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Key Assistant Coaching Hires

Dave Rice

Dave Rice


Every offseason, assistant coaches are moving all over the country trying to move up the college basketball coaching ladder.

These assistant coaching moves don’t draw huge headlines from major media outlets, but these are the guys that are mainly responsible for recruiting elite talent and helping players develop.

While some of these new assistant coaching hires are former head coaches who are trying to regain their footing, others are young and hungry up-and-comers who are starting to land elite-level talents in major recruiting battles.

Here’s a look at some of the key assistant coaching hires of this offseason.
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1. Ryan Miller and David Patrick, TCU: When Jamie Dixon took the job at TCU he needed experienced recruiters who could bring in talent. Miller, formerly at UNLV, was able to convince four-star Class of 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher to join him at his new job while Patrick is a noted Australian recruiter who is known by many as the reason Ben Simmons attended LSU. Having both of these noted recruiters on staff has already helped the Horned Frogs land two four-star commitments in the Class of 2017.

2. Saddi Washington and Billy Donlon, Michigan: Head coach John Beilein lost two talented assistants to head jobs as LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee) and Bacari Alexander (Detroit) are moving on to the Horizon League. Saddi Washington (Oakland) comes to the Wolverines from that same conference as he’s helped land and develop program changers like Kay Felder and Travis Bader. Billy Donlon is also a Horizon veteran as he most recently was the head coach as Wright State. He gives Beilein another experienced assistant with Midwest ties.
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3. Michael Porter Sr., Washington: This hiring making the list is a no-brainer as Porter Sr. will bring his sons, five-star wing Michael Porter Jr. and four-star forward Jontay Porter, to Washington in the Class of 2017 and Class of 2018, respectively. Besides bringing his talented kids, Porter Sr. was a three-year assistant women’s coach at Missouri, where he developed practice and workout plans. It’ll be interesting to see if Porter Sr. can gain special traction with other recruits besides his kids. Porter Sr. also recruited two of his daughters to Missouri as the women’s assistant but he’s also credited with landing Sophie Cunningham, the first McDonald’s All-American in Missouri women’s history.

4. Butch Pierre, N.C. State: A native of Louisiana who has been a noted recruiter at LSU and Oklahoma State, Pierre gives the Wolfpack another credible assistant coach. Pierre helped the Cowboys get players like Marcus Smart and LeBryan Nash to the Big 12 and he’s credited with recruiting four SEC Players of the Year to the Tigers during his time there.

5. Dwayne Killings, UConn: Kevin Ollie made a savvy decision by hiring away Killings, Temple’s top recruiting assistant. Not only is Killings familiar with the American already, but he’s a noted national recruiter who has helped the Owls get Quenton DeCosey, Obi Enechionyia, Trey Lowe and Quinton Rose.
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6. Dave Rice and Yanni Hufnagel, Nevada: Two noted recruiters joined Eric Musselman’s staff this offseason. Former UNLV head coach Dave Rice landed multiple McDonald’s All-Americans with the Runnin’ Rebels and he knows the national landscape well. After leaving Cal, Hufnagel joined on at Nevada as he’s had recruiting success at Harvard, Vanderbilt and with the Golden Bears.

7. Corey Tate, Saint Louis: New head coach Travis Ford has landed quality players in previous stops and his newest hire, Tate, has already given the Billikens its best recruit. Formerly an assistant at Missouri who coached with the St. Louis Eagles Nike EYBL team, Tate helped Saint Louis land four-star Class of 2017 guard Jordan Goodwin this fall and Tate should help with tons of talented local players.

8. Chris Ogden, Texas Tech: A veteran in the state of Texas, Ogden heads back to the Lone Star state after following his previous boss, Rick Barnes, to Tennessee for one season. Before his lone season with the Volunteers, Ogden worked 12 years at Texas, including seven years as an assistant. Since he’s recruited at a Big 12 school in Texas, this fit is an easy one and Ogden should help Beard immensely in recruiting.
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9. Anthony Solomon, Georgetown: The Hoyas made a smart hire in getting Solomon to come over from Notre Dame, where he helped coach the Irish’s guards and national recruiting efforts. A veteran assistant, Solomon has recruited in the Big East before and he should be able to help the Hoyas target some marquee names.

10. Adam Cohen, Stanford: As an assistant coach at Rice, Harvard and Vanderbilt, Cohen built a lot of experience recruiting at a school with high academic standards. Those connections should serve well at Stanford as Cohen is one of the most highly-regarded young assistants in college basketball.