I used to think of myself of college basketballís all-seeing eye: the Sauron of college hoops. Those were the days when I thought being able to track 300-plus teams was possible. It is not. I am a humbler person now and even can note that the hobbits of the world sometimes are outside of my grasp. Last week, I meant to cover all of the coaching changes east of the Mississippi River, but missed out on tiny Chris Holtmann who is taking over for Thad Matta at Ohio State. Iíll get to Holtmann (and his replacement at Butler), and then look west in this weekís college coaching carousel report. Letís see whatís going on with the Buckeyes.
Matta might have been a victim of his own success. In his first eight seasons at Ohio State, Matta had been to the Final Four twice and made three other visits to at least the Sweet 16. His fortunes didn't fare as well in the later years, as the Buckeyes have only won one NCAA tournament game in the last four seasons. Holtmann steps in after a nice three-year run with Butler. He replaced Brandon Miller, who had to go on medical leave prior to the 2014 season. The Bulldogs won at least 10 conference games and one NCAA Tournament game in each of Holtmannís seasons. The new coach can build around forwards JaeíSean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop, who combined for 24 points and 11.5 rebounds last season. The backcourt is unsettled, but junior C.J. Jackson came alive at the end of 2016-17.
Holtmannís departure allowed Jordan to come home to Butler where he played from 1998 to 2001. He had been an assistant under coach Todd Lickliter with the Bulldogs and spent one season at Milwaukee as its head coach. Although the Panthers won just 11 games under Jordan, they got hot in the Horizon League and advanced to the tournament final as the 10-seed. Jordan inherits some interesting pieces from Holtmann, such as forward Kelan Martin, who spent part of his junior season coming off the bench despite being the teamís leading scorer. Nate Fowler and Tyler Wideman provide plenty more size, while Kamar Baldwin is coming off an impressive freshman season as a shooting guard.
It is evident that Martin believes the rolling stone gathers no moss. Since becoming the head coach of Missouri State in 2008, the former Purdue Boilermaker forward has changed jobs after three seasons with those Tigers, Tennessee, and California. He has only won two NCAA tournament games in those nine seasons, but seems like a solid recruiter after bringing Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb to the Golden Bears. He has Michael Porter Jr. as a stud freshman to ease his first season with the Tigers. Porterís brother Jontay may reclassify and join his sibling. Missouri also returns three double-digit scorers in Jordan Barnett, Terrence Phillips, and Kevin Puryear.
California stayed in-house to replace Martin. Before assisting at California for the past three seasons, Jones was on the bench with Steve Alford at New Mexico and Rick Pitino at Louisville. Jones was there when the Cardinals won the 2013 National Championship. The California job is his first as a head coach, and he will not have the aforementioned Brown nor Rabb to boost his first season. He will, however, have former Kentucky forward Marcus Lee and returning center Kingsley Okorah. Guard Don Coleman and freshman Darius McNeill may get as many minutes as they can handle in the backcourt.
Like Jordan and Jones, Wade ascends as a head coach in a power conference with a short resume. The 34-year-old coach spent two seasons at Chattanooga before guiding VCU for the past two years. He has won better than two thirds of his games as a head coach, but will face a good challenge in Baton Rouge. The Johnny Jones era will be remembered for the one season of Ben Simmons more than the one NCAA tournament showing (without Simmons) in five seasons. Jones was able to recruit talented players, but Wade will need to mold players such as forward Duop Reath and guards Skylar Mayes and Brandon Sampson into his full-court pressing style. Freshman guard Tremont Waters could be a key player for the Tigers.
Boynton is another first-time coach. After spending most of the last decade as a wingman for Brad Underwood, Boynton stayed in Stillwater after Underwood bounced after just one year with the Cowboys. Boynton played at South Carolina and was an assistant with Underwood for the Gamecocks from 2008 to 2013. The new coach should be familiar with the teamís talent and will hope to take Oklahoma State back to the NCAA tournament. Although Jawun Evans left for the NBA, forward Jeffrey Carroll (17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds) and big man Mitchell Solomon should anchor the frontcourt. Like other new coaches on this list, Boynton will have to rely on an untested backcourt that could include Brandon Averette and freshman Zack Dawson.
The end of the Lorenzo Romar era in Washington was similar to the Johnny Jones reign in the bayou. Romar was able to attract great players for the Huskies, including first round picks Terrence Ross, Dejounte Murray, Marquese Chriss, and Markelle Fultz. Despite those recruiting victories, Washington had not been to the Big Dance since 2011. Hopkins was considered the heir apparent for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, but he proved impatient and jumped at the chance to take over his own team. Fultz left for the NBA and Michael Porter Jr. did not stick with his commitment to UW, so Hopkins will look to bring his brand of the famed Orange zone with players such as forwards Noah Dickerson and Matisse Thybulie, and guard David Crisp. There is talent on the roster, but Hopkins will need the team to gel quickly to be competitive in the Pac-12.