Tuesday, January 15, 2013
New names for USC
By Matt Giles
Ever since Kevin O'Neill was removed from his coaching duties at USC, we have brainstormed for potential names to replace the defensive-minded (but supremely struggling offensive) coach. A few previously mentioned -- Boise State's Leon Rice, Santa Clara's Kerry Keating, and Dan Monson at Long Beach State -- are sensible options. Another name that has surfaced is Kurt Rambis, which would be an interesting candidate, and Syracuse's Mike Hopkins. However, we wonder if Hopkins, despite his ties to California, would be a legitimate option; according to Mike Waters and Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard, there is little to suggest that Hopkins would be interested in the opening.
There are a few other coaches we thought might fit the mold for USC athletic director Pat Haden, one being UNLV assistant Justin Hutson. The coach has strong ties to the southern California recruiting scene (developed, in part, as an assistant at San Diego State), and is well-known for his recruitment and development of NBA big Kawhi Leonard. Hutson is also regarded as a very strong defensive coach. Another name we found interesting was Harvard's Tommy Amaker. The former Michigan head coach was reportedly very interested in the Miami opening two years ago, and we would not be surprised if his name was inserted near the top of Haden's list. Over the past several years, Amaker and his staff have been very active recruiting the west coast, specifically California, and the Crimson's roster is dotted -- Kenyatta Smith and Wesley Saunders -- from the Sunshine State (highly ranked 2013 big Zena Edosomwan is also from the coast).
As soon as Bob Cantu was promoted to interim head coach, Pitt's Jamie Dixon was immediately mentioned by many college basketball analysts as a potential replacement. In a recent CBSSports.com's video feature, both Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish make a case for Dixon, stating that although he turned down overtures a few years ago, he might be more interested now because of Pitt's impending conference switch.
Though many have speculated Haden will try to attract the big name, there is also a case to be made for keeping Cantu as the permanent coach. The longtime assistant recruited most of the current Trojans, and he was the point recruiter for USC's 2013 class, a group that includes Kendal Harris. Cantu could be an intriguing option if USC wants to ensure the group of promising newcomers steps foot on USC's campus.