, and have won the West Conference Title three times. Two of his players have gone on to play in the NBA (Patty Mills & Matthew Dellavedova) and seven have won WCC Player of the Year. Bennett’s success has been key in the growth of his coaching tree too. Eran Ganot, Kyle Smith, Lamont Smith, Rick Croy, Todd Golden, and David Patrick have all earned Division I head coaching jobs at some point during their careers.
Sendek’s combination of 12 current head coaches that fall under his coaching tree along with his 5 NBA Draft picks make him a pretty impressive influencer. Ron Hunter (Akron), Archie Miller (Indiana), Sean Miller (Arizona), Eric Musselman (Arkansas), Dedrique Taylor (Cal State Fullerton), Jim Christian (Boston College), Scott Pera (Rice), James Whitford (Ball State), Barret Peery (Portland State), Rob Senderoff (Kent State), John Groce (Akron), and Stan Johnson (LMU) all fall under that category for Sendek. In fact, with a couple more coaches that you can indirectly trace back to Sendek, by our calculations Sendek’s tree is good for about the fourth or fifth largest among all active college coaches. The feat derives from the amount of success and the amount of respect Sendek has amongst people within the industry. He has earned Coach of the Year awards in three different conferences throughout his career and has taken three different teams to the NCAA Tournament with one Sweet Sixteen. His most notable NBA player is James Harden, followed by Julius Hodge and Wally Szcerbiak.
Dan Leibovitz and Greg Sankey - Associate Commissioner for Basketball & Commissioner
With exciting coaches like John Calipari, Bruce Pearl, Ben Howland, Tom Crean, Cuonzo Martin, Mike White, Frank Martin, Will Wade, and Eric Musselman it’s safe to say that the SEC has taken off in somewhat recent years after predominantly being known as a football conference. Leibovitz & Sankey have been able to change that perception. Through ongoing communication between its member institutions and the SEC office, developed strategies to enhance and promote basketball, and the preparation of the school’s basketball schedules in alignment with tv schedules have aided the two of them in doing this. Kentucky (1), Tennessee (4), Arkansas (5), Auburn (6) and LSU (13) each have recruiting classes that rank among the top 25 of ESPN's RecruitingNation Class Rankings. 23 of ESPN's Top 100 recruits signed with SEC schools, including 12 of the top 50 players. Seven SEC teams were selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament in the 2018-19 season with four advancing to the Sweet 16, two to the Elite Eight and one to the Final Four. The SEC has had 15 NCAA Tournament selections over the 2017-19 seasons and every team in the league has appeared in the tournament over the last five years. Leibovitz came to the SEC in 2016 after serving as an associate commissioner in the American and has also been a college head coach at Hartford. Sankey has been with the SEC since 2002 in various capacities and was previously commissioner of the Southland Conference.
Spiece Indy Heat checks off many boxes when you’re looking at an AAU program. Although the main eight court facility that has housed numerous high profile tournaments over the year is based in Fort Wayne, IN, Director Todd Hensley has reached throughout the state as he has coached many hoosier greats including Greg Oden, Mike Conley (Utah Jazz), Josh McRoberts, Trey Lyles (San Antonio Spurs), Jeff Teauge (Atlanta Hawks), Jaren Jackson (Memphis Grizzlies), Caleb Swanigan (Portland Trail Blazers), and Marquis Teague. In fact, Spiece’s team in 2004 that consisted of Oden, Conley, McRoberts, Daquon Cook, and Eric Gordon is considered one of the greatest AAU teams ever assembled by many different recruiting experts as all were highly ranked and went on to play in the NBA. The Spiece family extends past players though as Tommy Strine (Lamar), Travis Steele (Xavier), Kris Arkenberg (New Orleans), PJ Thompson (Purdue) and Hensley’s brother JR (NBA Agent) have also evolved into positions outside of the program.
There is nowhere the media veteran hasn’t been as he comes to Stadium after stops at ESPN, CBS Sports, and Fox Sports. With over two-decades worth of experience at the NBA, college and high school levels, Goodman’s connections run wide throughout the sport. He has constantly pushed out the hottest rumors and takes on the sport during his career and has been in control of a good portion of the media that has been seen by fans and followers of the college basketball game. From transfer rankings to coaching changes, Goodman spends his days compiling the most attractive info to viewers across the country by constantly being on the phone and tapping into the network he has built within the sport at all levels. Goodman currently has nearly 250,000 followers on Twitter while his college basketball podcast currently sits as the 44th ranked basketball podcast and the 3rd ranked college basketball one on Apple.
A living legend, Boeheim has never had a losing season and has piloted the Orange into the postseason in all but three of his remarkable 44 seasons on the sidelines. 34 of the 41 trips have been to the NCAA Tournament where Syracuse has been a major player in making runs. The Orange have made an appearance in four Final Fours (1987, 1996, 2013, & 2016) and took home the nets in 2003. Just recently, Boeheim passed Jim Calhoun for second all-time at the NCAA Division I level in total wins. For his efforts, he has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005, presented with the John Wooden Legends of Coaching Award, the Spirit of Jimmy V Award, the Claire Bee Award, as well as having his name forever present on the court at the Carrier Dome. The Hall of Famer is an active participant with USA Basketball coaching some of our country’s best over the years and has developed plenty of NBA talent himself including Carmelo Anthony, Jerami Grant, Michael Carter-Williams, and Dion Waiters. Mike Hopkins, Louis Orr, Tim Welsh, Louis Orr, Wayne Morgan, Ralph Willard, Tim O’Toole, and Rob Murphy have all been coaches that have earned head coaching jobs under his tutelage at some point in their careers.
Jamie Dixon is the 22nd head coach in the history of TCU men’s basketball and is in his sixth season with the Horned Frogs and his 19th season as a head coach. Dixon, a 2007 Block T Association Hall of Fame inductee, returned to his alma mater on March 22, 2016, after serving 13 seasons as head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He entered the 2021-22 season ranked 19th in winning percentage (.686) among all active coaches. In addition to preparing the Horned Frogs for the upcoming season, Dixon was instrumental in bringing the USA’s U19 team to Fort Worth when he assumed head coaching duties of the team over the 2021 summer.
When you examine the DNA that makes up the Team Loaded program it’s hard to ignore the job that Ty White has done. He has built an undeniable juggernaut in the Carolina, Virginia, and DC areas. Over 300 players have earned scholarships playing with the prominent program and their platform they have set up with their success over the years. The family first motto followed by scholarship and championships has culminated in 8 prominent grassroot tournament championships in the past ten years at various levels. Guys like Frank Mason (Milwaukee Bucks), Dennis Smith (New York Knicks), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Caleb & Cody Martin (Charlotte Hornets), and Thon Maker (Detroit Pistons) have helped spearhead those efforts along with a list of about 30 others that are currently playing in other professional leagues. Additionally, current college stars like Mamadi Diakite, Javin Delaurier, Nate Hinton, and Josh Hall, and Isaiah Miller could all hear their name called by commissioner Silver this year. While it’s clear that players have benefited, coaches have too. David Kontaxis (Oklahoma State), Tyler Lewis (Elon), and Jackson Simmons (Charlotte Hornets) are a short list of many. White coaches at John Marshall High School and has won three Virginia State Championships
A grassroots coach that is likely in the call log of just about every prominent coach in America, Stevens is part of the who’s who in grassroots basketball. Programs around the DC area could essentially be called Team Takeover for the amount of Stevens products that are on the different rosters. The program has churned out at least eight NCAA Division I players just about every year the program has been in existence and has a number of prominent NBA players like Victor Oladipo and Jerami Grant already in its history. The robust talent has led to success on the court and the growth of his program as Stevens has led his program to two Peach Jam Championships while the overall program has grown to over 30 teams. Coaches like Jamill Jones (VCU), Doug Martin, Brenden Straughn (Saint Joseph’s), Nima Omidvar (George Washington), Jordan Brooks (Howard), Branden McDonald (Towson), Calvin Cage (Canisius), Xavier Joyner (Mount St. Mary’s), Calvin Baker (Maryland Eastern Shore), Tony Skinn (Seton Hall), Tim Brooks (Hartford), Evann Baker (Akron), and Dan Matic (Saint John’s) make up an impressive list of coaches that have advanced to new careers within basketball from under Stevens.
Reggie Morris is finishing his third season at Fairfax HS. In three seasons, he has won two league championships and LA City Championship in 2022. He is also the Director of Team WhyNot, a Nike EYBL program, sponsored by former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. In their first three seasons they have experienced great success with two 17u Championship (‘18 and ‘19) appearances and a 16u Championship in (‘21). Morris served as the head coach in both (‘18 and ‘21). His program has had serviced scores of student athletes high major scholarships and has produced two NBA players Jalen Green and Cassius Stanley
Lupe Nunez is the former Director of Texas Hardwork & UAA Board of Director’s Nunez spearheaded the first shoe contract in San Antonio in the modern shoe circuit era. Under his Guidance included NBA Player Jahmius Ramsey with several Top 60 4 & 5 Star Nationally ranked players which most recently include Manny Obaseki, Austin Nunez & Vincent Iwuchukwu. Nunez resides in Garden Ridge Texas and currently as a freelances as a Consulant in Grassroots.
Different programs have reaped the benefits of having Barnes on the sidelines during his 35-year career. He owns a 752-392 (.657) overall record during that time. The Volunteers have been taken to new heights and their future has never looked brighter after Barnes was named the 2019 Naismith Coach of the Year for guiding the Vols to a school-record-tying 31 wins and a Sweet Sixteen appearance. After a period of time where the program wasn’t at its best, Barnes has come in and restored it to national prominence with multiple national rankings over the last three seasons going 74-29 during that time. It’s something that he was able to do in his time as a head coach at Texas and Clemson too. He earned a No. 1 overall ranking during his time with the Longhorns and a program-best No. 2 overall ranking during his time at Clemson. He appeared in sixteen NCAA Tournaments, five Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights, and one Final Four while at Texas, one Sweet Sixteen during his four years at Clemson, and three NCAA Tournaments during his five years at Providence. Additionally, he signed Top-10 recruiting classes at all three schools. 27 of his former players have gone on to be picked in the NBA Draft and have boasted combined basketball earnings in excess of $715.3 million. Coaches like Rob Lanier, Larry Shyatt, Chris Ogden, Herb Sendek, and Rodney Terry, who have all worked under him, have gotten head coaching jobs at the Division I level at some point during their careers. Barnes is also one of three NCAA Division I head coaches on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee.
The most recent superstar that has burst onto the college basketball scene, Beard has quickly made his presence and influence felt. He has won everywhere he has been working his way up from the junior college level, to the NCAA Division II level, and now the Division I level. Now the head coach at Texas, Beard has already made his presence felt. During his four seasons in Lubbock, he was responsible for ending Kansas’ dominant streak of sixteen Big 12 Championships, one Elite Eight appearance, and one National Championship appearance. Additionally, Beard has set program-bests for wins in a season, national rank, NCAA tournament advancement, and conference finish. He was able to accomplish similar feats at Arkansas Little Rock and Angelo State. He led the UALR Trojans to a 30-5 season in 2015-16 that was highlighted by a first round upset of Purdue, a 15-game improvement from the year prior to his arrival, and a sixth-place tie for wins ever by a first year head coach at the NCAA Division I level. In his young career he has already had two NBA draft picks and three coaches earn jobs at jobs at the Division I level.
Gene DeFilippo is recognized, respected and loved as one of the most passionate, devoted and experienced executives in all of intercollegiate athletics. No one in college sports has donated more pro bono time to giving back to college sports in the form of industry service, mentorship and unpaid executive coaching. Gene has recently placed new AD’s at Alabama, Georgia Tech, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee, the University of Southern California (USC) and other Division I institutions. Gene has served college sports as a football coach, administrator, mentor, thought-leader and pioneer for 40+ years.
Cronin has wasted no time instilling the same gritty culture he had with his teams at Cincinnati into the Bruins. He exceeded expectations in his first season in Westwood by taking a team that was picked to finish towards the bottom of the PAC 12 to the second overall spot in the conference by winning 11 of the team’s final 14 games. The feat earned him conference Coach of the Year Award for the third time in his career and puts him at a 433-200 (.684) overall record in 19 seasons. Prior to UCLA, Cronin led his Bearcat teams to 11 NCAA Tournament berths and guided them to the NCAA Tournament in each of his final nine seasons as their head coach (2011-2019). In doing so, he joined an elite group of six coaches that led their programs to the NCAA Tournament during those nine seasons. His teams at Cincinnati ranked as one of just two in the nation (along with Virginia) to be listed among the nation’s top 25 in scoring defense through his final seven seasons (2013-2019). With the impressive success he has had over the years while learning under legends like Bob Huggins and Rick Pitino plus his recent arrival to college basketball’s most storied programs, we believe Cronin is just getting his feet wet. He enters the 2021-22 season as the nation’s leader in NCAA Division I coaching victories (433) among active coaches under the age of 50.
Trey Evans - Director of Global Partnerships and Sports Marketing
Evans has risen through the ranks at Under Armour since 2004. He has transitioned from an account/regional manager on the commercial sales division side to overseeing the basketball sports marketing. Today, the former Maryland football star oversees pro athletes, pro leagues, team partnerships, and all of the grassroot efforts for the Baltimore based company. With his focus on grassroots, he is responsible for managing the UA Association and the UA Elite Camps like The Workout at IMG and SC30 Select Camp run by Stephen Curry. He has built up a huge profile for himself in the basketball space with the way he is able not only to affect the grassroots space, but also the different levels that student-athletes transition to after grassroots.
Tor Watts - Director of Grassroots Basketball
Tor Watts is a University of Connecticut Class of 2014 alumnus who was a member of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Championship UConn Team. He worked as a Director of Athletics, and Dean of Students before moving to Portland to pursue his passion for basketball and marketing. Tor Worked with his Former UConn teammate and 6 year NBA pro-Shabazz Napier as his Sports Marketing Manager. Tor is currently the Lead Basketball Sports Marketing Manager for Under Armour. In this Role, Tor is responsible for the strategy, planning, and execution of all things pertaining to Under Armour Grassroots Basketball.
General Martin Dempsey and Don Showalter - CEO & Director
When you combine the unparalleled leadership of a decorated army general and the basketball expertise of someone like Don Showalter, you can bank on a well oiled basketball machine in USA Basketball. The two of them tag team to pick the most worthy players around the country to represent our country while also thinking of ways to grow the game. What that has ended up looking like for USA Basketball has been players like Jaren Jackson (Memphis Grizzlies), Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kevin Knox (New York Knicks), Wendell Carter (Chicago Bulls), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Harry Giles (Sacramento Kings), Kendrick Nunn (Miami Heat), Jabari Parker (Sacramento Kings), and Justise Winslow (Miami Heat) suiting up for the red, white, and blue as U17 and U16 players. Showalter has also coached the team and has done so with a perfect record. His basketball stems from a long high school coaching career, McDonald’s All-American game involvement, and working camps like the LeBron James Skills Academy.
A disciple of the Korn Ferry search firm, Chatlos has been with Ventura Partners since 2016. While his experience remains broad throughout the sports scope, Chatlos’ speciality revolves around the diverse roles in the ever-changing Intercollegiate Athletics landscape. He has been at the forefront of recent coaching hires like: Steve Forbes at Wake Forest, Kermit Davis at Ole Miss, Dennis Gates at Cleveland State, Jay Young to Fairfield, and Mike Balado to Arkansas State. He has completed searches for the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NCAA, multiple national governing bodies, brands, and prestigious universities. He has held senior leadership positions with the PGA TOUR, CAREY International and various sports marketing agencies. He brings more than 15 years of experience in sports marketing and event management.
Jay Wright is one of only three active Division I head coaches with multiple national championships under their belt. One of college basketball's smooth operators, Wright currently holds a 641-281 (.695) record in 28 seasons as a head coach, including a 519-196 (.726) mark in 21 seasons at Nova. The Wildcats have dominated the Big East conference in recent history with six of the past seven Big East regular season championships coming back to Philadelphia. Wright ranks third all-time among league coaches and is 30-15 (.667) in NCAA Tournament competition. One of the few coaches that gets kids to buy into a unique culture development and redshirting around the NCAA Division I level (Mark Few another of note), Wright has had great success churning out NBA talent with some players who have agreed to go down this route. Omari Spellman, Mikal Bridges, Eric Paschall, and Donte DiVincenzo were some successful redshirts that are NBA Draft picks under Wright while others like Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Randy Foye, and Kyle Lowry were some that weren’t. The rare culture that has had great success has also led many of Wright’s coaching proteges to be hired by different programs over the years. Coaches like Tom Pecora, Joe Jones, Pat Chambers, Billy Lange, Ashley Howard, and Baker Dunleavy have all secured head coaching positions at some point in their careers after learning under Wright. On top of the two Sweet Sixteens, one Elite Eight, one Final Four, and two national championships, Wright’s career has also been capped off by serving as a coach on the USA Basketball staff where he has earned one gold medal.
Bennett has been able to develop his own recipe for success that many players, coaches, and people within the basketball community have been drawn to for the past fifteen some years. He has turned what was a predominately .500 program into a national champion doing it his way and was able to spark life into the Washington State program during his three years in Pullman doing the same thing. Bennett’s teams have honed in on the defensive end with the pack line system and created a culture that has ultimately helped lead to a 346-129 (.728) record in 14 seasons as a head coach. In fact, his teams have ranked No. 1 in scoring defense an amazing six different seasons over the course of his career. He is one of six coaches in ACC history to win at least three outright ACC regular-season titles. His historic run at Virginia comes after the best three-year stretch in the history of the Washington State basketball program. He took a team that was picked last in the PAC 10 prior to the season and led them to a school record matching 26 wins and a second place finish in the conference. For his efforts, he was named National Coach of the Year by nine different organizations. The success propelled the team to the Cougar’s first-ever AP preseason poll ranking the following year where the WSU would again collect 26 wins en route to a Sweet 16 and their second consecutive NCAA Tournament. He has coached eight NBA Draft picks in his time at Virginia and two of his former assistants have gone on to be head coaches.
Currently sitting at sixth place in all-time career wins on the mountain top of legendary Division I head coaches, Huggins will enter the 2022-23 season with a 916-399 (.700) overall record in 40 total seasons as a head coach. He has directed his alma mater to 291 of those wins, the 2010 Final Four and Big East Championship, five Sweet Sixteens, and eleven postseason appearances in his 13 seasons in Morgantown. In that time, his teams have been coined for their gritty defensive schemes that have been a nightmare to play against and regularly rank towards the top of college basketball. This identity was carried over from his Cincinnati Bearcat teams that also enjoyed their own success in the month of March. While luring some of the best recruits in program history (three No. 1-rated junior college players and five of the program’s ten McDonald’s All-Americans), he piloted his Cincinnati teams to three Elite Eights and the Final Four in 1992 while also earning 10 conference regular season titles and eight league tournament titles. Huggins has coached 18 NBA draft selections as well as 13 All-Americans. Mick Cronin, Jerrod Calhoun, Andy Kennedy, Frank Martin, and Matt Figger are all pretty successful branches that have sprouted from Huggins’ coaching tree.
Widely regarded as one of the most powerful people in the sport, Just can easily alter the face of college basketball just as well as a kid can play with a potato head doll. With top flight coaches like Chris Beard, Frank Martin, Brad Underwood, Andy Enfield, Kermit Davis, Mike Hopkins as well as other head coaches and assistants, Just sets the standard and sits towards the top of his industry. In fact, the former Tulane walk-on and high school basketball coach represented the top 3 coaches in the AP National Coach of Year voting in Chris Beard (Texas Tech), Kelvin Sampson (Houston), and Mike Young (Wofford). The unparalleled success rate of his clientele has led him to negotiate some of the largest contracts in college basketball of late with total negotiation figures reaching over $800 million since he got his start less than ten years ago. The astronomical amount of coaches he has placed and his quick climb in the sport resulted in a CBS Sports poll that named him as the 4th most powerful person within all of college basketball.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball and Tennis insider who contributes to The New York Times, NJ Advance Media and newspapers nationwide.He is the author of two books and an award-winning filmmaker. He lives in Manhattan with his family and their dog. Zagoria has been instrumental in breaking key stories in the college basketball landscape and is very well respected throughout college basketball.
The Pump Brothers