It seems like most folks are coalescing around the following: If Shaka Smart is indeed off the table (and hopefully he is not), then the next targets are Danny Hurley (who seems to make sense, but is still a bit risky), Tom Crean (who has a much more consistent track record, but also has a punchable face), Jamion Christian (who is probably too green) and Patrick Ewing (if we want to stay in the family).
Maybe the above summation makes sense, maybe it doesn’t. For now, in the interest of thoroughness, I think we should also consider looking at some of these names that have yet to be addressed:
Tony Bennett: I think we can all agree that TB is a helluva coach. His trademark pack line defense has been embraced by many other schools, and his motion offense is one of the most efficient in the country. He won at Washington State (Washington State!) and he’s done remarkably well at Virginia. To be honest, he reminds me of JTIII circa 2012 (excellent regular season track record, efficient motion-based offense, postseason flameouts). The biggest knock on Bennett is his lack of postseason success, but given his entire body of work, including his knack for developing players, I’d take him in a heartbeat.
Reason to be cynical: Why the hell would he leave Virginia? He’s got a solid gig right now in a fun college town and they love him there.
Reason to be less cynical: Actually, there are a few. (1) He loses a bunch of players heading into next season, including London Perrantes and Marial Shayock; (2) He played for the Charlotte Hornets with guys named Alonzo Mourning and David Wingate; (3) If we’re prepared to throw buckets of money at Shaka and Brey, don’t you think we’d do the same for TB?
Fran McCaffery: This guy is a coach’s coach who has won everywhere he’s been (UNC Greensboro, Siena, Iowa). He’s from Philly and has always been able to do less with more. He develops his players, coaches well on both sides of the ball and is fiery as hell. McCaffery is very well-respected in coaching circles. He spent several years as an assistant at Notre Dame. He knows how to coach, and he’s really good at what he does.
Reason to be cynical: He’s older than most of the other candidates and while he’s always been solid, he’s never been a superstar. Also, why Georgetown? Where’s the connection there? Is he Catholic?
Reason to be less cynical: His lead assistant, Sherman Dillard, is from Virginia and used to be the head coach at JMU. Also, McCaffery’s nickname while he played was "White Magic".
Chris Collins: While we’re shaking the Duke basketball family tree and looking at guys like Brey, Amaker, and Dawkins, why not shake a little harder and look at CC? Collins, a well known candidate after his dazzling run at Northwestern, in which he turned the program around after four seasons and led the Wildcats to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and victory, seems to be a hot commodity. He is a solid coach, comes from a coaching family and is passionate as hell. Look at the way he embraced the NW community during the team’s dramatic run to the Tourney this year. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, in a good way.
Reason to be cynical: Why should he leave Northwestern? He’s built something special and he is beloved. Also, he’s from the Chicago area.
Reason to be less cynical: Some of his top players are leaving and, let’s be real, it’s not going to be easy to have sustained success at NW. He’s proven that he can recruit and win with talented kids at academically rigorous institutions (Duke, NW), so why not Georgetown? #whynotus
Jay Bilas: Speaking of former Duke assistants, why not take a look at our favorite ESPN color commentator? Look, this is obviously a long shot as he hasn’t coached in several years, and he’s never even been a head coach, but please indulge me for a second. Bilas knows a lot about basketball. He is well-liked by most coaches in the country and has a well-documented national reputation. He helps to run and attend various skills academies, so he often works with some of the best young recruits in the country. He’s savvy with social media and is clearly not afraid to engage with students and embrace the media (so basically the opposite of Georgetown). He listens to Young Jeezy! He has connections to coaches and players everywhere. And he’s handsome as f*ck.
Reason to be cynical: Why would he leave ESPN? He probably makes a ton of money, he has job security and he can never lose. And why come to Georgetown of all places? He’s a California guy who now lives in North Carolina.
Reason to be less cynical: (1) Isn’t he getting tired of being in the studio? He’s a competitive guy. Isn’t it time to get back out there and try something new, Jay? (Yeah, I’m challenging you.) (2) Also, and perhaps most importantly, he’s a lawyer, so he will feel at home with 78% of the alumni. Imagine him at post-game pressers. "Well, while I disagree with the ref’s conclusion that it was an offensive foul, the ref certainly made a good faith effort to put himself in a position to make the call, and he is a really good ref, and in any event, reasonable people can disagree on the call." (3) Doesn’t Jay love Georgetown? I feel like he loves us. He always says positive things about the program.
Bonus: Possible assistant coach candidate
Mike Rice: Yes, the same Mike Rice that lost his job at Rutgers. Raphael Chillious would’ve been perfect, but he’s no longer an option, so why not think outside the box a bit? In the last few years, Rice has rehabilitated his career (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/sports/ncaabasketball/mike-rice-rutgers-basketball-coach.html?_r=0) and has been heavily involved in the NJ high school basketball scene and with basketball camps all over the country. Most recently, he led The Patrick School to the NJ Tournament of Champions’ title. He’s passionate as hell and is a genuinely good coach who has spent time working with David Cox, among others. His name is now being mentioned as a possible candidate for the Duquesne job.
Reason to be cynical: He is a risk, and Georgetown doesn’t like to take risks.
Reason to be less cynical: Danny Hurley’s father really likes him too: http://highschoolsports.nj.com/news/article/1649193357774464050/ex-rutgers-coach-mike-rice-at-patrick-school/. And given his connections to the NJ high school scene, think about all of the recruits he may be able to pull in. Just saying.