The Value of the Assistant Coaches

USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Jordan's decision to keep Van Macon and David Cox has paid off.

When Eddie Jordan was hired, it appeared the decision to keep Van Macon and David Cox was a bad one. First, Cox and Macon were tied to Mike Rice and the Eric Murdock scandal. While neither Macon nor Cox seemed to be included in the videos that were released, they were still tied to the name.

Next was the case of the transfers. Cox and Macon were expected to hold the team together, but even they couldn't keep Eli Carter, Jerome Seagears, Malick Kone, Mike Poole, Vince Garrett and Derrick Randall from announcing transfers. Rumor was Myles Mack was 50/50 on staying as well.

And then, Jordan couldn't land key guard recruit Jon Severe, though Macon had been working on him for the better part of the year.

But, as Jordan got acclimated to the Rutgers job, things started to change. Jordan has quickly filled in a roster that looked like it might be able to field in a starting 5.

And Cox and Macon were key in getting that happening. Cox was able to sway Kadeem Jack and Myles Mack to stay on, and Malick Kone changed his mind. He convinced JUCO point guard D'Von Campbell to sign on and kept tabs on Junior Etou until Jordan could close the deal. Macon used his New York contacts and was able to help Jordan land Kerwin Okoro, JJ Moore, and Bishop Daniels. He helped convince Craig Brown to stay firm with his commitment.

And the entire staff seemed to be involved with DJ Foreman. And, suddenly, Jerome Seagears changed his mind and returned.

It wasn't that Macon and Cox were bad assistants for Jordan (*very*) early in his tenure, it was that the staff need to gain traction. They needed to break out the chaos that surrounded Rutgers basketball and focus on the needs of the team. Both Cox and Macon have very strong contacts in the world of recruiting and they've been serving up prospects on a plate for Eddie Jordan.

And, man, has Jordan been closing.

The team has been recruiting their butts off, and it is clear, prospects are excited. There seems to be promise of a new day in Rutgers basketball again, and Jordan and company are taking advantage of that. Jordan is selling himself, his NBA ties (just looked at the Kyle Triggs hiring and go no further), and the Big Ten. Mike Rice, in his first year, was selling playing time.

Jordan has now balanced out the classes, and made it easier to fill in gaps. Cox and Macon are putting players right into his wheelhouse and made Jordan's transition from the pros to the college game much easier.

Keeping Cox and Macon wasn't a mistake. It may have been Jordan's smartest move. By keeping Cox and Macon, Jordan has helped answer the biggest question about him: Could he recruit?

Because of these two, the answer--so far--is a resounding yes.

Leaving one more question: Can they win?

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