I've Got Five On It: Checking in on high-profile coaching hires
This offseason’s coaching carousel was one of the most hectic in recent memory, and a number of marquee programs hit the market. And while it’s too early to tell how any of the first-year head coaches will fare on a macro scale, this week in "I've Got Five On It" our Rob Cassidy checks in on five of the year’s more high-profile hires and how they’re doing on both the recruiting trail and the hardwood.
RIVALS ROUNDTABLE: Sneaky good classes, disappointments, more
2023 Rankings: Rivals150
2024 Rankings: Top 40
1. TEXAS: Chris Beard
This season: 6-1, No. 7 nationally
2022 recruiting class rank: No. 16
So far: The Longhorns’ current situation certainly feels like the start of something. There’s a renewed energy around the basketball program in Austin, which may help fill a void in what seems like a lean time for the school’s football program. Beard has his squad ranked seventh in the AP poll, and his 16th-ranked recruiting class boasts five-star guard Arterio Morris, the premier scoring point guard in the Lone Star State.
High-upside forward Dillon Mitchell, who rounds out UT’s two-man 2022 class, will bring elite length and athleticism to campus when he arrives. Beard has also shown a mastery of the transfer portal as he utilized it to turn a roster that fell well short of expectations a year ago into one that seems capable of challenging Kansas and Baylor atop the Big 12.
2. NORTH CAROLINA: Hubert Davis
This season: 6-2, unranked
2022 recruiting class rank: No. 12
So far: It’s a bit too early to cast much judgment on Davis, but things for him haven’t gone quite as well as they have for Beard in the early season. UNC got off to a bit of a rocky start defensively and dropped early games to formidable opponents in Purdue and Tennessee. Things seem to be trending in the right direction, however, as Davis’ squad is coming off of back-to-back convincing wins over Michigan and Georgia Tech, while sophomore guards RJ Davis and Caleb Love seem to be turning into stars.
What’s even more encouraging, however, is the fact that the Tar Heels’ five-member, well-balanced recruiting class is capable of restocking the cupboard at most positions. It’s a bit concerning that in-state Duke is recruiting multiple levels above UNC, but it’s too early to worry much about such a thing.
3. ARIZONA: Tommy Lloyd
This season: 7-0, No. 11 nationally
2022 recruiting class rank: No. 61
So far: Lloyd took over a difficult situation, to say the least. Recruiting to Arizona isn’t an easy task with NCAA sanctions looming over the program’s collective head. The fact that the Wildcats’ 2022 class ranks 61st is proof of that.
On the court, however, things appear stabilized. Lloyd has Arizona sitting just outside the top 10 and has wins over Michigan and Wichita State under his belt. The Wildcats seem poised to thrive in what looks like a down year for the Pac-12, and they should be able to put their three-season run without an NCAA Tournament berth in the past. On the recruiting front, Lloyd’s task is simply to stay afloat until the NCAA sanction storm passes.
4. OKLAHOMA: Porter Moser
This season: 7-1, unranked
2022 recruiting class rank: No. 46
So far: You can only win the games on your schedule and, save for a loss to Utah State, Moser has done just that. The Big 12, as a whole, looks to be improved this season and Moser’s bunch is a part of that. A win over Florida certainly made a statement.
OU’s recruiting class ranks sixth in the Big 12 as things stand. And while fans would like that number to improve it’s not too far out of line with where the program recruited down the back-stretch of the Lon Kruger Era.
Following Kruger in Norman won’t be an easy task, as the celebrated coach led OU to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Final Four, in nine seasons. That said, things seem stable enough in the early going.
INDIANA: Mike Woodson
This season: 7-1, unranked
2022 recruiting class rank: No. 24
So far: Things are still coming together for Woodson’s first Indiana team. And while a double-overtime loss to underachieving Syracuse wasn’t ideal, the encouraging signs have outweighed the red flags. The main debate surrounding Woodson’s hire concerned whether or not the 63-year-old coach would have the drive to recruit at this level. So far the answer to that has been a resounding yes.
Woodson won a hotly contested battle for Tamar Bates before he ever coached a game in Bloomington. The Hoosiers' 2022 class is led by guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, for whom they beat out Tennessee, Texas and Memphis, among others. Indiana hasn't been tested much, so the jury on Woodson’s first season remains out until the new head coach attempts to navigate Big Ten play for the first time.