HomeSportsFirst-year men's college basketball coaches: Who's overachieving, who's not?

First-year men’s college basketball coaches: Who’s overachieving, who’s not?

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When Miller took inventory of the roster, he knew he wanted another key participant, so he went into the portal for a scoring combo guard and got here out with Souley Boum, who as soon as had 16 factors in opposition to Miller’s Arizona staff in 2020-21. Boum was a high-level scorer at UTEP, nevertheless it was one thing else that caught Miller’s eye.

“A participant who attracts fouls over a four-year faculty profession, they understand how to try this. That is not one thing they will not carry with them,” Miller mentioned. “We wished a guard who might play, who might rating. He is a beautiful man. He actually is. I give him quite a lot of credit score, he joined a gaggle that had already been collectively. He simply actually has slot in extraordinarily effectively.”

Boum is among the finest transfers within the nation and leads the staff in scoring, whereas Freemantle, Nunge, Jones and fellow returnee Adam Kunkel are all averaging double figures. The quintet has Xavier atop the Large East standings, and in place for a top-four seed come Choice Sunday. The Musketeers went on an 11-game profitable streak after neutral-court losses to Duke and Gonzaga in late November.

The losses dropped Xavier to 4-3 popping out of the Phil Knight Legacy event in Portland, Oregon, however Miller wasn’t involved.

“What it did was harden our group. I do not suppose anyone actually panicked,” he mentioned. “It makes you conscious of what you need to enhance. November is typically idiot’s gold. Not till you get in opposition to higher opponents do you understand you are lacking one thing. We type of knew from day one what we might do effectively and the issues we wanted to work on.”

The staff’s offense has taken off since, rating fifth within the nation in adjusted offensive effectivity up to now 13 video games. Miller, not recognized for pushing the tempo and free-flowing offenses throughout his time at Arizona, now has a staff rating within the high 15 nationally in tempo and fifth within the nation in 3-point capturing share. By comparability, solely one in every of Miller’s Wildcats groups ranked within the high 100 in tempo: his first, in 2010.

He credit his season away from teaching for the change.

“You begin considering, what are the issues, when you get one other alternative, you’d do in a different way? What are the belongings you imagine in and need to hold?” Miller mentioned. “Enjoying at a quicker tempo sounds good however you want the firepower that may try this. You may attempt to play quick, but when sure guys cannot rating the ball or shoot the ball, it does not work as effectively.

“However taking part in at a quicker tempo, that is one thing that is right here to remain.”

Based mostly on Miller’s first three months again at Xavier, it appears like profitable is there to remain as effectively.

Jerome Tang: Nationwide Coach of the Yr favourite?

Final season, Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd was the longtime assistant-turned-head-coach who took the nation by storm, guiding the Wildcats to a 33-4 file after spending 20 seasons as an assistant coach for Mark Few at Gonzaga.

Kansas State hoped for related success when it employed Tang final spring, convincing him to go away Baylor after 19 years as an assistant with Scott Drew.

“While you spend that a lot time in a single place and you’re employed with a man that carefully, you’ve gotten your beliefs however they will let you insert a few of you into this system.” Tang advised ESPN this week. “Mark [Few] might go on trip and never have to fret about something. When Scott acquired COVID, he mentioned the least of his worries is the basketball, the teaching. The duties each of our head coaches gave us actually simply ready us. The similarity is that Tommy and I each had been employed by packages that gave us the assets that we wanted.”

Regardless of Tuesday’s four-point loss at Iowa State, Kansas State is off to a 17-3 begin, tied for first within the Large 12 at 6-2 — and ranked No. 5 on this week’s AP ballot, its highest rating since 2010-11. All this for a staff picked to complete final within the preseason Large 12 ballot.

“I knew we had been a event staff when apply began. After they picked us tenth, I assumed, effectively, then, 10 groups from the Large 12 are going to the NCAA event,” Tang mentioned.

After final season, Kansas State misplaced 9 of its high 11 gamers, leaving simply Markquis Nowell and Ismael Massoud. However Tang went into the portal to rebuild the roster, together with two junior faculty transfers and former SEC Preseason Participant of the Yr Keyontae Johnson, the Florida ahead who hadn’t performed since collapsing on the court docket in opposition to Florida State in December 2020.

Tang took an opportunity on Johnson returning to his outdated kind, and it paid off. Johnson ranks third within the Large 12 in scoring (18.3 PPG) and rebounding (7.5 RPG). Mixed with Nowell, who’s fifth within the league in scoring (17.1 PPG) and first in assists (8.3 APG), Kansas State has one of many elite duos in faculty basketball.

“It is their expertise. And they’re each nice human beings, nice younger males and their teammates love them. It is easy to have a good time them,” Tang mentioned. “And never simply them. You have acquired Desi Sills. Baybe [Iyiola]. Tykei [Greene]. You have acquired guys who’ve performed lots. We are able to have robust and clear conversations with them, the place we’re at, the place we have to get to, what wants to vary. They usually’re grown. They know easy methods to deal with issues. They’ve emotional maturity.”

Kansas State opened the season with 15 wins in its first 16 video games, together with back-to-back street wins at Texas and Baylor. In opposition to the Longhorns, the Wildcats scored 116 factors — then handed Tang’s former college a loss 4 days later.

That is when Tang knew he had a authentic top-15 staff on his palms.

“It was simply how they dealt with it,” he mentioned. “How they dealt with one win to the subsequent, the in-between preparation.”

At Baylor, Tang helped produce one of many largest turnarounds in faculty sports activities historical past, with Drew taking on a program mired in scandal in 2003 and main it to its first nationwide championship lower than 20 years later. Whereas the rebuilding effort at Kansas State is not as extreme, the Wildcats have already got their most wins in a season since 2019, and are positioned for his or her highest NCAA event seed since 2010.

“I by no means noticed Kansas State as a rebuild,” Tang mentioned. “It merely wanted to be elevated.”

It is clear Tang has big plans in Manhattan. After Kansas State’s extra time win over Kansas earlier this month, he grabbed the microphone as soon as everybody had rushed the ground in celebration.

“I advised y’all we’ll get you one court docket storming,” he mentioned. “From right here on out, count on to win.”

How the opposite new power-conference coaches are faring


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