Which new coach inherits most (and least) favorable situation? (cont.)
7. Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State
Replacing Greg McDermott
Hoiberg's status as an Iowa State legend will earn him more patience with his fan base than, say, new Iowa boss Fran McCaffery, who steps into a similarly difficult situation but has no previous ties to the program. That's a good thing for Hoiberg, because the Cyclones are a mess. Their two stars from last season's 15-17 team, Craig Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap, have moved on to the pros. Their top recruit from 2009, guard Chris Colvin, transferred, as did their most promising young player, 6-11 sophomore Justin Hamilton, and potential starting forward LaRon Dendy. Senior guard Charles Boozer had to leave the team in May after an arrest for assault. Northern Illinois transfer Darion "Jake" Anderson is eligible immediately, which should help, but ISU will still be among the worst teams in the Big 12 in '10-11. Hoiberg must be credited, though, for the cadre of high-profile transfers he lined up for '11-12: Guards Chris Allen (Michigan State) and Chris Babb (Penn State), and forwards Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois) and Royce White (Minnesota). White, a former five-star recruit, has requested a waiver from the NCAA in order to play this season.
8. Dana Altman, Oregon
Replacing Ernie Kent
We discussed the bulk of the Ducks' issues above, but there a few things worth adding: Altman will face pressure to put a quality product in the Ducks' new arena in a relatively short time-frame, and therefore his biggest task is quickly re-focusing Oregon's recruiting. Kent had leveraged his connections in Chicago and Detroit to load the roster with Midwesterners, who mostly bolted during the regime change. "Our core needs to come from the West Coast," Altman said this week, recalling that Oregon's last great team, in 2002, was comprised of stars from the region. "We're going to make a concerted effort to recruit in the Northwest, as well as California, Arizona and Nevada." Currently the Ducks only have three scholarship players from those states: E.J. Singler (Oregon), Garrett Sim (Oregon) and Johnathan Loyd (Nevada).
9. Tony Barbee, Auburn
Replacing Jeff Lebo
The Tigers, like Oregon, are excited about opening a nice, new arena ... but they'll have even less to showcase in it this season than the Ducks will. Four of Auburn's five starters from last season were seniors. Their best returning player, junior guard Frankie Sullivan, tore an ACL in July, and then sophomore forward Ty Armstrong, a likely starter, suffered the same injury in August. A local paper's headline on that story was, "Auburn basketball takes another punch to the gut." Things actually managed to get worse for Barbee, as his two top 2010 recruits, four-star power forward Luke Cothron and four-star center Shawn Kemp, failed to qualify academically. Getting talented Texas transfer Varez Ward a waiver for immediate eligibility (due to a family illness) has to be a priority for Barbee; otherwise he doesn't have much to look forward to in Year 1.
10. Mike Rice, Rutgers
Replacing Fred Hill
Rutgers would've been a very attractive team to take over had sophomore stars Mike Rosario (now at Florida) and Greg Echenique (Creighton) not transferred.
Rice, whose Robert Morris team nearly upset second-seeded Villanova in this past NCAA tournament, doesn't have the pieces to avoid finishing in or near the Big East cellar. The reason his situation isn't the most unfavorable of any new coach, though, is because he has one decent building block (sophomore forward Dane Miller, a member of the Big East's all-rookie team), and some recruiting momentum, having signed locals Kadeem Jack (a four-star power forward), Myles Mack (a three-star point guard) and Derrick Randall (a three-star center) for the Class of 2011.
11. Fran McCaffery, Iowa
Replacing Todd Lickliter
Lickliter didn't have any NCAA scandals during his Iowa tenure, but it was a disaster in all other respects, with 5-13 and 4-14 Big Ten records the past two seasons, lackluster recruiting and a mass exodus of players. Aaron Fuller (to USC), Anthony Tucker (to Winona State) and Brennan Cougill (to academic ineligibility and Kirkwood Community College) were the latest departures this offseason, leaving junior guard Matt Gatens as the go-to-guy-by-default, and leaving McCaffery with no chance of having a pleasant first season in the Big Ten, which may be the nation's strongest conference in '10-11. He'll need some serious recruiting success with the next two classes to get the right pieces for his up-tempo attack to thrive and make Iowa relevant once again. The Hawkeyes are currently second-fiddle to Northern Iowa on the state hoops scene, and have watched local, high-major talent go elsewhere in the Big Ten -- such as Cedar Rapids' Jarrod Uthoff, a top-150 forward who committed to Wisconsin's 2011 class this summer.
12. (Least Favorable) Oliver Purnell, DePaul
Replacing Jerry Wainwright
Purnell left a stable situation at Clemson for a DePaul program that went 1-35 in the Big East over the past two seasons, and is at rock-bottom. He said the school is "very committed to restoring a tradition" -- and it's paying him a reported $15 million over seven years to do so. But can DePaul, with its depleted roster (its top two players from '09-10, Will Walker and Mac Koshwal, are gone), unfavorable arena situation (at the far-off-campus Allstate Arena in Rosemont) and severed ties with local talent-brokers, really be saved in the era of the expanded Big East?
It could take 4-5 years before Blue Demons fans see any real progress, and given the amount of money they're shelling out for Purnell, how much patience will he be afforded? He likes rebuilding efforts, having pulled them off at Old Dominion, Dayton and Clemson, but the only thing that's enviable about this one is the paycheck.
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