In a surprising move, mostly because of the timing, Thad Matta is out as the head coach of our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes. After the 7 stages of grief last night, I am refreshed and ready to take on the challenge of naming the next Ohio State men’s basketball coach!
Unfortunately, I pull no weight over at Ohio State. It’s a shame, because I have a list of coaches I want to see lead the team, and it’s spectacular.
Shaka Smart, Texas Longhorns
There are a few things I would like to see from the new coach, and Smart hits most of them.
He is young. I want a guy that can relate to younger players, and I want a guy that potentially could be here for a long time. There is no pro background, and there isn’t a glaring higher level job that he would certainly jump to, a la’ Gary Williams.
His play style is up tempo. It’s what the kids want these days, and the really good players usually aren’t around long enough to learn the “proper” way to play the game, anyway.
Shop local. Smart played college in Ohio, and he was an assistant at both Dayton and Akron.
The last thing on my list is a connection to LeBron James, and he doesn’t have that, or at least not a solid one. He did coach at Akron under Dambrot, but that’s about it, at least as far as I know. Why do I want that connection? Because going forward, I think LeBron James could potentially be a great asset for the Buckeyes. I see him at football games all the time, and the recruiting advantage he could bring is unrivaled.
While Smart might be happy at Texas, he is coming off a bad season. Maybe he is stoked with his current recruiting class, and wont leave. Maybe he is fed up with Texas and wants to come back to the Buckeye state. He would be my first call.
Chris Mack, Xavier Musketeers
He was born in Cleveland, and raised in Cincinnati. As the coach of Xavier, he has not only had success during the regular season, but success in the NCAA Tournament, most recently reaching the elite 8. 6 times he has made it past the first round in 8 seasons with the Musketeers.
There is the added level of comfort of having been there and done that. He has won games in the NCAA Tournament while coaching at an Ohio school, and it’s where Ohio State plucked Thad Matta from. His leading the Buckeyes would feel completely natural to me.
Mack is under 50, and has shown he is a solid human being, winning the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award.
Chris Jent, Ohio State Buckeyes
There are a lot of prospective coaching lists out there, and I have yet to see Jent’s name on one. Maybe he doesn’t want the job, maybe he isn’t completely qualified, or maybe there is something else I am missing.
Here is why I want him. I was a fan of his while he played at Ohio State. He would dive for lose balls and ignite the crowd.
As a coach, he was LeBron James’ personal shooting coach while with the Cavaliers. As a player, he played briefly in the NBA, but did win a championship ring.
Do I think he will be a great head coach in college, or even a capable one? I can’t answer that. I can say that I would be willing to take a flyer on him.