Reconstruction: Hoops Picks Up the Pieces

Joe Murphy

David Cox is fired, and Jordan begins to look at the program.

Everything looks worse after a 61 points loss.

Had Rutgers beaten USF and then lost to Louisville by 15, 20 or-hell-even 30 points, the purge that many think may happen wouldn't be looked at as a reaction to that one loss.  Instead, it would be the natural progression of the basketball program being molded into Eddie Jordan's image.

It's clear that while Mike Rice wanted to play (and win) like Pittsburgh, Jordan wants to play and win like Louisville.  That requires a different type of mentality both in terms of players and coaching staff.  So while Andy KatzGary Parrish, and the rest of the national media take their shots and speculate David Cox's firing was a result of the Cardinal drubbing, the local media (like the great Jerry Carino) suggest it was "never the perfect fit."

This was a long time coming, and Carino's article says there's more expected to come.

Whether more changes means another coach will be let go, players will transfer, or both remains to be seen.  But, if smart decisions are made, this may not be a bad thing and could accelerate the rebuilding process.  However, last night was a worrying warning shot.

About 2 hours after the Cox announcment, the New York Daily News' NBA writer Frank Isola published a report suggesting that Jason Collins' brother and Stanford alum Jarron would fill the position abandoned by Cox.  Further fueling speculation that another coach would leave, the report also said that former NBA assistant Mike O'Koren (who was rumored for a position last year) might join Jordan's staff in some capacity.  Collins quickly denied the report via his Twitter account.

This is fine if Collins or O'Koren were given a non-recruiting positions--they likely see eye to eye with Jordan and believe in his philosophy.  But have either of these men ever been out on the road trying to convince a high schooler to join the turnaround?  It would be a ton of learning for the two during one of the most critical points in Jordan's tenure.  He needs to reel in a top class in 2015 and he can't afford two men taking their time to build relationships with high school coaches, AAU coaches, and top players.

No, in my opinion, Jordan needs a college assistant.  He needs to see if he can steal Darren Savino from Mick Cronin or make Van Macon the lead recruiter from here on out.  Because there are still other problems, as Jordan all but admitted in the last home game press conference. Jordan needs someone to help coach defense.  He needs someone who knows the game, and knows the college landscape.  Jordan said it was a major adjustment moving from the NBA to college, and he could use some help.

Is that guy available:  a recruiter, a college guy, who also knows defense?

Perhaps Jordan needs to make a move like Kyle Flood did, bringing in a former head coach in Ralph Friedgen to help.  Maybe there's a head coach looking to get back into the game and willing to help Jordan for a few years before a head spot opens up for him.  A Bruce Pearl or Al Skinner type, perhaps.*

But the offseason is just getting started.

There is a ton of speculation on the message boards and Twitter that more than 1 player will be leaving the Banks this year, and I'm not talking about Wally Judge and JJ Moore--seniors.  No, it's expected there will be some transfers out, though who those players are can only be speculated about.

Jordan needs to bring in bodies who can help.  The point guard he appeared to be hot after, Matt Farrell, committed to Notre Dame, but he still has offers out to guard Jamall Gregory and forward Adonis Delarosa.  Maybe Jordan can also find a gem, like a 5th year senior transfer who can make an impact and--at the same time--keep a scholarship open for 2015.

This is an important offseason for Jordan.  Year 1 was about saving the program in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal, and while the team exceeded expectations by finishing 7th, the 61 point loss is going to sting for a long, long time.  But now Jordan has to start building.  The scandal is over, but the 23 year NCAA drought continues.

And that is Eddie Jordan's mission now.  Ending that drought.

Does that mean cleaning house?  It might, but once the house is clean, the right pieces need to be brought in.  What those pieces are will be very telling.

*At the end of Carino's piece, which is linked in this article, it mentions Jordan may look for a guy who's run a college program before.

Like mystery novels?  Read Dave White's crime novels on your e-Reader. When One Man Dies is available on KindleNook and anywhere else e-books are sold. You can also find the Shamus Award nominated The Evil That Men Do and the best selling Witness to Death in the same places. All the books have at least a small tie to Rutgers, and they're very well reviewed.  Best of all?  Cheaper than Starbucks coffee!

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